Giving your cat a B12 shot is a really inexpensive way to make a sick cat feel better quickly. If your cat won't eat no matter what tempting concoction you put in front of it, B12 may get your cat on course again.
My sweet, perfect little traditional Siamese cat Cleo.
If you take your cat to the vet because they're generally feeling blah, they'll often give your cat a quick Vitamin B12 shot to help them feel better. For cats with chronic diseases B12 for cats is something you can do at home once a week to stimulate their appetite.
But yes, a needle is involved. And yes, you have to stick it in your cat.
Suck it up. They're your cat and you love them. True, if the roles were reversed your cat wouldn't do the same for you but that's only because they don't have fingers. Or a job to help pay for things like medicine.
B12 is also known by the name Cobalamin so don't get confused if you see that term thrown around online.
My cat Cleo (who I had to put down after a lengthy illness with advanced renal disease) felt much better after I gave her a B12 shot and even though I knew it wasn't curing her it made me feel better to know that I was at least making her feel better.
The moment she was diagnosed with advanced renal disease I started to give her Subcutaneous fluids which helped with the effects of the disease immensely. If you have a cat that has renal disease go now and read my post on how to give your cat Subcutaneous fluids. I also gave her an anti-nauseant once a day because part of renal disease means your cat constantly feels nauseous.
That all worked fine for over a year. And then one day out of the blue this cat would not eat. She not only went off food, she seemed to develop an aversion to it. Just the sight of her food dish would make her start to gag.
She could only stomach one thing. Bacon. So I started cooking up pounds of it and sitting on the floor with my cat, both of us scarfing down the bacon. As one does with their cat.
If your cat is at the point where it will NOT eat, try to find one thing they can stomach. It might be cat treats, bacon, tuna, cheese ... whatever it is, it's your one and only shot at getting calories into them until you can get to the vet.
Just getting something into them is sometimes enough to trigger their appetite.
After a couple of bouts of her not eating regular food I called my vet and said I thought it was time to start giving her some B12. We had discussed it a few visits prior.
A half an hour and $12 later I was at home giving Cleo her B12 shot. Within 2 days she was not only eating again, she was eating more than she had eaten in the past year. Plus, I was left with a fridge full of bacon I had to eat before it went bad, so that was a little bonus for me and a big bonus for my back fat.
The reason cats with chronic disease benefit from B12 is because their disease is preventing them from absorbing B12.
Symptoms of a B12 Deficiency in Cats
- off food / weight loss
- trouble walking or jumping
Does Your Cat Need B12 shots?
Cats with these conditions or diseases are prone to being low on Vitamin B12 or (in the case of heart disease) needing extra.
- Sick or unwell cats who won't eat
- Renal Disease
- Heart Disease
- (if your cat is drinking a lot for any reason it can lead to B12 deficiency)
Adequate B12 is important for a cat's ...
- Brain Health
- Gastrointestinal system
- Nerve system
What does B12 do for your sick cat?
For sick cats the most important thing B12 does is give them their appetite back and just generally make them feel better. Like medical marijuana but for cats. And not marijuana.
B12 is water soluble vitamin so there's no worry of overdosing them with B12. If your cat has too much B12 in them, they just pee it out.
Cat Not Eating?
- Cats have a VERY strong instinct to eat even if they aren't feeling well. So if they get to the point that they aren't eating for a day or two it's important to make an appointment with your vet right away.
- In the meantime try to find something, ANYTHING that your cat will eat. For my cat it was bacon. Nothing else.
- Not eating, even for a short period of time (24-36 hours) is dangerous for a cat and can lead to liver damage.
- Sometimes a whole bowl of food is overwhelming for them, try to offer just a tiny bit of food to tempt them.
- Try EVERY kind of wet cat food you can find. Different brands, flavours etc. Don't worry if it's the cheap stuff and you only feed them the good stuff. You just need to get calories in them even if it's in the form of Friskies. When my cat wouldn't eat I went to the pet store and bought one can of just about everything and offered a bit from each one once every hour until she found one that didn't repulse her.
- Do NOT try to force your cat to eat, which is likely to create even more of an aversion to food.
- Sometimes the smell of food will turn your cat off, but if you put a tiny bit on their lip to lick off, their appetite gets stimulated and they'll eat.
If you've tried everything take your vet to the cat and also ask them about B12
How to Give Your Cat a B12 Shot
Don't give your cat a B12 shot without consulting your vet first.
1. Get your B12 and appropriate needles from your vet. They'll tell you the proper dosage which corresponds with your cat's weight. This tiny little $12 bottle will last for months.
2. Peel back the paper on the syringe package and remove the needle. Everything is all together, you don't need to do anything other than remove it from its packaging. The needle is teeny, tiny. So small that most cats won't even feel it going in.
