On March 20, 2018, Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat came to stay with us, staying until April 12. She was the fattest cat I had ever seen. Zoey the Cool Cat (ZCC) and Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat didn’t really like each other. Both had been queens of their respective houses for a decade, so getting those two queens to tolerate each other was a chore.
After Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat went back to her home, ZCC’s personality changed. She no longer played fetch in the morning with her red rings, no longer jumped up on the beds and chairs, no longer came into the office to visit me. She no longer enjoyed her favorite sleeping spots in the house, preferring to spend about 23 hours a day lying on the floor in front of the refrigerator, which made it difficult to get anything out of the refrigerator.
I thought she simply was sad that Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat had left, notwithstanding what I thought was their intense dislike of each other.
When ZCC’s previous demeanor didn’t return, and she gained six pounds in six weeks, I started getting worried. Jim and I thought she felt bloated.
She didn’t like to be picked up anymore, even hissing at me several times as I was picking her up. It was as if she was trying to tell me that she hurt when I picked her up. No longer jumping up onto beds and chairs…. Perhaps more hurting?
ZCC also was excessively licking her rearmost four nipples, so much so that there is no fur around them anymore. Her tummy was bare. I took her to a vet and he diagnosed her with psychogenic alopecia…. overgrooming or psychological baldness due to stress, and that she would probably work her way out of it. She didn’t.
I took her a vet hospital and didn’t really get any additional information, yet her conditions remained.
I began to wonder if Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat had something that ZCC had caught. Perhaps FIV or FELV.
I asked a Realtor friend with whom I had been doing business as a home inspector for 15 years where she took her pets and all her foster dogs. She recommended a vet hospital near her, and I took ZCC there. They took x-rays and ultrasounds, as well as blood, poop, and pee samples, and called me a couple of days later with a preliminary diagnoses: borderline diabetic. The x-rays and ultrasounds showed a significant layer of fat, which made her feel bloated.
The vet told me about diet change, weekly blood lettings, and daily insulin shots that might be required. I told her that neither Jim nor I were equipped mentally or physically to take weekly blood samples from ZCC or give her daily insulin shots, and that if she needed those, we would have to surrender her to long-term care or end her life.
The vet wanted another blood sample to ensure that the preliminary diagnoses was accurate and not a result of ZCC being stressed from simply visiting a new vet.
A couple of days after the second visit, the vet called to confirm the preliminary diagnoses. ZCC was borderline diabetic. The vet thought that since the condition was borderline, we could control it with a change in diet. No more Friskies dry or canned food, and no more Temptations treats. ZCC was going on a Hill’s W/D prescription diet. It’s expensive, about $10 a pound for dry food and $6 a pound for canned food. Lobster isn’t that expensive!
ZCC started her new diet on August 20. Fortunately, she didn’t turn up her nose at the new food, so I gave all her old food to Friends of Cats where I had just started volunteering on August 18.
Have I noticed any difference in ZCC’s demeanor or weight? Indeed I have! And it’s good!
After just two days on the diabetic diet, ZCC came into the bedroom at 3:00 a.m. (cats!), jumped up on the bed, plumped herself down on the pillow by my head, and proceeded to wake me up with her loud purring. She had not done that in four months!
Eventually she left but came in again at dawn (yep, still a cat), jumped up on the bed again, and proceeded to wash my hair for me. Again, something she had not done in the previous four months!
And her fur is growing back on her tummy!
ZCC is making use of all her previous sleeping spots, including jumping up on chairs and sofas. Slowly but surely, she is losing weight, down to 16.2 pounds as of this post. She does not feel as bloated as she once did, and I can even feel the bones in her rear legs again. Her personality has perked up, and yesterday she even ran down the hallway with me chasing after her. We have not done that in the past four months.
She seems to be happier, and doesn’t cry or hiss at me when I pick her up.
Her happiness means that Jim and I are happy.
I am a fan of this new diet, notwithstanding its cost.