Tag Archives: #symptoms

Symptoms/Treatment for a Diabetic Cat

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 by this 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 16 pounds when he first showed signs of diabetes.

Coupled with his obesity  (the vet’s word, not mine, I loved  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 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 lived  nearby 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 his anxiety were factors, we feel, in contributing to his onset of diabetes.  Our vet concurs.

When we returned some weeks later, Gombah barely 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 stabilized down to 14 pounds. The hardest thing was not giving him the 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 was not.   He meowed more and sat over his bowl long moments and stared at it.   Eventually, he got use to the routine and was  not as adamant about eating constantly.

The best part is he became 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.


Marie Coppola Revised April 2019

Women’s Health, Heart Attacks and the Holidays


A few years ago, a good friend of mine, at 49 years of age, died of a massive heart attack. This vibrant woman, a champion of exercise and good health died after a workout. She had received her B.A. degree a month before with a grade point average of 4.0. It was later learned that her father had died around the same age of a genetic birth defect.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women 65 and older; it is the second-leading cause of death for women 45 to 64 and it is the third leading cause of death for women 25 to 44. In the United States, heart disease kills more women than any other health condition. All women of all ages should aware of heart disease — its causes and risks — whether it runs in the family or not. [See updated info below*].

Women’s warning signs differ from those for men. The signs for women are not the typical heavy weight on chest, or heart-burn, shortness of breath, pain in arm or cold sweat. These symptoms are less likely to be a women’s common first sign. Cause for concern in women are:

  • pain or discomfort in an unusual place such as: the jaw, elbow or even a tooth
  • an unexplained sense of dread, doom or anxiety
  • a feeling that something is not ‘right’
  • a sudden weakness or heavy fatigue similar to ‘flu symptoms’ – more than 70% of women cited this one.
  • shortness of breath
  • nausea
  • indigestion
  • these symptoms may occur as long as a ‘month’ before an attack

A second attack could be completely different than a first heart attack.

Recent patterns in fatal heart attacks on both men and women, increase during the winter holiday season, especially around Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Research at the University of California, San Diego and Tufts University School of Medicine examined 53 million U.S. death certificates from 1973 to 2001. They discovered an overall increase of 5% more heart-related deaths during the holiday season.

Cold weather can add strain to the heart by constricting blood vessels which can raise a person’s blood pressure. And there is more chance for blood clots to form. Cold weather can also mean more shoveling snow and adding increase strains on the heart. But even these reasons don’t explain why there are ‘spikes’ of fatal heart attacks on Christmas Day and New Year’s day. According to the Circulation study, “The number of cardiac deaths is higher on Dec. 25 than on any other day of the year, second highest on Dec. 26, and third highest on Jan. 1.” These spikes occur even in balmy, mild weather areas, where there is no snow shoveling.  [Ref: WebMD]

There are several lifestyle changes women can do to reduce your risk of heart disease:

  • Exercise 30 to 60 minutes a day on most days of the week.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Quit or don’t start smoking.
  • Eat a diet that’s low in saturated fat, cholesterol and salt.
  • Take prescribed medicines; ie, blood medications, blood thinners and aspirin
  • You may consider supplements, such as omega-3 fatty acids or fish oil tablets for high cholesterol
  • Stay at a healthy weight
  • a normal body mass index (BMI) is helpful; a BMI of 25 or higher can be associated with increased risk
  • If overweight, a weight loss of 10-15 pounds can help to decrease risk
  • Take a daily low-dose or baby aspirin.

Leading Causes of Death in Females United States

All Females, All Ages Percent*
1) Heart disease 24.0
2) Cancer 22.2
3) Stroke 6.3
4) Chronic lower respiratory diseases 5.9
5) Alzheimer’s disease 4.5
6) Unintentional injuries 3.5
7) Diabetes 2.8
8) Influenza and Pneumonia 2.3
9) Kidney disease 2.0
10) Septicemia 1.6

© Marie Coppola December 2016

References: MayoClinic.com; WebMD; Circulation Study; LHS, Your Health