About a week and a half ago, I noticed that Barnes (one of our two older cats) was thinner than he used to be--so much so that I felt his bones when I gave him the sort of back scratching that he loves so much.
Both he and his brother (Noble) are about 10 years old and have nearly always been on the heavy site. And, of course, don't get to a vet regularly because they utterly detest cat trips.
Last Thursday we realized that it wasn't getting any better and took him over to the vet (Kirkwood Animal Hospital and Dr. Ueno) to see what was going on. Some on-line reading led me to believe that it was likely a case of Hyperthyroidism, which I'd heard of and thought was somewhat common in aging cats.
However, the doctor called back on Friday morning to tell me that Barnes was diabetic. :-( Not only did that mean another trip to the vet and a 6-8 hour stay for glucose testing, it also likely meant insulin shots for the rest of his hopefully long life.
It wasn't long before I found the FelineDiabetes.com web site and began reading about what this was likely to mean: dietary changes, closer monitoring, daily shots, and so on.
To make a long story short, Barnes is doing better now. He and the other three cats are adjusting to eating a low-carb cat food (Purina DM). I have an appointment for his brother Noble to get checked out next week. If he's headed down the same path, a distinct possibility given the role that genetics can play, we'd like to catch it ASAP.
The food is more expensive and the insulin shots aren't nearly as bad as I expected. But I really wish this hadn't happened. Diabetes puts him at risk for other complications down the road--just like in humans.
What you need to know...
If you're a cat owner, here are a few suggestions from our experience:
- Feed your cats a good diet--onc they were designed to eat. That means avoiding the cheap foods and excessive snacking.
- Help them get lots of exercise. Use cat toys, catnip, a laser pointer, whatever works for them.
- Keep your cats indoors--they'll live much longer lives.
- Get you cats to the vet yearly. Eventually they'll get used to it. And even if they don't, it's for their own good.
Oh, I just dug up some of the pictures I took of Barnes and Noble back in 1999 when I first adopted them. There were about 3-6 months old at the time.
Just to lighten things up a bit, if you haven't already seen it, check out An Engineer's Guide to Cats.
There's probably a lot more I could say about this but will save it for another time. I'm sure we have much to learn yet. Now I'm off to get an injection ready.
Posted by jzawodn at August 03, 2008 08:23 AM