3. Turn the bottle of B12 upside down, insert the clean needle into the rubber seal and withdraw the required dosage.
4. Make a tent out of the skin at your cat's scruff. You want to inject right in that tent so the needle will be going into an air pocket between the skin and the muscle. Just into air really.
5. Pierce the skin with the needle and inject the B12 into the cat.
Need a video? Here you go.
If you have a cat, they are very good at hiding any symptoms of feeling unwell so if you aren't sure if your cat is sick read this post on the signs of how to identify a sick cat and do what you can for them. You can always count on them to make you feel better. So they should always be able to count on you for the same.
→Follow me on Instagram where I often make a fool of myself←
Unlike vitamin B complex, injectable vitamin B12 (which is a pinky red colour) does not sting, so some people give this to their cats during or immediately after sub-Qs.
Or in the line with the sub Q fluids. One poke does it all.
Brilliant post!!! This our second bout of starvation ...1st just before Christmas, literally spent a whole week hand feeding and praying for our 11 year olds appetite to come back. Yes took her to vets no temperature but they couldnt hold her to take bloods, took her home and next day she was eating again...PHEW...but then 4 weeks later here we are again...vet gave her a b12 shot and shes right as rain scoffing like no tomorrow even asking for 2nds and 3rds...relief...vets suggested a urine test instead of putting through sedation so hoping we find out just what's going on as vet has no idea has her heart and all her internals feel fine to the feel.....shes a sphynx so within 3 days of not eating the effects are quite visual. Thanks for the post, I can now kind of see where we are going now. And will definately ask vet possibility of renal disease.
Mira tax transdermal cream in alternating ears is what was prescribed by my vet. It is an appetite stimulant and anti nausea medicine. It has worked wonders for my cat who also lost his appetite and about 3 pounds of weight due to IBD.
My vet suggested this for my cat today. Your article highlights several of the key points my vet made. Additionally, if you have a cat that won't eat anything try baby food. They tend to go for the smelly stuff so Ham, Turkey or Chicken. I hope the tip will help someone.
Just make sure you check the ingredients as quite often they include things like onions which is bad for cats.
I recommend the Beechnut baby food, it only contains meat and meat juice.
When I was a kid in the 1960s, we usually adopted dogs from the Humane Society (this was when it was not 'cool' to announce to total strangers that your dog was a 'rescue.' It was decidedly uncool to have a 'mutt.')
I have had many mixed breeds over the years plus a few dogs that I bought from breeders. Because I wanted a dog whose history and providence I knew. When my kids were young, I usually had Labradors because I trusted them around kids.
Sharing your life with a pet is a big responsibility and often a decade or two commitment. I do not think people should apologize when they buy a breed of animal that they really have thought long and hard about and want, considering this is a life commitment.
I also thinking adopting strays, rehomed animals, etc. is good. Although I'm sick to death of people bragging about it, as if shopping and paying a lot of money from a 'rescue' operation makes them a savior.
In general, do-gooders shouldn't brag about it.
Leslie, it isn't bragging as the meaning most of us are familiar with.
It is 'saying out loud' that they love animals enough to take an actual STEP to save their lives AND to let the world know that 'perhaps' they should 'consider' saving animals too.
And, no, it is not a statement against those who want a specific kind of pet - and those who would feel any kind of 'apologetic guilt' would have their own internal reasons.
Live and let live...
Whoa, where did your comment even come from? Not making much sense.
Anyone whose cat received this shot at the vet, did your cat violently throw up? Like projectile vomit??? I have to call the doctor back tomorrow morning because it was bad and out of nowhere. I’m so nervous for my fur baby. I just want him okay :(
I hope your baby was fine and is now happy and healthy. Many happy paw prints in the future!
Karen I had no idea!! I had a diabetic cat for 3& 1/2 yrs and in between giving him 2 shots a day, it never occurred to me that this might help! Sad. I was taking those shots for myself for like 3 yrs. Now that I know....I’ll be helping my elderly pets!
I have a kitten who has some health problems but the don’t affect his prodigious appetite. But you commented on bacon. I put a large griddle out to cook 2 pounds of bacon, got it sizzling and went to take a quick shower. When I returned, Bob, the Apprentice Kitten had hooked a nail into each of the pieces of bacon and pulled them off. One piece of bacon he hung over the edge of the stove, as a treat for the dogs. The rest of the bacon (half cooked) was piled on the counter for the cats. I’ve learned my lesson.
Sorry it may taste good, but Bacon isn't good for us or our animals. Too much fat!
Haha my Jack Russell did that once, was very funny!! Funny how the cats always also takes care of their dog partners lol.
My granddaughters 6 year old cat has started peeing on bedding etc., Vet said he has crystals in urine other than that couldn't find any other reason. Said it is behavioral. Any ideas for helping?
