I need help with needles!

Discussion in 'Feline Health - (Welcome & Main Forum)' started by Katherine812, Nov 27, 2019.

  1. Katherine812

    Katherine812 New Member

    Nov 27, 2019

    My cat has recently been diagnosed with diabetes and we've started her on insulin. Ironically, I am type 1 diabetic and my dad is type 2, so we're no stranger to diabetes or needles and I have been confidently able to inject myself and others for years.
    The situation with Smudge is really different. I was so scared of hurting her because she doesn't understand what's happening. I was told she would barely react but she jumped a little and that made me really upset (it was the straw that broke the camel's back). I have been able to successfully give her insulin in the morning but every time I approach her in the evening she is so stressed and tense, which means I can't get the needle in properly. My dad has been doing it in the mornings and he has had minimal problems.
    I'm just at the end of my tether! I haven't been able to sleep I'm so worried and I'm in my final year of university so I've got presentations and my dissertation to do. My dad is stressed too and he has had health problems and caring responsibilities so I'm trying to alleviate stress but I'm creating even more.
    Smudge means so much to me. She has helped me through so much and I want to help her.
    Sorry about the venting!
  2. Red & Rover (GA)

    Red & Rover (GA) Well-Known Member

    May 18, 2016
    It helps a bit to hold the needle with the bevel up.
    bevel needle.jpg

    It does get easier, I promise.

    The best thing you can do for your cat is home testing. You do not give insulin to yourself without testing and the same applies to your cat. It is important to keep your little one safe. Here is a link to help you learn how to test a cat:
    And a spreadsheet to keep track of it all.
    Do tell us more about your cat. What type of insulin, dose, food … We can help.
  3. Katherine812

    Katherine812 New Member

    Nov 27, 2019
    Thank you for the advice. Our vet has suggested at-home testing although I will bring it up at the next appointment. The difficulty I have is that she gets very tense when I need to treat her. She hides and jumps when I go anywhere near her (I don't blame her, it can be painful sometimes). She has wet food in the morning and kibbles in the evening. I'm not sure the type of insulin, but it is a pen rather than a syringe.
  4. Red & Rover (GA)

    Red & Rover (GA) Well-Known Member

    May 18, 2016
    A pen insulin is probably Lantus. You can learn more about cats and Lantus here:
    Lantus: the basics

    You can test her using your own human glucometer (same number ranges apply to cats and humans an d much cheaper than a pet meter and strips). You do not need a vet's permission.

    Establishing a shooting routine is important. Always shoot in the same place in the house. Associating tests and injections with low carb treats such as freeze-dried chicken or bits of cooked meat or tuna will help alleviate the situation. Cats do not have many nerve endings on the edges of their ears.

    You could try using a smaller gauge needle. You can insert a needle into the top of a pen instead of using the pen itself. This also allows you to micro dose. It is recommended that increases be no more than 0.25 units to make sure you do not go right past the proper dose. Too much insulin can look like too little sometimes.
    Diane Tyler's Mom likes this.
  5. Sienne and Gabby (GA)

    Sienne and Gabby (GA) Senior Member Moderator

    Dec 28, 2009
    I'm sorry that you're struggling. I've been around FDMB for quite some time and I can pretty confidently say that almost everyone is anxious and overwhelmed and scared they are going to harm their kitty. The reality, though, is that this isn't the case. What most of us find is that despite poking our cat's ear for tests and giving insulin injections, our kitties realize that what we're doing causes them to feel better. Treats also help. I would give Gabby her shot when her she was eating -- she barely noticed.

    One big piece of the puzzle is for you to relax. If you're anxious, Smudge will pick p on your anxiety and become skittish. If you're confident, she will know there's nothing to be fearful of. And like I said, treats also help. I know it sounds inconceivable, but many of our cats will come running to their testing spot when called because they know that they get a treat for putting up with a poke in the ear. And, they purr the entire time. I'd also explain what's going on to Smudge. Cat's understand more than you think and if you're talking, you're not worrying about what you're doing. The sound of your voice may also be calming for Smudge.

