Diabetic Cat

Lounge By TheCakerator Updated 23 May 2009 , 1:23pm by TheCakerator

TheCakerator Posted 16 May 2009 , 11:28pm
post #1 of 17

I just found out today that my five year old siamese cat has diabetes. We caught it very early, numbers should be between 5-15, and hers is around 19, she will however need two shots of insulin twice a day for the rest of her life .. we are finding lots of information online about this, and some sites even say a cat can "outgrow" diabetes if treated right and a change of diet ... we are hoping for this outcome, obviously. I was wondering if there are any cat owners on here, that have diabetic cats? My furbabies are my life and I was devastated to find out she had this .... icon_cry.gif

16 replies
JanH Posted 17 May 2009 , 1:14am
post #2 of 17

Have had two diabetic cats in the last 30 years.

The procedures for treating diabetic cats has dramatically improved, but it still requires a tremendous effort on both your parts.

Unfortunately, neither of my two cats could make the necessary compliance transition so that it was a struggle to "catch" them to give them their shots. It became a quality of life issue..... They hated the shots and I hated that they felt they were being punished and hid from me.

It was very difficult to have to let them go. I can only hope they're waiting for me (along with my other fur babies) at the Rainbow Bridge.

I pray your cat adjusts well to treatment and lives a long and happy life.

Hugs,

Jan

SS385Monte Posted 17 May 2009 , 1:27am
post #3 of 17

I have a diabetic cat as well. He gets his insulin twice a day and doesn't seem to mind a bit. Often in the mornings we'll give him his shot while he is having his breakfast. He doesn't even flinch. It took some getting used to, but Casper doesn't seem to mind a bit - plus he seems to drink less and play more! We found that the best price for the insulin was at the vet since it has to be refrigerated, but for the syringes there were better prices online, so shop around some.

TheCakerator Posted 17 May 2009 , 11:39am
post #4 of 17

thank you for both your replies, jan so sorry to hear about your kitties .. I will have three fur babies waiting for me at the bridge as well .. the cat that is diabetic is a cat that we can "man handle" if that makes sense .. we have always been able to give her medication when she needed it, she completely trusts us and doesn't question what we are trying to do to her .. so I guess we have to be thankful for that, and that it is not our other cat, who in a million years would never let us give her shots ... we did some research online last night, but there is SO much to learn!!! It kinda left us feeling like we knew less then when we started researching .. I am sure as time goes on we will learn more and be more comfortable with this .. but in the meantime, its scary going into the "unknown" .. again, thanks for your replies ...

SugarLover2 Posted 17 May 2009 , 2:39pm
post #5 of 17

I do. Go to www. Felinediabetes.c o m this is absolutely the best site for help. I can't get on the computer but am on my blackberry. I would be more than happy to talk with you though if you need. It sounds like you are not in the US by the blood glucose reading you gave. I am but will still take a call if you want. The site I gave you is international and there may be members in your area. Sorry to keep this short. If you want to email me I can share lots of nfo and help. My cat has been diabetic almost two years and doing great. Hugs!

SugarLover2 Posted 17 May 2009 , 3:36pm
post #6 of 17

One very important thing I forgot to mention is home testing. Checking of blood sugars is key to regulation and maybe even remission. I can sure tell you it has helped us immensely and has also saved Seymour more than once from a hypoglycemic episode. It does save lives!

TheCakerator Posted 18 May 2009 , 1:29am
post #7 of 17

thank you for your reply ... we are in the US, I'm not real sure why our vet told us those numbers, but it was my dh who talked to her so maybe he was just getting numbers mixed up .. we are going tomorrow in the AM to get it all figured out for us ... we are kinda nervous ... and we are real nervous about checking her blood glucose levels at home .. but maybe over time we will get used to it ...

emrldsky Posted 18 May 2009 , 1:37am
post #8 of 17

I know some vets are trying to do studies that link feline diabetes with feline obesity and how carbohydrates affect both diseases in our domestic babies (very similar issues to human Type II diabetes). Some studies have shown that an all-wet food diet can decrease or even eliminate the need for insulin injections, as well as act as a catalyst for weight loss. This is because cats are obligate carnivores, and they really don't NEED carbohydrates. All store-bought dry cat foods contain more carbs than our cats need.

Now, having said that, I've tried all-wet with my two boys, and only one will eat it...and he eats both helpings and then the dry food. :/ Neither have diabetes, but one is predisposed to UTIs and both are overweight. I'm restricting how MUCH dry food they get, but I would love for them to accept an all-wet diet.

