This is my guy Kermie, a sick kitty. You may remember him from a few years ago when the last inch or so of his tail was amputated in the side door when DD#3 was trying to get out without letting him out.
Kerm is special. He's 11 and a big loverboy. Pretty much his response to anything is to purr. He loves his "dad" and especially loves being held in Dad's arms like a baby. He used to ask DH to chase him down the hallway in the house, but he's been getting a little creakier and of course "Dad" was not well for a while this year. So they've not done much of that game lately, and we just chalked it up to him getting on in years.
In November, Kerm developed a cyst on his side that turned out to be benign--nothing more than some inflammation and fluid that felt hardened. The lab results said "nothing to worry about." Fortunately, this had gotten our attention because at his vet visit, we had him weighed of course, and that made the difference.Since that late November visit, he has just gotten thinner and thinner. We don't raise scrawny cats at our house (draw your own conclusions), but Kerm was just a solid boy, not corpulent, and as December wore on and we moved into this month, he started looking like he felt sick, and he was sitting hunched up on the bed, as opposed to lolling in abject bliss, for his naps. And there was that unproductive coughing he did now and again. Maybe I shouldn't have been so happy that the result of all that wheezy hacking was not gross hairballs and carpet stains.
With DDs 1 and 2 home for the vacation, we were all paying attention, and everyone began to wonder if we needed to take him to the vet. I did my usual Mom thing and said, "Today he's been perky, and he's not off his food. He's getting plenty of water. Probably just a punk day yesterday." But before DD#2 left for school she pretty much ordered me to take him in.
All of you with pets and vets know that the bills get out of hand really quick. So I was trying to be as judicious as possible. But it was clear he needed to be assessed for his obvious weight loss. Maybe the cyst was not benign and something else was at work. Aack! I conferred with DS who was once a vet's assistant, and she agreed that weight loss has to be investigated.DH agreed to take him in Tuesday, and the vet did a lot of lab work, as well as an X-ray. If he'd not lost weight, DH says, the vet would have sent him home with a "wait and see" attitude, cough notwithstanding, but the weight loss was clearly major--THREE POUNDS in ten weeks or so. Don't worry too much--he had started at 15# and some change, since as I said we don't raise them petite. But that is still a heck of a lot of weight to drop in that short span.
The X-ray had not shown anything clearly amiss. It was the lab work that came back yesterday that sent the clear message: he has diabetes and a urinary tract infection (typical side effect of the high sugar content of the urine). So . . . he's on a gradual diet-change regimen and getting insulin shots 2x/day. We are having to rethink everything about which cats are fed where and when, and how to get Kermie his special food without other cats crashing the party. I'm still wrapping my head around it all, but it seems like overall a good thing.That must sound strange! Considering, though, that on Tuesday the vet had told DH that one possibility was lymphoma (OMG, how ironic would that be??), I think diabetes is an OK alternative. Yes, it's expensive (we are still reeling, wondering how expensive it will GET), it requires some major overhauling, we will have to board him when we are all gone at once for a vacation or etc., but with the diet change and good loving care, he can live a long full life. And if the diet works enough magic, he may not need the insulin indefinitely. Woo-hoo, I say.
Aside: if I'd not become a teacher, I would probably have been a nurse (I know, so old-fashioned, but those are my strengths) so being taught to give him injections was not a problem, and the needle is so fine that it's really a breeze. Even better is the obvious improvement in his energy and mood since he's had two doses. The antibiotics for the UTI probably are also at work, and anyone who's ever had one of those infections knows that when you don't feel horrible and out of your gourd with the "discomfort," you immediately perk up. Whether you're a cat or a person!
OK, one last photo of Kerm with his favorite human. It's all going to be OK.
Happy Kittening (oops! Knitting!)