So, today I found out my cat needs insulin needles twice daily. The vet showed me how, and I'm pretty confident I can do it, but...when I was there and tried it, they were holding the cat for me.

At home, it's just me and Norbert-cat and the needle. It's a tiny gauge needle, and he didn't seem too fussed over the whole thing at the vet's, but I worry anyhow.

I know how they want me to pinch the skin to draw it up in the injection site (kinda around the scruff area), but...how do I hold the rest of the cat, because I'm gonna have one hand full of cat-skin, one hand with the needle, and I am not entirely convinced my cat is going to hold as nicely still as he did there, because he's home and not in the scary place.

Anyone have any good ideas on how I might hold him or the like, to keep him still long enough to get this done?

  • I read somewhere that keeping yourself calm is crucial too because they can sense your anxiety but I can't find a source for that. I'll keep looking.
    – Henders
    Commented Feb 5, 2019 at 9:34
  • Thank you guys for these answers. I, too, just had to start giving insulin 2x a day and was FREAKED OUT!!! I mean - I lost 2 nights of sleep over this because I just couldn't see myself doing this to Max - and the husband is a Nurse, so I have EXTRA help! After researching it, reading forums like this one (and talking to another cat-mom I know well who also just started... ), I can now say Max and I are doing OK with it! I get the syringe filled and ready to go, throw a small amount of the prescript-kibble (hard food) in a small bowl and place it and Max on the counter. He's so busy eating. Commented Oct 27, 2019 at 16:58

2 Answers 2


I have not tried this, but it is what I would try first.

Get your supplies set up on the kitchen table, have your insulin drawn and ready. Have your cats favorite finger food treat on the table.

Call the cat to your lap, pet the cat until you are both calm.

Lightly grab the area you are going to tent up for giving the shot. Do this a couple to a few times. Ensure you both stay calm.

When you are both ready, tent up the area again and give the shot.

Put the used needle on the kitchen table and give the cat the treat. Lots of love for all.

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  • I have done this and other procedures requiring an IV or syringe—do read linked articles. DO give injection in the area between kitty’s shoulder blades and combine injection time with treats, calm voice, tender touch and love. Good luck. 🐾
    – M.Mat
    Commented Oct 28, 2019 at 3:32

James has given you good advice on technique, so I'm going to focus on the psychology part -- your psychology, more than Norbert's.

First, I'd like you to realise that this will be much less of a big deal for Norbert than it is to you. I'm not a nurse or vet or anything, but in the course of my life I have given injections to humans, cats, dogs, and even alpacas. Animals seem to be relatively unfazed by shots. Although they occasionally object to being "caught", I have never had an animal react to the shot itself. I think animals find shots far less stressful than pills. So try not to feel guilty and worried that you will cause Norbert pain; that's very unlikely.

Norbert will take his cue from you. If you're calm, he will be more relaxed. Keep your breathing steady and relaxed. I find that the easiest way to do this is to talk to the animal while you give the injection.

I like to make a ritual of the whole process, so that the animal knows what's coming. That may sound counter-intuitive, but the unknown is scarier than the known. Norbert will be more relaxed knowing that a shot is coming than if he has no idea what's up. So I say "time for your shot", let him see the bottle, etc. Give lots of affection during the process, and Norbert may not even notice the shot!

One technique tip: try holding Norbert under your arm, using your elbow to push his hindquarters against your side. This will help keep him still while you grab the sking and give the shot.

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