First Home Test Attempt Was A Disaster

Discussion in 'Feline Health - (The Main Forum)' started by Cherish4, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    Jan 28, 2019
    So I decided to attempt my first go at home testing today and it's not gone well.

    Little B still isn't on insulin as the new vet we saw yesterday wants to do a fructosamine test first before we rush into it. I think this was partly due to the fact that his reading was 20.9 mmol compared to the first one they did two weeks ago (25.9 both done on a pet meter). She wants more of an idea of his levels over the last month before any decision is made.

    In the meantime, I thought it would be a good opportunity to start home testing and have a few days of practice before he goes back for his test.

    The first time I tried I couldn't get any blood and the second attempt I've made has stressed Little B out so much that I'm not sure the reading really means anything.

    It's just been a very upsetting experience for both of us. I decided to do it whilst he was relaxing, so I filled an old pill bottle with warm water but he was having none of it. So I just warmed his ear up with my fingers instead. I then tried a couple of times with the lancet device but eventually gave up as it wasn't producing any blood. By this point, Little B was already getting irritated and upset, so I tried to quickly poke the edge of his ear with the Lancet freehand and he made an awful sound like it really hurt and tried to run away from me. I did manage to get hold of him and get some blood on the strip and his reading was 26.2 mmol (human meter) but like I said, given how upset and stressed he was, I'm not sure that I can take it as a real reading. I then had to grab him again, in order to hold the cotton swab on his ear to stop the bleeding.

    I know it's only the first go but I'm so upset by the whole experience and devastated that I hurt him. It took a long time to get him to trust me when he first came into our lives and I don't want to ruin it.

    I'm scared now to try again. I tried so hard to do everything right, I've watched videos, looked at the images to make sure I don't hit the vein, I got vaseline and cotton swabs, I tried to stay calm, I even got some food ready for him to have as soon as I was done.

    He's currently hiding upstairs and won't let me near him. I don't know how I'm going to be able to do this regularly. What do I do?

    (I am planning on setting up a spreadsheet, just haven't had chance yet)
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
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  2. Diana&Tom

    Diana&Tom Well-Known Member

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    Dec 29, 2009
    Oh, I hear what you say, Lauren, and pretty well everyone else here will too! Getting blood from a cat's ear is such an alien concept for us that most people struugle to begin with. It does get easier, with practise. You can fine-tune some aspects though - maybe the pill bottle is a bit bulky and awkward, so try a small folded piece of something like facial wipe or tissue, warmed under the hot tap - this might be easier to hold to the ear with one hand with the lancet in the other. I'd say give yourself a break for a day or two and try again when you feel relaxed. Cats pick up on our stress so the calmer you are the better.

    Have we mentioned the importance of treats, too? It's good to have some small tasty morsels handy that you can give a kitty whether a test is successful or not, to reward them for being good. A good choice is Thrive pure chicken treats which come in little tubes, but they're expensive. Small pieces of cooked fresh chicken are just as good - you can cook a breast and leave it in the fridge for two or three days, chopped into small bite-sized pieces. And you need to reward yourself too... we do know this is stressful! Give yourself some chocolate or a glass of wine...

    I know it seems impossible but really - there are very few people here who master it straightaway, you're far from alone. Stay positive and tell yourself you can and will do this. Keep posting here for moral support!
     
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  3. Squeaky and KT (GA)

    Squeaky and KT (GA) Well-Known Member

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    First, BIG HUGE LOOOOONG HUG! Deep breath, that's now behind you - another hurdle down. We all go thru those, you're not alone!

    For now just let him be. Like Diana said above, always give a low carb treat even if you don't end up getting blood - 3 tries, treat and stop, try again later.

    Remember, it's different for him too. You startled him with the poke more than hurt. A cat's ear edges have very few nerves. I have a non-diabetic that I test every few weeks due to his being on steroids long term. He did the same jump/run the first few times but now he just waits for me to finish. He was abused before arriving here so this is a huge step. Just keep at it - it will happen - I PINKY PROMISE! :)

    Another hug! You CAN do this! You really really can!
     
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  4. kurikitty

    kurikitty Member

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    Jan 28, 2019
    Try some yummy treats like chicken and a bigger gauge on the lancet. I am using 26g currently, its the only way I can get any blood. Good luck!
     
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  5. Stewie's Mom ID

    Stewie's Mom ID Member

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    Feb 6, 2019
    I am right there with you. I just finally had to do my first one on Stewie. I too watched a lot of you tube videos and read on this cat forum for days. I was supposed to do it Thursday, then Friday. Etc. My husband was home today so I decided to finally try again about 15 mins ago. I warmed the rice sock, went back to store earlier and got the 28 Lancet since the 33 got me hardly any blood the first time I tried last week before I chickened out once again. I give him his insulin 2x daily but am so intimidated by poking him in the ear. The first reading was 34 so I thought it was wrong and did it again to poor Stewie and the reading was 41. I don't know what that means so I did it to my husband and his seemed right. I use a ReliOn Prime meter that my vet approved. I took Stewie off all dry food as of Feb. 4th. He had 2 curves done at the vets 2 weeks apart and he was still high. He stressed out so bad that he peed on me twice and was a wreck so she said I should start home testing. I used the lancet device with no cover on it. Th hat worked a lot better. Warming hos ear helped a bunch also. I am having a heck of a time getting the strip in the meter. Practice makes perfect hopefully. Oh, also put some neosporin on after to sooth his ears and fed him. Thanks for listening and good luck to you. You will get there. Just breathe.
     
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  6. Stewie's Mom ID

    Stewie's Mom ID Member

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    P.S. Stewie seemed to enjoy the warm rice sock that I warmed in the microwave. He liked the massage on his ear with that so maybe try the rice sock next. I also think it helped a lot to get the blood moving and got a good puncture in the end.
     
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  7. SuziB

    SuziB Member

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    Jan 20, 2019
    I was where you are just a few days ago. I was a mess, my cat was freaking out every time, no blood was coming out...then things just sort of clicked. Here are the things I’m doing now that are successful:

    Test in the same spot. I’m testing Reece on my bathroom counter, where she already likes to sit. She hated the warm water bottle, warm towel and rice sock. Now I give her a treat then rub her ear till it warms a bit, scratching her chin and talking to her to keep her happy and calm.

    I’m using 28G lancets, and the lancet pen with the clear cap. Closer to the ear tip is working better for me. I used to have to poke more than once to get a blood bead, but now she’s bleeding much faster and easier.

    After the prick, I get the meter in my hand right away, while holding her ear with the other hand. Quick as I can, I get the strip to the blood bead. Then I use a cotton pad to pinch her ear while I get another treat with my other hand. She ends up so focused on the treat, she doesn’t care that I’m still holding her ear.

    Things have really improved for Reece and me and home testing - which I never thought I’d be able to do!

    Sometimes I put Neosporin on her ear, but it bothers her more than all the rest of it, so I only occasionally do it.

