questionswhat can you tell me about taking care of a…


I wish I had some words of wisdom for you, but I have never had a diabetic cat. I have had cats with cardiomypathy, kidney failure, etc. I really just wanted to say that you and Wendell will be in my thoughts, please keep us posted on how he is doing. I hope some other wootizens can offer help, but I can only offer love and good karma to you both.


I'm a veterinarian. Treating diabetes in cats can be frustrating, especially since the insulins that worked best in the species are no longer readily available. The most important thing is consistency: same dose, same times, same foods, etc. Missing a dose by a few hours is not going to kill your kitty, but if it stretches out to 6 or 8 hours, just wait for the next regularly scheduled dose.

Testing requires a blood sample. In people it is easy to prick a finger, but in cats we are generally hitting a vein for a small sample. Sometimes you can get a sample in a cat by pricking the inside of the ear flap, but it is hit or miss. There are animal specific readers available, but any human meter will suffice for getting a general sense of success or failure of the therapy. All of our cat clients have us monitor the levels. I think we have one dog client that does it herself. --- Cont.


Where people DO kill their pets is when they overdose the insulin - either by giving too much, or failing to notice the critter has stopped eating. If the animal seems ill or is not eating, skip the next dose of insulin until it is either examined or returns to normal.

With regard to food, some vets want the animal on a special diet. We prefer they eat their normal food. just that it be consistent and watch for failure to eat. Our experience is that most cats resist changes in the diet, even if it would be theoretically beneficial.

Good luck!!


@nortonsark: Thanks. We are a $40 roundtrip cab ride to the vet, and money is an issue, so we're going to try really hard to home-test.


Our cat had Diabetes for the last four years of her 22 year life.
When she was diagnosed, we switched from kibble to wet food. We read the same site you found, and the diet info helped, but none of the foods we tried seemed to improve her condition. We kept up with the wet foods, but we ended up using Boots and Barkley from Target. It has more protein than most dry food, but was reasonably priced.
We tried to do our own testing a few times, but as was mentioned, it's hard to do a good draw. We ended up letting the vet test her a few times a year.
We got syringes from Total Diabetes Supply. I'd stay away from the MVP brand. The sharpness was inconsistent.
In case you ever need to travel, and want to put your board your kitty, call around. The place we found would do the insulin shots, and they were less expensive than boarding her at the Vets.
Good luck.


@curli76: I have a 16 year old orange tabby who has been a diagnosed diabetic for 10 years. I say "diagnosed" because he may have had diabetes and we didn't know it. Tiger receives one shot of insulin daily. Our vet does his blood glucose testing. Currently, Tiger has been stable at 1/2 unit (3/10 mL cc, 30 or 31 gauge needle), so we only need to have him tested every couple of months, unless he starts showing systems of extreme thirst or weight loss. (There have been a couple of times that he was able to go off insulin for about a year or so.) He eats what the vet recommends with no snacks.

The manufacturer, of the insulin that worked best on animals, stopped making it a few years ago. So after working with our vet, we found that WalMart's generic,* Reli On* Humulin N works best for Tiger. And it is quite a bit cheaper than others. So, check with your vet and if he/she says to use Humulin N, you might want to try this.

to be continued


If you live near a grocery store that is in the Kroger family, Kroger has insulin syringes for a pretty good price (100 count) for $15 and often on sale where I live for $10. The syringes are individually wrapped and have the 1/2 unit markings that some don't have. (I was pretty scared when Tiger was first diagnosed. I hate needles and didn't think I could give him his shots. But it is pretty easy and he doesn't even know he is getting one.}

Anyway, if I can be of any help or give you moral support just PM me.


I'm glad you have decided to hometest.
It may seem difficult , but actually is very easy. I home tested my cat before every shot. I also did occasional spot checks at the time of insulin's peak action ( nadir). A person would never shoot insulin w/o testing. It isn't safe.
My sugar cat passed away at age 19 from causes unrelated to diabetes. She was on steroids, for other issues, and b/c of that was not a candidate for ever going off insulin.
However, in many cases , food change alone can have a dramatic impact. May I ask what you feed now ?
Low carb food is very important. Because of the drastic impact food can have on blood glucose levels, I wouldn't advise doing it until you can home test. It may be hard for some cats to change their eating habits, but there are some tricks of the trade. I was able to do it w/ my finicky cat. She went on low carb canned. You do not have to get prescription food. In fact many kinds of canned food available at the grocery or pet store..


