What You Need to Know About Feline Diabetes

On computer desk

 

When my first cat, Monkeyface, was diagnosed with feline diabetes, I was devastated.  I had waited too long to take him to the vet, thinking it was just old age.  He was 11 years old, and that is pretty old for a Maine Coon.  They can get to be 45″ long and weigh up to 30 pounds, and their small hearts have to work pretty hard to pump the blood through their big bodies.  They tend to succumb to heart failure.

Monkeyface was 20 pounds when he was healthy.  His fur was full and beautiful and his eyes were bright. When I finally figured out that he was sick, his bright eyes were dull, his luxurious coat had lost is sheen, and instead of being the big, healthy cat that I knew, he had lost so much weight that he became a shell of his former self … he was sick. I took him to the vet.

When he was finally diagnosed with feline diabetes, it was too late and I had to put him down.  That was thirteen years ago and to this day,  I still feel guilty.  After all of the love and companionship he gave to me  I failed him so miserably.  If I had only known the signs of the disease, I might have given him more time.

The symptoms which Monkey displayed were constant thirst; change in eating habits, either eating less; weight loss; fur losing luster; and lethargy.  Some other symptoms that Monkeyface didn’t have are UTI, eating more than usual, sweet smelling breath, increased urination, and urinating outside the litter box.

The exact causes of feline diabetes are not known, but it is more likely that overweight and /or older cats are susceptible to it.   Some other conditions that may lead to diabetes are hyperthyroidism, pancreatitis and/or abnormal protein deposits on the pancreas.

Feline diabetes is all about the insulin, a hormone that helps move sugar from bloodstream into the cat’s cells.  As with humans, there are 2 types of feline diabetes. Type 1 is brought on by a lack of insulin and is most uncommon and rarely treatable. Type 2 occurs when the cat produces the hormone, but the cells become resistant to the insulin put out by the body. This type is treatment if caught in time.

Feline diabetes does not have to be a death sentence.  In some cases, shots are used to balance out the insulin and in some rare cases pills might work.  If your cat starts to show signs of feline diabetes, take him to the vet immediately and you may save his life.

Our thanks go out to:

ASPCA

Web MD

Cat

What Was the Inspiration for Harry You Ask?

Monkeyface

 

When I decided to create the character for Harry the Wonder Cat, I had to look no further than my Monkeyface, the first cat I ever had.  Twenty years ago, Monkey and I met and it was love at first sight. The big Maine Coon was the gentlest creature that I’ve ever known.  He was fiercely loyal to me and protected me from the people that he considered bad. (Cats are like that…they can smell trouble a mile off.) I, in turn, protected him from everything from the rustling of a paper bag (he hated paper bags) to the loud claps of thunder in the mountain sky.

Now, I know you’ll think that Harry doesn’t sound at all like Monkeyface, and you would be right when it comes down to fears.  After all, Harry isn’t afraid of anything. You must remember, however, Monkeyface didn’t have the powers that Harry has.

Other than being fiercely protective of their person, Maine Coons are among the largest domestic cat, (the biggest was a cat named Stewie,  who grew to be a whopping 48.5 inches. Harry’s 38 inches seem small next to him.)

While Harry grew to weigh over 30 pounds, Monkeyface weighed a mere 25 pounds. Maine Coons are known as the Gentle Giants of the cat world, but sometimes Harry uses his size to intimidate enemies.

I chose the Maine Coon breed for Harry the Wonder Cat in memory of my lovable Monkeyface who, in my mind, will always be my Wonder Cat.

 

What Makes Harry Tick

We want you to know a bit about Harry the Wonder Cat and what makes him tick.  He is a Maine Coon, so we thought that we would give you a little background on the breed.

Maine Coons,  otherwise known as “Gentle Giants”, is a special breed of cat…or so Harry says (and we all know how special he is).

Let’s start with the outer cat.  Maine Coons are extremely big for a house cat.  The average male Maine Coon typically weighs in at 15 to 25 pounds, but they have been known to be up to 35+ pounds.

They can get to be about 40” in length. (No, that ’s not a typo…40”!)  The world’s record is held by a beautiful Coon, Stewie (pictured below) who measured 48.5”.  (Seems a monster next to Harry’s puny 38”, huh?)

Stewie – Longest Cat
Guinness World Records 2011
Photo Credit: Ryan Schude/Guinness World Records
Location: Reno, Nevada
Also Pictured: Stewie’s Owner Robin Hendrickson

There are some who claim that Maine Coons are the biggest or certainly one of the biggest domesticated cat breeds in the world.

Some other physical traits are:

1. Both their bodies and their heads are rectangular in build, unlike their smaller, sleeker counterparts.

2. A Maine Coon’s medium to long fur has three layers to it to protect them from the cold.

3. Maine Coons have a luxurious mane and square face, making them resemble a small lion.

4. The tail of a Maine Coon is long in length and covered in long fur, making it look bushy.

5. As is true with Harry, a Maine Coon’s eyes have a wisdom of the ages, revealing natural intelligence.

6. Their ears are normally larger than their counterparts and have tufts of fur growing out of them.

7. Their paws are unusually large with tufts of fur between each “toe”.

Male Maine Coons are certainly one of the sweetest breeds.  They are ready to show off their comical antics at a moments notice.  Maine Coons do not normally communicate like other cats.  When they talk to you, which is often, they do it by trilling and singing.

The Maine Coon has a mystery all their own based on many legends. We will share them with you in later posts.

Our thanks go out to:

Guinness World’s Records

boredpanda.com

mainecoon.org

Next week:

Harry interviews Little Bea from his new book, “Harry the Wonder Cat: The Legend of the Pink Diamond”.  Please join us.