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Anyone with a Diabetic cat?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
My cat Indie was just diagnosed with Diabetes. He had gotten sick back in December with what the vet said was a autoimmune disorder. She said the same symptoms would probably return. This week he got sick again, I presumed it was the same kind of illness and took him into the vet this morning. He checked his urine and said it looked like diabetes. He is at the vet now, hopefully he can stabilize him. As of this morning he couldnt even walk, and is urinating alot and is dehydrated also. They are going to put him on fluids and take blood and try to stabilize him. Poor guy, I sure hope he will be ok. The vet said I would have to give him insulin injections everyday once they get him stabilized and I would have to monitor him closely. If anyone has a diabetic kitty, any info on this would be greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 17
I'm afraid I don't have much info. I did know of someone that had a cat that was diabetic. The cat became extremely lethargic before it was diagnosed. She had to do daily insulin shots and as far as I know that cat lived a normal life once insulin was started.
post #3 of 17
I know Pat has recommended one on godzilla
post #4 of 17
I had a diabetic cat
He was old (15 years old) and past away last december to something unrelated to diabetis.

Its scary when you first know your cat has diabetis but once you start understanding the disease and get more used to the monitoring it becomes easier for you and your kitty.

Informing yourself of the disease is crucial, its not the same as human diabetis and its a complex disease that you need to inform yourself about.
Don't feel overwhelemed by the amount of information, I printed all the articles, at first I read them every night until I basically had the info learned by heart (at least the basics and important things).

I don't know if you are worried about giving your kitty insulin shots. Let me tell you the needle is extremely thin, you have to give the shot in the skin not any further, so its really not painful for your kitty at all. He may complain a bit at the beginning if you don't have much experience giving shots (cats start feeling the shot if you are too nervouse or if you take to long) but with time you get better.
Tom never felt the shot, he would even sit still as soon as he saw the syringe waiting for me to inject him.

never give another shot if you think you missed the shot (sometimes you can make a mistake and give the shot to the fur.. which isn't helpful at all!) but its always best for your kitty to skip a dose than have a double shot that could OD him.

I discovered tom had diabetis because one day he stayed on the couch sleeping all day, when I picked him up I noticed he had urinated on the couch.. I drove inmediately to a vet.
Once I got his diabetis in control he was acting like a young cat, playing and even running! (I had never seen him run when he became a senior cat).

hmm.. well if you have any questions or if you want more advice I'll gladly help you if I can.
post #5 of 17
Originally Posted by kateyes
(cats start feeling the shot if you are too nervouse or if you take to long)
I know how that feels...The only time I ever fainted was when a practicing nurse took too long giving the shot. I think humans might have more psychological issues with needles though...
post #6 of 17
Warning: This is a LONG post. I have lots to say -- all of it stuff I
wish I had been told up front when I was dealing with feline diabetes.

Penny died at age 20.5 after 3 years of daily insulin shots. So you
have some time, yet, to enjoy each other! I hope that what I
have to share in this post is helpful to you both.

I agree with Kateyes that self-education is critical. Google everything
you can find, talk to your vet, ask us questions. Knowledge really
is power.

Some things Kateyes didn't cover. These are as they occur to me, and
in no particular order:

1. Feline diabetes is extremely difficult to regulate. Feline metabolism
is simply not designed to be diabetes friendly. By "regulate," we mean
finding the correct insulin dosage for steady, healthy blood sugar levels.
Feline metabolism is built specifically for short, fast bursts of power
and speed, not long chases, unlike dogs. It can take a very long time
to find the right dose of insulin, and the "right" dose can change on you
with little or no notice. Stress, even things that don't appear to us
to be stressful, can set off sugar spikes in cats.

Thus, you MUST monitor your cat at all times. At any sign of trouble,
at least call your vet. You'll get better over time at recognizing what
needs immediate attention.

2. Keep light corn syrup handy. If you over-insulin (which is all too
easily done) you will need to get come easy sugar into your cat

3. Signs of trouble (over-insulin) include:
Balance loss, unsteady walking (they'll act drunk ...)
Head shaking
Sudden crazies - this is different from the regular feline nightly
run around and be active crazies. The first time it happened to
Penny, she let out a horrible witchy yowl at top voice, spun
madly around chasing her own tail 4-5 times, jumped into the
air, then fell on to her side, panting.
Loss of consciousness.

There are probably others I've forgotten - ask/read all you can. If this
happens, spoon a bit of corn syrup into your cat, and RUN do not walk
to the nearest Animal hospital or vet.

4. As with humans, cats pee singificantly more with diabetes, so make
sure your cat gets lots of water. By the same token, however much
you've been cleaning the litter box, double your efforts now. You
should invest in more litterboxes, as well -- I had 6 boxes for two cats
over two 1750-foot stories; four upstairs, two downstairs. You need
to lessen the area between litterboxes, because a diabetic cat literally
cannot hold it over the previously-normal distances.

