About two months ago, my cat's behavior changed. She is now about 8 years old. After doing some on-line research, I took her to the vet. They confirmed my fear. On that day, I climbed on a roller-coaster. The vet took extra time with me to explain what was happening to my cat's body; why she was using the litter box more often, which caused her to drink more water. What I remember thinking at the time was, "Boy, I sure don't want this." I also thought of all my friends who live with diabetes every day.
I left the vet's office feeling sorry for my poor cat, and with a script for syringes and insulin. I also left scared to death because I hate the site of needles. I can't watch when they draw blood from me on my yearly checkup. The vet's office gave my sweet cat, Button, her first shot and showed me how to do it. I just had to get over my fear and do it. The vet's office also told me that if I were having trouble, to bring her to their office and they would hold her, while I gave her a shot until I got comfortable with the process. It was not as hard as I though it was going to be.
We started with 2 units of insulin twice a day. The closer I could give these shots to 12 hours apart, the better it would be for Button.
This diagnosis came the week before we left on a 10 day vacation. For the last year, I had left our house and two animals in the care of a 17 year old neighborhood girl, trying to earn money for college. If I felt uncomfortable giving my cat, who trusted me and few others, a shot twice a day, I could not expect this young lady to do this. Button got to spend the time boarded at the vet's office to ensure she would get her shots.
While I was afraid the time being boarded would traumatize her, she took it in stride. She seemed genuinely happy to see me when we returned, as apposed to punishing me for leaving her. She is a typical cat after all.
Some time in the last month, her symptoms returned; peeing too much and drinking more. This translates into having to clean out the litter box on a daily basis and purchasing more litter than usual. After another call to the vet, she is scheduled for a curve study. This is where they check her sugar level every hour of a day to see if her need for insulin has gone up. Result was an increase in the amount of insulin to 4 units twice a day.
If you are not watching the dollar signs, at this point I have purchased needles and insulin for $120, a better quality litter which cost twice as much, two vet visits, and 10 days of boarding. It will get worse before it gets better.
After giving more insulin, her symptoms disappear. Life returns to normal for a short while. Enjoy it while it lasts.
Her symptoms return and this time, she stops using her litter box. She goes right outside her box about half the time. It seems she does not like the smell, having to go so often. The local Petsmart recommends a second litter box. I place it upstairs in a bathroom. She ignores it. In desperation, I move it to her other litter box. That seems to work for a day. She then moves to peeing in a corner of my breakfast nook. UHHHH! Oh, and pooping on the dining room carpet!! I started putting a towel down on her spot in the breakfast nook. She continues to pee there and moves to pooping there too. Would you call this progress? I start putting down plastic lined pads under the towels so I wouldn't have to mop every time she pees. It amazed me, her ability to pee on the towel but miss the pad - I still got to mop.
Frustrated, I went back to the vet's office. By this time, hubby is loosing patience with both of us. The vet warned me that a diabetic cat was problematic. He also warned me that I should not let a cat run my life. I got where I did not want to get up, or come home from somewhere cause I new I was going to have to mop again. The vet upped her insulin to 5 units and said if this did not work, there were other options - better quality insulin and diabetic food ($$$$). He also recommended that I wait 4 days to see if the increase dosage made a difference.
After 4 more days of mopping, and having to wait to serve dinner to my family to mop yet again, we started thinking about throwing in the towel. In desperation, I went back to the web. I learned that the Lysol I was cleaning the floor with , was not good enough. I also learned that there was a brand of litter called "Cat Attracting Litter". Who knew? Another $60 trip to Petsmart for emezine type cleaner, a repellant to keep her away from her spot in the breakfast nook, new cat attracting litter, and a gamble on better quality cat food. I moved the second cat box to our bathroom and filled it with the new litter.
The next day, day 5 after the increase in insulin, everything kicked in. Her symptoms have been better, and best of all, she started using the new litter. I have been holding my breath that this will continue long term. This is day 3 that I have not had to mop the kitchen. I think I will replace my mop head now.
There may become a point where the cost of all of this will become prohibitive. I have blown my pet budget for the year and it is only June. Since Button does not like my hubby, I doubt that she will tolerate shots from him. This means that if I leave town to visit my mom or go on a quilt retreat will translate to additional cost of boarding.
One helpful suggestion I did get from my vet was where to purchase the insulin. I was so shocked with the dianosis and having to stick a needle in my cat twice a day, that I took my presciption to my pharmacy (CVS, the one I am forced to use by my hubby's insurance) and got it filled. The vet suggested checking with Walmart. What an eye opener. CVS price $90, Walmart price $24.99. That will be a great help. A bottle of insulin
has 1,000 units. Button is using 5 units, twice a day - 10 units a day into 1,000 units means a bottle will last a little over 3 months.
As of right now, I am enjoying a smooth ride on my cat roller coaster. I hope it continues.