As I’m writing this, I’m sitting on half a chair because one of my cats is comfy in the bigger portion of it. How could I dare cause her any discomfort? I’m a spoiler and the idea of doing anything to make my cats uncomfortable tears at my heart in awful ways.
As a cat parent, you understand this too.
So, you also get how torn up I was when I learned I’d have to give my tabby soul mate two injections a day for the rest of his life.
It was gut-wrenching to learn even though I knew it was coming.
Drinking So Much Water
After kicking an upper respiratory infection as a young kitten, Frodo was one of the healthiest cats you’d ever meet. He got to be a chubby boy who loved his kibble way too much, but otherwise, we was a finely-tuned feline machine who stayed at my side through the hardest moments of my adult life.
In the year my boy turned 12, I knew Frodo had a problem of some sort. He would sit with his chin propped on the water dish at pretty regular intervals just so he could be close enough to get a sip anytime he wanted. And he wanted water all the time. At all hours of the day and night, you could hear his tongue lapping furiously at the water bowl.
His insane, unquenchable thirst had me concerned my cat had diabetes.
In addition to the heavy water drinking, other little signs had begun to form.
He wanted to eat all the time, but my fat cat was turning into quite the skinny cat. I tried to give him wet food to help fill him up and relieve his thirst, but he was one of the rare picky cats who turned his nose up at wet cat food no matter what. So, he just kept shoveling in the dry food and getting scrawnier.
And let’s not even get into all the litter pan scooping! Because of his heavy water consumption, Frodo was peeing out the biggest puddles you’d ever seen from a cat!
He was exhibiting classic cat diabetes symptoms.
To the Vet
So, to the vet we went. There, bloodwork confirmed my suspicions. Our tabby boy indeed had diabetes.
When I learned he would need twice daily daily insulin injections, my emotional heart cried out inside, “What do you mean, I have to give my cat shots?”
Intellect and reason told me of course I would give him the injections he needed, but the heart is a fickle thing! Even now, my palms are sweating as I recall those first days of administering insulin shots to my cat. It’s a scary thing to know you have to bring any kind of pain to someone you love. Even if it is for their own good.
But Frodo needed me to give him those shots, no matter my emotional hang-ups. And for him, the cat who served as an emotional rock during life’s turbulences, I’d toughen up no problem.
The first time I had to him the shot, my hands shook as I rolled the insulin vial in my hands to warm and mix the refrigerated medicine. Which, by the way, always remember to roll an insulin bottle, never shake it! I drew up the tiny measure Frodo had been prescribed and put him on the counter. Oblivious to what I was about to do, he settled right down and sat like the angel kitty he was.
And then arrived the moment of truth. I pinched up the skin on the scruff of his neck and slid the needle into the soft tissue. He barely grumbled as I pressed the plunger! In the past, I’d received way worse of a telling off from him over things far less!
Laughing with joy at another realization of how special this cat was, I tossed the needle in the sharps container and swept my boy into a hug.
Just like that, the shot was done and Frodo had handled it far better than me!
But for all my worry and concern about hurting Frodo, he was a tough boy who barely paid the shots any mind. In fact, by the end of it all, he’d started jumping onto the counter and helping me prepare everything. He’d gotten to be quite a fan of all the love and fuss I made over him at shot time.
Good with Shots, Bad with Canned Food
I’ll tell you what the real battle turned out to be. Remember how I mentioned Frodo didn’t care for canned food? Well, dry food is full of carby sugars which can exacerbate and even lead to diabetes in cats who only eat kibble. Which means canned cat food is better for diabetic cats. Less carbs, more moisture. But what do you do with a cat who refuses any and every kind of wet food on the market? That’s right, you stay frustrated because cats wrote the book on stubborn. So, the battle of canned food continued on and Frodo won, never eating a morsel of wet food!
After three years of diabetes, Frodo’s body grew tired and it was time for him to go. And though he’s been gone for a couple of years now, he’s still with me, in my heart and in my memories. His need for me to toughen up in the face of his illness has helped me with all my cats. Now, I’m much more confident in helping them through any situation which might arise, no matter how uncomfortable it might be. After all, commitment is both a wonderful and messy thing, but our cats are completely worth it!