Newly diagnosed cat isn't sleeping enough

Discussion in 'Feline Health - (The Main Forum)' started by Christin & Mimi, Feb 17, 2018.

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  1. Christin & Mimi

    Christin & Mimi New Member

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    Feb 17, 2018
    Our cat Mimi has been newly diagnosed with diabetes. The vet recommended starting off with a diet change -- 3 cans of Fancy Feast classics per day-- and then checking her BG levels again in a few weeks and starting her on Lantus at that time. She was previously eating a can and a half of Fancy Feast per day, but we had also supplemented her diet with dry food.

    Unfortunately, Mimi isn't tolerating the diet change very well. She's used to free feeding to some extent (we generally gave her some dry food right before bed so she could nibble throughout the night). Now that she's getting meals at fixed times, she's constantly acting hungry and seems to have anxiety about whether or not we'll feed her enough. She sleeps only for short intervals at night, and then wakes up to meow at me, tap my arm, or climb all over me to beg for food. This has been extremely exhausting. Several nights ago, she literally woke me up every 20-30 minutes, and last night, I was up dealing with her 5-6 times. I've tried spraying her with a water bottle, but she just runs off and then comes right back. Even when I keep the bedroom door shut and try not to allow her in, she climbs up the door and meows relentlessly. It's gotten to the point where I've become extremely sleep deprived and have trouble functioning during the day.

    I was advised to divide her cans into small meals to keep her BG levels more steady, so she's been eating a half can every 4 hours. This accounts for the recommended caloric intake for a cat of her size, but she still seems to think she's starving.

    The vet mentioned that Lantus is about $200, and in addition, it sounds like she'll need to be seen once again to have her BG levels tested before we can get the script (so that will involve even more fees). My husband was recently laid off, and we just spent out quite a bit of money on diagnostics, so it may be a couple of weeks before we can afford to fill her script. I'm hoping the insulin will help with this behavior, but in the meantime, is there anything I can do to ensure that we (including Mimi) can actually get some sleep? I've thought about temporarily increasing her food intake for the time being, because I read elsewhere on these forums that unregulated diabetic cats may need more calories. We've gotten her to be more active recently, and she is no longer overweight, but I'm worried that increasing her food intake could make her BG levels go higher. Any recommendations would be much appreciated!
     
  2. Squalliesmom

    Squalliesmom Well-Known Member

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    Jun 26, 2015
    Kitties with unregulated diabetes are hungry all the time because they are literally starving. Their bodies cannot properly utilize the calories and nutrients they take in. It's okay to feed more when she's hungry, at least until her diabetes is better-regulated. You can also leave canned food out for her overnight; you can just go ahead and put it down for her before bed and let her eat it as she pleases, and/or you can mix it with a little water and freeze it in small portions, so she'll have some for later in the night, when it thaws. Either way, mix a bit of water with it, it helps the food stay moister and fresher. :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2018
  3. Stephanie & Quintus

    Stephanie & Quintus Well-Known Member

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    Dec 9, 2017
    Definitely spread out the ration over the 24h. You can try getting a timed feeder (though that costs $$$).

    Yes, as said above, as she doesn't have enough insulin to get glucose into her cells, her cells are starving and sending messages to the poor cat "eat eat eat eat you need foooood!" -- so her behavior is completely normal. Don't worry about her weight for the moment, as long as you're feeding her low carb food just give her what she needs to not be starving.

    The water-bottle spray will just make her anxious. Although it's hard on you her behavior is completely normal and there is no way she can understand to "not bother you during the night". If it's really unmanageable sleep-wise it is better to lock her up in a separate room with food/water/litter than try and discourage her when she comes.
     
