Thanks to Carolyn from FDMB for compiling this information!
Home-testing blood sugar levels
Information with Links, Instructions, Pictures and Videos
Laur and Danny's Famous Photo of "The Sweet Spot"
Sugarcat Hometesting Primer at Gorbzilla.com
Home Testing: Practice to "Purrfection" at Gorbzilla.com
A 2001 Conference - Home Testing for Diabetic Cats
Dr. Lisa's Hometesting Information at CatInfo.org
Step By Step with Pictures
Hometesting Harry at SugarCats.net. Shows testing both sides of ear!
Diabetes is Not a Death Sentence Be sure not to miss Pages 2 & 3!
Illustrated How To at SugarPet.net
Ear Prick Illustration at PetDiabetes.org
Great Slideshow from Laur and Danny
Note: Your cat may not initially behave as these cats do, but it will certainly give you something to look forward to. Many cats end up this calm after only a week or two of testing. Frustration is normal, you *can* do this!
Mark and Buddy on YouTube.com
Lynette tests Louie on YouTube.com
Monty the Diabetic Cat on YouTube.com
Cindy tests Mousie
Pearl the Diabetic Cat Blog
Hope Tests Mishka
Lynette tests Dreamsicle on YouTube.com
Quick Tips and Tricks
Please read the walkthroughs and instructional sites for more in depth help.
Once a test strip is inserted into the meter, the countdown begins.
If you do not have enough blood, the meter will error and the strip
will be ruined. This is probably THE single most frustrating thing
with beginning hometesting. Heck, many of us who've tested thousands
of times still have this happen on occasion. To avoid this catastrophe,
only partially insert it into the meter. Then, once you get enough
blood, you can use one hand to press the strip the rest of the way
into the meter and begin the countdown.
If your kitty is a head-shaker, or tickled by the blood drop, there are a couple tricks to being able to test the blood before it hits the wall. The Fingernail Catch - with CLEAN HANDS, lightly scrape the blood onto your nail and test the blood from there, rather than worrying about Little Miss Earflick. Another method I use: my meter has individually foil wrapped strips. I catch the blood in that, put the strip wrapper down on a flat surface (not the cat!), and with one hand holding kitty's ear, I use the other hand to press the strip into the meter and run the test. If all else fails, run over to the wall and test the drop before it hits the carpet. Don't drop the cat.
When you get a test reading of over 300 on a human meter, you will probably see KETONES? flash on the screen. This is a warning to human diabetics and does not indicate your cat has ketones. Most meters cannot test for ketones. One meter CAN test for ketones.. the Abbott Precision Xtra meter (known outside of the USA as brand name Precision/Optimum/Xceed).
Rice socks are commonly used to warm the ear. Rolled oats may also be used. Put a few tablespoons of rice or oats in a sock, knot it, and microwave it 20-30 seconds. Test on your wrist before applying to your cat's ear. After a minute or two of the warm sock, the ear should be warm enough to prick.
Other methods of warming the ear include: warm wet washcloth in a ziplock bag; vigorous massage/rubbing; wrapping the ear around a pill bottle with warm water in it.
Bribery is the best reward for testing. Most cats stop being annoyed with the tests in a short amount of time if they are properly bribed. Some use cuddling and scritches as a reward, others use treats. Whatever you use, make sure kitty gets a reward for every test, even if it was a dismal failure.
Your mental state will be instrumental in both successful tests and successful shots. Your cat can sense when you are nervous or upset and will respond accordingly, frequently trying to flee the scene. Feel positive that you will "get this thing done", and that approach will go a long way towards soothing a stressed pet.
A dab of petroleum jelly or antibiotic ointment can help the blood pool rather than soaking into the fur, and helps to heal the ear after the prick.
Using a tissue, always apply pressure to both sides of the ear for 20- 30 seconds or so to stop the bleeding (or blood under the skin) and prevent bruising.
If you are having trouble holding your cat during testing, try not holding your cat. Post on the board, there are caregivers who have learned that less restraint can work better on a fractious kitty. Kitty holds can include The Football Hold, The Burrito, or The Lap Test. There are caregivers who have used many or all of these methods and would happily respond to your request for help.
Persistence pays off - if at first you do not succeed, try, try, and try again. The first time you see that glistening drop of blood and watch it stain your test strip and start the countdown on your meter.. well, tell us how YOU felt when you succeed!!