Thursday, September 6, 2012

My Cat is Diabetic

A few weeks ago we found out Spike is diabetic. The first we thing we noticed was the increased drinking and he seemed to be hitting the litter box more often. 

One night his sister peed on the rug and that set off alarm bells. My cats are ten years old and they have never gone outside the box. So I checked the kitty litter and saw it was flooded. No wonder Buffy wouldn't use it. As fastidious as she is, she didn't want to get her toes wet. The smell was probably off, too. 

Needless to say we went to the vet the next day. Spike's sugar was 500. We had Buffy tested too. Hers was 60. The vet did some other tests too, just to make sure nothing else was going on, and he started Spike on insulin shots.

While diabetes can affect any cat, Spike fits the classic diabetic profile to a T. He's a 10-year-old male, he was slightly overweight and his father was Burmese. Evidently, Burmese are prone to this disease.

Figuring out the correct ratio of sugar to insulin is key. We were raising the dose gradually and we thought we were on the right track, but then Spike got an eye hemorrhage and when we took him back to the vet, his sugar was sky high again. And he'd lost more weight. Not good.

It was time to get more aggressive. The insulin dose was raised again and yesterday Spike spent the day with his vet and got his blood tested—a lot. It's called a glucose tolerance test. His sugar was low to begin with and stayed pretty low which showed the higher dose was working. Also he's been getting his shot at night which might have something to do with the better results. We're keeping the dose where it is for now, and he'll get another blood test Monday.

Spike is such a trooper. He's not crazy about the eye drops but he takes the shots without a whimper. Still, the stay with vet freaked him out. This morning he hid under the bed, afraid we were going to take him back there again. I'll keep you posted. Right now I gotta find my cat. It's time for his eye drops…



cmkempe said...

Oh my! My Kipper developed diabetes recently. Nine years old, he was a bit overweight and he was a foundling so who knows if he's Burmese at all (he's soft fluffy long haired grey kitty). The vet says he might be able to regulate and come off the insulin. Hoping! Best of luck with yours.

Gale Stanley said...

Thank you. Our vet thinks Spike will need insulin the rest of his life. I've heard cats can live long lives on it if it's regulated, so I'm hoping for the best. Good luck to you as well.

Diane A said...

I wish both cmkempe and Gale luck with your cats, and I can tell you it can happen that cats can get off insulin, if the right conditions take place, but I can also confirm that they can live quite well with it, if the humans in their lives work with it as well - I had a cat who was both diabetic and had pancreatitis (pancreatitis came first, and likely led to the other). He was 8 when diagnosed with pancreatitis, 9 when the diabetes was added and we got to the point where we did the insulin injections at home, and even did glucose tests and glucose curves because, like Spike, Scooter got to the point he hated the clinic, so we thought it may be less traumatic for him if we did the tests so we took it on. There was a huge binder on the counter where we recorded water intake, box trips - what, how much, good or not good, food, activity, you name it! We had one vet starting to tease us saying maybe he should sign off on it - so we found a pic of paw prints to put on the sheets we sent in to the clinic!!!
Scooter was 14 when he decided he'd had enough of all of it - the combination of the two diseases was a lot, but he went four years with both and the clinic said we had a lot to do with that, but we also felt lucky to have such a supportive group of people at the clinic as well! Scooter was a tabby, a wild cat that decided to adopy a human so I'm not sure what else was in his background, but he was overweight at the time he developed all of this, lost most of it during the time he had it. Rather than stopping him though, he still managed to play, love his treats (you had to always give him at least three!), have his naps in the sun and be a happy cat so whatever the future holds for your cats, they can still be normal cats (that would include the "feed me now, pay attention to me NOW" characteristics that we love about cats!). If you have a good clinic, and it sounds like you both do, it will be fine! If you ever want to talk to someone about it though, feel free to email me at or diall(at)shaw(dot)ca . I'll also be at GRL next month too!

Take care, think positive and love your cats!

Gale Stanley said...

Diane, thanks so much for sharing your story. We do the shots at home and take Spike to the vet for the blood tests. I'm going to ask the vet if we can do the blood work at home too. Spike is a real homebody. He and Buffy have always been indoor cats and they don't like to leave the house (esp for the vet). And the stress can't be good for him. We were in Dallas last month for TRC but we're staying close to home until we get Spike's sugar under control. I'll keep you posted.

Nona Raines said...

Hi Gale, my cat Smudge was diagnosed with diabetes about a year ago. I was able to control the problem by changing her diet. Of course, you shouldn't do anything without your vet's consent, but I began feeding her Fancy Feast classic canned food. (I swear I am not a spammer or work for the cat food company.) I did some research and this change in food has helped some cats get their sugar under control. It worked for Smudge. Previously I was feeding her dry food which I understand now has a lot of carbs. The Fancy Feast is low carb and high protein. It has to be the classic kind, nothing with gravy in it. Now her sugar levels are fine.

HcLynn said...

My 8 yr old black lab dog is diabetic.. (mostly) no more scraps or putting the food out all day and shots twice a day. 8am and 8pm! She had to go in all day at the vet also to get her sugar checked throughout the day to figure out what her level of insulin should be.. she's had hers adjusted just once and currently doing well :) so I know what that feels like!

Gale Stanley said...

Spike Update: Just came from the vet. Spike's sugar was 134 which we were all very happy about. He also gained another 2 ounces. It looks like we're on the right track. Buffy and Spike both love Fancy Feast Classic. They get 1/2 can each in addition to the dry food that I leave out.
While waiting for the vet I met a woman there with her 2 Schnauzers (10 years old) - both diabetic. The female is under control, the male not so much. They both get shots twice a day. I had no idea diabetes was so common in cats and dogs.
Thank you all for responding.