This is the time of year I think of my old cat Jake. He started going downhill fast around July 2015 and passed in September. He was a cat and a half. My only boy cat ever and what an attitude! This is what I wrote in 2014 when he was still doing well.
Jake is definitely a cat with an attitude.
Long time readers know I have an old diabetic cat named Jake. He has been diabetic for many 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 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.
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.