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Anyone want a free diabetic cat?

 
 
Reply Thu 17 Aug, 2006 09:58 am
I have an eleven-year-old cat who has just been diagnosed with diabetes mellitis. I have been informed that from now on, I will have to give him insulin shots twice a day, twleve hours apart, for the rest of his life. Due to my erratic schedule, this is going to be just about impossible for me. I live alone, so I don't have anybody to help out in this endeavor either. I need to find other options.

Is there anywhere that I might find someone insane enough to take in a diabetic cat? I don't want to just drop him at some animal shelter, because I feel like that would be as good as a death sentence.

Any suggestions?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 15,600 • Replies: 152
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Tico
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Aug, 2006 10:19 am
I'm so sorry about this. You must do what you feel in your heart is the best thing for both you and the cat. If you must take it to a shelter, try to find a no-kill one. Although that is going to sound strange when you read the next bit.

I had a diabetic cat who died about 10 years ago. If another pet of mine ever develops this disease, I will take it to the vet for euthanasia as soon as it's quality of life suffers. Unless things have greatly changed since my experience, the constant vet visits trying to stabilize the blood sugar and the many complications of diabetes are too cruel. There is no cure, only fast or slow deterioration, and I am convinced that I tortured that cat trying to prolong it's life, albeit with the best intentions in the world. I now believe that euthanasia would be a kindness.

Having said that, the reason I suggest a no-kill shelter is because I believe that regular shelters often have labs and schools take their non-adoptable pets for experiments. I know that research on a diabetic cat may result in some medical breakthrough for other diabetic cats, but I just could not stomach the thought of my very sick cat being further tortured. I did, however, allow the vet to dispose of my cat's body post-euthanasia, and if he saw fit to give it to a lab, so be it.
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Tico
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Aug, 2006 10:24 am
I just had another, and maybe better, idea -- depending on your cat's personality. If it is extremely friendly and calm, it might be a candidate for one of those pet programs in elder care facilities. The nurses would have no problem with the insulin injections. (Actually the injections were the easiest thing about caring for a diabetic cat but ,as you noted, the schedule is critical.)

Perhaps that's an avenue to explore.
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Sweet Thistle Pie
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Aug, 2006 10:52 am
First, thanks for taking the time to write. Sorry you had to go through that. My cat actually does have a very mellow, easy-going personality, so maybe that elder care/pet deal might be an option. I don't have any idea what that means though. Are you talking about a program involving senior citizens, in some kind of nursing home or something? That really sounds like a good possibility if I can figure out how to go about it.

This cat is so laid back though that I can't even tell if he's in pain. He seems to be okay, except that his back legs are a little bit weak. My vet told me that should go away after the treatment starts working though.
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Tico
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Aug, 2006 11:50 am
I should have said, in my first post: Welcome to A2K, Sweet Thistle Pie.

Yes, if my cat's experience was anything to go by, your cat will become steadier for awhile. He's probably not in any pain just yet. My cat was on insulin treatment for about 12-15 months before the blood sugar counts became very erratic and his suffering became acute.

And yes, I meant a senior citizen program in a nursing home. I don't have any experience with these, but I've heard about them. Perhaps look through your local Yellow Pages for elder care volunteer services or a large elder care organization, and start there.

Good luck, and if you do pursue this, I'd love to hear what happens.
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Aug, 2006 02:03 pm
You might also check your area for No Kill shelters that specialize in finding homes for hard-to-place pets.
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Aug, 2006 03:26 pm
Talk to littlek about it. She's been nursing one along for 4 or five years.
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Sweet Thistle Pie
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Aug, 2006 03:45 pm
littlek? Okay then.

littlek, littlek, wherefore art thou littlek?
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littlek
 
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Reply Thu 17 Aug, 2006 06:59 pm
Welcome Sweet Thistle Pie, sorry to hear about your cat. When my cat was diagnosed, I thought I would never be able to handle it. The expense, the timing, the glucose swings...... but right now the cat is a hell of a lot easier for me to deal with than the dog (whole other story). It is expensive and it is a pain the butt, but it is so worth it. My cat was very ill until he stabilized (it took a couple of years for this to happen), but now the shots are just part of his feeding ritual. The 12-hour thing is tough. It means no over-night trips, scheduling late nights just so, begging my parents to take him in one more time..... And, by the way, by 12-hours they really mean between 11 and 13 hours. And there are ways tweak the system even further if the cat is basically stable (not exceptionally good for the cat's health).

