PDlogo   Iggy's Story 


I got a pretty abrupt introduction to feline diabetes in late summer of 2000. My cat, Nicky was diagnosed, followed by my older cat, Iggy. 

Nicky and Iggy
Nicky (left) and Iggy snoozing.

After a terrible time dealing with a totally uninformed vet, (having been told that "some cats have blood sugars in the 600's, and there is nothing you can do.") I went for a second opinion. 

The new vet was very nice. he not only ran more tests on Nicky, he actually KNEW about diabetes in cats! He could not understand why my first vet had put Nicky on a type of insulin that is never used for cat. And why he did not run the appropriate tests. He also gave me a routine to follow which enabled me to watch Iggy's blood sugar level, myself, instead of making countless trips to the vet for random blood draws which were useless in regulating Nicky's dose. 

In October, I took my 10 year old cat, Iggy, to the vet as well. He had been drinking and urinating constantly. I was going through 20 pounds of cat litter every 3 days. And he was so hungry all the time, much like Nicky had been some months earlier. The 2 cats are not blood related, and it seemed improbable that they would BOTH be diabetic....but guess what? Yup! Iggy's sugar was in the 500 range. And he had diarrhea and was refusing to eat for the past 2-3 days. 

It turned out that he had ketoacidosis which was caused by the diabetes. He had to stay at the vet's office for the day and get fluids. When I got him home, he was already feeling better. He had more energy, started eating and the diarrhea was gone in 2 days. 

Both cats were now taking Humulin U insulin. I had come across a feline diabetes message board and had read about home testing. Since I worked in the health field, it seemed logical to me, to test at home. I bought a blood meter, and began testing. Iggy was running in the 300-400's and Nicky was still in the 400's. My vet had told me to raise their dose of insulin every 2 weeks until they stopped drinking and urinating so much. He also told me that home testing was inaccurate, and not to bother. But at the hospital, the nurse wouldn't think of giving insulin without checking the blood sugar first! It didn't make sense to me to not check the cats. so I continued to do so. 

By March, both cats were on 6 units twice a day. Iggy's BG was still about 350. But Nicky's had come down to about 100. I was ecstatic! And so was he! He was playing and running around the house. He seemed to be one happy cat. But later that day, when I went to let the dogs in. Nicky was nowhere to be found. I checked the house high and low, no Nicky. I searched the yard, the neighborhood, still no Nicky. By morning, there was still no sign of him. I began putting ads in the papers, posting his picture around the neighborhood, and at animal shelters, animal control, vet's offices, the works! I put letters in all of my neighbor's mailboxes. But no one ever saw him again. 

For months, I was grief-stricken. I had grown so used to caring for him 24 hours a day. I felt like my life had been taken away from me! I thought I was having a break-down. Other people thought I was crazy to be so upset over a cat. But after caring for him day and night, controlling what he ate, what he drank, how much he peed, EVERYTHING, I was suddenly left with this void of "who do I care for? What do I do with my time?" Every day, when it was time for his meal or his shot, I would burst into tears. 

After 5 months, I decided that I couldn't stand to feel sad anymore. I had to have SOMETHING happy in my life. So I decided to adopt a 1 year old tiny, sweet, entirely-black female cat from the local shelter. She was such a sweet thing, she really helped to bring some sunshine into my life!! Two days later, a stray cat that had been living in the woods across the street for over 6 years, also began to hang around my house! In fact he wasn't "just" hanging around. He was sitting on the window sill, crying at the door, sleeping on my porch! I have no idea where he came from or why. It was almost as if Nicky had sent him to me! 

In the meantime, Iggy, was trying to adjust to a new cat in the house. I had searched for a cat that would get along with Iggy. He is the boss in the house, and I was sure this little cat would take that in stride. She did, and he liked her from the start. But with her and the stray cat, both, appearing out of nowhere, Iggy was a little set back. He stopped eating, and I had to try bribing him with canned food. I could not give him any insulin, since he was not eating. So, when he finally began to eat again, I did not want to start him back on 6 units so fast. I decided to start over again with 3 units, and build up gradually. 

To my surprise, he began to show low blood sugars of 100-200 with only 3 units twice a day! He has never needed any more that that since. 

Looking back, I think that my vet's instructions of raising his dose every 2 weeks was too fast. I think I should have only raised it every 3 weeks, as some people on the message board had suggested.

Since then, Iggy has improved even more. He went on a "honeymoon" of not needing any insulin at all for about 3 days. And then began to have BG's of 200-250. I put him back on his 3 units BID. A few days later, he didn't seem to be very hungry. He seems to lose his hunger when his BG is near normal. And only wants to snack throughout the day, like he did before he was diabetic. 

So, on a few occasions, I had to feed him canned Fancy Feast or Friskies to get him to eat in order to get his shot. But then I saw that on those days, his BG was only 90-150. And he didn't even NEED a shot! So, now I feed him the Fancy Feast and Friskies all the time, and he has not had insulin for 3 weeks. 

Iggy, is once again, back to his old self. He seems just like he was before the diabetes. He loves the fact that he gets Fancy Feast every day, it's always been his favorite! In fact Nestles was so glad to hear my story, they sent me half a dozen Fancy Feast coupons! 

Friends I have met over the past year have been just great. I am amazed at how many people have diabetic cats. Iggy even has his very own deitician, seeing as how the dietician at work has a diabetic cat too, she gives me diet consults! (She suggested I add some unprocessed bran to Iggy's canned food for fiber.) I have found about a dozen people at work amongst friends, etc. who also have diabetic cats. 

Thanks to everyone for all the support and help from me and Iggy! And to Nicky, where ever you are!

-- Contributed by Sandy

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Contributed September 2001
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