    I still struggle with giving her injections - she is NOT taking that nearly as well as the blood tests, but am trying the same strategies I used - same location, treats, etc - and am hoping it gets better, too.

    You are doing a great job. Persevere. It does get easier!
     
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  8. sybil

    sybil Member

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    Oct 16, 2018
    I feel you. My cat was so skittish about being held I had a terrible time at first and yes it was my stress more than hers. To catch her before work was such a nerve wrecking ordeal. But lo and behold her love of Temptations treats and the lure of getting a few after testing and shot was just too great for her so she started volunteering to get tested and injected just for the treats. I always used the same place- my sofa in the den. Now she comes and sits down beside me and waits for the prick and stick and I now dont give treats but she knows she will get food. I realize all cats are different and this may not work for you, but if a touch me not like Zoey, who would run if you reached out for her, can become accustomed to being handled now and even held a bit, anyone can. Temptations are not low carb but they are like crack and if it works to get them to learn to accept the sticks, a few are worth it!
     
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  9. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    Jan 28, 2019
    I can definitely try chicken as he loves that but unfortunately I can't get any other sized lancets at the moment as I've just bought a load with the meter and I can't afford anything else right now.
     
  10. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    Thank you, that means a lot. I think that's why I posted on here so quickly, I just knew that everyone would understand and help me calm down. I honestly don't know what I would have done without this place over the last couple of weeks.

    I'm at work today so I wouldn't have been able to try testing him anyway but yes, I think I'll leave it until tomorrow afternoon and maybe try again with method you've suggested.

    Hopefully you're right as the thought I'd hurt him upset me very much. Thankfully he seemed to have forgiven me by the end of the evening and I was able to give him lots of fuss.

    Thanks. :)
     
  11. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    Jan 28, 2019
    Thanks for the advice and encouragement, I will definitely get some treats ready before I try again! Did you let her have the treats and then prick her ear whilst she was eating or before the treats?
     
  12. Kris & Teasel

    Kris & Teasel Well-Known Member

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    Aug 17, 2016
    Freeze dried chicken is a popular treat. Give them in whatever way works best for you and your kitty. My guy is tested in my bathroom so I give him a treat for entering the bathroom, one just before poking and one right after. The freeze dried treats are essentially zero carbs.
     
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  13. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    Jan 28, 2019
    Thanks for the suggestions. I'm at work today so can't attempt testing anyway but yes, I'll either try again Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning.


    Would chicken slices be okay do you think? It's just I'm vegetarian and the smell of cooking chicken makes me feel sick!

    I do like your suggestion of treats for me to though, think it'll be a Pimm's and some chocolate next time. ;)

    I will do, thanks. Not sure what I would have done without this place over the last few weeks. :)
     
  14. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    I haven't seen any freeze dried treats locally but I'll have another look.
     
  15. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    I will give it a go! Little B just hates his ears being touched full stop so I think it's going to be difficult no matter what I use to be honest.
     
  16. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    Thanks for sharing your experience, it does help to see I'm not the only one. Hopefully it will get easier the more I try. :)
     
  17. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    Jan 28, 2019
    Testing in the same spot sounds smart. I think on our sofa will probably be the best place. I think Little B is going to be the same as your cat as he just hates anything touching his ear so I will probably end up just using my fingers (& treats!).

    I'm using 30G lancets at the moment but I will maybe try and order some 28G when I can. I never thought about using the clear cap but it makes sense, as does trying from the ear tip.

    Thanks for the words of encouragement, not sure what I'd do without you lot at the moment. :)
     
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  18. Stewie's Mom ID

    Stewie's Mom ID Member

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    Feb 6, 2019
    Stewie is mad about all these pokes but I know I have to do it after the near crisis we had with him yesterday. The warm rice sock helped me a lot and it molds to the underside of his ear so I use that to flatten his ear while keeping it warm. I used the 28 lancet with no cap on it so I could see where I puncture better. That helped me also. Hang in there. We are in the learning curve together.
     
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  19. Squeaky and KT (GA)

    Squeaky and KT (GA) Well-Known Member

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    Go to the dog treat section... :) Same freeze dried treats, just bigger chunks - easy to break!
     
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  20. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    Had a look today but couldn't find any in my local supermarket. So I had to just buy some chicken slices instead.
     
  21. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    Hope Stewie is doing okay. Thanks for the encouragement. *Hugs*
     
  22. Diana&Tom

    Diana&Tom Well-Known Member

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    Just be a wee bit careful with these as some brands contain potato starch - have a look at the ingredients on the label. It's probably not a lot, but any carb can raise bg so worth being aware.
     
  23. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    No potato starch but there is pea starch so I don't know if that's bad?
     
  24. Diana&Tom

    Diana&Tom Well-Known Member

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    Hmmmm... usually, any form of starch is a no no for diabetic cats, but I'd guess that the percentage must be small. What does it say on the label?
     
  25. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    It doesn't say the percentage of pea starch in the breakdown unfortunately. I'm thinking maybe it's best to be safe than sorry and not give him any.

    I've just seen that Hi Life do some freeze dried chicken breast treats so I wonder if I should just go for those instead as I can pick them up from my local supermarket (they're on the UK list on here).
     
  26. Diana&Tom

    Diana&Tom Well-Known Member

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    I can't really imagine that a little bit of pea starch would do much harm, so I'd probably give him some in small quantities just as treats, since you've now bought it. This is where testing bg at home is useful, as you could probably tell if this food causes a spike. Meanwhile, yes, freeze dried treats are absolutely fine, they are pure protein, and as they are dry and not fresh they will last longer depending on how many you give as a treat of course.
     
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  27. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    Jan 28, 2019
    Okay well I'm planning on making a second attempt at home testing in a short while so I'll give him a little bit of the chicken as a treat for tonight and then I will pick up some of the other treats tomorrow for any further attempts.
     
  28. Diana&Tom

    Diana&Tom Well-Known Member

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    Sounds fine. So now try to relax as much as possible before the test attempt - deep breaths and calming music maybe, and a cup of tea or glass of wine at hand! Remember, if you're stressed, kitty will be too. And give yourself positive self talk - don't focus on what happened last time, tell yourself that it's easy and that you'll soon get the hang of it. You're certainly not alone in finding it daunting to start with but it really is just a knack and once you've got it, you'll almost be able to test blindfold!
     
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  29. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    Thanks for the advice and for all your help it is much appreciated honestly. I've got a cup of tea and some soothing music on the go already so fingers crossed! :)
     
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  30. Diana&Tom

    Diana&Tom Well-Known Member

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    Let us know how you get on! And for some more support, read the thread here on Health about Sooty - a fellow UKer, Amy, has had similar issues re testing to you, but is now starting to get to grips with it and is feeling more confident :)
     
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  31. Kris & Teasel

    Kris & Teasel Well-Known Member

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    Aug 17, 2016
    Some people cook a plain chicken breast (poach or roast with nothing added) and cut it up into tiny pieces as treats. Package it in small daily amounts and put in the freezer. Take out a package as needed.
     
