Friday, December 23, 2011

"Not Sugarbutt"

I keep throwing names at her, so far we haven't settled on one.

I weighed her this afternoon, 12lbs 3 oz.. which was cute..She probably is meant to be 9lbs.. She has started hanging out on the chairs in the room she is in.  She purrs quite loudly and loves head butting and rolling around while getting attention.  Think she's happy to be here?

I gave her the 2 units as prescribed, and we were getting some low numbers, so I gave her 1 unit of insulin, and it sent her pretty high, so I'm settling on 1.5 units and we'll see what happens.

Diabetes care has progressed quite a bit since the 80's :) When I first started treating Em in the 90s, we were taught an old school method.  We gave her a "high fiber" diet (cause that works wonders for dogs) and blindly shot insulin and sent her to the vet to be tested and have a "curve" (where they test the blood sugar levels every two hours to see how the insulin works through out the day)  Em totally balked at the high fiber diet (it gave her major diarrhea) and so we left her on the dry food that came out of a big huge bag that we bought at the supermarket that we fed her and the other kitties at the time. After a few years I wanted to learn more about feline nutrition, and I talked to people at pet stores, and they convinced me that a "premium dry food" was the way to go, and so we started feeding Felidae.  Well two of my kitties became blocked with urinary crystals while eating it (I am NOT saying Felidae did it, but I do believe that dry food in general was the cause)  So I did more reading, and learned that a canned diet would be good for urinary crystals, and at the time Em was losing weight so we put her on a canned diet and fed her separately so she wouldn't be harassed out of her food by the younger cats, we had Jack and Eli on urinary canned food, and the rest on Felidae.  Em had even more issues, and at that point I joined the message board for diabetic kitties and learned from a vet who actually studies feline nutrition that ALL dry food is basically unhealthy for cats and that feeding a high protein, low plant based ingredient raw diet would help Em with her diabetes AND Jack and Eli with their crystals, so I gave it a shot.  Em's insulin need went from 7u twice a day to 1u.  there were days when she almost didn't need insulin and I was so excited that she might be going into remission.  Unfortunately she stopped eating raw, and went on to a low plant based ingredient canned food (Fancy Feast Turkey and Giblets in loaf form) and her insulin need settled between 1-2u until the cancer showed up.  (at which point I fed her anything and everything she wanted and let the blood sugars fall where they would)

How did I know her insulin need dropped so dramatically?  We learned to home test her blood sugars. They learned that a human glucometer would work quite nicely to test a cat's blood, and we use a lancet to poke her ear and get drops of blood that way.  Em hated to bleed.  Most of the fosters I've had after her bleed nicely.  "Not Sugarbutt" has apparently learned that after she gets tested she eats.  Cause food that is completely ignored becomes inhaled right after I finish testing.

If you are interested, there are a lot of videos of people testing their kitties. Here is a great of of Buddy showing you how it is done  I don't know Buddy or his adorable owner.

Home testing has some great advantages.  You don't have "white coat syndrome".  Stressed out cats tend to throw higher bgs in general (not every cat, but a lot).  You don't have to make an appointment, you have immediate feed back. It saves a lot of time.  Money not so much because test strips are expensive, and once you get the feel of testing you get a little test happy because having the info is so incredibly helpful in keeping you sane.  It is also very helpful if you suspect a hypo (giving too much insulin and blood sugar levels go too low which can be deadly) and helping you navigate it (know when blood sugars start rising and the kitty is no longer in danger) but then again if it saves you a trip to the ER that will buy you a LOT of test strips :)

One other thing about diabetic cats, their owners are incredibly in touch and in tune with their cats.  Getting a diagnoses of diabetes in a cat isn't anything I would wish on anyone, but those of us willing to walk that road with the kitty come to realize it does create an incredibly special bond. The kitties come to realize that the injection makes them feel better, and well... While I will admit the regimented schedual of shots every 12 hours is annoying, it is so worth it..

(So anyone want a pretty black and white purr machine that needs injections every 12 hours?)


  1. That was an incredibly helpful post! You are right - knowledge and care for feline diabetes HAS come Avery long way!

  2. We just stopped by to let you know we picked you for the Leibster award and you can stop by our blog to pick it up. Merry Christmas to you all!

  3. Anonymous10:22 PM

    hi there, my kitty is a diabetic. :( dry food is a big no,no. i know vets have the goods, but vets foods are high in money. the kitty is 16yrs. i stopped the dry and have given the moist can he loved it. how much is too much in carbs in canned foods in numbers so i can give him. until i can afford the vets foods. is there a better brand canned food then other in regular stores? i want to help as much as i can, but monies is a big problem. :( feeling so sad and feeling bad for my cute kitty. please if you can help with is info i would be so happy. thank you.

    1. Since I don't know how to contact you, I can only hope you come back and see this. I HIGHLY recommend you go to There is so much help there, a list of good foods for your kitty, resources and helpful information. There are also message boards that have many active members who are well versed in treating diabetic cats who can help you with your questions.

      Good luck.


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