Gombah Becomes Traumatized…..Chapter 5


At some point in time in every pet’s life, he or she may need medical attention either at a veterinarian’s office or at an animal hospital. In addition , since the average life expectancy for indoor cats is 14 to 15years {although the oldest known cat, Creme Puff, lived to age 38 and some cats live to age 20} the costs for their care is increasing along with their age. And like humans, cats’ health issues can increase with their age, too.

Statistically, cats are prone to diabetes at age 9, and our cat was no exception. Since we had suspected, diagnosed and now corrected his affliction, the following might be helpful for those of you who will experience a similar situation.

Like humans, it is not good for cats to be overweight.  A survey of the National Pet Pharmacy informs us that 40 percent of cats are considered to be obese! Only 5 to 10 percent of all cats can be classified as only slightly overweight. In recent years Feline Diabetes Mellitus (diabetes) has become almost a daily diagnosis in animal hospitals all across America. U.S. cats are at risk for a number of obesity related disorders. Documented research indicates obese cats are far more prone than cats of normal body weight to Diabetes, arthritis and a very serious disorder called Hepatic Lipidosis.

And the 40 percent obesity figure seems to be growing.

 A picture of a fat cat — but it is not Gombah, although the markings are similar.

Along with the above, a cat’s history may have a genetic predisposition to diabetes, along with a sedentary life style. Yup, Gombah most definitely changed his habits from an active, outdoor cat to an indoor cat, who LOVES to be sedentary; he was also overweight. He was a prime candidate for diabetes.

One year we traveled for a month and at the vet’s suggestion, we always left him in our home since he is familiar with his surroundings and not farmed out where he may become disoriented and/or feel abandoned. We always left someone in charge that he knew ~~ to cat-sit overnight, to feed and pet him. This time was no exception.

But, an ‘exception’ did occur the very next day after we departed for our trip and were a continent away. Our area had a forest wildfire, a devastating forest fire that destroyed 72 nearby homes and continued to char 31 square miles near our home. Damage estimates rose to $16 million for the three-day blaze. The fire came within 5 miles of our development and neighbors tell us that ash and smoke were heavy on our street.

I’m mentioning this tragedy because the caretakers for our cat also live near us and were understandably anxious, under stress and preparing to evacuate if necessary. Although Gombah was being taken care of, we’re assuming that anxiety was high for both humans and animals. Gombah, just adjusting from his ‘parents’ not being there, aware of surrounding smoke, different feeding times and anxiety — were factors, we feel, in contributing to his onset of diabetes. Our vet concurs it probably did.

When we returned some weeks later, Gombah greeted us weakly – he was three pounds lighter – a lot of weight for a cat to lose in a few weeks’ time. He was thin and his gait was different; he weaved when he walked and his legs were wobbly.

He was constantly hungry and thirsty and we thought as long as he was eating, he would be OK. But, his routine had changed, too. He no longer slept curled up with us; he would find a corner in the house to sleep curled up in a fetal position with his back hugging the wall. Something definitely was not right. He wasn’t gaining weight and he was eating and thirsty all the time. He didn’t play much anymore, had stopped grooming himself and was lethargic.

A checkup at the vet’s revealed his sugar count was very high and after two overnight stays, he was diagnosed as diabetic and would need insulin twice a day.   It would take 6 months before he returned to normal.                                                    

TBContinued……Chapter 6

Marie Coppola (C) September 2012

 

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