By Dr Sophia Yin
At first we gave the insulin but then Mochi started hiding from us. We didn’t want to make her hate us, so we discountinued the treatment even though we knew that without she wouldn’t live long.
How many times have you heard something like this where a client fails to carry through with treatment because the treatment ruins her bond with her pet? If the treatment is an injection of some sort, this type of situation should not happen because it’s easy to train cats to love getting injections and this comfort with injections can be taught in just a handful of days. Here’s how.
|Start with a hungry cat and tasty treats, such as canned cat food or baby food. Then give the cat the food and once she starts eating it, lightly pinch her skin. The goal is that you pinch at a level light enough so she remains engrossed in the food.||Stop the pinching after about 5 seconds and simultaneously pull the food away. If you do this right, the cat should be looking at you expectantly to offer the food again. This timing helps cats understand that pinching equals treats and removal of the pinching equals removal of food. Next repeat the procedure. Once she’s good at being pinched at your starting level repeat the procedure but pinch harder or more vigorously.|
|Once she is happy to just eat treats during that procedure, then graduate to poking with a capped needle on a syringe while you pinch the skin. You can use a pen instead if you don’t have a needle and syringe on hand. Again, only poke the skin when the cats eating.||Only poke for around 5 seconds so you don’t go over her tolerance level when first starting at this step. Then stop petting and remove the food. Here, Dante can’t wait for me to repeat the procedure. At this point I can use a real syringe and needle and give an injection.|
|You can also perform this procedure with an assistant to hold the food. Make sure you’ve timed the removal and addition of food carefully.|
Practice in a couple of 5 minute sessions a day. For instance, you can practice right before her regular meal times and use a portion of her meal. The program is convenient to practice and it literally takes just days for most cats to complete as long as you stay below the level that will irritate him. So with just a handful of training sessions, your cat can quickly be ready to receive injectible medications that will help her live a longer, healthier life.
Here is a video example of a cat receiving an injection at a rabies vaccine clinic. The cat has a pleasant experience because she gets tasty treats while receiving the vaccination.
Have you trained your cat to receive injections? Share your story here!