Q: Oh no – you wrote about overweight pets and then two weeks later, would you know it, my overweight cat was diagnosed with diabetes. I don’t like needles. I don’t think my cat would either. This is really tough. I love my cat. Do you have any advice? S. E., Ft. Lauderdale, FL
A: “This is serious because the cat could die if not treated,” says Dr. Steve Deeb, professional services veterinarian at Boehringer Ingelheim. “First, don’t make the assumption that if you don’t like needles your cat won’t either.”
Of course, your cat isn’t getting up in the morning asking to be stuck with a needle. But for the most part, cats would rather accept a needle than a bitter pill.
With some training and/or distraction, you can convert your cat to at least accept the needle.
Offer a treat as you touch your cat with the needle, a little prick (without injecting anything). Do this several times, and each time offer a treat.
It’s important you talk to your veterinarian about what treats you can offer your cat, possibilities include cheese or baby food (without onion), or a manufactured your cat really loves.
“Because our pets quickly pick up on our emotions,” Deeb says, “it may be preferred, if possible, to have someone else in the home who isn’t so afraid of needles give the cat the injection.”
Deeb adds, “Some cats do go into remission so the insulin (and the shot) are no longer needed. That’s icing on the cake. This occurs among some cats with weight loss and a change in diet. However, getting your cat to a reasonable weight is necessary regardless. No matter what, talk with your veterinarian about a weight loss plan. And also even exercise.”
Deeb concludes, “In the end – this is about saving your cat’s life.”
Learn more about diabetes in cats.