Your Cat Needs You: Overcoming Subcutaneous Injection Anxiety

If your cat is going through kidney disease or another disorder that’s leaving her dehydrated, your vet may suggest that you start to give her regular injections of saline. Saline can help to re-hydrate your cat’s body without putting strain on her kidneys, but it can feel a little intimidating to have to do it. This guide will help to explain how the process works and will make you feel more confident when you give your cat an injection of any cat medication.


When a cat is going through kidney disease, her kidneys don’t work properly and require more water to process toxins out of your cat’s blood. As a result, your cat probably wants to drink more liquids, but this isn’t enough to resolve the problem on its own. Subcutaneous injections of fluids, on the other hand, don’t need to be processed by the kidneys. Instead, the fluid is absorbed into the bloodstream, where it can go to where your cat needs it most directly.

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Scruff Injections

If your vet hasn’t already told you, these injections are given in the scruff, or the back of the neck. While this may sound horrifying, it will actually be fairly painless for your cat. The loose skin of the scruff allows the needle to puncture it easily, and the scruff has fewer nerve endings than other parts of the body.

Since the scruff is designed for mother cats to be able to pick up their cats in their teeth and move them, cats have evolved so as to not feel as much pain in that area. In addition, gently pulling on a scruff can help to release endorphins, which can soothe or calm your cat.

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How It Works

There’s no need to find a vein when you give your cat a fluid injection. The fluid is injected into the scruff, which may create a small bulge on the back of your cat’s neck. If the fluid were injected directly into the bloodstream, it would have to be done extremely slowly with an IV drip so it wouldn’t dilute the blood, but by placing it under the scruff, your cat’s body will absorb it at her own pace. This lump will gradually shrink and then disappear once the fluids have been fully absorbed.

Depending on your cat’s needs, your vet may give you a saline solution that’s specially formulated to have electrolytes and other nutrients in it. These will not only help to re-hydrate your cat, but help her to feel spunkier and more like herself.

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Kidney disease is extremely common in older cats, so it’s essential that you learn how to do everything you can to help ease your cat’s symptoms. After you give your cat a few injections, it’ll start to feel easier and should become an easy process for you both.

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