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Roxie and Diabetes

Roxie August 5, 2016
by Diane Kerly

Roxie is a cute, 11-year-old black kitty with a perfectly round face and golden eyes that just invite you to love her. Roxie came to PAWS several months ago because her owner was no longer able to care for her.

Shortly before she arrived, Roxie was diagnosed with diabetes. It is estimated that somewhere between 1/2% and 2% of the feline population has diabetes, with approximately ½ to 3/4 of those cats requiring daily insulin injections. Roxie is one of the remaining cats who can be successfully treated with diet changes and oral medication to lower blood sugar.

Diabetes in cats is similar to that in humans. It is a complex illness where either the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or it doesn't properly use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone responsible for regulating the flow of glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of the body. If there is too little insulin, or if it isn’t properly used, the body starts a cycle which leads to ravenous appetites, increased urination, excessive thirst and often, weight loss. Because some of the symptoms of diabetes are similar to other diseases in cats, a physical examination, lab tests, and testing of blood and urine for high sugar levels are also conducted before a definite diagnosis of diabetes can be made.

Roxie is one of the lucky ones. Since being diagnosed as diabetic almost a year ago, she has remained stable with a diabetic diet and inexpensive pills which are crushed and put on her food. Because she is always hungry, she happily eats her food, medicine and all, without hesitation.

If you visit Roxie in her room at PAWS, you will be greeted with an invitation to pet her, to play or, admittedly, to give her food! She loves to play with feather toys and always looks disappointed when the feather stops moving. Although it’s rare, Roxie has been known to switch moods quickly and walk away from visitors or hiss and swat at them...but since she is declawed, there is never a wound except to the visitor’s feelings!

Roxie loves company, but she seems equally content to just snooze her days away. We know she didn’t get along with a cat in a foster home, but she may be fine with quiet, laid back cats. (She is kept separate from other cats at PAWS because of her diet.) Because it is important to keep Roxie’s diabetes stable, anyone interested in adopting Roxie must be able to feed/medicate Roxie as close to a fixed 12-hour schedule as is possible. Although there is no guarantee that Roxie won’t need insulin injections in the future, she has been stable with the current regimen. Often, once diabetes is under control with proper treatment and attentive caretakers, a diabetic cat can live many healthy years.

We hope you will stop by and give Roxie a chance to steal your heart.

But do be prepared - her big round golden eyes are beautiful, and she will beg you to stay and visit... or better yet, take her home with you!