My diabetic cat
My daughter walked into the house holding a five week old, half Ferrell kitten in her arms. The moment I saw her walk in I simply and sternly said "no". She instantly started to cry. But mom she pleaded, they threw him out because he was not like the rest.
She proceeded to tell me that one block over form us lived a cat breeder who strictly bred Persians. As fate would have it, one of her female cats managed to escape while she was in heat. After returning from her rondevu, she gave birth a few weeks later to five beautiful Persians and one gray and white bastard.
This woman had allowed the momma cat to nurse the five kittens until they were two weeks old, at which point she wanted the ugly duckling gone. For the past three weeks the odd ball kitten had been kept in the garage far away from her precious Persians. She had allowed him to suckle on his mother twice a day but always separated from his siblings. This had caused him to be very underdeveloped and anti-social. Now that the kitten was five weeks old she was getting ready to toss him out into the streets to fend for himself.
Gizmo or Gizzy as I have come to call him came to live with us in the summer of 2001. Now at the ripe old age of eleven I am devastated to learn that he has type 2 feline diabetes. The oddest thing about it is that he was diagnosed six months after I was diagnosed with mine. I’ve had an extremely hard time with this, and the guilt which it has caused me. Type 2 diabetes in humans and in cats is a man-made disease. In both cases it is completely preventable by avoiding junk-food. Without question, it is the continuous, day-in, day-out consumption of this poor-quality, highly processed, carbohydrate "rich dry kibbled cat food" that causes so many felines to become diabetic
I spent the first six months after my diagnoses beating myself up for allowing me to get to the point, and causing my own sickness. How could I have been so careless as to let myself get this far? Once I had started coming to terms with my own fate and was beginning to forgive myself for the horrible choices that I had inflicted, I received news about my Gizzy. The guilt and torment started all over again. Not only had I done this to myself, but I had bought a poor Innocent creature along for the ride that had put his trust and care in my hands.
Type 2, diabetes is the body's cells inability to handle insulin efficiently. Although diabetes can strike cats at any age, it is more prevalent in older, obese, males. Gizmo is an eleven year old 22lb male cat. He is extremely obese by any one's standards. When I first decided to take him into my home, I promised him and myself that I would be his only owner throughout his lifetime, and I would always do right by him. I had him neutered when he was six months old and took him in for regular checkups. The vet whom I was seeing at the time instructed me to keep him strictly on dry kibble. He informed me that the "wet stuff" was to be used only as a treat, and I should take him off of it as soon as possible, that it was the best thing I could do for my cat’s health and teeth. I followed my veterinarian’s suggestions, switched him over to dry food and started free feeding. For the next ten years he never had an issue. I did however feed him the best dry food on the market, Blue buffalo, Halo, Science Diet EVO and Nutro.
About the time that Gizzy was five years old I started to notice a slow steady weight gain. I made the choice of switching him over to "diet" kibble" in order to stop the weight gain from continuing. A year into his food change regimen, his weight was still continuing to climb despite the fact that he was an extremely active indoor/outdoor cat. Short have having his stomach stapled I had no idea what else I could do for him.
In 2010 I moved into a home which was securely fenced, had plenty of trees and a garden. Gizmo had a kitty door and spent 85% of his time outdoors running, climbing chasing butterflies and basking in the sun. The only time that I saw him indoors was when he came in to eat or jump in bed with me at night. That same year I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and had to make a huge turn around in my life. About six months after my diagnoses I started to notice that Gizmo no longer wanting to sleep with me at night. I'm not sure if he began doing this because he could sense how truly sick I was, or this was the beginning of his own sickness. Are animals capable of caring so much for their owners that they take on there sorrows and diseases?
About a month of no longer wanting to sleep with me, I started to notice his excessive thirst and urination. He had refused to go outdoors or stay outdoors for long periods of time and no matter how often I bathed him the condition of his coat looked horrible, and his skin was always dry. Gizmo had always been a very vocal cat but lately the intensity of his vocalization and the volume had taken on an almost frightened, fear filled urgency. The first night that I noticed that he had chosen not sleep in my room at all, I knew that something serious was going on. I quickly made an appointment with the vet and for the next two days watched him vomit his food after eating as he got weaker.
Since moving to a new residence in a different state, I was now dealing with a completely different veterinarian. The new vet informed me that Gizmo was showing symptoms of having feline diabetes. What are the chances of both of us having the same disease? The vet tested both for blood sugar levels and levels of sugar in the urine. I was devastated when the tests came back positive! I was told to immediately take him off the dry food. I was to choose a canned, pouched, or raw meat diet and that no type, brand or variety of dry food is acceptable for any cat, but especially not for a diabetic cat!
It has now been a month since his diagnoses and the switch in diet. We are watching his sugar levels closely in hopes that we can control it with diet and can bypass the need for insulin. Gizmo has started to show great improvement daily. It’s obvious that some days are better than others as far as his energy and health are concerned. His diet has now been reduced to one small can of wet food in the morning and another around six pm and absolutely no all-day grazing. It's hard for me at times to deal with his afternoon crying because he is hungry, or when he goes on his tyrant screaming spells looking for dry food. I try the best that I can to comfort him, and I keep telling myself that I am only doing this in order to make him healthier and for his own good. It's very hard for me at times because I so deeply sympathize with his pain, and feel that he is wasting his time preaching to the choir. Believe me there are many days when I wish that I could go on a tyrant screaming spell looking for high carb, sugary foods and someone would comfort me. Perhaps this is why where in this together, so we can find comfort in each other....