Insulin Pens for Cats

A chubby cat could be sicker than you think.
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Feline diabetes, like its human counterpart, can stem from genetics, pancreatic trouble, a reaction to medication or overeating. Unless they are born with a proclivity to diabetes, most cats contract the disease as a result of overeating. When diet isn't enough to reverse diabetes, an insulin pen is one potential solution.

Insulin Pens

Insulin pens contain pre-measured doses of medicine to help control diabetes. Pens can be either disposable -- with pre-set dosages -- or accept disposable, pre-measured cartridges. Typically they look like elegant writing pens or fine-point markers, with a pocket clip that makes carrying them more convenient and discrete than carrying syringes and glass vials of insulin.

Advantages of Pens

Many people are uncomfortable using syringes to inject insulin into their cats. Some have trouble handling syringes or using the plunger, especially if the cat becomes agitated. Some are afraid to break the glass tube or are too timid to use the long needle. Insulin pens have shorter needles and no glass. Most are ergonomic and do not require pushing a plunger. Also, dosages are more easily measured, and the chance of spilling a larger vial of medicine is effectively eliminated.

Prepare for Injection

Set out the supplies you will need, including treats for being a well-behaved kitty. A recently fed cat also responds to insulin better. Above all, be relaxed and gentle when giving a shot, and make sure you and your cat are on the same level. Seat her in your lap or get down on the floor with her. Remember to always consult your veterinarian before using an insulin pen on your cat.

Prepare the Pen

Insulin, which you store in the refrigerator, should be room temperature by injection time. Once the needle is attached and the insulin is mixed, fill the cartridge and prime the pen by holding it with the needle pointing straight up. Tap the pen to get the air bubbles to rise to the top, then shoot a quick couple of drops into the air to ensure that all the bubbles are expelled from the cartridge. Then dial the proper dosage for the injection.

Administer the Injection

Clean your hands and pinch a tent of skin around the injection site to help desensitize the skin. Turn the bevel of the needle up to make the shot less painful. Penetrate the fatty layer below the tent, making sure to not reach any muscle. Release the tent and press the injection button. The shot should be complete in a few seconds. Pull the needle straight up without twisting. Rub your finger over the injection site to prevent bleeding and be sure to praise your cat for being brave. And remember to give her one of those treats.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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