This past week, my boyfriend and I have been giving our cat subcutaneous fluids. I thought I would faint when the vet showed us the equipment, which is basically an IV. Though I was initially shaky about it, here are three tips I learned to help smooth the process along.
1. Keep calm. The first day we tried, our cat was not happy about it. Now that we are on our fourth day, he is still now happy about it, but he is far less freaked out. This is because we have learned to keep our voices even and keep our attitude calm. While it is important to be soothing to your cat, don’t make it a big deal. He doesn’t try to get away from us when we are calm. But on the first day we basically had to pin him down. Make sure that you act as if this is totally normal. If you’re squeamish about needles, find someone who isn’t, and just be as casual as possible about the whole thing.
2. Use a towel. This might not work for every cat, but we found that wrapping him in a towel keeps him calmer, and easier to contain. Making sure his legs are wrapped makes it more difficult for him to jump away (which would pull the needle out and waste fluids), and he has learned that taking the towel off is a signal that he can now go away. Many people use towels to wrap cats up when trimming their nails, and it is the same principal.
3. Be smooth and patient. Administering subcutaneous fluids takes a little bit longer than you think it is going to. It is a slow drip. Don’t try to rush this process. Be as patient as possible with the process so that your cat doesn’t think it is stressful. Also, be as smooth as possible with your movements. Don’t do anything that will startle the cat, and make sure that you cut of the fluid, and start the fluid smoothly so that the rush of fluid doesn’t startle him/her.
Luckily we only have to do this for one more day. But some people do this to their cats every single day. If you find yourself in this position, don’t be overwhelmed. Know that it’s all worth it when they start feeling better.