Let’s Talk B12: Is Your Cat Missing It?

Welcome, dear readers.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. How could my cat possibly be missing a silly 1980s pop band? I know, I thought the same thing, until I realized B12 is not actually a band but an essential vitamin. How essential? Let’s say it’s basically necessary for life as we know it.


What is it: A water-soluble vitamin, also called cobalamin, that is stored in the liver.

Where does it come from: It is released from food by hydrochloric acid in the stomach and then combined with Intrinsic Factor, a substance secreted from the lining of the stomach, to enable its absorption in the digestive tract. Excellent sources of B12 are liver, tuna, yogurt, eggs, and cottage cheese, mostly animal-based foods. People with pernicious anemia (an inability to create intrinsic factor) are B12 deficient because they cannot absorb it from their food, and vegans can also be at risk unless they make efforts to supplement.

What it does: It is REQUIRED for normal nerve cell activity; works alongside vitamin B9 to regulate iron function in the body; is essential for the production of DNA and RNA (our genetic material); helps in the formation of red blood cells; helps metabolize fatty acids, which helps avoid nerve degeneration, and more. Deficiencies can cause nausea, vomiting, malabsorption of food, gas, vomiting, constipation, weight loss, lethargy, fatigue, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. All things that can stop a conversation in its tracks, if you know what I mean.

Who might benefit from B12 supplementation? Cats with Exocrine Pancreative Insufficiency may need B12 because of their inability to properly digest their food. Cats with IBD and other intestinal disruptions, as well as older cats, may also benefit from this therapy.

Are we getting the point here that B12 is a VERY important vitamin? Now, why am I discussing it today?

You see, Mrs. Peabody, my nemesis sister has been having a lot of digestive troubles lately. The doctor prescribed that, along with a course of anti-biotics and careful food regulation, MomFOD should give her a B12 injection once a week for the next six weeks with follow-up injections every few weeks after that. The B12 will help repair her intestinal issues, as well as increase her appetite and even give her a boost of energy.

Mrs P, completely unaware of the tiny inject-able vitamin resting peacefully on her side.
Mrs P, completely unaware of the tiny inject-able vitamin resting peacefully on her side.

Is it safe to give at home? It is! Vitamin B12 is non-toxic and generally considered safe, even in large doses, in most people and animals. Consult your veterinarian for proper dosage and administration instructions.

Since Peabody is having trouble with food digestion, she is receiving injections that go directly into her blood stream, bypassing her intestines entirely. Rocky also received B12 injections for the last year of his life and helped him maintain his appetite and energy levels.

If you’re interested in B12 and think it might benefit your kitty, talk to your vet! S/he can train you how to give the subcutaneous injection (where to insert, how to check if you’ve hit an vessel, how to make sure you haven’t gone out the other side, etc.) to your cat. Scared of giving injections at home? Your vet can do it for you for a fee.



PS  Here’s a short video on how to administer the injections to your cat, not from us:

SOURCES and Further Reading:

PetMD.Com – Vitamin B12 Supplementation in Pets with EPI

Vitamins-Supplements.org – B12

IBDkitties.net – The Importance of B12




  • My cat has had vomiting bouts every few months all his 9 years, only positive blood test has been for B12 deficiency and he’s now having B12 injections which when I asked if I can give at home I was told to try tablet form B12. He cannot absorb B12 from his food, please can anyone tell me if he’d be able to absorb it from tablets?

    • Well, I’m not a vet but I would guess if he can’t absorb it from his food, he won’t absorb it through a tablet, either, especially if the tablet is going to his stomach. B12 is usually absorbed through intrinsic factor in humans, and if they’re missing this, they won’t be able to utilize it. For cats, I’m not clear on how it works, exactly. In humans, I know that there are sublingual (under the tongue) tablets that let it go into your blood stream and bypass the stomach. Is that what they suggested? I’m be curious to know how you get a cat to leave a tablet under their tongue.

      If you are comfortable doing injections at home, I would recommend finding a vet that can give you an RX for the b12 and needles. That’s a definite way to make sure they ARE absorbing it. That is what I would do in this case. Please let us know what happens! – Alana.

  • Great info, Crepes! Mom says that she knew that B12 was important for humans, but she had never thought about it for us kitties. None of us have an issue with it, but now we know about so that if it comes up in the future we will be prepared! Hope Mrs. Peabody is doing well. She sure is pretty!

  • Very informative post, thank you for sharing these informations ! Purrs

  • You guys, that’s not me in the video! It’s from a vet school on Youtube. Don’t worry. MomFOD couldn’t handle the syringe AND the camera at the same time. – Crepes.

  • mrs. pea…and stock two 🙂 …thanx for sharin thiz post…we new B12 bee good for appetite but never new it all sew helped digestion….way kewl !!! …N hope ewe R doin way better ♥♥♥

  • Gweat posty but mommy wuz cwingin’ da whole video. As ifin hers wusn’t alweady when we saw da syringe just stickin’ outta yous back. OMC Yous poor fing you.

    Luv ya’

    Dezi and Lexi

  • Sparkle got B12 injections periodically. My human thinks maybe Binga, who is having digestive problems, might benefit from it too. Next time she sees the vet, she will ask.

  • Crepes, Excellent video. Giving a shot the first time can be scary. Now humans have a quick anytime resource to watch.We can be very forgetful. Now if you can show (remind) us how to give sub q fluids that would be great.Thanks!
    Hope Mrs. Peabody feels better.

  • Thanks for this very informative post, Crepes.

    When I had an issue a while back of not wanting to eat, the vet gave me a B12 shot and it perked me up. And then Zoey had issues and she got one, too. The vet told the mom that if the B12 made a difference, we could get them on a regular basis. I don’t know if I need a regular shot, but the mom is thinking maybe Zoey would benefit from it since she suffers from chronic constipation.


  • Carmine gets monthly B12 injections for his IBD, and they seem to be keeping him somewhat stable. He gets his shots in his leg (or hip) though instead of his back. I’ve been thinking about asking if I can give the injections at home because it stresses him SOOOO much to go to the vet.
    Thank you for the reminder; I will ask about it the next time he goes (in two weeks)!

  • Sammy’s now taking his thyroid meds in strawberry yogurt so he’s getting some B12 benefits along with the medicine he must have! WOOT! Win/win!

    Hugs, Pam

  • My mum gives me a B12 injection once a week because of my prolonged diarrhoea caused by an intolerance to my thyroid pills, (which I am now off for the time being). It really perks me up and I am feeling much better since being close to death over Christmas.

  • Who knew that one tiny vitamin had so much impact? It’s why I enjoy your blog so much, Crepes–great information that’s not only useful, but has been researched and presented in an easy to understand way. Thank you! And happy new year!

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