Back to Ask the Diabetes Team Ask the Diabetes Team

From America On Line:

I am a Type 1 diabetic for 25+ years and am interested in the proper way to test my cat for diabetes; preferably with a blood meter.


This question was referred to Dr. Rebecca Price, author of the Feline Diabetes Web Site:

If you have a cat that is at all easy to handle you can probably do his blood glucose monitoring at home. The advantages are that the cat is less stressed when tested at home, the cost is much less than a visit to the vet, and it takes considerably less time than taking the cat to the vet. (In addition, for diabetic cats, you can obtain better control of the cats blood glucose level by more frequent monitoring, and you can catch developing hypoglycemic episodes by immediate testing when the cat starts showing any signs of hypoglycemia.)

Supplies needed:

  1. Blood glucose monitor with test strips & lancets
  2. Microcapillaries, 75 mm long by 1 mm diameter, heparinized or non-heparinized.
  3. A bulb with a hole for the end of the microcapillary (optional, to blow the blood out of the capillary onto the test strip.)
  4. Tissue or gauze pads

Outline of procedure

You will use the lancet included in the blood glucose monitor kit to prick the ear of your cat. The microcapillary will pick up the blood drop from the ear and you will put it on the test strip.

Getting blood from the cat

  1. Look carefully around the edge of the ear, you'll see a vein running just inside the edge. You may need a flashlight to see the vein, shine the flashlight from under the ear and the vein is visible even on dark haired cats.

  2. When learning it is best to test the cat when he's warm. Such as when he's been sitting in the sun, or curled up in a particularly warm spot. You'll notice a big difference in the temperature of the ears, and it is much easier to get blood from warm ears than from cold ones! Later on when you have the technique down you'll be able to do it even when they're cold, but make it easy on yourself by optimizing conditions for you and the cat.

  3. Have a folded tissue or gauze pad, the lancet, and the capillary ready. Put the cat between your knees, facing away from you. Keep your feet together so he can't back out. Don't wash the ear with water or alcohol before you prick it, you'll never be able to collect the blood.

  4. You're going to use the lancet to prick the ear near the vein, if you hit the vein you'll get plenty of blood, if you're near it you'll still be able to get enough. Put the tissue underneath the ear so you don't prick yourself and contaminate the blood sample. You may need to prick more than once initially to get enough blood, gentle massage around the site will also encourage the blood to come out. After you've done a series of tests in the same area it becomes slightly swollen and it is easier to get the blood on one prick.

  5. Pick up the blood with the capillary tube. Set the capillary with the blood aside and use the tissue to apply pressure to stop any bleeding on the cat's ear. Give him a big hug for cooperating and let him free.

  6. Put the test strip in the monitor and wait for the ready signal. Put the blood on the strip. If you have a bulb for the end of the capillary cover the hole and squeeze to get the blood out of the capillary. If you don't have one you can blow through the opposite end. Record the results in the booklet.

If the results of any test seem unusual it is always a good idea to repeat the test. Don't ever make radical changes in what you're doing based on a single results. And it's always a good idea to keep your vet up to date on the results of your testing and work with him or her to determine any changes necessary to your cat's regimen.


Original posting 21 Jul 97
Updated January 16, 2006


  Back to Ask the Diabetes Team Return to the Top of This Page

Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:54
This Internet site provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. If you have any concerns about your own health or the health of your child, you should always consult with a physician or other health care professional.

This site is published by T-1 Today, Inc. (d/b/a Children with Diabetes), a 501c3 not-for-profit organization, which is responsible for its contents. Our mission is to provide education and support to families living with type 1 diabetes.
By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use, Legal Notice, and Privacy Policy.
© Children with Diabetes, Inc. 1995-2018. Comments and Feedback.