Why is your schedule so erratic? Is there no way to accomodate your little friend? There are many people caring for diabetic cats. You could probably start a network through your vet where you fill in for each other when necessary. If not, you can pay someone to shoot the cat, but that gets expensive.

And, of course, if there is just no way you can care for your cat (your little, sweet, fuzzy, long-time friend - ok, that's the extent of the guilt trip), there are other options. If you search google you will find several (maybe many by now) website devoted to diabetic cats (sugar cats). I imagine there is a network there for adoptions - perhaps someone nearby will take in another diabetic pet. No-kill shelters are great, but they may not take diabetic cats.

I will read up (earlier posts) a little later.

One more thing.......... some cats respond very well to a new (expensive) insulin and will be able to be stable with only one shot per day. It's called PZI insulin.
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cyphercat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Aug, 2006 07:53 pm
I hate to say this, but if you can't find a place for the kitty (the sweet, good, dear kitty-- whoops, sorry Smile ) like a senior center or a shelter for diabetic cats as littlek suggested, and you REALLY can't take care of it-- it seems to me that the only correct course of action is for you to bite the bullet and have kitty put to sleep yourself. Don't sentence your cat to spending its last days at a shelter, only to end up dying with strangers.

If you take your cat to a regular animal shelter, it is not going to be adopted. After all, you won't deal with its illness, and you've known it for years-- so why would some stranger looking to adopt a pet choose an older animal with a disease? Older cats are hard to get adopted anyway, let alone a diseased older cat. Taking kitty to a shelter that does euthanasia is a death sentence. So do the hard thing and let kitty die with his family, which is you.

That said, I certainly hope you can find a way to work caring for your cat into your schedule, or that you find him a loving home. Best of luck to both of you. (((((((((hugs for kitty)))))))))
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littlek
 
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Reply Thu 17 Aug, 2006 07:58 pm
Tico, I'm sorry for your experience. I had two cats, one (girl) died about a year before the other (boy) was diagnosed with diabetes. Girl died a long agonizing death in intesnive kitty care which I prolonged (with best intentions). Girl died of pancreatitis, which may or may have had something to do with undiagnosed diabetes. It was a devastating experience for me, as I'm sure your experience was. So, the wound was still fairly raw when I found out boy was diabetic a year later. I was still in debt from kitty care, too. So, I considered the option of putting my cat down. The vet said she wouldn't do it. A sloppy, messy, frustrating year or two later, things evened out and they continue to be breezy. My cat and I have a better understanding of one another and he has become more loving and affectionate - more attached to me. I adore this cat, he's priceless - worth his weight in gold - LITERALLY. But, he was close to death acouple times en route to this easy plateau.

I feel your pain, Tico, I really do. But, consider easing up on your advice about euthenasia.

Or perhaps consider me that crazy lady who carries her crippled 60 lb dog up and down a flight of stairs several times a day and disregard my post.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Aug, 2006 08:03 pm
And some links

http://www.felinediabetes.com/
http://www.fabcats.org/diabetes.html
http://www.cats.org.uk/catcare/key_cat_care_diabetic.asp
http://www.petdiabetes.com/

Do you live in a city? Near a city? Good vets near by?

If you decide to keep and care for your cat, stick around, I can help.
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Green Witch
 
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Reply Thu 17 Aug, 2006 08:08 pm
littlek, instead of becoming a teacher perhaps you should have become a vet. Just think of all the money you would have saved on vet bills.