  32. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    Second attempt was a failure. He won't allow me to warm his ear with anything, rice sock or otherwise. Didn't get past the adding vaseline stage as he was getting very unhappy and hid under the chair. I made sure to give him a treat and some fuss anyway but yeah, not happening. Will try again tomorrow.

    In the meantime I will take a look at the thread on Sooty though, thanks for pointing it out.
     
  33. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    Jan 28, 2019
    If it comes down to it I can try that but I'm not mega keen as I'm a vegetarian and the smell makes me feel sick.
     
  34. Diana&Tom

    Diana&Tom Well-Known Member

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    That's a shame but never mind, third time lucky. I suspect your nerves are getting the better of you so try to slow the whole process down... spend a few minutes fussing him or playing with him, try to massage his ears gently and then surreptiously get the lancet and... before you know it you'll be done. I'm sure you can and will get there.
     
  35. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    I'm afraid 3rd and 4th attempts have also been failures. I did what you suggested, spent 5 minutes or so fussing him and trying to gently massage his ear but if I touched it for more than a second, he'd pull away and flatten it down. It's obvious he's figured out something is going on every time I touch them. I tried giving him one or two of the treats but as soon as I put the lancet device and the cotton pad against his ear he started complaining and pulling away.

    I'm feeling really disheartened now. I can't afford to keep wasting lancets and if it's this hard just to get one reading, how am I supposed to do this 3 to 4 times a day when he's on insulin? How am I supposed to do a blood curve?

    The only other option I have is to get my brother to hold him whilst I test but that'll probably stress him out a lot and therefore affect his reading, which would render it pointless.

    I don't know what to do now. He's going back to the vets tomorrow for his fructosamine test and I'd hoped to at least have had a couple of days readings to show the vet but I've got nothing.

    There is no scenario that I can see at the moment that's going to allow me to do it without him stressing out. He loves food and treats so if that isn't enough to distract him then I'm at a loss.
     
  36. Diana&Tom

    Diana&Tom Well-Known Member

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    Dec 29, 2009
    Oh dear! Sorry this is proving so difficult. Some cats are very feisty, it's true, but most do come round eventually to testing. Having someone else hold the cat is one option but you're right, that's stressful too and could distort the reading.

    I do feel your despair, it's tough when a cat doesn't seem to want to co-operate. See what the vet says tomorrow - maybe he/she can do a spot check just to give a rough idea of bg. Vets can be quite brisk and businesslike so the whole process is quite quick, whereas we take more time and give the cat a chance to say no! Take a few treats with you and see if that might help to associate with a test.

    If it's any consolation, @Elizabeth and Bertie here in the UK, who has been testing her diabetic cat Bertie for years, has just taken on a new foster kitty and is having similar issues as you when trying to test... let's see if she has any thoughts.
     
  37. Erin & Scott

    Erin & Scott Member

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    Jan 11, 2019
    I'm sorry to hear you're having such a hard time. :( Our Benny has always disliked having his ears messed with, and we were afraid we'd have a fight on our hands. The first few attempts, we tried having Scott hold him while I poked, but Scott gets so nervous that he wouldn't hold Benny firmly enough. Eventually I just said fine, go away, I'll do it myself.

    Benny has never been a lap cat, so sitting him on a lap was out of the question. Instead, I set him up on a kitchen counter that is just the right height for me. He's gotten so he settles himself down now, but at first, I leaned over him and held him in place with my body. Not that I put my whole weight on him, but enough that he was being held in place firmly but very gently. Once I had him held in place, I would massage his ear to get him used to it being handled, and also to warm it up and get the blood circulating.

    The first few times, I fumbled and didn't have everything handy - or I'd not get a good jab with the lancet and the meter would time out (it gives me 2 minutes after I insert the strip). Eventually it became routine; hold kitty firmly but gently in place, massage ear, pick up cotton pad and hold it against under part of ear (I started out poking the inside of his ear, but learned it was much easier to do the outside), insert stick in meter, pick up lancet, poke ear, massage a little blood out, and hold the stick (held in meter) next to the blood drop to suck it up. (I don't know if you've handled babies, but there are some similarities - you feel like you need at least three hands, but you somehow manage to make do by using body blocks. :p)

    Alternatively to leaning your weight on him, have you tried the "burrito cat" trick? Wrap him up in a large towel so that his legs are all contained, then do the ear poke. I certainly sympathize, and wish I could offer a more tangible kind of help, but maybe once you sift through all of the advice, there will be something you can latch on to that will make a difference.
     
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  38. Elizabeth and Bertie

    Elizabeth and Bertie Well-Known Member

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    Sep 6, 2010
    Hi Lauren, I currently have two diabetic cats from very different situations. I have an oldie (now 20 years years old) who was diagnosed at age 8, and I've had him since he was about 2 years old. And I also, as Diana says above, now have a diabetic cat that has only been with me for 6 days, and who doesn't know me at all. My experience of the latter cat, Bonbon, has reminded me in no uncertain terms of what it's like to be starting out with feline diabetes, and just to what extent 'every cat is different'. It's a very humbling experience...

    With my old boy, Bertie, I at least had/have his trust, so he's been willing to put up with me messing him around a bit (in his view) in order to get a test. And he was incredibly forgiving if I was unskilled in my early attempts with him. In just a very short time I was able to test him multiple times a day and also in his sleep.
    However, with my recent acquisition, Bonbon, it's a very different ballgame. She doesn't know me and has absolutely no reason to trust me. And that has been a bit of a challenge.
    But one thing is true to both situations; and that is that we need find ways to work 'with' the cat, so that they come to see the value of complying. And that can take a little time.

    With my oldie, Bertie, it was a matter of finding ways to deal with his strength and willfulness. At diagnosis, 8 years old, very strong, and weighing over 6kg, it was really a matter of keeping him distracted (with crumbled cat treats) long enough to get a test.
    With the new girl, Bonbon, the 'distraction' technique' also seems to work fairly well (but not always as yet!), but her needs are different. She is easier to test if she's laying down on her heated mat and feeling a bit chilled out.

    Bonbon liking her heated mat has the added benefit of warming her ears so the blood flows better (warm ears make life so much easier!). And if I break up a couple of treats for her she will eat them while she's still laying down, and then I can quickly and gently get hold of one of her ears and prick the outer edge.
    By then the treats are probably gobbled up so I have to break up a couple more for her, and hope that I have a blood droplet. If I do, great! If I don't, I might try again from the beginning. But if she's getting stressed, I give her a bit of treat and a cuddle, and walk away.
    Over the past days I've noticed that, as long as Bonbon is lying down on her heated mat, she has become increasingly tolerant to my efforts to test her. She is beginning to get used to the process, knowing that rewards come with it.

