Feline Diabetes Part 4: How do I give my cat insulin injections at home?

You will want to start by being sure you have the correct insulin syringes for your cat. There are 2 different types of insulin syringes available – U-40 and U-100 syringes. Each has it’s own benefits, but are only useful with the correct insulin.






Check your insulin vial prior to drawing up any insulin; be sure to check it every time you want to use it. You will want to make sure that the insulin appears normal, there is no foreign material floating around in the insulin, the vial is not broken or otherwise damaged and that it is, in fact, the correct insulin you are supposed to be giving. This is especially important when you purchase a new vial.









Before preparing and injecting your cat with insulin, you will want to make sure that he has eaten (or is eating when the injection is given). It is not usually a good idea to give a cat that isn’t eating an insulin injection. This can cause the cats glucose level to drop too low – called hypoglycemia – and can cause severe problems if left untreated for too long.

You will want to start by gently rolling the insulin vial between your hands – do not shake the vial – this will help to mix up the insulin in case any has settled at the bottom of the vial.








Next you will turn the insulin vial upside down and insert the syringe into the top of the vial. Draw back on the plunger in the syringe to draw out the insulin. Be sure to check that you do not have any air bubbles in your syringe and that you are drawing up the correct amount as you were shown at your veterinary office. If you do find that you have some bubbles in the syringe, gently flick the syringe with your finger until the bubble floats to the top of the syringe, then just push the air out with the plunger. Remove the syringe from the insulin vial and place the vial back into it’s container (See “Diabetes Series – Part 3” for more information on insulin storage). You will want to place the cap back on your syringe if you are not going to give your cat his injection immediately.









Next you will want to position yourself and your cat in a way that is comfortable for both of you so you can give him his injection. Double check the amount of insulin in your syringe to be sure the correct amount was drawn up. Lift the skin at the scruff of the neck and puncture his skin as you were shown at your veterinary clinic. Be sure not to go all the way through the skin to the other side. Once you are sure that you are under the skin, press on the plunger of the syringe to give him his insulin dose. Be sure to press the plunger all the way to get all the insulin into him.








Remove the needle from your cat, recap it and place it inside a thick plastic container, such as a laundry detergent bottle or something similar – this way the entire container can be discarded when full. Some veterinary clinics will provide you with a biohazard container for the syringes to be discarded into (for a fee). These containers can be returned to your veterinary clinic for disposal when full. Some pharmacies will dispose of them for you also.









Most cats receive their injections in the scruff of the neck or a bit lower on the back, but it will always be subcutaneously (under the skin) not into a muscle or vein.

One of the first things you will learn about when giving injections is what it feels like to put a needle under a cat’s skin – you may feel a little “pop” indicating you are through the tough outer layer of skin and into the subcutaneous layer where you want to give the injection.

*It is very important to NEVER adjust your cats insulin dosage without consulting with your veterinarian as this could be very detrimental to your cats health!

If you are interested in a demo on how to give your cat their insulin injections, contact us at Brantford’s Park Road Veterinary Clinic.