DANTE, MY DIABETIC FOSTER CAT

Dante was adopted from our shelter and returned three and one half years later. The reason given by his adopters was that over a period of months he did not always use the litter box. This friendly, handsome black kitty appeared to the staff to be sick and our veterinarian quickly diagnosed with a urinary tract infection and diabetes mellitus. Dante had not had any medical attention since being adopted except to have all four paws declawed! Luckily, it was not pain caused by declawing but the infection and the frequent thirst accompanying diabetes that caused him to not use the litter box. We also noticed that he had licked off most of the fur on his lower abdomen which is a stress reaction in cats called psychogenic alopecia.

Dante was place on a special diabetic diet of low glycemic index dry food and given small doses of insulin. He initially needed a unit of long acting insulin twice and day but now only received one unit. It is very easy to give subcutaneous insulin to a cooperative cat and they rarely react to the needle stick. We rotate his shots between his shoulders and his thighs. We tried to give him DM wet food but he will not eat it, even if we do not give him dry food. Dante spent some time as a foster with me while we were adjusting his diet and medications. He is exceptionally friendly and talkative and religiously uses his litter box. While there is a moderate cost for medication and special food, this loving kitty is worth it. An ideal owner might be an older person with diabetes who would understand his needs. He has no claws so there would be little chance of any injury to someone with frail skin.

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