    Lauren, you do at least have the advantage of having your cat's love and trust. Little B isn't suddenly going to hate you or stop trusting you because you're trying to hometest. He may get a bit peed off with you at times, but it will pass. Really. So don't let your concerns about that stop you from continuing to try to test him. But do look for ways and situations that make it easier for him to tolerate, and that will make it easier for you also. If you notice Little B's ears are nice and warm at any time, that can be a good time to just try a test. You may get lucky, and that can build confidence.

    Do have patience, Lauren, and be kind to yourself. You will find out what works for you and Little B, but it can be a learning curve... :bighug:
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
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  39. Diana&Tom

    Diana&Tom Well-Known Member

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    Dec 29, 2009
    There's a REALLY good post on this subject on the Facebook group at present, started by a lady called Cindy - lots of replies with excellent comments and suggestions. Are you a member of the group, Lauren? Many people find that first before they are directed over here - so much more info to be had in one place here - but there's no harm in getting the benefit from both so do join! - look for the posting I mentioned, or if you don't see it I can tag you.
     
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  40. Elizabeth and Bertie

    Elizabeth and Bertie Well-Known Member

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    Sep 6, 2010
    ((((Lauren))), you're jumping ahead a wee bit. Try to take it a day at a time. Learning to test is a a process, not an event....
    And while some cats take to testing like proverbial 'ducks to water', some others do not, and can take a little longer to get used to it. My new foster cat Bonbon is a case in point. So, in a way, you and I are both newcomers learning together. I may have experience of testing my old boy Bertie. But, 'every cat is different', and some will feel stress in situations where others may not.

    If the cat is beginning to get stressed, and you're getting stressed, and it looks like the test isn't going to happen without causing further stress, just stop. Give the cat a cuddle and a treat or two.
    Even if you don't get a blood test you can still use the situation to build the association between treats and testing in a positive way. If you can do that then the attempted test was still, in a very real way, 'successful'.

    With my new kitty, Bonbon, I'm taking a few minutes here and there throughout the day to just massage or hold her ear for a second, and give her a piece of treat. I also click the lancing device near her, and give a piece of treat. My aim is to build the association that ear touching brings benefits/rewards, and that these rewards are such that they outweigh the faff of having her ears touched. It is a learning curve, but because I've been down this road before, and have seen so many here learn to test their cats, I feel somewhat able to trust the process.

    If you absolutely must get a test at any point, for example if you suspect hypoglycemia, then that may justify being rather more assertive if necessary, or getting someone else to help you.

    Other things I'm doing with Bonbon are monitoring her water consumption/ pee output; and testing her pee for ketones and glucose whenever the opportunity presents itself. This is easier than it was with Bertie because Bonbon is currently in a room on her own and any peeing or drinking that happens must be hers, so it is like having an 'only cat'.

    I do strongly recommend testing your kitty's pee if you are able to do so. It does give other valuable information, especially if hometesting of blood glucose is not yet a regular thing. You should be able to get Keto-Diastix strips from most pharmacies.
    The test itself is simple and involves dipping the end of the test strip into a drop or two of pee, timing for a given number of seconds, and reading off the result. The greater challenge is getting that drop of pee... Crumpling clingfilm loosely over the cat litter is often a good way to catch a little sample. Or, if you use clumping litter you may be able to just push the test strip into a fresh pee clump. I've found with Bonbon (who is a bit of a digger and tries hard to cover everything she does) that only having a thin layer of cat litter works best, since it's harder for her to cover everything, and increases the chance of my catching a little pee sample before it gets absorbed into the litter.
    There is more information on testing urine on the sugarpet website here:
    http://www.sugarpet.net/urine.html


    Regarding testing, there's some general tips below that I wrote out for someone else a while back. There might be something in here that helps.
    . . . . .

    1. Warm ears. Ears bleed so much more easily if they've warm. If they don't feel warm to the touch then briefly massaging can stimulate blood flow. Or you can hold something warm (ie a pill bottle filled with warm water) against the inside of the ear.
    2. Resistance. The lancet needs something to 'resist' otherwise it can push the ear away rather than prick through it. Some folks hold a little bit of cotton wool or folded tissue against the underside of the ear, opposite to where they're pricking. I usually use a finger tip, but sometimes get blood from myself that way too..)
    3. Two ear pricks can be better than one. Two ear pricks close together can often produce enough blood for a test where one ear prick might not.
    4. Massaging below the ear prick with fingers and thumb can 'milk' more blood out. I almost always do this unless the ear is especially warm.
    5. Vaseline: A teensy weensy smear of Vaseline on the outer edge of the ear can help the blood to 'bead up' rather than disappear into the fur. I found it so much easier to see the blood droplet because of it 'sitting on top' of the Vaseline. I did this for the first few weeks when I was learning to test.
    6. Get comfortable. I find it much easier to test if I pop Bertie up onto my desk or a counter top. I find it easier to see what I'm doing, and I'm physically more comfortable. And my desk lamp is a good source of local light. ..Some people prefer to put their kitty on their lap, or are happy to test if the kitty is sitting alongside them. Find out what works best for you.
    7. Remember to breathe... The more relaxed you are about the process the more relaxed your kitty is likely to be. Take deep breaths. Approach the situation in a 'matter of fact' kind of way if you can.
    8. Rewards. Always reward the kitty for every attempted test, whether successful or not. If you ONLY give treats when giving tests, most cats will come to develop positive associations with testing. ...I actually find it easiest to crumble a few treats and then test Bertie while he's hoovering up the crumbs.
    9. Reward yourself too!
     
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  41. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    Jan 28, 2019
    I'll try the treat thing at the vets today. When she did it on Saturday she had a nurse hold him and then she used a syringe to draw blood from his leg for testing. This stressed him out too.
     
  42. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    I'm not a member no, I didn't know there was a Facebook group. I will try and see if I can find it.
     
  43. Diana&Tom

    Diana&Tom Well-Known Member

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  44. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    Jan 28, 2019
    Little B isn't a lap cat either and he hates being held. I tried the kitchen counter thing yesterday but he's quite strong and I just found it too hard to hold him and do everything else as well.

    I've certainly done the ''burrito cat's thing with other cats in the past when necessary but I think in his case it'll stress him out too much.

    Thanks for trying to help though, I do appreciate it.
     
  45. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    Jan 28, 2019
    Thanks, I have submitted my request to join. He's had his bloods taken this afternoon for the fructosamine test so we'll see what that says. The one bit of positive news is that his excessive thirst has disappeared this week and his drinking habits are back to normal. I know that doesn't necessarily mean he's suddenly okay but I'm taking it as a good thing for now. :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
    Reason for edit: Wanted to add more to post.
  46. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    Thanks for sharing your experience and your advice, I appreciate it. :)
     
  47. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    Jan 28, 2019
    You're right I know and I do realize that I tend to panic a lot and over think everything. Unfortunately I think circumstances in my life have made me this way and I find it hard to not get ahead of myself.

    I will try this but honestly knowing what Little B is like, I don't think he's ever going to not be stressed when I'm doing it.

    I have already been testing for ketones for a couple of weeks now actually. I had to order some ketone strips online as nowhere locally sells them round here. They're just ketone ones though, not glucose as well.

