Don’t Fear the Diabetic Cat

Don’t Fear the Diabetic Cat

Just like humans, cats can develop diabetes. And diabetes can be managed in a cat as it can be in a human. Diabetes can strike at any age but is more common in middle aged obese cats. Diet changes may help a cat with diabetes or they may require insulin. Some cats go into remission short or long term. They will often live into their teens, a normal life span for a cat.

From the Canadian Veterinary Association:
From Cornell Feline Health Centre:

Kenny

Kenny, a friendly black long haired adult cat, was surrendered to Ninth Life along with his companion, Dexter. As beautiful as he was, the volunteers noted that Kenny’s coat appeared greasy but assumed he simply needed a good brushing. The coat, however, remained greasy and Kenny appeared to be losing weight and drinking too much water. A few days later, they discovered Kenny sitting in his urine soaked bed. And it happened a couple more times. Kenny was taken to our vet and diagnosed with diabetes. One of our foster moms, agreed to take him even though Kenny would be her first diabetic cat. The foster mom admits she was terrified when Kenny first arrived. If that was not enough of a challenge, ten days later she took on a second diabetic cat, eight year old Charlie!

Kenny is given an insulin injection twice a day (every 12 hours). He, and his buddy, Charlie, also are given a B12 injection once a week as the foster believes it is helpful. It may sound like a lot, but giving the injection is quick and routine (often easier than pilling a cat). B12 is inexpensive. Both insulin and B12 are available in a regular pharmacy. Vets usually recommend human grade insulin as the veterinary version, Caninsulin, although appropriate for dogs, metabolizes too quickly in cats.

At first I really didn’t like all that poking with needles, but I am used to it now and I am way better than in the beginning. Just have a treat or two and I will let you do anything as long as you are quick. I said I am getting used to it, NOT that I like it, so you take too long then I will run. I come with instructions, my foster mom’s info and a link to a great diabetic support group that my foster mom found for us. You will not be alone. There will be lots of help for you. Please give me a chance and take me into your family. I do know what it feels like to be in a family and be loved.

Charlie

I’ve been diabetic for many years now, I have been passed on to so many homes that I forget if there was ever anyone that ever loved me? I was pretty much a messed up fur ball of emotions, not knowing what I did wrong, for so many people to NOT want me. I know my foster mom does, she tells me and shows me every day how much I am loved now. Mom has explained to me that if she could she would keep me but there are so many other cats out there that need her help, also I would get so much more attention in my own home. She has to juggle many cats and kittens each day, finding time for each of us. We all know she has loads of love but just not the space. She promises that she will make sure I am loved for the rest of my life once they find me my furever home. My foster mom already had her hands full with my diabetic buddy Kenny, when she agreed to take me on as well. The stories were that I was this vicious attack cat and it took two people to do my insulin and tests. If you just say NO to me and BE NICE Charlie, I will drop my attitude and you can finish what you were doing. Oops I guess I can’t fool her anymore. I guess if I’m telling you all my secrets I won’t be able to fool you either. Oh man!!

Every cat needs to have a veterinarian but it is especially important with a diabetic cat. Your veterinarian will monitor your cat and support you both when needed. It is daunting taking on your first diabetic cat but you will learn how to inject and monitor insulin and very soon you and kitty will be into a comfortable routine. Cats like Kenny and Charlie are worth it!

For more information, Kenny and Charlie are both featured on our Adoption page.

 

Article written by: Grace Robertson, with input from Carole-Anne Hughes.
Photos: Grace Robertson and Carole-Anne Hughes
Ninth Life Cat Rescue Volunteers
Feature image rescue cat: Kenny

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