5. Eating is crucial - and it is equally crucial that your cat eat something
immediately before or after the insulin shot (just like human diabetics.)
This can be difficult, as cats often don't eat when they don't feel
well, so start finding all the creative treats you can find that will
entice your cat. I used: home-made (no salt or spices) chicken broth,
which gels when cold; baby food (all meat, NO spices, particularly
onion powder, which is poisonous to cats); wet food (from the vet,
particularly made for kidney problems); TUNA (the special favorite.)

I actually overfed poor Penny - I would make her eat 2-3 spoons of
baby food -- and she gained too much weight. So don't go overboard,
but underboard is more dangerous.

The good thing about giving the treat following the shot is that it
acts as a reward/motivator. Penny got to the point that she came to
me when it was time for her shot (and later, Tigger came to me for
her subcutaneous saline when she had kidney failure.) The medicine/
treat ritual can become a bonding time, which you will be very
grateful for eventually.

6. As the diabetes progresses, be on the watch for other complications.
Joint problems (Penny couldn't get on the bed, which is raised for
my GERD condition, after a while), need for heat, blindness. You'll
need to make environmental changes to accommodate such things
as they develop. Some cats can come down with renal failure as
a secondary condition to the diabetes. These are all treatable,
but it will add to the adjustments you and Indi will need to make.

7. This next is not meant to be harsh, but to be realistic, which you
really need. Diabetes in cats is fatal -- you may have weeks or
years, as I did, depending on how well your cat's blood levels regulate.
Now is the time for the two of you to come to an agreement about
what constitutes a quality-of-life threshhold. In retrospect, I
realize that I kept Penny alive about a year longer than I should have;
that she was ready long before I was, and she held on just for me.
She died the day I finally gave her permission -- of a stroke. The
last lesson of many that she taught me was the lesson of letting go
when it's time. Only you and your cat can decide when that is for
the two of you. But it is a conversation you should start, now,
while you can still enjoy yourselves together as you have it.

8. About the shots: I found some sites on the Web that actually
showed pictures. I no longer remember the URLs, but you'll find them
if you do some research. Also, don't be afraid to ask your
vet to train you and supervise. Mine actually had me
inject harmless saline solution into his own cat, who is used
to being a trainer cat. :-)

The insulin is given subcutaneaously, that is, directly under
the top layer of skin, and NOT into the blood. What you'll do
is lift Indie's skin somewhere around the scruff or near that
area, just as you would do to check hydration (something you'll
want to do daily, by the way ...) You'll then have a little tent
of skin lifted off from the body. You'll insert the the needle
along the long line of the tent (think of a long pole supporting
the tent like a roof line) rather than from side to side of the tent.
Inject and you're done. You'll get to where you can do it easily.
Again, I used it as a time to hold Penny in my lap, croon to her and
scritch her in her favorite places, then injection, then treat. It
was a loving ritual we both actually enjoyed.

9. About stress. I didn't know about Feliway when I had Penny
(it might not have existed), but now that I know about it, I
recommend it. It's a pheremone that relaxes cats, which is spread
by a diffuser that plugs into an outlet, like air freshener. It has a
bit of a smell that is not to my taste, but it's not intolerable. It
might help Indie stay a bit calmer and thus more easily regulatable.
I'd ask your vet about it.

YOU will be a primary source of stress unless you approach all
of this from a calm perspective. Indie will feed off of your emotions.
Don't be tentative about the shots, and he'll feel better about them.
Take the disease in stride and so will he.

10. Find out where your nearest emergency animal hospital/clinic
is NOW before you need that information. Because you will need it.
Unless you are extremely blessed, there will be at least once or twice
that you will need to rush Indie for immediate care, because he
goes into diabetic coma (the warnings I mentioned above.) Keep
the number someplace where you can find it at a moment's notice.

11. Towels are your friend. They can be used to wrap a cat who
struggles when given shots (Penny didn't, but some do); they can
be used to put under a cat who is retching to catch the vomit (towels,
unlike rugs and floors, are easily thrown into a washing machine!);
they can make emergency beds as Indie's ability to navigate the
environment changes. They can be used with plastic to catch
extraneous urine around the litterbox (again - washable!). (Penny
developed the inability to wait until she was entirely IN the box,
and would let go while her backside was still hanging out!) Start
collecting old towels from anyone who has them to give away.
Eventually, when you don't need them any more, donate them to
your vet or local refuge, who will gladly take them!

12. Talk to your vet about Indie's diet. He may already be on
lower-protein food given his age. If not, it may be time to
introduce it. Kidney problems necessitate lower protein foods
than normal -- I no longer remember if we had to put Penny on
special food. But it's better to ask and anticipate.

13. - Lucky 13th thought. Please do NOT let all this info overwhelm
you. I could have parcelled it out over time, but I hope you'll
print this out, or save it, and refer to it as often as you need.

