Tuesday, February 4, 2014

There is a cat in the kitten room



Friday I had plans to go down to the shelter and photograph some kitties (which you saw yesterday). Before I got there I got an email asking me if I might be interested in fostering a diabetic. I have done this a few times, and I am not a fan any more, because there is often no end-game in it. I foster, they don't want to take it back because they don't feel they can keep to an insulin schedule. I have found homes for some that I have fostered, a few I 'fixed' so they didn't need insulin, and Miss Benny passed away while still in the care of the shelter. Diabetic cats break my heart because finding people willing to take on their special needs is so very difficult. It frightens them. Giving insulin is frightening, monitoring blood sugar is frightening, worrying about hypos, worrying about too little insulin, worrying about the right food, their levels of stress, not to mention your own.. it is not for the casual pet owner. (btw, it is only frightening until you do it, then it is really easy and not a big deal and you wonder why you were EVER scared of it. Trust me. People do not believe the learning curve while steep is very short, and every time they are pleasantly surprised at how quickly they adapt)

But if I don't do it..

My record of getting cats off insulin is pretty high, so I'm wondering with a diet change and some TLC we might just get this cat "OTJ" (off the juice) and give her a good chance for a home.

I get there on Friday and meet her. Information is very limited. Her name is "Little Cat" she is 12 years old, she has had issues with vomiting and 'gelatinous stools'. Her sugars were high then low then high, so vet recommended diet change then insulin. I check her teeth. Infection is one reason for a cat's blood sugar levels to be high. Her teeth are beautiful. I put my hands on her. She is thin. She has that 'old cat' feel, but she is purring and bright eyed.. (and she let me look at her teeth) so I packed her up and brought her home.

She spent quite a bit of time wandering around the room the first day. Getting pictures was not easy (see above) because all she wanted to do was look around. I got some low carb low plant based foods for her and she ate them like a champ and asked for more. I did not get her BG level that day, nor did I weigh her. I did offer her some raw food, which she also ate. I think 'oh this is going to be easy'

*****
I want to stop now and thank all of you for your kind words on my "Some days you feel like a phony" post. I was down on myself for not 'knowing it all' / 'catching it all' / 'having cats that don't get along' and I do really appreciate your comments. Some of them really hit home and made me feel better about things. But my true reason for posting that was to remind people, and myself, that some days it really feels like it all hits the fan, and that is OK. Like Jennifer Lawrence and her tripping on the stairs, it is fully possible to pick yourself up and continue on and continue to be awesome. You are not alone out there when you feel like.. well less than stellar.
*****

Yeah, about that "easy"...

So after I get her home and situated, I get a phone call from the shelter.. Oh, btw, she is on prenisone, so you will need to come back and pick that up for her.. I try to find out why she is on pred, and I do not get a clear answer. I ask why she went to the vet in the first place, I get the vomiting / diarrhea issue in reply. She got a dental, got antibiotics, and things just went down hill from there. She's been at the shelter a month and a half (owner surrender - couldn't afford) and in the past few weeks things started cropping up.


  • so.. do I think she is diabetic.. no. Could I be wrong, yes.
  • So.. how are her stools? First day awesome, then they got soft, then they firmed back up..
  • is she vomiting? not really. I got one small vomit that was mostly hair.. which is understandable as she is matting up and shedding quite a bit due to the lack of proper nutrition and weight loss.


But her blood sugars are consistently in the 300s so back to the shelter for insulin (why they wouldn't give it to me the first day I have no idea, don't get me started). I didn't want to start her on insulin and then go to bed and risk there being an issue, so I started her Monday morning. I gave one last ditch effort to lower her sugars with diet alone and fed her a nice heaping meal of raw food - which she promptly decided she didn't want to eat.. so her blood sugar level was in the 400s (not an unheard of reaction) so I gave her "Little Cat approved" low carb canned food, a low dose of insulin and went off to work.

Little Cat slept all darn day. Watching a sleeping cat is about as exciting as watching paint dry..

