Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Shooting the Cat

There are lots of reasons people have pets. Some want the companionship. Some want help with pest control. Still others feel the need to have a poor creature to humiliate for their own enjoyment. And then there is our cat Rita. We keep her around because we are pretty sure she will kill us if we don’t.

Actually, that characterization of Rita is not exactly fair. Yes, she is mean. Yes, she has no qualms about causing bodily harm. However, she doesn’t dole out her wrath indiscriminately. It isn’t that she doesn’t like other living
things – she just doesn’t like them too close to her. I have to respect her for that. Take, for instance, a typical interchange between Rita and myself. I am, undoubtedly, her favorite person on the planet. She seeks me out when we are home together, and normally will just sit about five feet away, enjoying my company (I am told that is the best way to enjoy it). When she wants attention she will come up and rub against my legs until I pet her, and then, when she has had enough (about two minutes), she will walk away. If I try to stop her she will try to take my arm off. If I weren’t her favorite person in the world I’m sure she would try harder to do so.

I tell you all this about Rita so you will understand the gravity of what happened this week: she was diagnosed with diabetes. Yes, Rita’s pancreas has stopped working, and therefore we will be giving her insulin shots twice a day, every day, for the rest of her life -- and she is so mean I have a feeling that will be a while.

When the vet gave me the news about her diagnosis his tone implied I might be heading to my death. I swear his assistant was weeping silently in the corner, while holding a bandaged hand close to her heart. I guess she had to do the blood draw for the tests. The vet asked me if was sure I felt I was able to deal with a chronically ill animal. When I said yes he asked if I felt I was able to care for this chronically ill animal. After I convinced him, and signed some kind of waiver, he showed me what I had to do.

Actually, it really isn’t that bad. The worst part of it is actually getting Rita to sit close enough to me to give her the shot. If I approach her she balks. I have to do it very slowly, and very sneakily, which isn’t easy for me since I am not exactly a Ninja. For right now I am bribing her by giving her treats. My vet said that isn’t actually a bad idea since I need to make sure she has eaten something before she has the insulin. Of course, Rita not eating is like Carrot Top not shooting steroids, it ain’t going to happen.

The shots themselves are actually pretty easy. The needle is so thin she doesn’t feel them, and I think she is feeling better. She isn’t as thirsty, and she isn’t peeing as much. She isn’t any nicer, either… And thank God for that.


Amanda said...

I will believe this post when I see proof that both you & Ryan have all of your digits still intact - and that Sally isn't the one having to do the dirty work.

Emily-Ione said...

Welcome to the world of owning a diabetic cat- I have one too - he is also grouchy. I suggest getting an Abbott Labs AlphaTrak gulcometer and doing your own glucose curves at home - no I am not kidding, your vet will thank you and you will have more accurate results. Also look into changing her food to M/D ( by Science diet) or DM (by Purina) often you can get your diabetic cats off insulin and manage them dietarily - also incase your vet didn't tell you ( which they often don't - cats can spontaneously resolve their diabetes.... they just stop being diabetic. they didn't read the book like dogs do. They like to be contrary and do their own thing. So go buy a bottle of karo syrup just in case one day she decides she doesn't want to be diabetic any more and goes hypoglycemic on you after her insulin shot, get your ER on speed dial and gimme call if you have any questions. I love taking diabetes. It's my job and I love it.