Your Cat Has Diabetes – Do Not Freak Out

October 6, 2016 at 7:28 pm 2 comments

Cat_diabetesSo, about eight weeks ago, with a heavy heart, I took Rocky, my beloved lug of a cat, to the vet. Based on symptoms shared over the phone, the vet thought he might be experiencing kidney failure, and I got a nearly immediate appointment at a very busy veterinary practice.

The diagnosis was not kidney failure. The diagnosis was feline diabetes. And I’m writing this post for anyone who might receive a similar diagnosis for his/her pet and, like I did, freak out a bit and start googling for more info.

MOST IMPORTANT THING:  Do not freak out. It will be okay.

Really.

When I first heard the diagnosis, I cried. Yes, of course, I cried because I was sad he was sick, and I cried from the relief of knowing that I didn’t have to make the toughest decision you make about a pet. But, real-life honesty? I also cried because I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to care for a pet with a chronic illness. The added expenses and the idea of giving shots twice a day (every day of my life for the next 5-10 years) was overwhelming. I cried because I was ashamed that his illness was my fault. And, hardest to admit but true, I cried for being the kind of horrible human being who thought for a moment that it might have been easier if it had been kidney failure.

I want you to know that was a very silly thing to think. So, do not freak out. You can do this.

Here’s what you need to know (and/or this is how it went with my vet; you should follow your own vet’s advice):

  • Not that long ago, a cat diagnosed with diabetes was put to sleep, but that is no longer the case. Feline diabetes is very treatable.
  • Some people might act as if you’re crazy for deciding to keep a pet with a chronic illness. Avoid that sort of person while you’re in the freaking out stage.
  • Remission can occur. It’s not a given, but it can happen.
  • Treating feline diabetes is not cheap, but it’s more manageable than it might at first seem.
    • The initial visit with tests needed for diagnosis was about $400.
    • A bottle of insulin is $125, but, the dosage for a cat is so small, that bottle might last two months. Or longer.
    • Syringes are about $30 for a month’s supply.
    • Glucose checks are about $30 each. (And you’ll have to go weekly for a bit.)
  • The cat will need a high-protein, low-carb food. (The nice folks at PetCo helped me pick out Wellness Core.)
  • You’ll give your cat a practice injection before going home. It will seem preposterous. You can do it.
  • Giving the shots at home will also seem preposterous for a while. But, trust me, it becomes easy. (Way easier than wrestling a pill into this guy’s mouth, I can tell you.)

In under two weeks, the main symptoms (excessive drinking and urinating) had completely disappeared. Since then, Rocky lost weight and the quality and softness of his coat improved. Today, I took him to the vet (Always Compassionate Vet Care in the South Hills, a truly wonderful life preserver) for another glucose check. There was good news and bad news.

The bad news:  We have to go back again in a week for another check because his glucose numbers are still too low.

The good news:  She thinks his glucose isn’t regulating correctly because he’s going into remission.

Good boy, Rocky. Good boy!

That would be the best possible news, and I am happily goosebumped at the possibility. But, here’s the important bit:  Even if that is not the case, it’s okay.

I’m two months into this now. Giving the shots is nothing more than part of the feeding routine. I’ve had to begin setting an alarm seven days a week to get the timing right, but that hasn’t been as awful as I thought it might be. I’m less nervous about remembering everything. I’m less clumsy with the syringe. Haven’t stabbed myself in weeks. I missed a shot one day because of a client meeting, and the world did not end. Even wrangling Rocky into a carrier for vet visits has become (nearly) routine.

Remission would be absolutely awesome. But, if that’s not the case, I won’t freak out.

Entry filed under: Life Preservers. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. WritingbyEar  |  October 6, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    Thank you for sharing this! I must admit, I’ve lived in fear of one of my cats developing this, and it’s comforting to hear how you’ve managed it. Here’s hoping Rocky goes into remission, but if not, that he continues to do well under your watchful care.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • 2. B. Schmidt  |  October 7, 2016 at 9:18 am

      While there are other reasons besides weight that can cause it, best preventive advice I would give anyone is to monitor their weight and adjust food type and feeding as directed by vet (if weight loss is recommended).

      Like

      Reply

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