The amazing Mr. Jake | For Animal Lovers

—Jake: Listen Cupcake, don’t I get royalties for these articles?

—Jake: Listen Cupcake, don’t I get royalties for these articles?


He is definitely a cat with an attitude.

Long time readers know I have an old diabetic cat named Jake. He has been diabetic for several years. He’s 16 and in good health most of the time.

He’s my second sugar cat which is what they call diabetic cats. I knew the routine. Prior to his diagnosis, I couldn’t even pill him let alone give him shots and test his blood glucose.

After the diagnosis, things changed.

When Jake came to join the household, I always said that he wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer. It took him several years to figure out the front door and back door came into the same house.

Personally, I think he did this to keep my expectations of him low.

He has his idiosyncrasies which require more work for me. He is a meticulously clean cat – never dirty or stinky. He demands a clean litter box. He would prefer that no one use his litter box except him. Try telling the other cats that!

I clean those boxes twice a day. There is a punishment for not keeping it clean. He will hoist over the edge and piddle on the outside.

Of course he tells me his equipment is too big for the box but I think that’s what all males say.

He was diagnosed when he lost 25% of his weight in a couple of months. He also developed neuropathy in his back legs. That means they didn’t work and he would drag them along. It was heart-breaking to see.

With a heavy heart and a lighter pocketbook, we started insulin. Cats metabolize faster than people which is why they don’t get sick from bad food as frequently as we do. That also means that the shots were administered twice a day because the insulin metabolized faster too.

So….would he cooperate?

Somehow in his pea brain he knew something. He knew this was a good thing because he wasn’t feeling so chipper.

I had no trouble with the shots at all. Easy peasy. Lickety split.

Since they were given roughly 12 hours apart with breakfast and dinner I wasn’t inconvenienced. If we went out for dinner it was easy to adjust the timing. For vacation he gets boarded so I don’t worry at all.

It took a while to stabilize him and we discovered that he didn’t do so well on the cat insulin. Nope! Not my cat. He needed people insulin.

That would be Lantus — the expensive stuff. Whadda cat! Cha-ching, cha-ching!

Now many years later, it’s all rote. He even jumps up on the chair for the glucose test which I rarely need to do.

But what is most amazing (and this is what this post is really about) is that he can communicate how he feels.

I didn’t get it at first. I’ve had this cat a long time and I know his habits and reactions. He eats twice a day with maybe a nosh of hard kibble during happy hour. That’s it. He doesn’t beg for food. He doesn’t steal it off counters.

Hey Cupcake! I need some help here!

Hey Cupcake! I need some help here!

One day he is yelling his fool head off. I have no idea what’s going on. He’s stalking his empty dish. It’s not food time.

Suspecting that he knew something I didn’t, I checked his blood glucose which was 30. For anyone unfamiliar with the numbers, your glucose reading (same for cats) should be between 75 and 150. A little higher won’t hurt but when it plummets very low there are serious consequences which includes coma and death.

The little bugger was telling me he needed carbs to up his glucose and he needed them NOW. What a smart cat.

I have a diabetic friend who can regulate by how he feels so maybe this isn’t unusual….unless you are a cat who speaks very limited, highly accented English.

Jake: Damn! Where did I put my stash! It's here somewhere. Ahhhh! Catnip! Life is good!

Jake: Damn! Where did I put my stash! It’s here somewhere. Ahhhh! Catnip! Life is good!

42 thoughts on “The amazing Mr. Jake | For Animal Lovers

  1. I’m glad to hear that Jake’s doing well and can help detect what’s ailing him. It’s so sad when you know there’s something wrong and you just wish your cat or dog (or whatever) could tell you. That’d make life a little less stressful. 😉


  2. I always enjoy your cat stories, and especially the ones about Jake. It’s kind of awe-inspiring that he is able to convey to you when he needs his blood sugar checked, and when he needs a carb-induced adjustment. It’s impossible to understand how much these little guys worm their way into our hearts (oh yes, and our pocketbooks). 🙂


  3. They really are so smart aren’t they? It amazes me how they communicate their needs but it also takes someone who is aware of their world to notice too. Unfortunately not all people are tuned in to the signs that surround them every day about life! I knew Coco was more sick than originally suspected because suddenly she was sleeping on my head every night! It was 30 out, hot and humid, why was she sleeping on my head! Because she had a tummy ache!


  4. I love Jake. Smart enough to find the right home. (Granny feels similar about litter boxes and if it’s not clean she’ll token get her front end in and that’s it….there’s a sea of papers over plastic around her box in her current suite….not that anyone would fail to notice a deposit has been made…RC is most displeased.)


  5. What a cat!! He’s not as dull as you thought huh – I have a cat that goes out the back door and in the front door – only! It’s just the way it is. Though I do tend to make the same toolbox statement about him that you use for Jake.

    My daughter’s cat who has just gone through a near-death experience and who took one vet and three vet assistants to hold down despite his near death state so they could administer the drugs, has suddenly become most cooperative about all medicinal advances on his person. We think it is because he understands.


  6. Kate, I feel like you posted this for me to read :). What a cutie! But so scary to have his glucose plummet like that! My vet and I are still trying the diet out here for Mac. Then I expect to check his glucose from the new diet and even a little purposeful weight loss within a week. Keeping my fingers crossed, but your post is heartening! xo


    • Good luck. At first we tried weaning him off all dry cat food and switching the wet to a healthier variety. It’s hard with multiple cats because he just ate their food and they hated the healthy stuff. I did keep him off the dry stuff for about a year or so but another vet told me they no longer believe that dry cat food contributes unless high in carbs. There are low carb varieties out now. End of story, Jake is back on his Friskies/Fancy Feast which he loves and he occasionally will nosh on the dry stuff. He also loves roasted chicken which I will give him when we get a rotisserie chicken for dinner. (Yes, he has me trained, doesn’t he?)


    • Not the table (he couldn’t jump that high) but the chair and it’s for his test. Cats have a capillary that runs along the edge of their ear. If you lance (gently) you will get a drop of blood to test. It doesn’t seem to bother him at all. I did try testing Hazel once. Oy vay! All hell broke loose! He gets his shots either when he is eating or right afterward. Doesn’t seem to bother him either. I think he understands in some primitive way that this stuff helps him stay healthy.


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