My ginger boy did that. Ultimately it was because, he didn't like the litter In the litter box or sometimes it was he was mad at me. (We have a close relationship 😅) He will now use the litter box after I tried a few different types. He likes Arm&Hammer Light. He also is an indoor/outdoor cat. He goes out in the morning and in the evening and does his thing.
cranberry powder in her food. That worked wonders for my cat and dog. get her off
of all dry food. you can try her on frozen raw food, duck by Raw Dynamic is what I've been using. Good luck
De-mannose is a white powder made from cranberries (cranberry juice isn't good for an animal.) 1/4 teaspoon in a tablespoon of filtered water will cure any bladder infection in a few days. I put it in a shot glass & use a small feeding syringe in the side of her mouth. People can use it also .It works great. Dry food is not recommended for cats. (no matter what any vet says) I even read a report that feeding dry food can cause
diabetes. A raw diet is best.
My cat is 20 years old. She has had ups and downs for the last two or three years. She always comes back but this time she's not eating well and has lost down to five pounds. The vet gave her a B12 last Friday and she began eating a little better bet back to square one. She still walks through the house jumps up and down off the bed but I know she feels bad. She doesn't sleep with me anymore and stays in a spare bedroom . I don't want her to suffer but how to determine when euthanizing is the last resort? I don't want to give up on her but don't want her to suffer either. Thanks so much for your help
Hi Janice! I know exactly how you're feeling. Good luck. ~ karen!
Your video and post are so encouraging. I knew I had to give my cat Samson a B12 shot and was terrified that I would hurt him because he doesn’t have a light of skin between his shoulders. After reading your post and watching your video, I lost my fear and realized to your point that I need to suck it up because this will make my cat feel better and they can’t do this themselves. Thank you for giving me the courage!
Good for you! I'm glad I could help. I know the terror of doing it for the first time. ~ karen!
You should try instead giving her Cobalequin which is a daily chewable B12 tablet that they eat up easily like a treat. It’s very easy and no needles.
Great article! My soon-to-be 16 yr old tabby has advanced renal disease and so I have her on a special diet (which she likes) and vitamin B12 shots (which she doesn't-- though it makes her feel so much better). At first, she took the shots with grace but now she gets annoyed with her every-two-weeks injection. She doesn't react to it going in, but then if it takes longer than two seconds she fights it and just wants outta here! So I'll be looking for a vet that does it for cheap, and if I'm stuck with doing it I'll try practicing giving an injection to a tomato :) (just in case my technique isn't up to par). She vacuums up treats like there's no tomorrow, so keeping her focused on food is an issue, LOL. Any suggestions are appreciated!
You should try instead giving her Cobalequin which is a daily chewable B12 tablet that they eat up easily like a treat. It’s very easy and no needles. Your cat will appreciate it :)
From an article that references this page/guide: "If your cat suffers from chronic digestive or gastrointestinal problems, oral B12 supplements are unlikely to help. This is because their digestive tissue cannot absorb the nutrient very well, no matter how much they ingest through diet."
Good article. I have an eighteen year old Maine Coon that's been diabetic for about six years. He gets two insulin injections every day, one every twelve hours when he eats. For the most part this is usually fine, but bodies fluctuate and there have been times when the dosage would change to either less or more. In the last three months he's had two very scary hypoglycemic episodes where his glucose was as low as 53. I almost lost him twice, but was able to get him back to normal. These episodes are really tough on him and take several days to fully recuperate from. I've since adjusted the dosage of insulin from 3 units down to 2 units. So far so good, however, he started walking on his hocks a year ago, known as nueropothy. He can get around, but not for long distances. The cat eats perfectly well, but his water intake has crept up since the dosage change.
This is what interested me about your article. I have known about B12 methylcobalamin for quite some time. According to research that I've read, the methyl B12 actually reverses the nerve damage caused by high glucose in the blood over a period of time. The problem is that I was not able to find an injectable version of Methyl B12 on the market. You mention that it could be found for $12. What I had to finally do was to find a compounding pharmacy, have my vet write the prescription and concentration - then have it made to spec. I got two 20ml bottles for $100, which is very expensive. The dosages are pretty large too at 2.5 ml.
My goal is to try and improve my cat's walking ability so he can have a more normal spoiled life. :-)
My question is this: Is it necessary to have the methylcobalamin in the B12 to repair the nerve damage or will regular B12 do the same thing?
Where is subcutaneous (injectable) B12 available?
I live in Canada and buy B12 over the counter at the pharmacy. Just ask for it.
The dose is 0.25 ml, not 2.5 mls.