  4. StephG

    StephG Well-Known Member

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    Sep 8, 2016
    Have you asked your vet if they would accept home test values from a human meter?
    Some won't agree to it but that doesn't mean you can't test at home with one anyways. Some members have called around to different vets to see if they support home testing and home curves, I'm one of them but my old vet was also incredibly reckless with my cat's starting dose and instructions.
    I agree with feeding more, just keep an eye on her weight and BG if you start testing at home. I tried the diet change for 2 weeks before starting insulin. Very wanted 4 weeks but Chuck got sicker and lost even more weight and he was VERY skinny. Edited to add: just as an example, my cat gets about 11 to 12 oz of low carb pate a day. It helped him gain what he needed to and now he's maintaining 12.5 pounds on the same amount. Getting a weekly weight can help you see if he's getting too much or losing weight too fast.
    You might want to get some urine ketone strips and test her urine frequently. Ketones can develop quickly, especially without insulin.
    Freezing the food is a good idea. It will keep her from eating it all right when you put it down at night. It could also keep her occupied for a little while so you can get some uninterrupted sleep.
    Petsafe5 timed feeder is a great tool to have!
    If your vet will write a script for you, you can get 5 pens from Mark's pharmacy in Canada for around $160 I believe. Some pharmacies will sell them as single pens too. You'll have to call around and see who will in your area. Edited to add: I saw on the Facebook group that Costco pharmacy will sell singles. The supply closet on this forum is another place you can find single pens for a reasonable price.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2018
  5. FurBabiesMama

    FurBabiesMama Well-Known Member

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    Jul 6, 2017
    How is Mimi's weight? The AAHA guidelines (link in my signature) say feeding four times a day is deal and free-feeding is fine if the cat is underweight. I feed four times and leave the leftovers out for the to graze on until their next meal or until two hours before Mia's pre-shot glucose test.
     
  6. Becky & Baby Girl Kitty

    Becky & Baby Girl Kitty Well-Known Member

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    Sep 15, 2017
    I found that dry food has more calories & when I went to wet it was a lot more food! My vet says feed whenever & she eats at least 1 1/2 can of the friskies (5.5 oz) low carb! She needed more food & I thought she was eatting too much, but no... I needed to feed her more! No time schedule other than no food 2 hrs before a test. Feed more please!!!
     
  7. Christin & Mimi

    Christin & Mimi New Member

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    Feb 17, 2018
    Thank you all so much for the very helpful responses! I spoke to the vet yesterday and she went ahead and wrote me out a script for Lantus. She then told me I'll need to return in a little over a week to do a glucose curve. I asked about home testing and explained that I already purchased a glucometer over the weekend to monitor Mimi's BG levels. She said that I should only have purchased an Alphatrak monitor because the human ones "aren't accurate for pets" and can't be trusted. From everything I've read, that isn't true, but I don't know how to convince her. It's frustrating, because the curves are expensive, and I don't think they're as useful as home testing.

    In any case, we've started to test Mimi at home anyway. The good news is that her BG levels are significantly lower now that we've switched her to the low carb pate-only diet. Her last reading was 263, compared to the 487 reading she had at the vet. She seems to be hovering around 300, which is still too high, but better.

    I've taken the advice on this board and am feeding her an extra half can now, so hopefully that'll help her to be a bit less hungry. She weighs about 9 pounds and is a bit underweight, so I think the extra food should be fine. I'm also considering giving her a small frozen portion tomorrow night so that she can free feed a bit (if the food isn't frozen, she'll gobble it all up immediately).

    My vet agreed to write a script for one Lantus pen, but I'm hitting a brick wall trying to find any pharmacy that will sell me a single pen. So far, I've tried multiple Walmarts and Costcos and have tried CVS, Rite Aid, and 5-6 other local pharmacies. A local Rite Aid said that they could sell one pen, but they they would charge $120 for it, which is much higher than I expected, considering the boxes of 5 are around $250 elsewhere. So, I'm really stuck on what to do at this point. I'm going to keep persisting and calling around, but I don't know if I'll have much success. I have a written script, and I've looked into Mark's Marine pharmacy in Canada as others suggested, but it would take several weeks for the insulin to arrive, and I was really hoping to start treating her sooner than that. I'll update if I have any progress.
     
  8. StephG

    StephG Well-Known Member

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    Sep 8, 2016
    Some members get an alpha trak and use it just for the curves for the vet. Still much cheaper and no vet stress inflated numbers. Maybe your vet will agree to that. Are you in the US? Most of the threads I've seen get their lantus in about a week. There might be an expedited shipping option too.
    Have you checked the supply closet? You can probably get a pen from there too.
     
    Kris & Teasel likes this.
  9. StephG

    StephG Well-Known Member

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    Sep 8, 2016
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