Sunday, January 07, 2007

Sticking with my cat

The latest news in the world of Stacey is that Harry Cat, who has lived to be a ripe old 12 and a half, has developed diabetes. I found this out Friday night, when I (finally) had the time and money and courage to take him to the vet and find out why he was drinking so much water and why his hind legs didn't seem to work too well anymore. I put myself through all kinds of wringers beforehand (inlcuding the inevitable "what would I do if I came home and he was dead?").

So, here's a plug - Dr. Heidgerd in Martinsville spent almost an hour with me (are you kidding? I'm lucky if my own doctor spends 10 minutes) explaining how cats get diabetes, and what happens if it gets worse, and how to treat it. (Lesson number one: don't feed only dry food. It's loaded with sugar and other corn byproducts.) So Harry is going on a low-carb, high-protein diet and I am trying to get him to eat the prescription food he was given. I have a big syringe in case he crashes and I have to give him a quick shot of Karo syrup. Oh yes, and I am giving him insulin shots twice a day.

It's people insulin, and I got it at Costco. I had no idea that vets had prescribing privileges that extend to people medicine - but there you have it. Giving a shot to a cat is actually a lot easier than you think - just sneak up on them while they're eating, find a spot on their midsection, and lift a tuft of fur to make a little skin tent. Pop the needle in and push the plunger. The needle is so fine and tiny that they hardly feel it. Harry doesn't even flinch, and I'm not that good at it.

For example, take care not to do what I did this morning: insert the needle at a 45 degree angle (no more, no less) or you run the risk of having some of the insulin leak back out. Oh, and don't poke the skin so vigorously the needle goes through the other side.

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