There are many good people in the world and one of them was certainly the lady who rescued an unwanted cat called “Fletch” from an animal shelter to give him a proper home. When she visited the animal care home there was a choice of about twenty cats, but fate stepped in and one bright orange cat came right up to her and kissed her on the nose! Thus an instant decision was made and Fletch had found a new home and a caring owner.
The lady was told his name was Fletch but nobody seemed to know how he came by that. He had no name tag. He did, however, have distinguishing features, for he was a handsome orange tiger stripe and unmistakeable in the company of any group of cats. Fletch had obviously been looked after since he had been neutered and seemed to have been well fed.
Fletch soon settled into his new home and became firm friends with the lady’s other cat, a black and white male called Sammy. They were both young cats and would frolic and play on the carpet and chase each other around the sofa. Both cats were fond of their diet of grain free chicken and turkey, chicken and chicken liver, and Friskies Supreme Supper meals including turkey and giblets, which gave them all the energy they needed to enjoy their life day to day and month to month.
The years passed and Fletch and Sammy were happy cats and passed their days without a care in the world. It wasn’t until Fletch was about ten that things changed rather suddenly when his lady owner noticed he was peeing and pooping much more than normal, and seemed to have an excessive thirst. He was eating fine but, did he seem to be getting thinner?
It was his change in behaviour that finally convinced the lady to take him to the vet. Instead of his normal daily routine Fletch took to hiding under the bed and didn’t seem to want to socialize at all.
The vet said he was dehydrated and he would have to run some blood tests. The result was that Fletch had diabetes, the secondary type that can afflict cats as they get older, and especially neutered male cats. With repeated daily testing a satisfactory dose of insulin (Vetulin) was established at 2U twice a day. After about a week, Fletch was obviously feeling better and behaving more like his old self again, with more energy and taking an interest in the world again. He was never, perhaps quite as playful again, but then he was getting on in years.
It was only about three months later, however, when Fletch was obviously not right once again, needing higher doses of insulin, and drinking water excessively. The vet then diagnosed acromegaly, which apparently results from a tumour in the pituitary gland in the brain. This produces too much of a hormone that blocks the action of insulin so the animal has a need for increasing amounts of insulin.
In addition there are side effects that include the enlargement of parts of the body, particularly the jaws, or head. The heart also becomes enlarged which, unfortunately can lead to congestive heart failure in time. Kidney problems may also develop.
The diabetes in this type of case is secondary to the underlying problem of a cancerous growth, and although the diabetes can be controlled, the tumour is difficult to treat satisfactorily in a small animal. The best chance is with early diagnosis, so it is important for the responsible cat owner to keep a watchful eye on their pet and take note of any fairly sudden changes in their appearance, or habits and behaviour. Cancer is something that modern medicine has yet to beat and can occur in any animal or human, especially as we get older.
Diabetes, however, can be successfully managed and Fletcher had as good a life as any cat, right up to his old age, thanks to a caring owner.