Sex: Male Weight: 14 lbs.
|Home:Quincy, IL ||[I have a diary!] |
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Catster stats for Gandalf the Grey (GA)
1 time 58
Goober Buddy, Bud Bud
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May 15th 1993
Going outside, lying in the sun
going to the vet
oversize fur mice
Favorite Nap Spot:
opening cabinet doors
I had adopted a stray cat earlier that spring, Tigget and thought she needed a housemate. A friend of mine worked at a mall pet store and I asked him to let me know if they ever got any grey kittens. Growing up I had a marvelous cat named Grey Ghost who was long haired and gray and the most amazing cat, truly larger than life and my buddy. He was the only cat they would allow in the house and he used to wake me up before school. Unfortunately, my parents never spayed or neutered, so at about 3 years old he disappeared for good. I never forgot how special he was and always wanted another grey cat.
One day Chris brought in 2 grey kittens where I worked (also in the mall), they were brother and sister. I could not afford to get both. It still breaks my heart that he has a sister out there somewhere. I only hope she got as loving of a home as I have provided for Gandalf.
As I carried him down the escalator in Sears some girls made over him and said I should name him Smokey. That is a horse's name to me! I was reading Lord of the Rings at the time (this was long before the movies) and Gandalf the Grey seemed the most logical name.
Living with Feline Diabetes isn't hard!
The Groups I'm In:
Diabetic Cat Support Group, Gray is GREAT!!!!!!, Olde Furts, Shades of Gray, Sweet Face
The Last Forum I Posted In:
Help!!!first time blood glucose testing at home. Readings
I've Been On Catster Since:
|October 14th 2008
||More than 4 years!
Rosette, Star and Special Gift History
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October 19th 2008 8:09 pm
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By the time I learned how I could better help Gandalf with his diabetes, doing the shots was already routine. Gandalf enjoyed sitting on the bathroom sink while I got ready for work. He quit after we moved to our house, but the uncontrolled blood glucose levels gave him an insatiable need for water, so he'd hop on the sink regularly wanting to drink from my glass. It's so cute because he will dip his paw in a cup and lick it off. What I did not realize at the time was that his cute drinking meant he was very sick because his diabetes was out of control. He actually laid by the water bowl dipping his paw in it.
I learned that in order to get his blood glucose levels under control I needed to test his blood just like a human diabetic does, in fact, I use the very same equipment, a glucometer and lancet needles. I could either prick his ears or his paws for blood. Well, he would never stand his paws to be messed with, so I chose the ears. I tried a couple times with the lancet device, getting him used to it by clicking it by his ears. I sat on the floor and held him between my legs the first couple times. How anyone uses those devices on a cat, I have no idea, but many do. I however, could not tell where it was sticking him and since I didn't want to hurt him, I simply used the little needle which is held inside a small plastic barrel. One quick stick to the outside of the ear, between the vein and the outer edge, not the vein itself and ta-da, you get a droplet of blood!
I don't remember when I started this, but I realized I could put him on the bathroom sink for his tests and his shots since he liked being there anyway. I found a piece of panelling about the same size as the counter to lay across the sink so neither of us would fall in and our diabetes testing lab was born.
Eventually I'll try to upload a video of our routine. He won't always go in the bathroom on his own, I frequently pick him up and carry him in, but sometimes I can coax him in and once he's in, it's all up to him. He jumps on the toilet, then onto the sink once I have the board across it. Every time he knows he's going to get stuck at least twice - in the ear to test his BG and in the side for his shot. Sometimes I must stick him more than once in the ear to get enough blood and sometimes I have to warm his ear when it's cold to get enough blood, but he jumps on the counter every time, often purring and giving kisses.
Having diabetes is not fun for him nor me. But it has brought us closer together and I wouldn't trade the times we spend in our lab for anything!
October 16th 2008 3:35 pm
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It was January of '05 when I found out Gandalf was diabetic. He wasn't quite 12 years old. I wish I'd known then what I know now, but for his sake I have learned so much and hope his experiences can help other feline diabetics.
In the beginning I should have questioned the diagnosis more thoroughly. There is a test called fructosamine which measures the blood glucose concentration over a 2 week period. I did not have that done and took the vet's explanation that a one time blood glucose level of near 600 absolutely meant the cat was diabetic, although Gandalf was otherwise completely healthy at his highest weight of 18 pounds.
The other mistake I made was accepting the food we were told we needed to feed, prescription food. I now detest that term for pet food, because it makes people think that like medication, the food is absolutely necessary for their pet to get well. It's a false assumption. More about diet and feline diabetes later.
So off we went with our new food and syringes and vial of PZI insulin. I was told PZI would be the best insulin because I could not always be home in time to give the insulin twice a day. I was told to give him 3 units of insulin once a day.
Within 3 months an otherwise healthy cat had lost 5 pounds, laid by the water bowl and constantly wanted food. Since he apparently was not responding to the initial dose of insulin, I was told to increase it and I did not question that recommendation, because with a lot of medicines if a dose doesn't work, you give more of it. Buy the time I found his lifeline, we were using 6 units of insulin once a day.
Our lifeline was on the internet, the website Felinediabetes.com If your cat is diabetic, you owe it to your pet to read the information there and join their message board.
I quickly found out that his insulin dose was far too high and the only reason he had not had a hypoglycemic seizure was because his liver was counteracting the low blood glucose levels and causing something called Somogyi Rebound. I also learned that the prescription food was high in carbohydrates and like with human diabetics, a lower carb diet helps the blood glucose level out. I had been told by the vet that the prescription food was formulated to stay in their system longer thus helping control BGs. Unfortunately the ingredients used to slow digestion were the same ones making the food too high in carbs.
I immediately went out and bought an old favorite food for him - Fancy Feast Gourmet foods.
The other thing I learned was that, just like humans, you can test a cat's blood glucose level with a human glucometer. In fact, giving insulin without knowing what their blood glucose level is at can be very dangerous. I had probably been giving him insulin when he should not have had it.
So I began taking control of his treatment. We still saw the vets who were skeptical - one of them even saying they found it hard to believe that Fancy feast food was good for anything.
That's all for this segment. Check back again to learn how Gandalf did with his new routine.
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