Anyway, I'm sure you're going to doing all kinds of research. icon_smile.gif You're going to find all kinds of studies, suggestions, etc. and I wish you luck in determining what's best for you, your family, and your kitty.

summernoelle Posted 18 May 2009 , 1:48am
post #9 of 17

The clinic cat in the vet clinic I worked in had diabetes. We did give him shots every morning and every night, and he did fine. He was extremely obese and we got him to drop the weight, and that helped quite a bit! I would assume that the causes are similar to human cases, so if she is overweight, get that kitty on a diet. icon_smile.gif

SugarLover2 Posted 18 May 2009 , 2:04am
post #10 of 17

You are right. Cats are obligate carnivores and have no need for carbs. Sadly the cat food companies push it as if its healthy. I will tell you that I can immediately tell by seymours blood sugar readings if he is eatng anything with a small amount of carbs in. Recently the food he eats changed their furmula and put in wheat flour. I couldn't figure out why his sugar was out of wack until I read the ingredients. Its hard in the beginning getting used to reading labels and testing and injecting but it gets to be routine quickly. Take time to learn, ask lots of questions and you'll get the hang of it quickly enough. Oh also you can get syringes at www. Hocks.com much cheaper than most other places. The walmart relion mini is good for a meter as the strips are cheap and work with just a drop of blood. Here to help if anyone needs t.

TheCakerator Posted 18 May 2009 , 11:09am
post #11 of 17

thank you all for your replies! We take our baby to the vet in a half hour to get her meds and understand everything .. emrldsky, we learned a lot of what you wrote here, we never knew the food we were giving her was going to be bad for her, especially since we were buying the "premium" brand of dry cat food .. mocha is overweight and we know it .. she comes in at a hefty 13 pounds, but, she has weighed up to 16lbs in the past .. we cut back her food around Christmas time .. we have two cats, with two food bowls that are both filled in t he morning, one cup in each, and they do not get filled up again until the next morning .. sometimes both food bowls are licked clean and sometimes it doesnt look like either cat ate anything throughout the day ... so hopefully if we change to an all meat diet, that will help her loose those extra pounds she carries ... we are nervous to check her blood sugar at home, we don't want to start poking around on her and make her scared of us, as right now, she completely trusts us and we don't want to lose that ... but maybe over time once she is used to the shots and we get her to the vet often enough for them to check it, over time, this is something we can ease into ... so thank you again for all your replies, it helps to know others go through this too ...

TheCakerator Posted 18 May 2009 , 1:48pm
post #12 of 17

ok we just got back from the vets .. she is on Vetsulin, 2 untis 2 times a day .. mocha did really well with the actual shot from the vet, and then two practice shots from my husband ... right now the vet says no diet change because she wants to re test mocha in a few weeks to see how just the insulin alone is working for her .. we both breathed a sigh of relief once the first shot was done and the after my husband did it twice and got the feel of it .. the first one he was nervous, the second one he said, oh yes, I just felt it go in .. so he knew right away he did that one right .. he walked out feeling pretty confident about doing this himself ... Now its my job to make sure she acts like herself today .. of course I'm paranoid about everything she is doing, even though she is doing everything she normally does!!

funcakes Posted 20 May 2009 , 1:35am
post #13 of 17

My neighbor had a diabetic cat and it had to have shots every day. the cat lived a long and contented life. My daughter who was a good friend to my neighbor's daughter went over every day and gave the cat the shots. It was really hard for the family to do that to their own cat, and because my daughter is a diabetic herself, she knew exactly how and where to place the needle. In time you will be able to give the shots without even giving it a second thought. Best wishes for your little furbaby.

TheCakerator Posted 20 May 2009 , 2:14pm
post #14 of 17

thank you funcakes ... that's really nice of your daughter to do that for them .. I wish we had a back up person around here to help us out, but so far no one has volunteered! The first shot we gave our girl went really well, then I think she caught on to what we were about to do and so now she has taken to hissing and trying to nip at us .. it's awful, but it has to be done icon_cry.gif I am sure in time we won't think twice about it, but in the meantime it seems like the end of the world .. my husband is calling another vet, a closer one, today at lunch to talk to them about diabetic cats, our other vet is familiar with them but has point blank stated they are not common in their office. I'd really like to find a vet that is up to date on diabetes in cats.

StarbucksAddict Posted 23 May 2009 , 6:50am
post #15 of 17

I'm a little surprised that they started on 4 units daily! Wow, that's high to start with. I'd be very, very, very careful, and to be honest, 1 unit twice is where you really should have been started. You don't want an episode of hypoglycemia--which is quite scary and extremely dangerous. My opinion would be... back off the insulin, regardless of what your vet says.

First, the website listed below is great.

Second, look at their food charts. Change food. Wet food is better, and one low in carbs and high in quality protein is what you want. The food charts take the guess work out, and you can go from expensive to common food you can find at Petsmart.

I'd give the food change a little time, and the reality is you may be able to drop the numbers quite a bit--to the point you may need no insulin. I've seen it happen. I went from Science Diet dry food, to California Natural dry and high quality wet, and over halved the daily amount of insulin needed. Diet is a HUGE HUGE HUGE part.

I'm not a vet, but I'd stop the insulin temporarily, immediately change food, and get in contact with a "good diabetes" vet. Then, you can recheck the numbers, and look at administering insulin dosages from there. I don't want to get your hopes up, but it seems to be quite the pattern that the non-kitty crud food makes kitty much better--and I've once personally seen a cat go from your numbers to pretty darn close to normal needing no insulin. At any rate, giving 4 units plus changing food could send into a hypoglycemic episode.

