How to Give Subcutaneous Fluids to Your Cat

August 27, 2023 4:34 pm Published by

On,A,Blue,Background,A,Medical,Syringe,With,An,OrangeSubcutaneous fluid administration is a common procedure used to provide hydration and vital nutrients to cats who are dehydrated or suffering from certain medical conditions. While it may seem intimidating at first, with the right guidance and practice, giving subcutaneous fluids to your cat can become a routine part of their healthcare. In this blog post, we will discuss the step-by-step process of giving subcutaneous fluids to your cat.

1. Gather the Necessary Supplies

Before starting the procedure, gather all the necessary supplies. This includes the prescribed fluids, a bag of IV fluids with a drip set, a subcutaneous administration set, needles of the appropriate size, a fluid bag stand, alcohol swabs, and a towel or blanket to place your cat on.

2. Prepare the Fluids

Follow the instructions provided by your veterinarian on preparing the fluids. Typically, it involves removing the cap from the fluid bag, spiking the bag with the drip set, and ensuring the flow rate is adjustable. Hang the fluid bag on the stand at a height that allows the fluid to flow easily.

3. Prepare the Site

Choose a quiet and well-lit area to perform the procedure. Place your cat on a towel or blanket, ensuring they are comfortable and secure. Clean the area where the fluids will be administered with an alcohol swab, usually the scruff of the neck or the back, to reduce the risk of infection.

4. Prime the Set

Prime the needle and subcutaneous administration set by opening up the flow and allowing the fluid to run through the tubing until there are no air bubbles present. Once the set is primed, close the flow temporarily to prevent any extra fluid from dripping.

5. Introduce the Needle

When your cat is calm and relaxed, gently pinch the skin at the base of the neck or the chosen area and insert the needle into the subcutaneous space at a 45-degree angle. Be careful not to pierce deeply into the muscle.

6. Begin the Flow

Open the flow on the administration set slowly to allow the fluid to start flowing into the subcutaneous space. Monitor your cat during this process to ensure they are comfortable and not experiencing any pain or distress. Adjust the flow rate as necessary, following your veterinarian’s instructions.

7. Observe and Comfort

While the fluids are being administered, keep an eye on your cat’s behavior and comfort level. Speak soothingly and pet them gently to provide comfort and reassurance. Use treats or favorite toys as distractions if needed. This will help create a positive experience for your cat during the procedure.

8. Monitor the Fluids

Keep a close eye on the fluid bag to ensure it doesn’t run empty before completing the prescribed amount. If necessary, change the bag midway through the procedure, following proper sterile technique. It’s crucial to administer the full amount of fluids as directed by your veterinarian.

9. Remove the Needle

Once the prescribed amount of fluids has been administered, carefully remove the needle from the subcutaneous space. Apply gentle pressure to the injection site with a clean cotton ball or gauze pad to stop any bleeding.

10. Disposal and Clean-Up

Dispose of the used needle and materials properly in a sharps container to ensure safety. Clean the area where the fluids were administered with an alcohol swab to maintain cleanliness and prevent infection. Store the remaining fluids and supplies in a safe and hygienic location.


Giving subcutaneous fluids to your cat may initially seem daunting, but with practice and guidance, it can become a manageable part of their healthcare routine. Always follow the instructions provided by your veterinarian and consult with them if you have any concerns or questions. Remember to be patient and gentle with your cat throughout the procedure, providing comfort and reassurance. With proper technique and care, you can effectively administer subcutaneous fluids and help improve your cat’s health and well-being.

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