Sassy cats — Remembering Jake

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

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

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.

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!

65 thoughts on “Sassy cats — Remembering Jake

  1. I had a lovely black cat just like your Jake! I think all animals are pretty smart…but you have to pay attention to know what they’re saying. My cat Troy passed away this time last year. In his last few days he could barely move and I sat with him all night knowing he was likely to go any time. Suddenly he started to twitch and mew intermittently…I knew he was saying something but I didn’t know what..I soon found out when my lap and the the towel I had around him became soaked – he needed the loo, and he was trying to tell me. I certainly knew for next time, when I gently laid him in the litter tray. I know how you must miss Jake, with all his distinctive little quirks…as we miss our boy greatly.

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  2. He definitely was a cat-an-a half, Kate! What a special friend. They never ever leave our hearts, and I understand how a particular time of year can bring back the memory. Our bunny died this week and my granddaughters were just hysterical. The older one lamented that if it hurt this much to lose a bunny she couldn’t bear to think about losing Zena, our dog. Her mother and i just exchanged glances and later I told her when it comes to that time she won’t just have to worry about her girls, she’s going to have to take care of ME. Our pets are our family. Thanks for the memories of sweet Jake. I can easily understand how you still miss him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The pain is so great that some people don’t get another pet but that’s foolish. Eighteen years of fun and nonsense can never be diminished by a passing. My heart goes out to your granddaughters. Children brought up with animals, grow up kind.

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      • I could tell he was special. As a person who works from home and has no relatives, my little canary was so important to me. He had a stroke and I had to have him euthanized … I told myself there would be no more pets as it broke my heart. This was my Buddy (and before him, my canary Sugar died the same day as my mom … in front of me no less … at that time I said no more pets, but my neighbor said ‘no, you have to have company!”) https://lindaschaubblog.net/2016/12/04/forty-feathered-friends-at-the-footbridge/

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        • I had a canary when I was young. I loved that thing. He had toys and a special bath attachment to his cage. He sang his heart out. One day we got up and he was dead on his cage floor. We all missed his songs. It’s doesn’t matter what it is, life is precious and should be celebrated.

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          • I agree with you Kate and people probably could not understand how a little bird can bring so much enjoyment, but we got a lot of pleasure out of all our birds. We had a parakeet that talked a blue streak. Our canary Sugar would sing so loud and simultaneously would go through his swing. He’d sail through at the speed of sound and would keep it up over and over again. We used to worry he’d make a misstep or have a heart attack. We’d go over to talk to him to help him give himself a rest, as he was so exuberant in pleasing us. He’d stop and come to the front of the cage, then go back to his routine. They both loved to sing and got so much pleasure out of it, as did we. And they loved Christmas songs, the softer the female songs, the better – both loved Karen Carpenter’s voice. They sure didn’t love my voice as I can’t carry a tune!

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  3. What a beautiful cat Jake was! And what a nice tribute to him. It felt very familiar to me because we also had an insulin-dependent diabetic kitty. She was also a black kitty with gold eyes, like Jake.

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    • He was my second. My first made it to 14 years but back then (the 90s) the insulins weren’t as good and she did have issues periodically with bladder infections and neuropathy in her back legs. She was a great cat though.

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  4. Those eyes of his against his black shimmering fur just stand out so nicely. Beautiful cat! Love his personality, and LOL at his OCD with his litter box. 🙂
    Wow about how he was cluing you in on his blood sugar being low. Animals are amazing! And good for you in being attentive enough to pick up on it.
    Thanks for sharing Jake with us. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Glad to get to know, Jake, since I wasn’t around then. I had a diabetic cat once, too. He didn’t last as long as your Jake. You did a wonderful job with him, and he knew you’d answer his call when he needed it.

    Have a nice weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It sounds like Jake had a great personality. It’s really neat how you can capture funny cat pictures like the one with Jake poking his head under the greenery. By the time I grab my camera, my cats have moved on to something more mundane.

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