    There is a huge amount of information to absorb at the beginning of this process. The good news is that being diabetic yourself, you'll find there's a great deal of overlap between human and feline diabetes The other good news is that it will take a relatively short time for all of this to become routine.
    jayla-n-Drevon and Car0line like this.
  6. Lisa and Witn (GA)

    Lisa and Witn (GA) Well-Known Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    If you are using a pen, don't use the needle that are for the pen. Instead use the pen as a mini vial and use a syringe to pull the insulin from it.

    Also, Smudge will pick up on your stress. One suggestion I have seen on this board is to sing to your cat while testing and shooting. It's hard to be stressed if you are singing a song you enjoy. Are you giving insulin while he is eating or after? You could try giving it while he is eating. Most cats don't even notice.
    Amina&M'row likes this.
  7. Veronica & Babu-chiri

    Veronica & Babu-chiri Well-Known Member

    Aug 5, 2016
    Hi and welcome!!

    Take a big breath, it is not as hard as it seems in the beginning, regarding the injection cats are not as sensible as we are to them, just think they have to resist playing (or worse fighting) with other cats with very sharp nails in their paws, but they do have areas that are more sensible than others, Babu will not tolerate shots in the scruff ( he jumps and twists ) but he's just fine as long as I shoot him in the flank, so maybe you could try a different spot
    jayla-n-Drevon likes this.
  8. Car0line

    Car0line New Member

    Apr 20, 2019
    I agree with everyone else who is saying that if you're tense it will affect her. I also agree that it gets easier with time.

    I wanted to also add that some cats will jump just because you're touching them differently, too. I thought the needle hurt my girl until I noticed that she doesn't even wait for the needle to give her "meip" type meow, she's just talking, not hurt.

    I give her insulin in the bathroom with the door closed so I don't have other kitties "helping" us. Shadow now knows the schedule, and comes when I call her to the bathroom for her insulin, even if it's a few minutes earlier or later than usual. She wanders in, we sit down on the towel, I give her some petting and some sweet talk while I'm getting the stuff out with my other hand. I test her, give her her insulin, then give her a small treat and some brushing all the time talking softly to her, then we're done. The whole thing takes 5 minutes or less and is fairly stress-free despite my hatred of needles.

  9. jayla-n-Drevon

    jayla-n-Drevon Well-Known Member

    Oct 11, 2015
    I agree with Sienne--they totally pick up your feelings....give yourself a break we have all been there.
    If you can relax she will sense it and good lighting always helps-with Dre when I use a lancet or even a needle to poke I just barely graze the ear and wait a sec for the blood to come. If it doesn't I aim for the same spot and jiggle a little. Practice and time will turn you into a pro in no time :bighug:
  10. Car0line

    Car0line New Member

    Apr 20, 2019
    Good lighting definitely helps, especially with a black cat! I use an inexpensive glasses with 2 led lamps that came in a kit with magnifying lenses of 1x, 1.5x, 2x, 2.5x, and 3.5x and I've found them very useful since I'm over 50 and need some help close-up but also need the light to shine where my eyes are looking. I don't remember if I bought them from ebay or amazon, but there are lots of options for lighting, including simple clip-on lights or doing the testing where you have a strong light. I do the testing/injections in the bathroom, which does have good lighting, but I still find the light aimed from these glasses to be very helpful.

    I just found out by mistake tonight that my Shadow seems to prefer the needle to go in from the side into the scruff. I had been doing it into the scruff but approaching from behind the shoulders so the tip of the needle pointed toward her head. Tonight, she was laying on her side, so instead of making a fuss and getting her in a better position, I just approached from the side into the scruff, and she didn't even make a peep, no struggle, no nothing. She usually doesn't really struggle, but can be a little squirmy at times and usually gives a "meep" as soon as I pinch the scruff, this time, nothing when I pinched the scruff nor when I put the needle in.

    I guess the lesson is, we just have to find what works for our babies and for us, and be ok with adjusting as necessary ;)

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