Most meters cannot test for ketones. One meter CAN test for ketones. 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. To hold or not to hold? Some cats prefer not to be held. You can use the «knee catch» where you back the cat between your knees while kneeling.
You can place the cat between you and the sofa arm. You can wrap the kitty in a towel, like a kitty «burrito». You can test the cat wherever you find her. You can have a testing table or counter, where you place kitty for every test. Or you can do what I do — Sit on the floor with kitty in your lap. All of my cats are tested this way, but it doesn’t mean it’s the only way. Try everything you can think of, request advice if you need it, and give treats and praise for every single behavior you want to reinforce.
The more positive the experience, the more likely it is to be accepted. Bribery is the best reward for testing. Most cats stop being annoyed with the tests in a very 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 key to 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. Human frustration is easily sensed and disparaged by cats, so if you feel it coming on, take a break. A dab of vasoline or neosporin with pain relief can help the blood pool rather than soaking into the fur, and helps to heal the ear after the prick. A personal note: I have been testing cats now for a long time, both diabetic and non-diabetic. You will hear people, and maybe even your own vet, say cats hate it, or they will scar for life, or that this is a painful procedure. This is simply not true.
None of us have terrorized cats with scarred ears — what we have are thriving cats with perfect ears who are alive because we hometest. Watch these videos and see for yourself how quickly cats not only adapt, but thrive, with hometesting. These cats are not rare, or «the mellow kind». They are normal cats, just like the one you own. Most cats come to look forward to testing time and the associated love, treats and healing. They are as smart as you think they are, and they will almost immediately associate that testing is part of why they feel better. If your instruction book confuses you, see if there is an 800 number to call so a company representative can guide you through the first-time setup and calibration.
You can use this pen or just hold the lancet for a «free hand» stick. Starting with the lancet pen is recommended. Put all the materials on your right if you’re right handed or on your left if you’re left-handed. Do NOT clean the stick area with alcohol. If dirty, use water and then dry thoroughly. Use the cloth or sock to warm the ear or paw pad before pricking to increase blood flow and enlarge the capillaries and veins. Alternatively, gently massage the area with your fingertips. Praise your pet and consider giving a treat. Assemble all your materials and wash your hands. Position your cat so both of you are comfortable. Locate a vein on your cat’s ear by shining a flashlight behind it.