    Thanks for this I do appreciate it, however I have already been trying just about all of these without success. Like I said before I can't get to warm his ears as he hates them being messed with, at most I can touch them for a second and that's it. I will keep trying but I don't think it's ever going to be easy with him unfortunately.

    He's had his bloods taken this afternoon for the fructosamine test so we'll see what that says. The one bit of positive news is that his excessive thirst has disappeared this week and his drinking habits are back to normal. I know that doesn't necessarily mean he's suddenly okay but I'm taking it as a good thing for now. :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
  48. Georgiana & Perlutz

    Georgiana & Perlutz Member

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    Jan 24, 2019
    Hi @Cherish4,

    We were in your shoes until a couple of weeks ago and I know how frustrated you must feel :bighug: I kept reading threads on FDMB about testing, watched countless videos on how to do it and yet we still failed :facepalm: We tried holding him, while he sleeps, while brushing him and nothing.

    When we went to the vet, we asked if he could possibly show us and he was happy to. But instead of using the lancing device or a lancet, he used a syringe needle and did it with a very quick move. He gave us few syringe needles until we manage to buy more and sent us home. And that really worked for us. I was holding Perlutz in my arms, while gently pressing my head against him so he doesn't move but also because it calms him, I would talk to him and my bf would quickly prick his ear and we've been successful from the first attempt. The syringe needle and also seeing it done right in front of our eyes, on our cat, worked for us.

    We've done it like this for few days but then we got confident and we are now using the lancing device. It's easier with the lancing device, especially for me (I'm squeamish for blood, needles and injections o_O). It's also a pain in the bum to buy syringe needles in UK, we've been given some interesting looks and got a LOT of questions on what they are for to the point I wanted to shout in the pharmacy that I don't use drugs! :D PS: we never managed to buy them, we got some more from the vet.

    I don't know if the syringe needle is something others have tried or not, and I don't know if it's a method to be used on your own, we've always done it in 2. But I would definitely take the meter to the vet and asked him/her to show you.

    Good luck, you can do it! :bighug:
     
  49. Kris & Teasel

    Kris & Teasel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2016
    I was given syringe needles at the start too. I switched eventually to the lancet but I only put it in the trigger device as a holder. I free hand the pokes.
     
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  50. Elizabeth and Bertie

    Elizabeth and Bertie Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    Yes, that is a very good sign indeed. Celebrate all successes! :)

    While you're not testing blood is there any chance you might be able to try to test his pee? It's not the same as a blood glucose test but in the absence of that can still give very useful info.

    Eliz
     
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  51. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    Jan 28, 2019
    If I can get some glucose strips cheaply then yes maybe (would have to order online as not available locally). Having spent money on ketone sticks, a meter, extra lancets, extra strips etc.. money is a bit tight right now but I could see what Amazon has got.
     
  52. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    I could ask my vet about syringes but at the end of the day, whatever I use will only work if I can get him to cooperate!
     
  53. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    Thanks for sharing your experience with me, it is helpful to hear other perspectives. I'm not sure that syringes are going to be any better in my case, especially as I will be doing most of the testing alone. I can certainly try to get my vet to show me how to test, although she didn't seem keen on the idea that I was using a human rather than a pet meter. But I will ask if necessary.
     
  54. Diana&Tom

    Diana&Tom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2009
    Try not to despair, Lauren. These things do take time. Give yourself credit for everything you have learned so far about FD and see testing as just the next little hurdle to jump over when you can...
    :)
     
  55. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    I'm trying to. As you've probably worked out by now, I am not a person who finds it easy to be positive about situations. I never used to be like this but unfortunately circumstances have changed things and my anxiety often gets the better of me.

    This place is helping a lot though I can tell you that. It makes me feel less alone in dealing with it, knowing that you're all here if I need advice or support. I have tried to engage with my brother over things but he just says to do what I believe is best. I think he still feels that I should have given Little B up when we got the diagnosis, so he's deliberately pulled away from it all.

    Anyway, I intend to attempt testing again tomorrow so we'll see it goes. :)
     
  56. Diana&Tom

    Diana&Tom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2009
    Yes I do think your anxiety is holding you back, but you wouldn't be the only one. Many people here have faced and are still facing trying circumstances - health, money, work, domestic situations - and it is a real challenge to overcome negative feelings and start to make thngs better. This probably isn't the place to start waffling on about "everything happens for a reason" but I think that strength to improve our lot often comes from the need to do right not by ourselves but for someone else... in this case, our feline family. All of us here think the world of our kitties and there's nothng we wouldn't do to keep them safe and healthy. You read cases here of people spending their life savings on expensive medical treatments, for example. So I think you will conquer the testing issue, motivated by your bond with Little B. Success will give you confidence in yourself and you will start to feel more positive generally - and quite possibly, if you stick around as an ongoing member of this community, you can empathise and cheer on others going through the same early experiences as you are now.

    Sorry for the lengthy para - hopefully you'll get the gist of what I mean. I'm glad you found us and that it's helpful if you need support. There are other forums here that you might like to look at too if you have time - Community, for example, where people all over the world share stories and experiences, some cat-related, some not. It's a great place to "meet" other members of FDMB and although you may never meet most of them in person, firm friendships can be struck up.

    Good luck with today's test attempt! Be sure to have some little treats handy for both of you so that win or lose, you have something nice afterwards!
     
  57. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    Jan 28, 2019
    5th and 6th attempts yesterday were also failures. Shortly about to attempt a 7th go.

    Just had a phone call from the vet about his fructosamine test, his numbers are high but not dangerously so. However they are recommending that he starts on insulin over the next week. I've got to find out how much the local RSPCA can help first.

    This means of course that I've got to get the testing under control in the next few days now, I haven't got a choice.

    I'm going to have a boat load of questions regarding insulin which I'm assuming I'd post in the relevant forum (I think they want to start him on caninsulin)?

    Not going to lie, feeling really anxious again now. I knew it was going to be a long shot that he wouldn't need it but it's just with all the trouble I'm having with testing and now there's going to be injecting on top of that... feels really scary (I find the possibility that I could potentially make him really ill if I don't get the insulin right downright terrifying).
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2019
  58. Diana&Tom

    Diana&Tom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2009
    I think maybe with the testing it's a case of practise makes perfect - and trying to cultivate a "can do" attitude. I know that's easier said than done but that might be key to all this. Try not to use the word "failure" but instead, "didn't quite manage it this time but we'll keep trying" - or something.

    What is it exactly about testing that you think is making it a problem? - we know he doesn't like having his ears touched, but if you can overcome that - try giving him a treat or two while you're doing it - what is it? Remember the key things - hold a small piece of folded warmed tissue (or something not too bulky) at the back of the ear and hold firmly with your left thumb and forefinger, then use the lancet in your right hand and prick quickly once or twice at the sweet spot. That should produce a bead of blood and if you can, massage the area gently to get a little more if needed (not sure about your meter but some need a bigger sample of blood than others). Then get your reading and give treats!

