If your cat is dehyrdated or just doesn’t seem to want to drink water, talk to your veterinarian to ask if your cat could benefit from giving “sub-q fluids.” Sub-q is short for subcutaneous fluids meaning that you are injecting hydrating fluids under the skin. Dehydration from any cause can make a cat feel yucky and that may be one of the many reasons why a cat won’t eat. Cats with Chronic Renal Failure (kidney disease), as well as other cat illnesses, require sub-cutaneous fluids because they just can’t drink enough water to keep up with their body’s demand. Staying hydrated also helps the body flush out toxins from our cells… not only external toxins, but those that are natural by-products of metabolism.
You can either pay the vet clinic to administer fluids or you can learn this skill yourself and purchase your vet supplies online. The first time giving fluids is a little scary, but it’s not hard and you can save yourself a lot of money if you do it yourself. Ask your vet tech to help you the first time or two and then you will be able to administer the subcutaneous fluids on your own. Your vet clinic charges quite a bit for vet supplies because that is one of their main ways to make money. The appointment fees don’t have that much profit built in them when you think about sharing that fee with the vet tech, the receptionist, the veterinarian and overhead costs. By purchasing your vet supplies from your veterinarian, you are supporting the vet clinic and they will really appreciate it. If you are in it for the long haul and you need to save some money, you can ask your veterinarian for a prescription and you can buy your vet supplies online.
Depending on how much sub-q fluids your veterinarian recommends, you will either need a bag of subcutaneous fluids such as Lactated Ringers 1000ml or you may be given a prefilled syringes. If you buy your own fluids, you can them a few bags at a time or buy a box of 12 bags and save money. You will also need to buy the IV line (also referred to as IV Set) and needles.
TIP: When I was recently trying to help rehydrate a 6 week old kitten I was given a GIANT syringe that was as long as the kitten. The vet SHOULD have given me several small syringes. I was to give 10ml of fluids twice daily so it would have been better to give me multiple 12ml syringes (prefilled with 10ccs of fluids). The GIANT syringe is awkward and I had to move my eyes too far away from the kitten to view the line on the syringe showing how much had been administered. I could have serious hurt this little kitten. If your veterinarian is going to send fluids home with you, be sure to ask if they are in the 1000ml bag or syringes.
Disclaimer: Kathy Fatheree is not at all a medical expert. Contents of this web site are a collection of Kathy’s assist feeding experiences as well as the experiences of other cat owners who have assist fed their cats. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, Kathy Fatheree or anyone associated with this web site cannot be held responsible for anything that may happen as a result of using the information on this site.