Diseases, Pet Care Basics, Vaccines

How to Give a Cat a Shot

November 29, 2022

How to Give a Cat a Shot

Last updated: September 04, 2019

Revival's Director of Veterinary Services, Dr. Marty Greer, shows step-by-step how to give a cat an injection. This technique can be used when giving a cat an insulin shot, feline vaccination or other type of shot under the skin. If you need help, call us at 800.786.4751.

How to Give a Cat an Injection

What is the best place give a cat a vaccination? There are two places to give a vaccination to a cat, the back of the neck or the lower leg. Some people may have heard that giving a cat a vaccination in the scruff of the neck could cause Sarcoma, which is a tumor. This is only partially true. It tends to be the leukemia and rabies vaccines causing this issue, not the FVR-CP distemper vaccines.

Cat and Kitten Shots and Home

A trick when giving a cat an injection is to use chicken, stage 2 baby food and Cool Whip to distract the cat and keep it busy. It also helps to use a laundry basket to put the cat in. Cats tend to sit more still when a laundry basket is used.

Where to Give a Cat a Shot

To give an injection on a cat's neck you'll allow the cat to focus on your special food treat, and gently lift up the skin over the cat's right or left shoulder. Try to avoid injecting into the scruff of the neck. This area has thicker skin and does not allow the medication or vaccine to be well absorbed.

If you're giving the injection in the lower leg you'll want to allow the cat to sit or lay comfortably on an elevated non-slip surface. Lift a little of the loose skin up on the lower part of your cat's outer leg, make a little tent, and carefully insert the needle, being careful not to insert it into your finger or through the other side of the skin. Pull back on the plunger of the syringe prior to injecting to be certain you are not in a blood vessel or out the other side of the skin, and inject.
These two injection sites can be used on both kittens and older cats.

Marty Greer, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, has 35+ years' experience in veterinary medicine, with special interests in canine reproduction and pediatrics. She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University in 1981. She's served as Revival's Director of Veterinary Services since 2019.

If you need help, call us at 800.786.4751.