...are better. I am getting ahead of things. Back to testing. I used a one touch meter and bought strips on ebay. Many use Walmart Relion meter & strips. If you go to FDMB, you can ask for a test kit. I have an extra one touch --would be happy to mail. There are many tricks to testing & links to videos, I can dig up for you. You just prick between the vein that runs along the outside of the ear and the edge. It is rich capillary bed. Can warm the ear first with a rice sock.
If you sign up on the FDMB, introduce yourself on the Health forum, there will be lots of help offered. If you are willing to share your city, there might be a member nearby that will be willing to show you in person how to test. We do it all the time.
Or someone can walk you through it over the phone. Many more tips, but not sure this is the place to get more detailed about it.
The main tenants of treating are home testing, diet and insulin.
Lantus and levamir are both excellent insulins to use.


page 3.
ok Just wanted to finish up and say that I'm happy to help in anyway.
If you want my ID on the FDMB let me know I will PM and you can let me know what you sign up as so I can look out for you over there. I know there are other wootizen members -- we cat owners like dysons !
or If you would like to talk, I'd be happy to do that too. Offer of meter is still good.

I know all the information on feline diabetes can seem overwhelming at first. But you will be a pro in no time. Your kitty is lucky to have you to take care of them.

ETA If you like research to back up what someone is telling you. ( I'm a bit of a wonk that way) There are published articles about the use of lantus in cats and its ability to get cats into remission more than other insulins. Levamir is newer. I must say that I have not had a sugar kitty for awhile, so there may be publications on that now too. It is similar to lantus.


@ceagee: Thanks so much for all your help. I don't think you can pm on Deals.woot, but my name on FDMB is GorillaHowl. (Thank you random name generator.)

Unfortunately, in NJ and NY you need a prescription for needles (and I live nowhere near a Walmart). The 2 CVS pharmacies I tried--


sorry about that--didn't have them. I have freebies from the vet that will last till the end of the week, so tomorrow I'll be phoning pharmacies looking for the needles I need.

Thanks again for all your wonderful assistance. Thank goodness for the Internets and all its cat people.


Just a fast comment about giving shots. I'm a certified needle weenie; I literally have to leave the room when my spouse does his insulin injections. Many years ago one of my dogs developed diabetes and I absolutely queased at the idea of doing her injections. Amazingly, the dog never even noticed the shot!

So if that was a concern for you too, don't sweat it. Evidently dogs and cats don't have quite the same pain reactions as people, especially with a very fine gauge needle.


@curli76: I'm in NY too.
You can get a script for insulin needles from your vet. They have to give it to you if you ask, so you don't have to buy from them.
In NY you can get 5 insulin syringes a day w/o a script. Not the most economical way to buy, but good to know if you get in a jam.
You don't need a script for meter or lancets to test and poke the ear.

I'll go over and find you on the board later tonight. Gotta get off here for a bit.
Ok GorrillaHowl. see ya on the FDMB soonishly.


@magic cave: Thanks. I'm totally ok giving him the insulin shots. . . he flinches a little but hasn't figured out what's going on (yet) so it's been pretty easy.

I'm pretty freaked out about taking his blood. I don't think he's going to cooperate and I'm a little woozy at the thought.


It has been a few years but I still remember a lot about having a diabetic cat, too.

I believe he was using Humulin -- it was expensive.

I pretty much stuck with BD syringes. They had a size that was just right as far as the sharpness of the needle -- the cat didn't even really notice -- and the markings for the dosage were correct which is especially important early in the morning when you are sleepy and in a hurry. I think the BD people sent a coupon or two but they also sent me a free glucose meter. I never tested at home so I gave the meter to the Humane Society.

I think he was only tested once a year for his blood sugar but he was remarkably healthy once he was started on insulin. He always had a good appetite and wasn't really picky about what he ate. And his litter habits were normal, as well.

If you can find a cat sitter, that you trust, who can/will administer insulin I would see if they could be "on call" in case of emergencies. I wish I had done so in advance

Good luck!

cf cf

Oh! Also, look into how you have to dispose of syringes. I could save them and give them to the vet but I could also throw them in the trash, properly wrapped. I saved empty detergent bottles, which are nice and sturdy, and used them for a "sharps" container.

cf cf