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Today’s blog post will be very short because I have to take both of my cats to the vet.
Neither of them are eating anything. I know! Cats, not eating. This is not a scenario I am familiar with in this house. It wouldn’t really be a problem, except Clovis (the fluffy one) has Type 1 diabetes.
She was diagnosed about 3 years ago. She displayed all the usual symptoms – ravenous hunger, thirst, weight-loss. She stopped cleaning herself, and looked scruffy and unkempt. Her eyes looked dull and she lost interest in life generally. She went from a lively, affectionate cat who never failed to meet us at the door when we returned home, to a lethargic, depressed little creature who sat slumped in the corner all the time. When I brought the dreaded Cat Basket of Doom down from the loft, instead of running for the hills, she actually walked inside, as if saying, “About time, for goodness sake. I feel like crap. Take me to the vet.”
The vet said she was lucky not to sustain any kidney or eye damage, and started her on a course of insulin treatment.
Unlike type 2 diabetes sufferers, type 1 diabetes sufferers don’t make any insulin at all. Her pancreas had simply packed up one day. She couldn’t be treated with a special controlled diet, or with pills – she is now completely insulin dependent.
It was a very upsetting time for us all – having to learn to inject her with insulin was really quite traumatic. I had to practise with water at first. She was very patient as I botched injection after injection, and she never once tried to bite me.
She has a reputation at the vet’s as the most docile, sweet tortoiseshell cat they’ve ever seen. Most torties go ballistic at the vet, especially when blood has to be taken. It’s a grim process – Clovis has her neck shaved and then she is held still while a vet nurse puts a big old needle into her throat and draws out a vial of blood. At first, I couldn’t even watch, but I told myself that if she could put up with the procedure so bravely, I could at least watch and support.
Obviously, if she doesn’t eat, then I can’t give her insulin – otherwise her blood sugar count will drop to dangerous levels and she’ll have a hypoglycaemic attack. Unfortunately, the symptoms of low blood sugar and high blood sugar are pretty similar, and I end up not knowing what to do for the best.
It’s odd that she has diabetes. The exact same kind of diabetes runs in my dad’s side of the family.
A counsellor once told me that sometimes pets who love us very much, take on that which is meant for us. I’ll just leave that thought there…