This was the exciting part, she moved her foot

I ran home about 6 hours after her insulin shot to test her, and she was at 300 again. Not nearly low enough for my liking ('normal' is 50-100 so we generally target for 100, much lower than that artificially and we start worrying about going too low which is dangerous) and when I tested her before her dinner 12 hours after her insulin shot when her numbers should be returning back to what they were before giving insulin (as it has a 12 hour 'curve' with the lowest reading being six hours after the shot) she was 107. Two hours later she was 110 (with the variance it is basically the same reading). I've also got a feeling that something is 'off' There is no reason for it, no symptoms, it's just a feeling.

so much for easy..

No idea what is going on with her. She weighed 9lbs 5 oz when I weighed her on Saturday.. she weighed 9lbs 12 oz on Sunday, a gain is a very very good thing. She has the build of a cat who should be 11-12 lbs. She lost a little when she refused to eat the raw, but hopefully we can put that back on her.

So we'll just take this one day at a time and see what happens. I am hoping there is some sort of lingering infection from what ever was going on that caused them to do a dental on her and in a few more days of probiotics, digestive enzymes, vitamin C and a few other things will get her system settled down so her liver stops flooding her system with glucose and her pancreas has a chance to catch up.

Little Cat with the soulful eyes..
I'm thinking I'm going to change her name to Gigi.. (but we'll see if she likes that first)

19 comments:

  1. Gigi (if that's what her name ends up being) sounds like she may take some work, but heck, she's a senior and probably did not have the best diet or health care for most of her life, so that's no surprise. I hope you are able to get her health issues, whatever they may be, straightened out. She sounds like a nice kitty.

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  2. Ditto Sparkle. If anyone can sort out her health issues and get her into the best possible condition possible (for her, I mean), it's you.

    Good luck, the boys are sending her purrs. We all rather like the name "Gigi."

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  3. She's beautiful, and Gigi seems like a great name for her, if she approves. I vaguely remember from Louie's diabetes that there's a very active internet community of diabetic cat owners. Do they also network and help rehome cats like her once they're stabilized?

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  4. she is in great hands!! bless you for taking this old soul and helping her get better....

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  5. Thank you for taking this girl in. It is sad that a 12 year old is surrendered for any reason. Gigi seems like a good name for her. I hope she stabilizes and you can find an awesome home for her.

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  6. She is lovely! If anybody can figure this out, you can.

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  7. Oh, this post brought tears to my eyes. Back in the 1980's I had a cat that, after going to heck and back (long story), developed diabetes. I had no clue and by the time I caught it, it was really too late. I hope hope hope you can help Little Cat/Gigi! It sounds like she's in very good hands.

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  8. Ah! Gigi! What a great name. She has found the right place to be to get help for what ails her! Purrs

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  9. Beautiful Name Gigi if she likes it,we have faith that she is in the best place to get her sorted out with what ails he,xx Rachel

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  10. Gigi is in good hands. I hope she isn't diabetic and that it is what you suspect and can be "fixed". By the way, Gigi means "teeth" in the malay language but it's pronounced as "GeeGee". :)

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  11. Little Girl/GiGi sounds like she is one very lucky kitty to have you caring for her. Thank you!

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  12. She is a lovely girl and is lucky to be with someone with a good brain and generous heart. Sorry that you have to be part detective and part vet, but it sounds like you have a good shot at getting her healthy.
    Maggie

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  13. It sounds to us like she has found just exactly the right advocate for her. We feel pretty sure she'll straighten out under your care - she is one very lucky kitty!

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  14. She's a beautiful girl...and she couldn't be in better hands. You may not have wanted to take her at first, but we're glad you did. :)

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  15. Ahhh, this warms my heart. You really are a kind soul. This older kitty has lucked out with you. I hope she likes her new name.

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  16. Awww, poor girl. I imagine she is a little stressed after being surrendered at such an advanced age. I'm glad she's with you and hope whatever issues she has can be managed easily.

    Take care, both of you!

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  17. You are so brilliant to take her on!

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  18. Gigi is a beautiful name if it works out that she likes it! This time of year is so weird in New England....foster parents are fighting over the few random kittens that need fostering and we have a handful of adult cats that need foster for various reasons so I am glad to see experienced foster parents like you are taking them on. I hope that happens where I foster too. You really rock for helping her...she's a beauty and I hope she starts to thrive in your care!

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  19. So wonderful of you to do this! My own cats are raw fed, so I am well aware of what a game-changer a species-appropriate diet can be. Best to Gigi!

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