How I manage my cat’s diabetes

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Only weeks after getting her characterful cat Horace, owner Janet Purnell discovered he had diabetes. Here’s how Janet is making sure he gets the right treatment, so he can live a happy, healthy life with his diagnosis.

Spotting the signs

The moment she spotted Horace on the Blue Cross website, Janet knew he was the cat for her. ‘It was love at first sight,’ she says. However, within a few weeks of starting his new life, Janet and husband David were worried that Horace was drinking excessively, sleeping a lot and not grooming. ‘David has diabetes, so I knew that extreme thirst is one of the symptoms,’ says Janet.

Getting the treatment right

The vet confirmed her suspicions, and told her that Horace would need insulin injections every day for the rest of his life. ‘I didn’t know diabetes was common in cats,’ says Janet. ‘But I wasn’t worried. I’ve often given my husband injections and the vet showed me how to inject into Horace’s scruff.’ It took several months for the vet to work out the ideal dose and then thankfully he began to feel better.

Looking out for hypoglycaemia

A year after his diagnosis, Janet found Horace walking in circles and staring blankly with dilated pupils. ‘I thought he’d had a stroke and rushed him to the vet in tears,’ she says.

In fact, Horace’s blood sugar level had dropped dramatically and he was suffering from hypoglycaemia. The vet injected him with a sugar solution and he recovered.

A while after this, Horace suffered another severe hypoglycaemic episode, which resulted in Janet’s daughter rushing him to an out-of-hours vet. The vet recommended a new type of insulin and he’s been healthy ever since. This didn’t mean that his initial insulin treatment was wrong. When managing these sort of chronic conditions, things sometimes develop and treatment regimes need to be adapted.

Get support

Janet has trained up neighbours, her daughter and brother-in-law to be able to give insulin injections if she and David are away. And it’s clear she’d do anything to keep him well: ‘Horace is a fantastic character who only needs a little more attention than the average cat,’ she says.

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