Dear Christopher Cat
My cat Boots is built for comfort, not speed. My vet said his excess weight predisposes him to diabetes, among other maladies. How will I know if he develops diabetes?
The most common sign of diabetes is increased drinking and urination.
Often the diabetic cat is less energetic than usual and loses weight despite increased appetite.
Sometimes nerve damage induced by untreated diabetes produces an abnormal hind leg stance, with the hocks – or ankles – nearly touching the ground when the cat walks.
Diabetes mellitus develops when the pancreas produces insufficient insulin or the cat’s body no longer responds normally to insulin.
When this happens, glucose – a sugar needed by the body’s cells to make energy – is unable to enter the cells, and levels in the blood rise.
Mom recognized my brother Domino’s diabetes when the litter box was wetter than usual, and she confirmed it by testing the glucose level in his blood.
Sometimes diabetes is not so obvious. To diagnose the disease before serious complications arise, it might make sense for your veterinarian to test Boots’ blood sugar periodically.
November is Pet Diabetes Month, so this is a good time to ask your vet how you can help Boots lose weight and decrease his risk of diabetes – and whether he should be checked once or twice a year for the disease.