Daily Routine Of Her Diabetic Cat


Anne details some of the daily routine of her diabetic cat, Symba. Diabetes amongst pets is on the increase as it is in humans and the theme for American Diabetes Month 2012, which is this November,  is “A Day in the Life of Diabetes”. The cause of this increase is linked to the growing obesity epidemic, lack of exercise and poor diet.

“Symba was the cat who came to me shortly after I graduated from veterinary school. He became acutely ill while I was traveling, and my colleagues at  The Animal Medical Center diagnosed him with pancreatitis and diabetes. Pancreatitis, inflammation of the pancreas, destroys the ability of that organ to make insulin, and without insulin the result is diabetes. Recurrent pancreatitis and obesity commonly play a role in feline diabetes.

When Symba came home from the hospital, I had to give insulin injections twice a day. Easy for me, but an aspect of managing diabetes most families with a newly diagnosed diabetic cat initially worry about. In a recent international survey on the quality of life for cats with diabetes, 221 cat owners reported few difficulties in administering insulin, but they did not like adhering to the required rigid schedule of injections.

Twice daily insulin administration gives your cat the best chance of achieving remission of diabetes. Remission means no more insulin injections – good for you and your cat. Twice daily insulin injections did work for Symba. He went into remission which lasted over a year.

The feline diabetes quality of life survey found cat owners worried about hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar. Low blood sugar deprives critical organs of the sugar they need for fuel. Early signs of hypoglycemia include muscle tremors, lethargy, weakness, and staggering. A seizure or coma means the blood sugar is seriously low and a trip to the animal ER is necessary.

Monitoring blood sugar levels or urine sugar levels will help your cat avoid a hypoglycemic crisis. At the first signs of hypoglycemia, feeding a meal may avert a crisis. Although cat owners involved in the quality of life study worried about hypoglycemia, in actuality it rarely happened. When Symba developed hypoglycemia, I gave him the corn syrup I had in the kitchen cabinet just for this purpose. Maple syrup or honey work too. The good thing about a hypoglycemic crisis is it may mean your cat requires less insulin and might be going into diabetic remission.”

“Despite the challenges to cat and owner, 94% of cat owners rated their diabetic cat’s life as good, fairly good or as good as it could be. When asked if they would treat another cat for diabetes, a resounding 90% said yes.

Prevent diabetes in your cat by keeping her in ideal body condition. Control food intake and provide opportunities to exercise.”

We’ve posted many times before about how daunting the treatment for cat diabetes may initially appear and also about the dangers of blood sugar spikes. In many cases it does appear that insulin injections twice a day is the best policy however we strongly advocate blood sugar testing at home to ensure that the correct dosage of insulin is being administered. It is also good to note that many owners are aware of the dangers of hypoglycemia. Symba did go hypoglycemic and Anne doesn’t mention home testing and home testing may have prevented this from happening. Having said that the daily routine of her diabetic cat is typical of what an owner has to go through. But great to see Symba went into remission for a year but there is no mention of diet changes, which we consider as important as everything else to lasting remission.



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