|Foot Cat, affectionately known as 'Tat', had
the happy and contented life of any fat, overfed cat. If anyone had told
me in 1996 that we would be celebrating Tat's 12th birthday on April 1,
2000, I would have never believed them. Tat is a spayed black shorthair
with one white toe. She always had a huge appetite and a large belly to
show for it. Tat and her sister cat, Miss Dupe, will turn 12
In January 1996, Tat developed an obstruction due to a furball. After two weeks, two tubes of Petrolax and barium studies, psyllium seed capsules finally did the trick and I thought my cat's health had been restored.
On a few occasions, I had noticed her voracious appetite for water and large amounts of urine in the litterbox. It never happened consistently. One morning, the litterbox was full of urine and she was neither hungry nor thirsty. We were back in the vet's office and he told me that she was diabetic.
He wanted to attempt a trial of Glucotrol, so I bought that and some Ketodiastix. Later that night, she seemed more disoriented than she had earlier and I checked her urine. She was very ketotic.
We returned to the vet that night for subcutaneous fluids and insulin. The next morning was worse . . . her sugar had bottomed out. She then stayed at the vet's office for three days. Most of the time she did not recognize me. My vet gave her some mannitol to reduce her cerebral edema and she began to come around. He called me at 11:30 p.m. on a Friday night to let me know that he thought she would be okay.
I picked her up on Saturday and began a rigorous schedule of force feeding every two hours and insulin injections every four hours. She then began to eat on her own. Within a few weeks, we were able to start her on humulin ultralente.
That was 1996. Since that time, she has had two hypoglycemic reactions (thank goodness for Karo syrup). I tried to board her once when all my catsitting resources were exhausted. I found out that did not work. She became stressed and her cortisol level rose, therefore increasing her blood sugar.
I do not check her blood sugar levels. Her management is subjective, based on the amount of water she has drunk and the amount of urine in the litter box. She eats 1/2 cup of Hill's Prescription Diet W/D in the morning and 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup in the evening. She rarely eats anything else.
Tat is happy. She runs up and down the hall; lies in the sun; plays with her sister; and can still jump up on most anything she wants. You certainly can't tell there is anything wrong with her just by looking. She does have cataracts, but they don't seem to be badly compromising her vision yet.
I have a strong medical background and took great interest in kidney physiology. Without that, I don't know how I would have been able to manage and understand her problem.
I understand that she may become insulin-resistant, but she has been taking eight units a day for two years. I found that there are sources for porcine-bovine insulin, which I thought were unavailable and will keep that in mind if we need it.
Contributed by Carolanne
Contributed January 2000