Tips for giving a cat Sub Q fluids

If the day comes that your vet tells you that it’s time for your cat to start getting fluids don’t despair, it’s not an automatic death sentence. Many cats live and thrive for many years because of the fluids. You’ve seen photos of our own Three Little Olde Ladies: they get their fluids, they enjoy this ritual, and they amaze their vets with how healthy and happy they are!

When you notice your aging cat isn’t grooming or looks a bit greasy, especially near the tail, or you see dandruff, weight loss, and a bit of lethargy, get your kitty into the vet for testing. Because the kidneys are not functioning at 100% and toxins are building up – the cat feels “hung over” which is not a nice feeling.

Sub Q fluids will make your cat feel so good that most cats begin to associate the fluids with feeling better and won’t fight you (or your house call vet tech).

Think of it as The Daily Love Ritual: The time you spend with your cat giving fluids can be looked at as a time to express love. Pet and massage your cat. Lots of kisses and kind words. A ritual where you hang up the bag, insert a fresh needle, adjust the line, insert the needle, release the brake on the line to let the fluid flow. Stroke the cat, talk pretty to the cat. It can be a relaxing experience for you and the cat.

Finding a vet tech: Not everyone wants to administer the fluids themselves which is completely understandable, don’t feel like you must do this. Call every vet hospital around and ask for referrals and interview all of them. Select the one who’s got the most experience but who is also the kindest and has a gentle manner – this is very important. You cat needs to like this person a lot and gentle and loving is imperative. Our vet tech is practically family now!

Fluids, lines and needles: The costs of these necessary items can add up fast. Our favorite and least spendy sources are: Brico Medical Supply ( and Stat Medical Supplies ( You’ll need to fax them a copy of the prescription from your vet. Their prices for cases of fluids is very low, but shipping a case of fluids is costly due to weight, so for you East Coast people use Brico, West Coast people use Stat.

Needles: Most needles are now made in China (you know how we feel about that) and the quality can be iffy. The sharpness of the point can vary, and a dull needle causes pain. The only needles we use are Terumo brand. This is a Japanese brand of needle which has an ultra sharp point so that insertion is as painless as possible (our cats don’t flinch at all). We use 19 gauge which is usually just the right size for a cat – not to big, and not too small.

Warm up the fluid bag!: Warming up the fluid bag in a bowl of hot water will warm the liquid which makes the experience so much more comfortable for the cat. We do not recommend microwaving your fluid bags (or anything else). Usually the bag of fluid is a nice warm temperature after about 10 minutes.

 Administering the fluids: We find that picking up the cat and moving kitty to a place that’s convenient for our vet tech stresses the cat. Our vet tech goes to where the cat is (usually in a cat bed on the floor or on top of a people-bed). The fluids are suspended from a coat hanger which can then be hung from a window or door frame, bed post, top of a dresser (be creative!). You’ll see in the photo that we bent the ends of the coat hanger, this keeps the bag centered and balanced.

Love and Kindness: Kisses and chin scratches while the needle is in and fluids are flowing make all the difference. Gently massage the cat for relaxation and well being really help too (stay tuned for upcoming articles about acupressure massage for cats). The more you pour on the love the more the cat will learn to enjoy getting their fluids. Our’s purr!

Diet: Ok, this is going to be a hot potato of controversy. Most vets are saying that cats in any stage of renal failure must have low protein cat food. But our wholistic vets disagree. They say that our carnivorous friends need protein for brain function and to support all other body systems and functions. We were confused too, and therefore we bounced around feeding our cats low protein cat food, then not, and back again. Finally we opted for “what makes them happy and gives quality of life” and that’s protein. But this is purely subjective, ultimately it’s your decision. Do the research, there is a lot of it online.

Alternative Support: If you are fortunate enough to have a skilled veterinary acupuncturist in your area your cat will really benefit from treatments. Our cats get acupuncture, homeopathy, and herbs. Our vet is Dr. Cheryl Schwartz who’s book “Four Paws, Five Directions: Traditional Chinese Medicine for Cats and Dogs” is a MUST HAVE! You will learn how to do acupressure massage which you cat will love the feel of, and which will boost health exponentially. Cheryl does not do phone consultations nor does she reply to emails with questions. But if you email us or become a Facebook fan with very brief questions we will save them and in future newsletters publish her replies.

Daily Support: Cat Faeries Kidney Kitty helps support the kidney function and kidney meridian with Cat Faeries Kidney Kitty. Our own cats get it every day in their water bowl, even the youngest one who’s 3. Our oldest is 22. Kidney Kitty + Sub Q fluids has our oldest ones feeling pretty darned good and youthful.

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