I had a horribly skittish diabetic, in the beginning hated this all and was wondering why he was being given wet food and followed. Within about a month, he reminded me to give him his shot. He wanted his bowl of wet food!! Associate a treat with the shot, and since you're injecting in the butt, he isn't really going to mind (do not inject in the scruff of the neck--poor insulin absorption) after it becomes routine. Treat it as no big deal, just a routine. Cats can smell fear.

Oh, and some people will put you as the Antichrist OMG how could you love your cat if you feed it dry food?! if you continue to feed dry food. Seriously, don't feel bad for that. If you feed twice a day wet food with the insulin injection, and leave a little high quality (Wellness CORE, Innova EVO) to graze on or give as snacks, well, you're a great mama icon_wink.gif That's my one gripe with that message board. A good snack is something like plain boiled chicken (you can also get the freeze dried stuff that is shelf stable--my beast loved it).

After changing food and whacking down the insulin... get kitty ready to home test glucose levels. You can find information about testing from the ear and using a human monitor (though if you ever have a problem with your monitor and call the company, NEVER EVER tell them that you're using it on a cat, you will be blacklisted and they will not talk to you! And the "cat" monitor you can buy is pretty much a human monitor, not worth the additional expense of them tacking the word cat onto it.). But those numbers are more reliable than the vet. My cats numbers would go through the roof at a simple visit and act screwy if he stayed at the vet (for a day curve)--stressed cats can have very high glucose readings. That's why hometesting can really rock--no packing a peeved cat to the vet, only to get an inaccurate high reading.

Again, some will try to make you feel like you're eating babies for breakfast if you're not testing 4 times a day. My recommendation is, before you've "settled" on a dose, check more frequently. My cat was doing great on 2 units twice daily, and I'd check his high and low (on a 12 hour insulin, I'd check right before giving it to him, and then 6 hours later--to know the highest and lowest numbers) once a week. But behavior is also a hug indicator to check glucose levels. Lethargic, urinating more than normal, change in appetite, etc. Remember, even if you're testing a couple times a week, so many diabetic cats are only checked once a month at a vet visit--so you're so much more beyond the standard learning curve.

If you think you'll have a problem testing, just play with the kitty as if you were going to test his insulin (my cat would be tossed between my outstretched legs while sitting, put him on his back, and he'd let me poke his ear, take his blood, flip him back over and he'd go about his business). Kitty will get used to it and won't mind. I never thought I'd be able to give this car insulin, let alone test his glucose at home, take him to the vet regularly (did I mention he'd draw so much blood when he was healthy--and he was a mellow front declaw cat--so he'd only go every 3 years?!), or give him subQ fluids!!!!

It gets easier. After the little guy died (he passed at home, he went downhill quick and I thought he'd pass shortly that night, though he survived to the next morning in my arms), my mother and I were so lost. No little buddy shoving his head in the fridge, waiting at the stairs in the morning to get his shot and food, walking between the feet tripping us, yowling if we were late, no one to worry about... he's definitely missed, even though it seemed a hassle for vacations and all.

Did they check his kidney function? That one is extremely important to keep tabs on (annual simple bloodwork panel is enough unless you suspect any changes).

StarbucksAddict Posted 23 May 2009 , 6:56am
post #16 of 17

Also, don't fear that your kitty will permanently hate you. It may seem like that in the beginning, but they do end up bonding closely to their caregiver. It will click with them that they're not feeling good, but all of a sudden you're doing something and they're feeling better. Prior to being sick, my beast really wasn't happy being picked up. After a couple months, he'd let me do pretty much anything to him. I was his primary caregiver, and he'd let me do anything, but my mother he'd only tolerate much a smaller duration of handling (she'd fill in if I was out). If you asked me about that before he got sick, I'd tell you that his great more friendly behavior would never happen with him!

TheCakerator Posted 23 May 2009 , 1:23pm
post #17 of 17

thank you for all the great information. I have checked out the website and thoroughly read it. There is a ton of information on it. We have reduced mochas intake from 2 units 2 times a day to 1 unit 2 times a day. We are slowly starting to change her from dry food to wet food. She loves it, but we know from past experience that her tummy is sensitive so we want to take this slow. Our other cat hates the wet food and is almost disgusted that we would suggest she eats such stuff. However my dh has now incorporated dry into the wet, and both cats seem to be checking it out. A good sign.

We would love for Mochas diabetes to be diet controlled, but if she needs insulin for the rest of her life, we are here to do it for her. So far the home testing is going a lot easier then we ever imagined, but I can't say she is loving it at this point.

There is so much more information out there then I ever imagined. I understand that dry cat food is bad for cats, but I also know that I had two cats before Mocha that ate dry cat food for 16 years with no diabetic problems. All the cats I know from friends or family also eat dry cat food, and have never experienced diabetic symptoms ever, including my friends childhood cat that lived to be 20 years old. Changing over to wet cat food is what we will do because we know now that dry food is so bad for them, but I won't go on a rampage telling everyone I know they are going to give their cats diabetes if they don't change to wet. And I am not saying that to downplay the importance of wet cat food, or all the information, I'm just saying from my years past experience with dry cat food.

Thank you again for your time to respond to me. Any and all information that we can get for the beneift of mocha is appreciated!!

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