Melita the diabetic cat - by Ruth
I thought I would do an article for your website, Melly is so much better and your website has helped me to come to terms with her diabetes. We are about to take our first holiday away since she has been diagnosed!
Melita was first diagnosed diabetic in May 2007. Her twin Othello (now in cat’s heaven) was very ill with a massive tumour in his chest cavity and he was taking up all my time with his various tablets. So unfortunately we didn’t pick up on Melita also not being very well.
We had been having some accidents on the dining room carpet. In the summer I tended not to leave a litter tray indoors overnight as all the cats used the cat flap and preferred the garden. Then we noticed that Melita’s back legs were floppy, she could hardly walk a few steps before having to sit down. She had always been quite a lazy cat sleeping most of the time, it was just her thing and she would sleep for hours. We didn’t notice when she stopped jumping up to her favourite seat in the arbour (it is quite high) or going out the cat flap, which again is a high jump onto a windowsill, through the cat flap and a jump down from the water butt outside.
The various water bowls we leave round the house for the cats were also emptying as fast as I could fill them! When I started leaving a litter tray indoors it was being literally flooded. All these signs added up to one big worry, was she diabetic? My husband is diabetic so I knew from experience that increased thirst followed by lots of trips to the loo could point to diabetes!
So we booked her in for a trip to the vet. He first weighed her, she had recently had her annual check up with her vaccination booster so the first sign was quite a weight loss in just a few months. Next came the blood test, it showed all the evidence of diabetes.
Next, came the question would I be willing to give her insulin injections? I had already visited your Sugarpet website as I was desperate to find out more information than the vet at the time was giving me. So I said yes and we embarked on a course of daily trips to the vet to learn how to give injections. Melita is very good and continues to accept her injections which I give her once a day.
She has improved tenfold, and has put on weight and evens runs up the garden to show how much energy she now has! I am very hopeful that she will eventually stabilize. Her urine samples are still high, although our vet says that given her general improvement that might not change. She is enjoying life again, I get her insulin and needles from the internet and she, in fact all the cats, now have a much healthier diet with the special diet food from the vets, fresh fish and chicken.
Updated July 2008
We booked a holiday to France and Melita had to go into a cattery along with our five other cats for the first time since she had been diagnosed with diabetes. I found a cattery that was prepared to do injections run by a qualified veterinary nurse. Unfortunately Melita had a hypo episode while she was in the cattery halfway through the second week of her stay. The owner got her to the local vet as soon as she was discovered, by this time she was fitting and was in a bad way. As soon as he could the vet took her to their hospital where she was put under observation for 24 hours. I spoke to the vet who was with her during the first night who told me her glucose level dropped to 0 at about 3am and so she put her on a drip. They saved her life for which I am so grateful – the question they kept repeating to me was ‘why was she on 6 units in a single daily injection?’
I had become complacent, she had not been blood tested since the original diagnosis over a year ago. I had been using the dip sticks whenever I could, but as she never seemed to change, I had stopped using them. Although she had had an operation recently for extraction of teeth, I had asked that because she found blood testing so stressful (and was backed up by the vet) when one of the nurses asked to blood test her I had said no. BIG MISTAKE!
After Melita stabilised, thankfully with no ill effects, the vets at the hospital put her on 2 units of insulin twice a day. I have now changed to their local vet and she is going in for a blood test to check if she needs more (or less) insulin. I feel that my vet let me down and have learned how important it is to keep on top of any changes. I will also make sure I have some Gluco Gel on hand and it will go with her next time she goes into the cattery, together with some of her favourite food!
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