    You will probably start on Caninsulin, yes, although if you have any choice in the matter and the vet is prepared to discuss it with you, there are other options. Tell the vet that you've been doing lots of reading on FD and ask questions.

    Yes, you probably will have questions when you start on insulin and yes, it might be better to post on the relevant forum when you start to get testing data and have dosing questions, but until then I'd say stay put here where you'll get more generalised answers.

    So it looks like it's all about the testing. It's true that some owners treating their pets for FD (not on this board) never test at all and just take their cat to the vet every few weeks for a curve. Maybe they've never heard of testing blood at home and the vet has never mentioned it. That's one way to proceed - but I think you know from what you've read here that actually it's pretty important to test if you want to keep your cat safe. So you're going to have to find a way that suits you one way or another... I think once you have one test under your belt it will give you a big boost so it's just breaking that barrier somehow...
     
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  59. Elizabeth and Bertie

    Elizabeth and Bertie Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    Please don't see these as 'failures', Lauren. You may not have got a blood test but each of these attempts is an important step in the right direction.

    FWIW, I'm having to work quite hard on my new foster cat, Bonbon, to get her to accept being tested. A number of times throughout the day I'm just touching or massaging one of her ears, just for a second or two, and then giving her a piece of her favourite treat. I let her smell the treats first (or rustle the bag so she can hear it), so she knows that a treat will be forthcoming...
    She also loves to be brushed, so I'm brushing her and scratching her under the chin, and also sneaking in a few little ear massages, just briefly, among everything else that's going on.
    If there are particular treats that Little B likes, or he likes to be groomed, both of these are opportunities to gently acclimatise him to having his ears touched, and to begin to get him to learn that it's no big deal. Or if he likes to snuggle up on your lap you can just begin to touch his ears a little while you're stroking him, very casually and just for a moment. It can be a slow process, so do be kind and patient with yourself, Lauren.

    As Diana says above, many caregivers don't test their cats at all. But you are trying to test, and that is a wonderful thing to try to do. And anything you can achieve will be a 'bonus'.

    As Diana also says it's most likely your vet will want to start you on Caninsulin, but more and more vets are following the RVC's recommendation and are prescribing Prozinc, which tends to work better in cats. Prozinc costs more per vial than Caninsulin does, but it may have a longer shelf life, so, if Little B is on a low dose that may end up not costing any more than the Caninsulin does.
    I see from your profile that you've volunteered with Cats Protection. Is there any chance they will help you with costs? Or, have the RSPCA given any clear indication that they may help?

    Eliz
     
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  60. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    Jan 28, 2019
    It's the whole thing that makes it difficult. I just can't warm his ear, prick it with the Lancet, get the blood (my meter only needs a small amount) and then stop the bleeding without him getting upset and pulling away or running away. He's just not getting over the whole ear touching thing, even though I've been trying to gently touch them every time I fuss him and giving him a treat afterwards. But because I can't warm them, I can't get any blood to appear even if I've managed to use the lancet without him getting away. I have tried fuss, I have tried treats, I have tried everything bar my brother holding him for me and that's not going to be possible all the time anyway.

    I will discuss other options but if the local RSPCA are going to pay for it, that may dictate which one he'll be able to have.

    Okay thanks. I do have a bunch of general questions about the whole process, so I'll probably try and start another thread to get some answers. I suspect that the vets may push for having him in when he starts insulin, so if I can show I've got the necessary knowledge then hopefully they'll be alright about me doing things at home.
     
  61. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    Jan 28, 2019
    I've tried this with Little B but he's not buying it. He still hates his ears being messed with.

    I do have to brush his fur from time to time but he doesn't really like it. He's not a lap cat either, nor does he like being picked up.

    I will certainly bring up other options but if the local RSPCA end up agreeing to pay for it, I may not have much choice in which one to use.

    Cats Protection don't help with ongoing veterinary costs. They help with neutering or the initial costs during adoption but that's it. I don't yet know if the RSPCA are going to be able to help with the insulin and syringes. They are only a small local branch and have already paid for some of his tests, so it will depend on how much financial resources they have.
     
  62. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2019
    I got a reading!

    I tried putting him on the kitchen counter again and he struggled and got upset as hell, even though I gave him treats but I managed to get some blood and with my brother's help, I got some on the strip and hey presto, reading (21.2 mmol). He's currently hiding in the garden now and won't let me touch him but I'm hoping he'll calm down shortly.

    Still finding it hard to see him get so stressed and I don't honestly think he's ever going to like it but as long as he doesn't end up resenting me or running away, I guess I will just have to learn to come to terms with it.

    But I got a reading. :)
     
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  63. Diana&Tom

    Diana&Tom Well-Known Member

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    Dec 29, 2009
    Hurray! So now you know it can be done, albeit with a struggle. The 21.2 is high and definitely warrants insulin, although it may be slightly elevated by stress. Give bim lots of fussing when he comes in and don't even attempt another one today, there's no point. But yes, this is something that both he and you are going to have to get used to and you will have to practise more so it becomes easier when you are actually giving insulin and need to check bg in order to shoot... it may be hard but try to counteract any negative with a positive and accept that it's for his benefit.

    I think a glass of wine is in order!
     
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  64. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    Jan 28, 2019
    Yes I think stress has raised it slightly but I suspect it's not too far off his true level.

    No don't worry I won't! He's actually due his flea treatment later so I think that'll be quite enough for one day!

    I will thanks. My aim is to try one again tomorrow and then two on Monday etc... He did pop back in to have a few more treats before disappearing again so at least he didn't run away for ages or anything.

    Indeed! ;)
     
  65. Elizabeth and Bertie

    Elizabeth and Bertie Well-Known Member

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    Sep 6, 2010
    Woohoo!
    [​IMG]
     
  66. Elizabeth and Bertie

    Elizabeth and Bertie Well-Known Member

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    Sep 6, 2010
    Lauren, there are some cats who really, really don't like their ears touched (although it's very early days with Little B as yet and he may come round).
    Does Little B tolerate his paws being touched...? There are some folks who test the paws instead of the ears...
     
  67. Erin & Scott

    Erin & Scott Member

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    Jan 11, 2019
    Fabulous! You did great! Maybe he’ll never get to where he likes it, but as long as he gets to where he’ll tolerate it, you’re in good shape. Congratulations on a job well done!
     
  68. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    Jan 28, 2019
    No, he doesn't like me touching his pads either unfortunately. :(
     
  69. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    Jan 28, 2019
    Thanks so much! :)
     
  70. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    Jan 28, 2019
    So I managed to get a reading again tonight. However he was even more upset and stressed than yesterday about it and struggled like crazy to get away from me. Naturally this meant that his reading (23.3 mmol) was higher than the previous one, so I've no idea what his actual BG level is. It didn't help that it took 3 pokes to get any blood. I still can't warm his ear properly beforehand, the best I can manage is warming the cotton pad I use whilst poking.