Hi! For your cat’s joints I VERY highly recommend Grizzly Pet Products Hemp Enhanced Glucosamine as it has the highest levels of glucosamine, MSM (natural pain killer), and chondroiton (anti-inflammatory) out of all of the supplements out there - and it’s AMAZING. As it says, it also includes hemp which really helps with the absorption of the glucosamine, etc. It ALSO includes hyaluronic acid, and krill oil which both cats and dogs dig big time!! I sound like a sales person for Grizzly, but I’m a NAVC Vet Certified Pet Food & Nutrition Specialist, and I’ve also had my dogs on it for prevention and to help luxating patellas (knee caps). One of them was born with both knees sort of badly affected, the left one being a 2/5, and the right being a 4/5 (the worst being 5). She couldn’t have surgery right away and couldn’t walk without a painful looking limp, but between that product, some carprofen, and CBD oil - she was able to RUN with no issues until I pretty much immediately had to have her STOP! 😜 It has also helped many of my clients and customers in the past regain function of injured or stiff limbs as well as keeping them moving easier and in much less pain. I found this because I was confirming others success with B12 for senior or sick pets. I’ve personally also found it helps them A LOT with anxiety/panic attacks associated with hyperthyroidism and sometimes when they seem like they aren’t quite all there/spacey/act like they’re tripping the rainbow fantastic…. It basically brings them back to this reality. Oddly enough I found this out when my Mother had strokes and a B12 deficiency and she told me I knocked over a purple dude wearing a turban and that I had strange colors on my face (not true). 😉
Anyhow, I truly hope you try the glucosamine supplement because I strongly believe it will help! Best of luck to you!
You can buy on Chewy.com with a prescrption from your vet
How often can I give b12 shots? I gave one yesterday and it helped immensely. Can I give another today?
I’m starting my cat on b12 injections today 🥳, and his prescription is for one shot per week! So daily sounds like too much, but ask your vet. For oral b12, daily is normally okay ✨✨
Where do I get B12 from? My cat has stopped eating this past week. After doing several test, vet has not come up with diagnosis..waiting on ultrasound results now. In the meantime, feeding him via syringe.
Hi Li. Your vet will have B12 for your cat. They can show you how to give it to the cat and sell you the product. ~ karen!
My cat is very thin because he don't like most foods. He use to eat some dry cat food but threw up a lot. I tried all types and flavor foods, nothing worked. I finally found that he liked Gerber baby food, chicken or beef. Baby food is expensive so I stated making my own by taking cooked chicken and running through blender until it looks like soup. If any has unblended chicken or beef he will not eat it. My vet can't find any reason for him not eating. Some cats can't tolerate corn in the food. Hope some of this will help
Has your cat had a VDI panel which test for inflammatory bow disease vs lymphoma. I would consider it. I regret a previous vet not offering it to me. All other bloodwork for my cat were normal. If he had offered this I would have started treating the cat with a different diet. Damage has been done for us. Good luck.
Your comment interested me greatly as my cat recently had an intestinal ultrasound after struggling with feeling unwell since the end of 2021. The intestinal was inconclusive (either IBD or lymphoma). The vet stated that the only way to determine which one it was works be with a biopsy. So, what is a VDI panel?
This is an incredibly helpful article. And so funny! I only really trust funny people to talk about cats cuz cats are, well… funny! Witness the bacon stealing story!!! My question is, how often can I give my 14 y/o, coon cat, Siamese and tortie girl. She has diabetes and IBS and a bit of arthritis. The B12 seems to help so much with her attitude and appetite but she gets kind of blue after 5 days and seems to want another shot. But all references to frequency say to wait 7 days to give her more. But can I give it to her every 5 days instead? Is there any harm in making her feel good more often?
This is an incredibly helpful article. And so funny! I only really trust funny people to talk about cats cuz cats are, well… funny! Witness the bacon stealing story!!! My question is, how often can I give my 14 y/o, coon cat, Siamese and tortie girl her b12 shot? She has diabetes and IBS and a bit of arthritis. The B12 seems to help so much with her attitude and appetite but she gets kind of blue after 5 days and seems to want another shot. But all references to frequency say to wait 7 days to give her more. But can I give it to her every 5 days instead? Is there any harm in making her feel good more often?
Firstly, sorry to hear about Cleo. I truly believe it was God that allowed me to stumble upon your website. Long story short, my cat had been struggling with feeling unwell for a little over a year. Recently, her appetite drastically reduced. I became desperate trying meant different cat foods. After reading about your success with bacon, I decided to give my cat tuna (which she had always loved). It worked! She was barely eating any of the cat food I was giving her (even wet food which she generalities likes). Since I started giving her tuna she had been gobbling it up consistently. I don't know why I didn't think of it before, but thank you for your article. I can't thank you enough!
Oh! I'm so happy to hear that! Good luck. :) ~ karen!