The Dog Doesn’t Die

Book reviews & random thoughts

Requiem for a Diabetic Cat

One of my Internet friends, Mary Cole, posted this beautiful eulogy on Sugarcats.com shortly after Bushey passed away. I am copying it with permission, and Mary notes that it was originally written for the Cats Protection, Dorking newsletter. She says that if it persuades one person to take on a diabetic cat, it’s worth it. From my own experience, I’ll add that if you are inspired to take on a rescue cat, giving a shot is easier than pilling. It adds about 5 minutes to my day, maximum.

See the first comment for Mary’s post.

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February 20, 2008 - Posted by | cats, pets | , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. Requiem for a Diabetic Cat, by Mary Cole

    My husband said “No more cats” when Jazz, our long loved cat, died of cancer at the age of 20. We had been treating him for diabetes for four and a half years. We felt that we were too old to cope with another cat, as a kitten could outlive us.

    Six months later we heard of Katy, a diabetic cat, in rescue for six months as no one wanted a special needs cat. We had the experience, so Katy made her home with us.

    She was 10, going on for 20 years old. To our surprise she went into remission needing no insulin two months later and died of old age the next year.

    Again my husband said “No more cats.”

    A fortnight later we had a mystery phone call from Angela, from CP Dorking asking if we could take on a just diagnosed diabetic cat. What could we say? On June 6th 2004 Bushey (nicknamed Mr. Ree) was brought to us.

    My first reaction when he was put on my lap was that he had lost a lot of weight. I wish we had weighed him as I think he was only 2lb in weight. It became obvious to us that he had been “dumped” back on CP when he showed the first symptoms of diabetes, which are excessive drinking of water (to dilute the unprocessed sugar in the blood) and,
    as what goes in must come out, excessive peeing.

    He came to us on a dose of 2 x 2 units of Caninsulin a day.

    A fortnight later came the “Great Escape” when he went missing for four days. We did not think he could survive without insulin, but local cat organizations lent a cat trap and helped in the search. When rescued from the trap, his only complaint was that he had missed breakfast,
    and he ate THREE in quick succession. He had been kept alive by a dumped car tyre, which was standing up and half full of water despite the heatwave.

    The two cat-rescuers came round to see him, so they would recognize him, if he went wandering again. Although these two ladies were cat handlers, and must have smelt of cats, Bushey cringed, ears down, trying to sink through the carpet. They looked at each other, then one said “You know you have an abused cat here?”

    And the other said “Yes, and by a woman!”

    If only rescued cats could tell us what they had been through.

    Bushey became known as the “Scaredy Cat” as if new people walked in he would take refuge behind the video recorder, and once managed to unplug it!

    As we had doubts as to whether the Caninsulin was working we began to test his blood glucose (BGs) by pricking a warmed ear and testing the blood spot with a glucometer, and had a shock when we found a dangerously high number of 35.

    High blood glucose (35+) kills slowly. Low blood glucose (4 or less) causes a HYPO and kills fast. As we still had Katy’s bottle of Insuvet PZI in the fridge we gave him 2units. The change was remarkable. His numbers came down to the manageable 20’s. We also made a drastic change to his diet. Tinned cat food in jelly, or meat from our table plus the edict of NO DRY FOOD OF ANY KIND helped to lower his numbers. (An American friend who is a diet expert reckons that the carbohydrate value of a mouse (ideal cat food) is 3%, most dry foods are about 50% carbohydrates!)

    By the time he went to the vet for his inoculations, his weight was back up to 8lb.

    He spent the rest of the summer and the next on a harness whenever we went into the garden.

    We found he was terrified of furniture and if placed on a chair would scramble down as quickly as he could. When forced to climb on the settee to reach a window he would look round guiltily, as if expecting to be hit. We found ourselves saying “There’s a good boy!” to show him that it was his home as well as ours.

    After two years we let him go out unsupervised. We did find ourselves waiting up for him to come in once or twice, but teenagers are like that and we flatly refused to give him a latch key!

    Six months later a friend sent us some cat treats with Omega 3 oil. The change in his behaviour was remarkable. He came into his own, and found that the settee was an ideal lounging spot, and would even share it with us.

    Unfortunately he was diagnosed with a heart murmur. This didn’t seem to cause him trouble, but we were aware that he was slowing down, and becoming an old man.

    He had a very happy 2007 summer, well nourished and well covered, limiting his outdoor ventures to 30 minutes at a time and enjoying a jump onto the sofa and at night onto the bed to be with us. At first, one eye came round the kitchen door to see where the food came from, but later he would storm into the kitchen to demand action. What had happened to the skin and bone ex-feral cat who for the first 9 months hid behind the video?

    However he was getting tooth problems but the vet said that the diabetes and heart murmur meant that a dental operation was out of the question as he might not survive.

    The same American friend sent him some “Greenies” treats, and eating these removed a large chunk of plaque from one side of his mouth. “Greenies” work!

    This autumn, despite having the cat flu jab, he had a mild flu infection. All that showed was a cough and sneezing for a week, but although he seemed to recover, his health went slowly downhill. His diabetes was under control needing only half a unit of insulin daily, but complicated by his lack of interest in food. By Christmas I was searching shops for different foods that would tempt him. When a cat
    refuses tuna, it really is in trouble.

    During January, his weight continued to fall, although he did have some good days.

    Gradually he became very weak and could no longer climb up and down as his back legs were too weak.

    On Saturday he seemed to rally and had a good day, although he regurgitated his heart medication.

    On Sunday he refused food, but demanded to go out. He slowly walked to the back gate and looked longingly towards his favourite spot in a neighbour’s garden. He was picked up and brought back indoors. When a spot of cream was put on his nose he perked up and got himself down from the settee and lapped a whole saucerful.

    Soon after this we found that the effort had dislocated his jaw so that he couldn’t close his mouth. We relocated it, and repeated this until in the evening we sat supporting his chin in position as we took turns to comfort him. By night time he was almost comatose, but not in pain. At 12.30 a.m.when my husband checked him, he gave a big
    sigh. When I checked half an hour later he had gone.

    So, goodbye to a poor little scrap of a cat, who successfully fought diabetes and won, who suffered heart and tooth problems and managed to steal a part of the hearts of all who knew him.

    Comment by esheley | February 20, 2008 | Reply

  2. […] Read the whole thing here. Feb 20, 2008 | | Uncategorized […]

    Pingback by The Quick Pet Stop » Requiem for a Diabetic Cat | February 20, 2008 | Reply

  3. […] Prozac Review / Prozac Generic / Prozac Rxlist created an interesting post today (Requiem for a Diabetic Cat).Read a snippet here, but follow the link for the whole thing.…person to take on a diabetic cat, it’s worth it. From my own experience, I’ll add that if you are inspired to take on a rescue cat, giving… […]

    Pingback by Requiem for a Diabetic Cat at thinking about kitten feline | March 2, 2008 | Reply


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