    He ran outside again afterwards. I did manage to persuade him to come back in and have some treats and fuss but he's visibly traumatized over it. I've decided therefore that it's best to give him a break tomorrow and then I will try again Tuesday. Unfortunately I suspect his reaction will be the same. :(

    I am genuinely concerned about this now. He's due to start insulin in the next few days and if he carries on being this stressed, how is he going to react when he has to be injected as well? How will I even know whether he should be given insulin if I can't get a true reading due to his stress?
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2019 at 5:40 PM
  71. Diana&Tom

    Diana&Tom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2009
    Some cats do take a while to get used to tests and injections but most eventually come round...you need to find the magic way that works for your cat. Not sure if there's much to be gained by taking a day off from testing so maybe try a different method today - I think it's @Kris & Teasel who has described her own way here before, perhaps you would repeat it here please Kris?

    I know this seems a mountain to climb but you do need to persevere as with bg in the 20s he really should be on insulin asap and yes, you should be testing before every shot as minimum. Do you have any friends at Cats Protection who you could ask to come to your house and help you get the knack - some people who haven't tested before but are very experienced handling cats might find it easier and less stressful, so you might be able to learn by seeing that it can be done. And maybe look at the videos on testing again. And/or, talk to the vet when you next go (to pick up insulin?) and explain the situation to them... their job is to support you in the treatment of your cat, after all. Maybe they have a friendly vet nurse who might pop round to help?
     
  72. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    Jan 28, 2019
    Just wish I knew what that was. I hate seeing him so upset.

    We're due at the vets on Wednesday to get his insulin. I'm having to wait a few days whilst I find out if the RSPCA can pay for it.

    Not really no. It's actually one of their charity shops that I volunteer at, nothing to do directly with cats. There is a lady who volunteers on a different day whom I think may have a cat so I could try to get her opinion. I do actually have experience of handling cats though, as we've had them all my life. It's just that whenever any of them needed medicine etc... it would be my mum and I that would do it together and I don't have that now so...

    I will certainly ask the vet for some advice on it when we're there on Wednesday but I don't think they do things like sending vet nurses round.
     
  73. Elizabeth and Bertie

    Elizabeth and Bertie Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    Lauren, the cats often don't even notice the insulin shots, especially if they've got their face in a bowl of food. It's really a matter of gently grabbing and pulling up a bit of loose skin on the scruff of the neck, and injecting into that. It's done in a matter of seconds. You're not injecting into muscle or anything 'sensitive'. (Mama cats carry their kittens around by the scruff of the neck, and it doesn't hurt them at all.)

    Regarding the testing, you could try what I'm doing with my foster kitty at the moment, and that is a bit of 'de-sensitization' and 'counter-conditioning' (there's a good little video about this below.).
    Throughout the day I'm just holding Bonbon's ear for a moment or two, or giving the ear a little massage, and then quickly giving her a piece of her favourite treat. Then I do it once or twice more, and then walk away, or maybe I'll also give her a little grooming session. I don't touch her ear long enough for her to get stressed, I'm just trying to get her to become desensitized to having her ears touched, because the treat is the more important thing in the picture as far as she's concerned. I'm also clicking the lancing device near her and giving her a piece of treat. I want her to learn to associate the sound of the lancing device with something pleasurable. It's not necessarily a 'quick fix', but sometimes it actually can be just that. Some cats can learn very fast...

    This little video is actually about getting a cat used to injections. But the same principles apply with hometesting.
     
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  74. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    Jan 28, 2019
    I would say that I find this reassuring but Little B is continuously demonstrating that he's not going to follow the rules easily at all! ;)

    I have been trying the de-sensitization thing with his ears for the last few days but it's not making any difference. I'm not using the lancing device properly either as I'm finding it too difficult, I'm just using it to give me an extra bit to hold whilst I poke free hand. I could try putting it near him and then giving him a treat I suppose, like in the video. That video will certainly be helpful when I start trying to give him insulin in a few days time. so thanks for sharing it.
     
  75. Elizabeth and Bertie

    Elizabeth and Bertie Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    This is a great time to try to de-sensitize him, Lauren, because there isn't the pressure to 'have' to get a test. You can relax, and take things slowly and gently. But just keep trying. Many small efforts in the same direction. Even a few seconds here and there throughout the day, touching one of his ears, giving a little piece of a treat, and then a cuddle. The more relaxed you are about it, the more relaxed your cat is likely to be. Cats really do pick up on our moods so it is important to try to approach it all in as calm a fashion as possible. ...Your cat knows and loves and trusts you. You really can do this. Just be patient with yourself. :bighug:
     
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  76. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    Jan 28, 2019
    Decided to start giving this a go today after being unable to get a reading again yesterday. Have been touching his ears, fussing him around them and then giving a treat. His response has been mostly okay but a bit wary. Have also been placing the lancet in holder plus cotton pad on his feeding mat whenever he comes in and then giving him a treat with them there, before taking it all away again. Encouragingly, he didn't run away when he saw them and actually sniffed them a few times as well so hopefully he'll start to associate them with the treats. Will do this a few more times tonight before bed.
     
  77. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    Jan 28, 2019
    Been doing the desensitisation technique for the last 5 days but sadly it's not working. It started off really well, I gradually got to the stage where I could touch his ears and give him a treat, I got him to be okay with having the Lancet next to him and I even got to the point where I was able to gently touch his ears with the Lancet itself (not the needle obviously). Yesterday however did not go well, I tried to progress to holding the lancet and cotton pad against his ear as though I was going to poke without actually doing so and he did not like it. Then I tried to test this morning using everything I'd learnt and he freaked out, took off and didn't come back for 2 hours. I haven't got a single reading this week because I've wanted to use this technique and I'm not sure what to try next. I could walk it back a bit and try slowly again but I'm running out of time. His insulin has unfortunately been delayed for a few days due to unforeseen circumstances and the vet isn't keen to start him on it at the weekend in case anything went wrong as they won't be available, so it'll be Monday now when he starts. Therefore I have three days to figure something out.
     
  78. Elizabeth and Bertie

    Elizabeth and Bertie Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    Well, at least you have a little more time to keep trying before the insulin arrives.

    Lauren, what treats are you using to reward him with. Is it something he really, really likes?

    How exactly are you trying to test him? Can you walk us through it?
    Are you using the same routine each time?


    And does he tolerate his paws being touched? There are some folks who find paw testing easier.
     
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  79. Diana&Tom

    Diana&Tom Well-Known Member

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    Dec 29, 2009
    What about trying catnip?
     
  80. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    Jan 28, 2019
    He will sniff at catnip but he doesn't go crazy for it like one of my others, Merlin, does.
     
  81. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

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    Jan 28, 2019
    True and he's doing okay at the moment so he's not in immediate danger but obviously it'll be better when he's on it.

    This is him at the moment by the way, out in the garden and loving the sunshine:
    IMG_20190222_131545.jpg

    I'm using the wilko chicken breast treats that I bought last week and he loves them.

