As I write this, I am sitting in half a chair because one of my cats is comfortable in the larger part. How dare I make her uncomfortable? I am a spoiler and the idea of doing everything I can to bring unpleasant tears in my heart to my cats in terrible ways.
As a cat parent, you understand that too.
So you can also see how torn I was when I learned that I would have to give my tabby soulmate two injections a day for the rest of his life.
It was nerve-wracking to learn even though I knew it was coming.
Drink so much water
After causing an upper respiratory infection as a young kitten, Frodo was one of the healthiest cats you have ever met. He had to be a chubby boy who loved his nibble far too much, but otherwise we were a finely tuned cat machine to help me through the toughest moments of my adult life.
The year my boy turned 12, I knew Frodo had a problem. He sat with his chin on the bowl of water at regular intervals, just so he was close enough to take a sip at any time. And he wanted water all the time. At every hour of the day and night you could hear your tongue tapping the bowl of water angrily.
His insane, insatiable thirst had made me concerned that my cat had diabetes.
In addition to the heavy drinking of water, other small signs had formed.
He wanted to eat all the time, but my fat cat turned into a pretty thin cat. I tried giving him wet food to fill him up and relieve his thirst, but he was one of the rare fussy cats who turned their noses up on wet cat food no matter what. So he just kept shoveling in the dry food and got skinny.
And let’s not even scoop up the whole litter box! Because of his high water consumption, Frodo peed out the biggest puddles you had ever seen from a cat!
He showed classic symptoms of feline diabetes.
To the vet
So we went to the vet. Blood tests there confirmed my suspicions. Our tabby boy actually had diabetes.
When I learned that he would need insulin injections twice a day, my emotional heart screamed inwardly, “What do you mean, I have to give my cat shots?”
Intellect and reason of course told me I would give him the injections he needed, but the heart is a capricious thing! Even now, my palms are sweating as I remember the first few days I gave my cat insulin. It’s scary to know that you have to cause pain to someone you love. Even if it’s for their own good.
But Frodo needed me to give him those shots regardless of my emotional problems. And for him, the cat who served as an emotional stone during life’s turmoil, I wouldn’t exacerbate a problem.
The first time I had to give him the shot, my hands shook as I rolled the insulin bottle in my hands to warm and mix the chilled medicine. Which, by the way, always thinks about rolling an insulin bottle, never shaking it! I drafted the tiny measure Frodo had been prescribed and put it on the counter. Not knowing what I was up to, he sat down and sat like the kitten he was.
And then came the moment of truth. I pinched the skin on his neck and pushed the needle into the soft tissue. He barely grumbled when I pushed the plunger! In the past I had found out much worse from him, that he had said far fewer things!
I laughed with delight at another realization of how special this cat was, tossed the needle into the sharp object container, and hugged my boy.
Just like that, the shot was done and Frodo had done far better than me!
Despite all my worries and worries about hurting Frodo, he was a tough boy who hardly minded the shots. In fact, in the end, he had started jumping on the counter and helping me set everything up. He had become quite a fan of all the love and excitement I had made about him at shot time.
Good with gunfire, bad with canned food
I’ll tell you how the real fight turned out. Do you remember how I mentioned Frodo wasn’t interested in canned food? Well, dry food is full of carbonaceous sugars, which can worsen and even lead to diabetes in cats who only eat nibbles. Which means canned cat food is better for diabetic cats. Less carbohydrates, more moisture. But what do you do with a cat that rejects any type of wet food on the market? That’s right, you remain frustrated because cats wrote the book on stubbornness. So the fight for canned food went on and Frodo won without eating a piece of wet food!
After three years of diabetes, Frodo’s body was getting tired and it was time for him to leave. And even though he’s been gone for a few years, he’s still with me, in my heart and in my memories. His need to aggravate myself in the face of his illness has helped me with all of my cats. Now I am much more confident in helping them in any situation, no matter how uncomfortable it may be. Engagement is a wonderful and messy thing, but our cats are absolutely worth it!
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