Tag Archives: diabetes

Symptoms & Treatment for a Diabetic Cat

images (69)
In these economy-strained times, the last thing folks want to do is add pet medical expenses to their already crunched budget.

Since there are over 90 million pet cats in the United States, at some point in time, your cat 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 years  {although the oldest known cat, Creme Puff, lived to age 38 and some cats live to 18, or 20}  the costs for their care is increasing along with their age.

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, this diary might be helpful for those of you who will experience a similar situation.

According to the National Pet Pharmacy, 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. Our 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.

Along with the above, a cat’s history may have a genetic predisposition to diabetes, along with a sedentary life style.  Our cat, who used to be an active, outdoor cat and became an indoor cat, LOVES to be sedentary; he was also overweight.

Like humans, who take in more calories than they burn, Goombah, our cat, had the luxury of a feeding contraption where he could graze from during the day. He was a nibbler and visited the feeding station more than he should have and was approaching about 15 pounds when he first showed signs of diabetes.

Coupled with his obesity  (the vet’s word, not mine, I love him round) and his lack of exercise, his disease became apparent while we were on vacation. We have left him before and at the vet’s suggestion — at 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 to cat-sit, to feed and pet him. This time was no exception.

An ‘exception’ occurred the day after we departed. Our area had a forest wildfire, a devastating forest fire that destroyed 70 homes nearby 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 3 miles of our development and neighbors tell us that ash and smoke were heavy on our street.

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

When we returned some weeks later, Gombah greeted us – 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, 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. 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 and was lethargic.

When we brought him to the vet, he was checked and his sugar count was very high and after two overnight  stays, he was diagnosed as diabetic and would need insulin twice a day.  He was given a high protein diet  (40%) and no wet food as it contained too many carbs.  No more food grazing all day; he is allowed one cup of dry food a day.

The cost for blood work every 6 months – about $75; insulin for month – about $30 – needles for a month about $15.

Goombah has stabilized and now weighs 14 pounds. The hardest thing was not giving him needles, as we thought.  The vet trained us how to do that and it is not hard to do.   Goombah purrs while he is being injected.    The hardest part was rationing his food. The vet told us he wouldn’t be happy with his lowered amount and he’s not. He meowed more and sat over his bowl and stared at it.   Eventually, he got use to the routine and is not as adamant about eating constantly.

The best part is he is healthy again – we have him checked every six months.  He no longer sleeps in corners; he snuggles with us and is his affectionate and playful self again.  He is 15 years old and we hope to enjoy his company for many more.

Marie Coppola July 2015

How to Own a House and Have Servants

 gombahhat1-300x225

I am a grey, black and white tabby who was adopted when I was one year old by my persons – a Sicilian man and an American woman.   She was a pushover – she saw an adoption ad about me; he was my nemesis although she adopted me for him when he retired.    She was an animal lover; his first words were “He can’t come into the house”.  Sicilians don’t believe in sharing a house with animals.   “Animals belong outside”.  

I loved being outdoors – I really didn’t want to come into the house.  They had a grand garden complete with multiple nests of vulnerable chipmunks.  And a wonderful birdhouse where I could wait patiently for birds to gather to eat dropped birdseed.   She said, “How come Mrs. Cardinal isn’t with Mr. Cardinal, today?”   And the Sicilian quietly but sternly said to me, “I saw you – you can never do that again.  She liked that bird.”

I knew whom I had to overcome.

When a coyote attacked me one day in this beautiful garden, the couple brought me to the vet.  The vet charged them $500 and said “If you like this cat, you need to make him an inside cat.”  She agreed but the Sicilian said “Animals don’t belong in the house – he can go into the basement.” 

Living in the basement wasn’t bad.  It was warm and cozy and I was allowed upstairs to sleep on the sofa only if the Sicilian let me sleep on his stomach.   “No sleeping on the furniture”.   The sofa was leather and I was allowed to keep  my nails, so that was OK.   I really had my eye on the bed in the guest room.

When the woman wasn’t around, the Sicilian told me “No jumping on counters or the tables; no scratching furniture or rugs”.  No sleeping alone on sofa or in bedrooms.  Animals don’t belong in houses.”    She was a pushover; she let me sleep anywhere I wanted.  But I had to win him over.  It could turn out to be a good deal.  Plus, I was curious why she was so easy and he was so hard.  

Then he had a hip replacement.   He had to rest a lot and not move around for a while.   This was my long-awaited opportunity.   Patience runs in my family.   I watched him with soulful, sad, beautiful green eyes. (She told me how beautiful they were).  He would pat his stomach and I would jump up and cozy up to his neck while putting my paw around his shoulder.   She would say, “The cat is comforting you.” He would fall asleep and I revved up my purring.  

Not long after, he was in the garden again, and I was jumping around after him.  He gave me a name – he called me Compagno – sounds like ‘Goombah’ – she told me that meant companion or partner;  he started to like me! 

They took me on vacations and sometimes they left me at home with a pet sitter.  One day while they were away, there was a forest fire in the woods behind us and the pet sitter could not get near the house.  I was really frightened.  Alone.  Lots of smoke and ashes.   A kind neighbor had the key and came by to get me – the neighborhood was being evacuated.   My persons came home two weeks later and I felt strange and different.   I was still scared and slept rolled up in a ball in the corner of a room for six months.   I did not jump on my persons’ laps or want to do anything but sleep and eat.    I lost 3 pounds.  I ended up with diabetes.    

My persons took me to the vet who said I was traumatized and needed insulin shots twice a day.   My woman cringed, but the Sicilian took over my care – giving me shots twice a day.  He was so attentive to me, that I could sit by the ‘shot site’ at my given times and he would always be there on time to administer to me.  

When I started to feel better, I jumped up one day onto his stomach and purred loudly and they both cheered.  I purred louder.   When I gained my weight back and ate my high protein food, I was feeling good again.  I slept in my bed by the fireplace, but one night, the Sicilian whisked me up and brought me into the forbidden bedroom.   He put me at the foot of the bed and said, “He can sleep here.”  

And I still sleep there today – I’m 15 years old now – 75 in person years.   I’m high in their routine – we eat at the same time, I sleep on their laps while they sit in the living room, and he still picks me up to bring me to bed.   He gives me my shots, changes my kitty litter, brings me for my check-ups, has me blessed at church on St. Francis animal-blessing day, and makes sure my stash of insulin, special high-protein diet, catnip and fresh water are in place every day.    He’s even added glucosamine for cats because I was walking arthritic-like.    I feel GREAT.    He’s my BFF.   My Compagno.

The woman loves me like her baby – she cuddles me and talks to me all the time.   I wake up in the morning next to her and she cuddles me.   I fall asleep at night next to the Sicilian and he puts his arm around me.   I follow the sun around the rooms during the day and bask in its warmth.  

The Sicilian put in a special pet door for me so I can go to my ‘apartment’ on the enclosed porch and get fresh air.  They speak to me lovingly like I’m their child.  I love my life.  The Sicilian used to say, “He can’t come into the house.”  And, now, I own it.   And have servants.   I purr a lot – just to think, I have eight more lives to go.   

Marie Coppola Copyrighted April 2015

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

 

div id=”counter24″>