    So I gently pick him up and put him on the kitchen counter. I give him some fuss and a treat, then I try to warm his ear up if I can but usually I can't so I just put a little vaseline on the edge of his ear, give him some more fuss and another treat. I try and talk to him in a light, soothing tone as well and then hold him with one arm whilst using the other to hold the cotton pad against his ear and poke with the Lancet. Usually have to do this two or three times, give him more fuss, more treats, massage the area to get a blood droplet, grab the meter to collect the blood, more fuss/treats, stem the blood with cotton pad, more fuss and treats, then let him go. All this whilst he is stressing out, making upset noises and struggling to get away.

    Again, he doesn't mind if I briefly touch his pads but he'll pull them away if I mess too much.
     
  82. Elizabeth and Bertie

    Elizabeth and Bertie Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    Lovely photo, Lauren. ...He doesn't look 'too' traumatised there, bless him! :bighug::cat::bighug:

    The Vaseline on the ear probably doesn't need to be done every time you test. I found that once a day was/is usually sufficient. And that can be done entirely separately to doing the test itself. So, when I say 'hi' to the cats first thing in the morning, I may put a tiny smear of Vaseline on my thumb and then just casually wipe that over the edge of the ear that I'm planning to test, while giving the cat a little cuddle. It's also a chance to quickly see whether the ear is warm or cool.

    It sounds like you are getting into a good routine. And if Little B is eating the treats once you've popped him on the kitchen counter he can't be too stressed at that point...

    I wonder if he is reacting to being restrained; some cats really don't like to be held much...
    With my old diabetic boy and the new foster kitty I'm crumbling treats and then testing them while they're actually eating the treat crumbs. And I wonder if this might work for you also?
    So, first off I give the cat a bit of a brushing and a bit of fuss, incorporating a bit of ear massage. Then I put some of the pre-crumbled treats in front of the cat and while s/he is eating those I try to quickly take hold of an ear and prick the outer edge. Then I let go and see if I've got a blood droplet forming, and maybe scratch the cat's head or under the chin. If no blood droplet forming I repeat the process. Or if it looks like there's some blood but not quite enough I put down a few more treat crumbs and massage immediately below where I've pricked to 'milk' out a little more blood. If there's blood, I put down more treat crumbs and quickly hold the test strip against the blood droplet. This is the longest part of the process and does take a few seconds. While the meter is counting down I put down the remaining treat crumbs and press the test site between finger and thumb or with a piece of folded tissue.

    The new foster kitty is still getting used to the testing, and at this point isn't exactly thrilled with it and tries to walk away backwards when I hold her ear. So I just make sure there's a cushion behind her (I test on an armchair) so she's got nowhere to go. And (touch wood/anti-jinx) she seems to be beginning to get more used to the process. (....If testing on a worktop or desk then it might be possible to block the cat from moving with your body, depending how you are standing in relation to him.)
    I also had our first 'success' with the foster kitty in that a couple of days ago when I got the test kit out she actually hopped onto the armchair where I test her... So, she seems to be beginning to associate the sound of the test kit with treats. And this is exactly what we want to happen. She still doesn't like the actual test and having her ear held, but she really does like those treats. This is why it can be so helpful during the day to offer a piece of treat and either massage or hold the ear, or click the lancing device. It builds the association in a positive way. It can feel like we're not achieving anything at all at first, but suddenly, if we're lucky, the cat 'gets it'.

    The first couple of weeks of trying to test can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. That's just how it is. Not all cats (or humans) take to testing like 'ducks to water'. But with persistence it almost always does get better. Many, many people report that a month or two into the process all is well, and the cat is now just fine with testing. This happens SO often. And I really hope you will soon be able to look back on this time and see how things have moved on.
    Meanwhile do remind yourself, frequently, 'why' you are learning to test. A little motivation can help when situations start to feel a bit challenging:
    It will help you to manage Little B's diabetes.
    It will help you keep him safe from hypo.
    It will save you money (less tests needed at the vet).
    And it will increase his chance of going into remission.

    Do keep trying, Lauren; and I'm sure that with persistence, patience, and a bit of 'can do' attitude you will get there.
    :bighug::bighug::bighug:
     
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  83. Cherish4

    Cherish4 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2019
    No, you'd never know he'd been so upset! I think it's cause he knew I wasn't going to try again so he could relax. ;)

    Okay well that's good to know, thanks for the tip.

    Yes I think it is being restrained that upsets him the most, whether that's his ear or his body. As we don't know his history, we've no idea if he maybe had a traumatic experience of being held or restraint at some point in his life. The thing is I've tried it the way you do already with not holding him and doing it when he's eating the treats but as soon as I take hold of his ear, he stops eating and pulls away. So I have no choice but to restrain him.

    Like I said, I've been doing this all week and it's making no difference.

    I appreciate you saying this I really do but I honestly can't see it happening with him at the moment.

    I do remind myself daily of why I have to do it but all that does is make me feel worse when I can't do it. I'm dreading next week when I have to do both testing and injections. I'm worrying about whether he'll be okay when I'm at work, I'm worrying about the potential for his levels to drop too low when he's out... All of it. I'm not finding things are getting easier at all and it's been a month now since his diagnosis.
     
  84. Elizabeth and Bertie

    Elizabeth and Bertie Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    OK... Well, if it really does turn out that you're not going to be able to test regularly, perhaps you will still be able to get some occasional tests as and when you can, or if you suspect something is amiss. And perhaps he'll come round in time.
    Most diabetic cats on the planet are not hometested. Many people don't even try to test, but you have tried and are continuing to try. And that is wonderful. So please be kind to yourself. :bighug:

    Eliz
     
  85. Diana&Tom

    Diana&Tom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2009
    It's true, most diabetic cats are not home-tested and their owners live in blissful ignorance of anything much to do with FD other than remembering to give the two daily shots. Not everyone by a long chalk finds this board, but those that do, and read conscientiously about treating FD, usually feel they want to home-test to keep their cat safe. So as Elizabeth says, even if you can't test regularly, you'd probably be aware if something was amiss and you'd be prepared with the knowledge and equipment to take action if necessary. To be honest, if you start on a low dose of 1u, and bg is still in the 20s, you shouldn't have much to worry about in the immediate term. It's when bg starts coming down (hopefully) and the 1u doesn't have quite as much work to do that you might want to be monitoring on a regular basis... so you probably do still have some wiggle room to get to grips with testing, one way or another.

    Having said this, there are many people here who wouldn't give insulin at all, even a token dose, without getting a bg reading first. I certainly wouldn't want to give the impression that it's fine not to test, but maybe if you allow yourself a few more days and feel less pressurised, it will get easier. Try to stop the dreading and worrying and turn your thoughts into a more positive frame of mind. Think how much better you'll feel if you can do this. As we've said before, our cats do pick up on our moods so if you're hesitant and nervous, it's no real surprise that your cat may be too. Adopt a more relaxed approach and it may well pay off!
     
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