How to restrain a cat for an enema?
December 11, 2020 12:13 PM   Subscribe

Yep. Pretty straightforward. My friend (really) has to give her cat enemas on her own and the cat keeps escaping because she can't really figure out how to keep the butt free but the back legs contained, especially when it's just her trying to do both? Is there a handy gadget that will make this unpleasant task easier? Thanks!
posted by clarinet to Pets & Animals (21 answers total)
Oh, totally forgot: she has tried wrapping the cat in a towel, but she's able to wiggle her back legs free and then escape. That was my only suggestion. Wondering if there's like...a cat straight jacket or something so they can just get this done. Poor kitty.
posted by clarinet at 12:17 PM on December 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

A cat harness and a falconry glove? Suspend the cat in the harness from a door knob?
posted by at at 12:18 PM on December 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

OMG. This is a two-person job.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:19 PM on December 11, 2020 [24 favorites]

I haven't had to give my cat an enema yet but have had to clean his butt, which is also very hard to do. This has involved wrapping him in a towel rather tightly as well as having a second person hold his hind legs firmly with one hand and comfort him with the other--petting his head, etc. I'd make sure the nails are kept trimmed and that she has treats handy and plans to spend some time comfortining the cat afterward. With any luck she'll learn to be faster over time and it won't be quite so terrible.
posted by dubhemerak3000 at 12:20 PM on December 11, 2020 [3 favorites]

Unless your friend is really experienced with handling cats (like if she's a vet tech or similar), I think she's going to have a lot of trouble with this, especially if she's trying to do it by herself.
posted by alex1965 at 12:46 PM on December 11, 2020 [4 favorites]

This sounds like a job for the vet. A poorly done home enema on a feline runs the risk of significant trauma and injury. Much can go wrong.
posted by Ahmad Khani at 12:50 PM on December 11, 2020 [23 favorites]

We went through a month of having to give our cat subcutaneous hydration (basically like an IV drip) and even that was 100% a two-person job. I can't imagine that there's a one-person way to do this. Maybe hire a vet tech to come and help?
posted by BlahLaLa at 12:50 PM on December 11, 2020 [3 favorites]

I would at least ask a vet for instructions. I'm not sure this is possible to do at home without building something kind of complicated. If she's going to have to do it more than once, then the cat is going to learn to avoid whatever she builds and it's going to be impossible to get the cat into it a second time.

I'd assume that a vet would sedate a cat before trying to do this.
posted by amtho at 12:52 PM on December 11, 2020 [4 favorites]

Even with two people... the trick would be to go very very slowly and prioritize not traumatizing the cat.
posted by amtho at 12:53 PM on December 11, 2020 [3 favorites]

Has the vet instructed your friend that the cat in question requires home enemas? And if so, did the vet not provide directions?
posted by Ahmad Khani at 1:00 PM on December 11, 2020

Thanks for all the answers. Honestly I would probably go to the vet if it were me-same thing with a dog's anal glands, or whatever- but I'll tell her to ask more questions. This was vet-directed but she might even want a second opinion.
posted by clarinet at 1:01 PM on December 11, 2020 [3 favorites]

For inspiration, there's always the Official Training Video, as discussed in this Metafilter post.
posted by Gray Duck at 1:15 PM on December 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

My understanding is that enemas require that the cat be suspended upside down for a period of time in order for the liquid to stay in the colon long enough to do its work. Otherwise the cat will just expel it immediately and render the whole process of getting it in there somewhat moot.

I cannot imagine this being done successfully or safely (for either party!) at home.
posted by jesourie at 1:18 PM on December 11, 2020 [4 favorites]

It's a two person job. Ask at the vet if any of their vet techs do side gigs and set up a housecall. Do not try to hang cat upside down; pinch that area closed for a minute then put them in a tub to relax. Do not use Fleet enemas, due to risk of electrolyte imbalance. Also, red rubber catheters make this much easier and safer, and allows the liquid to go farther in.
posted by dum spiro spero at 1:29 PM on December 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

Not to pile on, but if my vet were advising me to do this at home I'd find a new vet. Not giving my cats enemas at home is high up on the list of Why I Pay Veterinarians For Their Professional Services.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 2:01 PM on December 11, 2020 [41 favorites]

Truly appreciated. Sometimes when you can't find an answer on Google it's because you're asking the wrong question? ;) I passed along the shock and horror and now will know this isn't a reasonable ask (I foster cats, you never know).
posted by clarinet at 2:06 PM on December 11, 2020 [5 favorites]

Whoa, Nellie! Maybe not so quick to blame the vet? These questions often come about because people don't value the vet's education and professionalism and decide, on their own, though the service has been offered, that it sounds easy enough to do at home. Especially since this is a secondhand question, it is unfair to jump to that conclusion.
posted by dum spiro spero at 2:46 PM on December 11, 2020 [3 favorites]

Yeah, my first thought was that maybe the vet didn’t realize there wasn’t another human handy.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:59 PM on December 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

Is it really possible to have so many answers to this question without a single one about a grooming bag? (Assuming that, in addition to the individual zippers for each limb, there is also one at the back end as well.) Here's another.
posted by chromium at 4:14 PM on December 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

I had a precious kitty who required frequent enemas. I took her to the vet. I can't imagine doing it myself.
posted by crw at 4:22 PM on December 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

There's another ask on here from a couple days ago on what to do for constipated kitties, maybe refer your friend there to pre-empt so much needs for enemas? Signed, someone who paid a vet to give their cat an enema and hopes never to have to do that again.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:26 PM on December 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

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