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 (left) and Iggy
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
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
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
Thanks to everyone for all the support and help from me and Iggy! And to Nicky,
where ever you are!
-- Contributed by Sandy
Contributed September 2001
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