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Cat vs iPad

111130asterix

Kiri and Asterix, November 2011

Asterix is a seven-year-old black domestic shorthair (aka "mutt") cat.  He currently weighs around 20 pounds.

Around May 13th of 2013 I noticed that the litter box was especially foul with huge amounts of urine.  I thought at first that I had somehow forgotten to clean it but when the same thing happened 3 days later I knew that something was wrong.  After observing my two boys for a few days I realised that Asterix was the one who was ill and made a vet appointment for him.

Asterix was diagnosed with diabetes on the 29th of May.

I immediately switched him from dry food to a wet canned low-carb diet; I expected this to be difficult, but he was feeling terrible and had completely lost interest in his old food, and ate a can of food almost immediately.  On the 2nd of June we started Lantus insulin, 2 units BID.  (I had ordered it from a mail-order pharmacy that my vet prefers.)

Within a few days of starting insulin Asterix had a mild but scary hypoglycemic incident.  He was meowing very insistently, pacing, licking himself in a jerky, spastic manner and I knew just from the tone of the meow that something was wrong.  I fed him some raw fish smeared with honey and then some of his canned food, and he settled down.  The vet took him down to 1 unit BID.

After his first curve on June 11th he went down to .5 unit BID; the vet said then that it looked like he was going to go into remission, so he had another curve on June 25th.  The vet never gave insulin on the 25th and said that my cat appeared to be in remission.

I brought him in on June 29th for a fasting glucose draw and remission was confirmed at a blood glucose of 96.  The vet believes that the dietary change made more difference than the insulin and is the primary means of control in my cat, especially given that my cat had a hypo during the first week of treatment!

I feel badly about it, but I didn't get round to starting home testing during this month of stress and insanity because after I managed to get all the supplies I had a friend's wedding to work around and THEN I got really ill with some kind of stomach virus and had little to no paid time off work accumulated so when I got home I was just exhausted.

However, I do plan to start testing him soon so I can keep my eye on his numbers.  I don't ever want him to hit the renal threshold again.  The vet feels that he will stay under control as long as he is only fed high-protein, low-carb food and I believe that's probably true, but during the last week on the juice he gave me a terrible scare because I dropped a spoonful of buttercream frosting on the floor while making a cake and as I bent down immediately to clean it up, he ATE IT.  I gave him .5 u immediately because the cat had basically eaten an entire spoonful of cane sugar held together with butter...nothing bad happened, but I spent a worrisome few hours watching him.

I'm Kiri on the FDMB.  The FDMB and Lisa Pierson's http://catinfo.org page kept me sane during the month of madness and I believe that everyone with a diabetic cat should make use of them.  I work in a hospital and have had several close relatives with diabetes so I already knew quite a bit about it, but what is true for people isn't necessarily true for cats!

The vet just wanted Asterix on Purina DM, preferably wet; but it was Lisa Pierson's page that made me realise dry food is basically poison and put all my energy into getting him off it even before the insulin came.

I do feed mostly Purina DM, but it's very expensive and I have to have my other cat on a similar diet because Asterix will eat his food if I leave the room or try to do homework while they're eating; so I supplement it with other high-protein canned cat foods off the list from the FMDB such as Fancy Feast.  I also don't feed foods other than DM (non-Savory Selects) if they contain grain, gluten or wheat (I have celiac disease and react badly even to getting wheat products on my skin), fruit or potatoes.  Cats don't need that stuff!

I also firmly believe that dry food is what made my cat diabetic.  He is a large cat and has always been, but he has a large frame and a large head and until he began peeing buckets he was always extremely active and athletic, never sedentary.  He is his old self again now.  I am really angry at the pet food industry because I thought I was doing a good thing feeding him a high-quality dry diet from a good, veterinarian-approved brand and it turns out that this could've killed him.

~~~

Asterix passed away suddenly on 13 August 2015, but his glucose was fine till the end of his days. Our vet believes he had a heart attack.

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