PDlogo   Mr. Jigs' Story 


I have a very healthy (now) almost 4 year old male neutered tortoise shell tabby. His name is Mr. Jigs. He was rescued by me and my fiancÚ Barry from the SPCA October of 2002. It was love at first sight. He is very large in size and temperament. In March 2003 (at 3 years old) he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes during a vet visit due to improper urination in the few days before. the vet had kept him overnight for urine collection because on the way to the vets he had an accident in the car. He had been peeing on blankets and clothes in the laundry basket right in front of me the day before and he had done it once before in early January and I had taken him in then. At that time they saw his glucose level high in his urine but chalked it up to stress. He is not a very good patient and anyone at the clinic will attest to that. He is a very spirited cat and he has an attitude (especially at the vet clinic).

The day the vet gave me the news was the day before my 31st birthday and Mr.Jigs was still at the vet having glucose curves done. My vet told me that both me and my fiancÚ would have to come in the next day and learn how to inject Mr. Jigs with insulin. I am petrified of needles and my vet was well aware of this from other visits. Ian (mine and Mr.Jigs') vet was very patient with us. I was probably green when I saw the "practice" needle. I said to Ian there is no way I can do this. He said it's okay Mr. Jigs knows he needs it and he showed me how to locate a good location in his scruff and gave my kitty his shot. Then it was my turn. I got a piece of scruff in my hand and the needle (filled with saline) shaking all the while and I went to inject my kitty and he let out a yowl and I pretty much ran for the door. Ian said relax take your time as he petted Mr. Jigs and calmed him down. Attempt number 2 I did it without too much incident. Mr.Jigs yowled a bit but he was just cranky from all the needles he had already had in the past 3 days at the vet. Next my fiancÚ Barry had to do his practice shot and he did it like an old pro. Mr. Jigs was nuzzled right against me and wanted to come home with me, but he had to wait one more day so the vet could do a glucose curve the next day to see how he was reacting to the insulin. The next day at work Ian called me and said he was ready to go and what pharmacy do you use so we can order his supplies. That afternoon after work I went and picked up my shaved cat (his entire neck and one front leg were shaved for I.V. due to ketoacidosis and his bad attitude the vet couldn't get Mr. Jigs to cooperate anywhere else- he took a chunk out of the vets assistant - we are still not sure if he bit her or scratched her). He looked pitiful and at the same time ecstatic to see me. I know I was so happy to see him alive I didn't care how he looked.

The next few weeks were a challenge due to Barry going out of town the very next day so I was alone to do the needle. Mr.Jigs started at three units once a day. So every morning at 6:30 a.m. it was up to me. I am happy to report we did it with the help of some medi-cal treats for him and lots of courage from me. We did it. After two weeks it was time for Jigs to go for a glucose curve. well, they had fun cause Jigs was feeling a wee bit better and he had the oomph to make their day a little more interesting. I picked Jigs up that evening to reports he had scratched almost everyone that came near him or at least had tried to bite them. His attitude again. But, his glucose was still low so they put him to 4 units a day. We did that for the next 2 weeks and back we went to the clinic. Still low in the afternoon so Ian increased his dose to 4 units twice a day. That seemed to be the magic number for Mr.Jigs. His next test he came back level. What a relief for all of us because I was beginning to think it was never going to even out and that the clinic was going to tell me to take him elsewhere due to his crankiness. As a side note, all the people there loved Mr.Jigs cranky and all just the way Barry and I do. They all know me and Mr.Jigs by name and even recognize my voice on the phone. 

All was well until it was time for his yearly shots in October, then all hell broke loose. He went in had his shots everything seemed normal. The next day Sunday I noticed he wasn't eating not a good sign for him he loves food. I didn't really get too concerned at that point but wondered what was up. By Sunday night he was cranky and he seemed to be in pain where the needles were given. If you tried to touch him you got a swat or bit. Now, I was concerned. I called the vet clinic and was immediately given Ian's home number. I called Ian and he suggested I cut his insulin back by half until he eats. I tried that and it seemed to help. By Tuesday night though he seemed worse again and I kept a close eye on him. He had started to get lethargic and almost comatose so I put corn syrup on his gums as Ian had told me to when and if this happened. He seemed to come around so I went to bed. That night a fierce snow storm blew in and I couldn't get in to work that next morning so we (me, Barry, and Mr.Jigs) were all sitting on the couch watching T.V. and Mr.Jigs seemed to pass out. I jumped up and ran to the cupboard for the corn syrup and put more on his gums and tongue - he really likes it. Mr.Jigs was still not okay. I called the clinic and Ian said bring him in right away if I can get in there due to the storm. We got loaded up and we got there about 40 minutes later (usually only a 15 minute drive). Ian checked Mr.Jigs' vitals and said he needed fluids right away. He was going to inject saline immediately. Well, he tried I never heard such an awful sound Mr.Jigs sounded like an alley cat. Ian couldn't hold him and Barry tried to help him but to no avail. Mr.Jigs was having no needles today. Ian said He still has a lot of fight and he does not want to stay here so he prescribed some kitty aspirin and said to keep doing what we were. He also said Mr.Jigs does not get his yearly shots anymore because of the reaction he was having. We all went home and I gave Jigs his pill and he had a nap. Later that afternoon I looked up to see Mr.Jigs at his bowl having a drink of water. The first time I had seen him drink in 4 days (I forced water down with a child's medicine dropper before that when he would let me). I could have cried. He was on the road to recovery. In a few days it was like he was never sick at all and he is healthy and happy at this time.

-- Contributed by Susan and Barry  2/2004

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