What is the treatment for a diabetic cat?
Treatment of diabetic cats is very similar to treatment of human diabetes. Blood sugar readings need to be taken, and the insulin dose needs to be adjusted based on those readings. For both diabetic cats and humans, you don’t want to give too much insulin because then you will create a hypoglycemic condition, which can be life threatening.
Feline diabetes is a little harder to treat because you don’t have a human who you can talk to and help understand why you are doing the things you are doing. For example, a human might not like the blood testing, which requires lancing to draw blood, but that human will understand why it’s being done. A diabetic cat only knows that he’s getting his ear lanced and he doesn’t like it. Surprisingly, even though the needle is longer for injecting the insulin, that’s not as annoying to the cat as the blood testing is!
Diabetic cats also need to be put on a low carbohydrate diet. Nutro’s weight management dry food has a low carbohydrate content. This is the dry food for Bagheera. It’s supplemented with Nutro’s and Authority’s wet food.
Are treatments for a diabetic cat expensive?
It’s not cheap, that’s for sure. The insulin, which lasts two to three months, costs around $125. Initially, my human was using a tester that ran about $200 which required the use of strips that cost around $1 each. Now he’s using a tester that cost him around $10, with strips that run about $0.40 each. Syringes run about $20 for 100.
Then there are the vet visits. The initial examination that discovered Bagheera’s diabetes was a normal vet visit, running around $150. But then because his case is complicated, we had to go to a specialist, and that cost another $500.
All told, it’s likely that treating feline diabetes will run around $1,500 a year.
Do you want money?
No. Bagheera is fortunate to have a human who can afford to pay the medical bills associated with his diabetes. It isn’t always easy, and sometimes, it means his human has to cut back on his discretionary spending. But that’s fine. He’s happy to do it for his loving feline friend.
If you do want to give money, donate to the San Diego Humane Society in the name of Bagheera the Diabetic Cat. They don’t know who Bagheera is yet, but if enough of you donate, they will!
Wouldn’t it be better to just let him go?
Absolutely not. This is a treatable medical condition and it’s likely that Bagheera will live for many years. He has gained all the weight he lost before we diagnosed him with diabetes. He is just as playful and active as he was before he got the disease.
I’ve heard that some cats recover and don’t need insulin anymore.
That’s true. A significant percentage of diabetic cats will recover and the disease will go into remission. We’re hopeful that we caught Bagheera’s diabetes in time. If we did, that’s great. If not, we will continue to treat him and hope that he gets to enjoy a long and happy life despite the ear sticks and injections.