Why is I've started to hear so much about cats having diabetes in the last few years (Anyone else read "Waiting for My Cats to Die" by Stacy Horn?). Is it a new problem like adult diabetes in children? How do they get it?
Just wondering here.
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Sweet Thistle Pie
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Aug, 2006 08:13 pm
Wow. Thank you for all that great information.

littlek wrote:
Is there no way to accomodate your little friend?


That is the question that has been nagging me for the past three days. I'm still working it out, but I don't see how I can.

The real issue is not my erratic schedule, because I think I could probably make that problem go away if I really had to.

The real issue is: Just how much I am willing to give up for my pet?

Let's see...

I do have these feelings of attachment to this cat that actually make me almost cry every time I think about giving him away. But it also feels like insanity to me to give my whole life over for a cat. Especially if there is a possibility that I can find a home for him. Not that I think you're insane. Actually maybe you are a little bit crazy, but in a good, charitable way. Smile

I love to go out, and I love to be free to come and go as I please. I love my life as it is. Am I willing to give it all up?

Plus, I don't have a lot of disposable income. I just paid my vet almost five hundred dollars, with another two hundred dollar test to come next week. And who knows how many after that? I can't afford to be spending over a hundred dollars extra each month. Even half of that would be a herculean task for me.

It's been only three days since this all started, and I am completely overwhelmed by all this new information and all these new things I am now forced to deal with. I have been back and forth to the vet every morning this week, I've been reading, and I've been asking people about this. I've been looking into my cat's cute little face and promising him that he'll be alright. I've been looking things up online. And this is not the only big change in my life that is happening right now. I am a wreck.

The ironic thing about all this is that one of the main reasons I got a cat in the first place was because of all the flexibility it allowed me to have.

Sorry I went on and on, but like I said, this is all brand new to me and I'm still trying to work it all out.

Okay, now I have to go, because I have to give him a shot.

Thanks, and thank you Noddy and tico
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cyphercat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Aug, 2006 08:30 pm
Lil'k, I know you addressed Tico, but I also urged Thistle to consider euthanasia, so I thought I'd just reiterate why...because I hated suggesting putting an animal to sleep, but I still think it might be the right thing under some circumstances; but I don't want anyone to think I said it lightly...

First, I have to say that it's SO nice that you've worked so hard on keeping your kitty alive, and it's great that it's actually made him more affectionate...Makes me teary to think of you and your kitty! Crying or Very sad And it's wonderful that you'll do anything for your pets, I'm the same way and it's so nice to know that other people feel that way too.

I do really hope Thistle will reconsider working her schedule around helping her cat, especially after reading about your experience with the same problem. I had a guinea pig who was sick and I nursed him along for a short while, giving him his medications and water several times a day (his disease was more serious than the vet thought, though, so he didn't hang in for long), and it was actually a good experience in a way, although very sad. It's nice to feel like you've done your absolute best by your friend.

But if thistle really just cannot keep the kitty, it breaks my heart to think of a cat that has (presumably) been in one home for years suddenly getting uprooted and left in a shelter, and then be sick and without his human he's attached to. I know how strongly my cats are bonded to me and how scared they'd be if I left them with other people. And then if he's just going to be put to sleep anyway, which seems highly likely if she takes him to a regular shelter...well, then it seems so much better for him to stay with Thistle until the end.
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yellowlab
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Aug, 2006 08:31 pm
My sister in law had a cat with diabetes. She gave the sweet pet shots. Sadly the cat passed a few years ago. It was very sad for my sister in law, but she knew it was her responsibly.
You adopted this friend. There is going to be a way. Talk to your vet about expenses. If you need to call another vet. Be honest....with them about the money.
It becomes a sad world when someone who we love becomes ill. You can handle this.................
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Aug, 2006 08:33 pm
I'm back, I had to shoot the cat.

