Sunday, May 5, 2024

"Bear's Diabetes Journey Begins"

Bear's New Food Supply
It turns out I was right that something was going on with my cat when I went through two boxes of cat litter in just 1 and a half weeks!  It's been one week since I received the news that my cat, Bear, has Diabetes.  This was terrible news.  I knew it meant I would have to poke him everyday with a needle to give him Insulin and he'd have to eat only special food.  He had been eating dry Hill's Science diet and getting a half tablespoon twice a day of wet food as a snack (which is what he was getting at the shelter).  He is only 6 and I will have only had him a couple years coming up on June 6.

With a heavy heart and a lot of determination, I went last Saturday afternoon to learn how to give him the Insulin, praying that God would help me be able to do this.  To my relief, it was actually easier than I thought it would be.  Giving pills is way harder!  To my surprise, Bear didn't seem to mind it at all!  We even did 3 or 4 practice pokes with plain saline solution.  I assumed that switching to all wet food would not be a problem, but I was wrong.  Bear liked any flavor of Friskies, Sheba, and Fancy Feast none of which are on the approved food list the vet gave to me.  None of the approved brands are at Giant Eagle where we do our food shopping so have to go to either Petsmart, Petco or order from Chewy.  

The biggest thing that is very important is to give the Insulin every 12 hours, and only two meals a day, waiting at least 30 minutes after the meal.  Sounded easy enough, but here's the kicker--I never knew how fast or how slow he'd eat.  

Day 1 Sun. & 2 Mon:

I assumed one can would be a meal and he ate the two cans of Tiki Cat on Sunday, the first day and gave him the Insulin with no problem.  It dawned on me after the second day, to call the vet and see how much I should be giving him.  That's when I was told to give him 230 cal. per day--115 cal. at each meal.  Every flavor is a different amount of calories!  So, I realized he only had 140 calories on Sunday and Monday. 

Day 3 Tue

I gave him Wellness Turkey Dinner 1 1/4 can for breakfast (122 cal.)  I was so happy he ate the whole serving and for supper I gave him the same thing but he only picked at it and ate maybe 1/4 if that.  At this point I am very concerned that 3 days in a row he did not eat enough.  Got the whole dose of Insulin at breakfast, but for supper only half a dose.

Day 4 Wed:

Breakfast only at 1/2 can of Wellness Turkey and 1/2 can of Tiki Cat Salmon (only 84 cal. instead of 115).  I call the vet and tell her he's not eating anywhere near enough.  The vet gave me some appetite stimulant pills to see if that would get him eating more.  The dose was only 1/4 pill every 24 hours and should be given 1/2 an hour before the meal.  Great!  

Gave him the 1/4 pill at 4:00, fed him 1/2 can of Tiki Cat Chicken-egg, 1/2 can Wellness turkey and 3/4 Weruva chicken.  He only ate a very small amount, I gave him credit for just 45 cal.

At this point, I am in panic mode!  This was the lowest calorie day yet, even with the pill!  I decided to switch over to the new food only gradually, mixing it with some of his other wet food.  Unfortunately, I had already donated his old food to the animal shelter so had to buy some more.  I've been through this scenario before with my first cat, Moe, who developed Fatty Liver Disease when he quit eating.  I cannot let this cat get to that point of not eating.  I can see he lost more weight already!  

I shared this as a prayer request at my small group Bible Study that evening.

Day 5 Thur.:

It took him from 5:11 a.m. to 5:45 a.m. to eat 1/2 can of Beef Friskies (old food) and 1/2 can of Weruva chicken for total of 86 cal.  Gave him another 1/4 appetite stimulant pill at 4:00.  From 4:30 - 5:20 He ate 1/2 can Friskies chicken dinner, 1 can Fancy Feast Salmon and 1/4 can Weruva chicken (new food) for a  total of 165 cal.  Finally ate over the 230 cal. goal!  I figure I HAD to get him eating to make up for those low four days.

Praise the Lord!  This is where things began to turn around!  😊

Day 6 Fri:

He ate slow without the appetite stimulant since he ate so much the day before, but he did eat a total of 239 calories (92 of which were the new food)!  Finally made the goal of 230.

Day 7 Sat:

He ate breakfast slow (88 cal.) but then supper he ate it all in just 15 minutes!  He even ate 1/4 more of just the new food about 10 minutes later (156 cal.)  Total for the day was 244 (89 approved food).

So, it's now been a week.  I just want to advise anyone else going through this process, switch over gradually to the new food.  Mix it up with the old familiar good stuff first. Oh, and if you notice any change in your cat's behavior, get him checked out by a vet.  


Lin said...

Wow! You are doing so well! I think you have a better vet than we do and they are very detailed in how to help you and Bear. I'm glad you have such good support! You've got this!

Karen said...

Lin, thanks for the encouragement. It's quite the challenge but with God's help, I think we'll make it.

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