Traveling Dog Lady: A to Z Challenge, Day 4: D is for Diabetes in Cats #atozchallenge

Friday, April 4, 2014

A to Z Challenge, Day 4: D is for Diabetes in Cats #atozchallenge

Our cat, Pointy, was diabetic.  Pointy was only with us for a short while.  Someone had "dumped" him at our house.  Back in those days, shelters were few and far between, and we were known (worldwide ha ha) as "the cat people".  One day, he showed up on our doorstep, and he never left.  My guess is that he was already a senior when he got dumped.  He was a very large Tomcat.  He adored me and Gil, and he bossed around the other pets.  They all respected Pointy.  I think he was only with us for two, maybe three years.  Here is the only picture I have of him.  This was back in the day when digital cameras were new, so I think I got accidental photos of him while I was playing with the camera when it was new.

Feline diabetes affects approximately one in every 400 cats.  That, to me, is a surprising statistic.  I thought the number would be higher... but then again, we've had about 40 cats altogether between the two of us, and Pointy is the only one I can remember who actually was diagnosed diabetic.  Male cats are at twice the risk of female cats for developing diabetes.

The disease affects all of the cat's organs.  Just like diabetes in humans, the problem is an inadequate production of insulin, or an inadequate response of the body to insulin.  As the condition becomes worse, a telltale sign of diabetes in a cat is frequent urination.  I can remember Pointy spending an inordinate amount of time in the litter box, and us having to constantly change and clean the box.  It was thought that he had a urinary tract infection, but that was not the case.  Frequent urination is a sign of diabetes, as is the need to drink a lot of water.  Just like in people.

At diabetic onset, the cat will eat a lot.  I remember Pointy seemed "ravenous".  Once the illness has taken hold, though, appetite loss is characteristic along with weight loss.

Gosh, just reading back at this, it all sounds so depressing!  But, just like with humans who have diabetes, it can be treated.  The problem with diabetes in cats is, we humans may not realize anything is wrong until it is too late to treat.  Have you ever tried giving a cat insulin injections at home?  Not fun!


Here's more info about feline diabetes.

I am not a veterinarian, medical professional, canine or feline professional or specialist.  I have owned and parented nine dogs and more than 40 cats in my lifetime. I write this blog based on my own experiences as a pet owner/pet parent.  Please consult a professional if you need help with a canine or feline medical or behavior problem.  Thank you.