Indeed, it IS a lot of info. That's why I say "stick around". You can only (or I could only) take in so much at any given time. My head was in a swirl of data for weeks at first. Now it's all pretty much routine. But, I can help with the details when you need them. I am crazy, remember? I spend round $250 on animal meds per month (for two ridiculously cute little furballs). I am a nanny, in grad. school, living in one of the most expensive cities in the states. I am in debt. I have gone off one of my own meds and have reduced my health care coverage to afford my pets. Yep. Definitely crazy.

Keep your sense of humor - it can only help. Your mantra might be "it's a good thing you're (the cat) cute" - quote attributed to Quinn1.

I know exactly what you mean about the ease of having a cat - the flexibility. And what diabetes does to that. Perhaps you could look for a suitable home for your cat while caring for him. Sort of a compromise. You keep footing the bills while you and your vet look for a willing and able host for you little pal.

How and when was your cat diagnosed? How bad had he gotten? What insulin has your vet put him on? What food is he (your cat, not the vet) eating? Is he (ditto) over-weight?

Greenwitch - in re vet school: I couldn't have disected a cat, I don't think. Maybe I could now. I have and am considering part-time vet tech work. I would still get a discount. I think what we are seeing is a willingness on the part of pet owners to care for sick pets and a better diagnostic ability in vet practices around the US. So, cats are more often diagnosed with diabetes before they die from it and they are more likely to be kept by their owners (or other willing hosts).
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Aug, 2006 08:43 pm
Cypher - definitely there is a time for euthanasia (I can never spell that word right!). I held on to girl cat too long, I prolonged her agony. I regret this bitterly. I understand. But, I think there are other options besides dying in a shelter and making Thistle's life miserable.

Yellowlab, I agree for me, there will always be a way. My cat will live another few years, my dog less time than that. I'll recover my finacial losses. Someday. Some faaaaar away day. My vet is only accomodating me by not making me keep my regular scheduled appointments. She doesn't force me to come monthly for glucose checks in order for me to keep my subscription. She doesn't make me come for liver enzyme checks on my dog to keep her on her pain killers. She isn't even pushing my dog's rabies shots (which she should be doing). So, she charges me full price for meds and services, but doesn't push the services.

I do have a little elf who will send me free meds every now and then (he's family and he sends the free samples vets get to hand out to clients. I am not a client - tsk tsk).
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Tico
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Aug, 2006 08:47 pm
littlek wrote:
... I feel your pain, Tico, I really do. But, consider easing up on your advice about euthenasia.

Or perhaps consider me that crazy lady who carries her crippled 60 lb dog up and down a flight of stairs several times a day and disregard my post.


Disregard? Nevah! Crazy or no, I admire you. And maybe you're right about the euthanasia thing ~ but when I first responded, I didn't know the quality of STP's commitment to her cat. The most important thing in my mind was NOT to dump it at any old shelter. And I was reliving what Fitz (my cat) endured ~ when I look back on it now, I wonder if I was doing it for him or for my own ego. But each cat is different as well, and STP & her vet must make their decisions based on her cat's capabilities. Also my experience was over 10 years ago and, as you've indicated littlek, care has advanced.

(((hugs))) to all of us and our beloved critters.


Quote:
It's been only three days since this all started, and I am completely overwhelmed by all this new information and all these new things I am now forced to deal with. I have been back and forth to the vet every morning this week, I've been reading, and I've been asking people about this. I've been looking into my cat's cute little face and promising him that he'll be alright. I've been looking things up online. And this is not the only big change in my life that is happening right now. I am a wreck.


Special hugs to STP, take deep breaths and baby steps. As for the expense, I understand that part too, but the good news is that once all the initial testing is done and your cat is stabilized, the expense goes way down. Luckily, insulin and syringes are cheap (at least where I am). And keep talking to us. There are a lot of cat people on this forum, and the Australian contingent will soon be up and will lend their experience and support, as well. Keep talking to us.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Aug, 2006 08:53 pm
One more link: my thread on Screech, the diabetic cat...... http://www.able2know.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=768&highlight=diabetic+cat


Tico - Agreed. I know you did the best for your cat that you could possibly do. Every situation is different - yesiree!
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