My Diabetic Cat and Her Road to Recovery
Kitkat is more than just a cat; in fact, she is even more than just a pet. She is a member of our family. That is why when she started losing weight, acting lethargic, and exhibiting many of the symptoms of diabetes, we immediately took her to the vet.
The lab test not only showed sugar in her urine. It also diagnosed the severity of the disease. The vet gave us two options: spare Kitkat the suffering (i.e., put her to sleep) or twice-daily insulin injections for life. Without a second thought, I chose the latter.
“There is no cure for diabetes in cats,” Dr. Dionisio said.
“ Kuya Onoy” Dionisio, a UP veterinary graduate, already in his early seventies, has not yet retired. His love for animals is evinced by the fact that he knows the names of all the animals he has treated. This and the fact that he has not charged us for his services has endeared him to the family.
“These insulin injections are not painful,” Dr. Dionisio added. “Kitkat may not even notice them. But you need to administer them religiously.”
He explained to us that the second option may hamper our schedules like travel plans and other matters that could prevent us from administering Kitkat’s twice-daily insulin injections.
Had this incident happened many years ago, my decision would have been different. But Kitkat has become a source of fun and joy in our household. She has even helped me lower my BP in times of stress. Like I said, she has become a member of our family.
“I’ll stick to the second option,” I said.
“Okay, I’ll teach you how to administer the injections.”
Meanwhile, at the Target Store in Elmhurst Queens to buy some cat food, a young lady tapped at my shoulder.
“Hi Tito Manny. It’s Rosa, Yohanny’s daughter. Recognize me?”
Yohanny was my colleague at work. The last time I saw father and daughter was about a year ago.
“Of course! But you look different, Rosa, I mean, you’re looking great.”
“I know Tito, my pimples are gone. And all I did was to stop eating chocolates.”
My mind races back to my Bicol Mail article last month on how I licked diabetes. If one ate the right kind of food and exercised often, diabetes could be controlled and even licked. I decided to apply the same program to Kitkat.
There was a time when all I fed Kitkat was processed dry foods that had high contents of carbohydrates. I also treated her to foods that contained too much sugar. So I suspected food itself to be the culprit. And then I thought of Rosa and how her pimples disappeared when she stopped eating chocolates. The saying we are what we eat must apply to animals as well.
Cats, however, are at a disadvantage because they have no choice but to eat what is fed them by their owners. So I took it upon myself to take her on my protocol.
It’s been a few years now and Kitkat is back to her normal playful mood, catnaps, and a great appetite.
It has been gratifying to note that after my article on diabetes came out in the Bicol Mail, I received many positive feedback. A few email messages asked specific questions on how to cure diabetes. To be honest, I do not exactly know for sure. I am not a medical doctor. I just shared my experience on how I licked my diabetes, but every person is different. What worked for me may not work for everybody. As the saying goes, one man’s medicine may be another man’s poison. But that does not stop us from trying, from experimenting and from testing ourselves if certain foods are good or not--for us. Everybody is different.
I have managed to live a diabetes-free lifestyle. I know many persons who get good results by maintaining a diabetes-free diet. The problem is discipline. Many go back to their old lifestyle. Perhaps the one thing we should bear in mind when we slacken a bit is to give ourselves two options: (1) dialysis and all the other health issues caused by this disease, or (2) a diabetes-free lifestyle with no medication, moderate exercise, stress management, and discipline in eating.
The word discipline is a tough one. Sometimes the temptation is too strong that we backslide. That happens to us all, including Kitkat. I feed Kitkat twice a day, but when she starts begging for food at odd times, I am forced to give in to her importuning even if I know I shouldn’t.
Meanwhile, I am continually looking for ways and means to lick her diabetes, the way I did mine. By the looks of it, I think I am inching towards success.
I have started to feed Kitkat with grain-free wet food and completely stopped feeding her dry food. There are special canned cat foods for diabetic cats, but they are very expensive. I have found out that ordinary canned wet cat foods without grains have the same positive results as far as Kitkat is concerned.
I cannot write yet with conviction what other positive steps I am taking until I see more results, but what I am certain about so far is it’s all about what she eats. She is getting normal. I regularly test her blood sugar by taking samples from her paws and there has been a lot of improvement so far.
She may be in remission or it could be the food. I do not know yet. I pray that I will find a way. You see, as a cat, she has no means of controlling her diabetes. But I can control it for her.
Some people do not have the will power to change to a diabetes-free lifestyle. That can be resolved by discipline. Other people may not be too fortunate. These are the ones who have no families to take care of them; or they may be facing more serious complications caused by this illness, like depression. Diabetes has become endemic in this world of processed food bombarded with sugar and salt. We ought to help one another by broadcasting the right information to free ourselves of this disease forever. This simple sharing is my humble effort to be of any help, however insignificant.
Kitkat is almost 11 years old now. House cats live an average of about 15 to 18 years. I hope and pray she lives her full life span; and with a little help from my diabetes-free diet protocol, I hope a little bit much longer.