Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Living with (cat) diabetes

This... Leo.  He's a beautiful mister.  Sadly, he was diagnosed with diabetes this week. 

Monday was one of those days.  I think I had poop on my hands four different times throughout the day (and seriously, by now, I'm pretty adept at avoiding that).  I spent the night in and out of bed with some sort of short-lived stomach bug.  And, I almost passed out at the vet's office.  So there was that.

The short and short of it is, though, that our big fluffy has been all out of sorts of late.  Shamefacedly, I admit that we've known something has been going on with him for a month or so, but I kept putting off another vet's bill because he was just in for his shots and whatnot a couple of months ago, and those bills aren't cheap. 

I did my Google best to figure out his issues prior to committing to an appointment (did you know there is an animal equivalent to WebMD?), and while "diabetes" definitely came up in my sleuthing, I was thinking he had this other issue, which I can't remember the name of, and for which I wasn't that excited to dole out the money for meds.  Diabetes, unfortunately, it is as confirmed in a couple of different tests. 

My boy is anything buy ferocious, but apparently, he fought the good fight against the vet, who eventually called me for an okay to sedate him just for a blood sample.  The other option was apparently a muzzle, a towel, and likely injury to all involved.  He fought like a true champ against his perceived enemy.  Ergo, he actually spent a pretty miserable night because the vet couldn't even get close to him to move him into a more comfortable cage.  Way to go, buddy.

Prior to that battle, I suddenly had a pretty bleak choice staring at me, which caught me both by surprise and while I was feeling all woozy.  I had to either commit to the medical bills entailed for regulating his blood sugar or I had to commit to having him put down.  Immediately.  So I made the choice, and he's back at home with us for the foreseeable future.  What it really means is that he has about a month of 2 insulin shots a day as well as a very strictly monitored, prescribed diet before we'll know whether he has to continue with the insulin injections.  Unfortunately, this is probably going to be the deal breaker.  They're pricey enough and he's skittish enough around all but 2 people (in the world) that it means one of us has to be with him every morning and every evening while he's on insulin, which overall just isn't feasible. 

Of course there's the standard refrain that He's just a cat.  But that's not really the the issue at stake, now, is it?  Of course, he is a cat, and there simply has to be a price that's too steep at some point.  But we believe in animals and in their emotional capacity.  We believe that there is a mutual love affair and that we have given them our pledge to care for them.  I know that many a person would not be willing to give their cat insulin shots or pay for more expensive food.  I guess my cat is a lucky one that he has a bit of a safety net here.  We're a pretty insular family, and once we lose one of the few pieces that we have, it's a colder, bleaker world. 

He's cuddling with me as I type this, and some day I'll miss that.  But, it's not going to be today because I sure do love his big, throaty purr. 

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