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.
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