This can be a GOOD time, for all the direness it sounds. I have now
nursed three cats through fatal illnesses, ranging from 6 months to 3.5
years. In each case, those periods when I was nursing were
truly gifts. In each case, the cat and I came closer than we
had been before. We deliberately carved out more time for one
another, as we knew it was now limited, although we had no way
of knowing for how long. Every scritch, every tongue bath, every
purr, every paw pat became special and precious. We slept closer
together; all three in their time came to sleep ON me, as the closest
they could get. There is an intensity to the relationship that is
the gift side of the trouble -- and it is a wonderful, worthwhile gift.
Enjoy this time, because you both have earned it, you both deserve
it, and you both have it to give to each other.

And remember -- for me it was 3 years!

Ask anything else you need to ask. I promise to be less verbose
next time!

Best of luck to you both!

post #7 of 17

I just realized that somehow I confused Indie with Kateyes' mention
of a 15-year-old cat.

You don't mention Indie's age, but I wrote what I did
from the perspective of an older cat. If Indie is younger, you
could have quite a few years, if you can get his blood sugar
levels regulated.

Best of luck!

post #8 of 17
I now have a diabetic cat. I've also had a diabetic wife (she died from the disease)

I appreciate the post AND information.
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for all the information. Indie is still at the vet. He just went in yesterday and all the vet told me yesterday was that he was a little more alert, thats about it. I called this morning at 8 a.m. when I was told and the receptionist told me he was waiting on blood work to come back and that he was still about the same. They promised to call me when the blood work comes back. I sure hope its soon, I'm really worried. I'm sure it will take some time to get him back to feeling better, I just hope I get a call soon.
I dont really know much about diabetes but all the information here really helps. Thanks so much!
post #10 of 17
being alert is such a good sign. I'm glad he's feeling a bit better.

keep us updated.
post #11 of 17
I have a 12yrs old diabetic cat, he got diabetic for a bit more than 3 years almost lost him a few time. One tough kitty.

Here is a few things I learn over the last few years, some other already have said and some don't.

If the following happen, take him to the vet right away.
-Check his bladder 2-3 times a day, sometime when the sugar level become too high it is diff for kitty to pee. If it get bigger than a orange push him into the litter box and don't let him out until he pee. If fault take him to the vet.
-If he lost control and pee on the floor, take him to the vet.
-Monitor the pee, if it looks slightly red(blood), to the vet.
-diabetic cat always hungry, if he don't eat, to the vet.
-diabetic will cause cat to lost jumping ability, if ur cat limping, to the vet.
-Monitor how much water he drink, the less the better.

-from my exp kitty food don't help, even if the vet tell you so it don't work period. Spend a few more $ and buy the vet grade diabetic food.
-Don't leave a bowl of food for him, feed them 3 times a day and try to feed him the same time everyday.
-Water alot of them.
-Give the shot when he is eating.

***Your Vet will not agree on what I feed my cat but my cat is in much better condition after I feed him the following. I am not saying you should follow I am just tell you what I did***

Here is a list of stuff I add to his food a day.
~~150mg of Vitamins C
~~100mg of Dandelion
~~100mg of Milk thistle
~~flash alfafa
~~flash watercrest

From 4mm of insultan twice a day barely able to control the sugar level, cat is limping.
To 3mm in the morning(I reduce it without letting the vet know), cat is jumping and very good sugar level according to blood report.

Hope it help, any question feel free to ask.
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Indie passed away this morning at 11 am. They think he had a stroke. After they got his blood sugar levels down, he never really recovered. I feel so awful for not knowing what he had before he got so bad. Back in December he spent some time at the vet before we moved and they told us it looked like an autoimmune disorder and that the symptoms he had then would come back more than likely. When he got sick this time I thought it was the same thing. I took copies of the blood work they did back in December and gave them to the vet this time. He said that his blood sugar was up then, but not too terrible, and that when his body was stressed that their blood sugar will rise and he also had something wrong with his liver and they treated him for that and it worked. They probably didnt pay much attention to the elevated blood sugar then. This time, it was the diabetes, which I had no idea he had.
They got his levels back down, but he never recovered. He couldnt move and he looked so bad this morning when my husband went in to see him. He saw him last night too and from last night to this morning it only got worse. When we called this morning to check on him the vet told us we needed to make a decision and went in to see him and he was unresponsive. He was suffering so we made the decision to let him go. Poor baby, he had been through so much. He was only 3 years old. I have his brother also, he has never had any problems like Indie had. He was such a sweet cat. He loved to lay in my lap and on my feet at night. He will be missed so very much.
Thanks to everyone for their information and good thoughts for my Indie.
post #13 of 17
really sorry for your loss. its hard to lose something so important to us. our thoughts and prayers are with you.
post #14 of 17
post #15 of 17
Oh! I am so very sorry.

It hurts as much as you loved. Think about that, for whatever
comfot it can bring you.


post #16 of 17
I am so sorry to hear that, RIP Indie.
post #17 of 17
Malynn, I am so sorry for your loss Indie was very young to have had diabetes RIP little Indie
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