Recently diagnosed 12 year old cat, very underweight, insulin not an option financially.

Discussion in 'Feline Health - (The Main Forum)' started by Jasper Blue and Jay, Mar 15, 2019.

  1. Jasper Blue and Jay

    Jasper Blue and Jay Member

    Mar 15, 2019
    I just posted an introduction here:

    I don't know what information is most relevant and which isn't so I don't want to repeat the whole story here but our 12 year old Persian cat is very very underweight, diagnosed 6 weeks ago and we can't afford insulin.

    Whenever I google how to feed diabetic cats it usually is about how to feed them with insulin or how to help them to lose weight, and neither of those are the case here so I don't know what to do.

    We feed them Fancy Feast pates wet food, twice a day, 12 hours apart cause the vet said to start feeding him only twice a day. (update: been feeding him as much as he wants as often as he wants for the last two days. He doesn't really ask much more than his brother does but he has always eaten a bit more than his brother does so I'm hoping it's just that)

    And we give them stuff like a little tuna or plain chicken or sardines after they've eaten their regular food if they're still a little hungry and we're having that stuff anyway.

    Is there anything we can get like as a weight gain supplement? And what are the thoughts on feeding only twice a day vs. multiple times a day for an underweight cat without insulin?

    I was giving him a teaspoon of pumpkin after his meas for a few days and I had read that might help with insulin sensitivity but I was nervous about it having carbs in it at all and so stopped that but now I'm thinking of trying it again. Also do you know of any other ways besides exercise to help increase insulin sensitivity?

    Thanks in advance for any advice.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019
  2. Bellasmom

    Bellasmom Well-Known Member

    Feb 12, 2018
    I am tagging someone for u
    @Chris & China (GA) who might be able to help u through DCIN diabetic cats in need
  3. Amina&M'row

    Amina&M'row Member

    Jan 2, 2019
    My kitty was very skinny at diagnosis, and had always free fed. Would leaving food out all/more of the time help? I can't imagine M'row gaining (which he has, hurrah!) unless food is available all the time. Also, re fancy feast, everybody here says to be sure to get fancy feast classic. M'row loves it, and it comes in many flavors. Love to you both.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019
    Reason for edit: More thinking.
    Jasper Blue and Jay likes this.
  4. Jasper Blue and Jay

    Jasper Blue and Jay Member

    Mar 15, 2019
    Thanks! You know... I've been reading about it all day, and in retrospect it seems so obvious... but when the vet told me to go to only twice a day (and he didn't even say anything about wet instead of dry) I just thought ok I should do that, maybe regular meals like that will help his insulin self regulate or whatever, I dunno. But now it's like, what was I thinking? He's super skinny I should be begging HIM to eat not denying him food at all. :(

    So he has gotten food whenever he seemed to be asking for it at all today, even though he hasn't really looked for it more than his brother which feels like a good sign that his hunger level isn't "ravenous"? I dunno.

    We've been giving him the fancy feast pates for a couple years? now but unfortunately were leaving dry food out all day as well. We went to the fancy feast *only* and stopped the dry altogether, six weeks ago. And they rarely turn their noses up at it, only sometimes if we're cooking a chicken or turkey or something and they can smell that lol

    It gets dried out really fast if we leave it out but luckily I'm home all day with him so I can keep getting him more if he seems like he's hungry.
  5. Lisa and Witn (GA)

    Lisa and Witn (GA) Well-Known Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    Right now your cat's body is unable to process food correctly and needs more food. Feeding low carb canned food will help lower some of the glucose levels in his body. It probably will not be enough to avoid insulin, but will help. .

    There are several shorter acting insulins that cost much less than Lantus and Levimir and you may want to go to the Caninsulin/ Vetsulin board the get more info. Glipizide does not work well in cats and I don't recommend it.

    I also recommend that you learn to hometest. Even if he is not getting insulin this can help you see how well the diet change is working. By testing at home you will save a lot of money by not having to go to the vet just for testing. Any human glucose meter will work. The Walmart Relion meters and strips are not expensive to use. Another option for insulin is to ask you vet to order a vial of BCP PZI for you. They can get the first vial free for you by contacting BCP A vial will last several months. The ProZinc/PZI board users can give you more info on it.
  6. JoyBee&Ravan

    JoyBee&Ravan Well-Known Member

    Feb 17, 2018
    I always add a spoon of water to my cats Fancy Feast Pate.,so it stays moist & the water is good for them!

    The relion Prime meter strips to test cost $18 for 100 strips. It's the lowest cost meter & strips I know of. It's the one I use. Walmart carries them.
    upload_2019-3-16_18-52-8.png In store

    ReliOn Prime Blood Glucose Monitoring System, Red
    Relion Prime Blood Glucose Test Strips 100 Ct, Size: 23 oz, White
    Jasper Blue and Jay likes this.
  7. JanetNJ

    JanetNJ Well-Known Member

    Jun 8, 2016
    Vetsulin is about $50-$55 and lasts about 4-5 months. A years supply of Lantas is about $170 from Canada. Novolin is not ideal but it’s only about $35 and would be ok until you got something else. Pro zinc is a good insulin. $106 and could last you a good 5-6 months.
    Jasper Blue and Jay likes this.
  8. Jasper Blue and Jay

    Jasper Blue and Jay Member

    Mar 15, 2019
    Thanks so much for all the replies, and Bellasmom has been helping me so much figuring this stuff out.

    I woke up super sick today, Jasper has been fed as much as he wanted 3x today so far and we're about to feed him again lol. He seems to be in such a good mood so I'm hopeful he'll be ok.

    I ended up getting the "Relion Premier Compact" because it was the only meter my walmart had (they're terrible at restocking anything and I didn't want to wait anyway) and the strips were the same price as the Prime for every quantity so hopefully they don't raise the price on them lol but it was worth the extra price for the meter to not have to travel to another walmart feeling this sick. It came with the lancet device too and some lancets and strips so really the price wasn't too bad.

    I have been trying to read everything I can on this forum and watching a million youtube videos about how to test so I'm feeling confident about testing him. He's a nervous boy but he's a very very good boy who always seems to want to make me happy even when I have to give him medicine and stuff that he hates at the time he always forgives me right away lol so I'm hoping he won't be too stressed out overall from the testing. Looking at the videos it seems like it's simple/easy once you get used to it. I think I'm going to try to test his brother too, since they're the same age, eat the same stuff, and are littermates. Bailey's a bit overweight and was always skinny his whole life (he's very very active lol and Jasper has never been) on dry food and only got heavy when we started adding in the wet food so I dont know what that's about but yeah seems like testing him too is a good idea just to know where he's at and also to compare to his brother maybe.

    Sorry for rambling lol trying to figure this all out and my brain is even fuzzier than usual from this flubug or whatever I got going on.

    Thanks again for the support and advice. <3
  9. Idjit's mom

    Idjit's mom Well-Known Member

    Apr 3, 2018
    I'm sorry you are feeling sick, take good care of yourself. I'm so happy you went ahead and bought a meter and strips. It's a personal preference whether to use the lancing device or not. Do whatever works for you. You may not get enough blood at first, the ears do "learn to bleed" because as you prick the area, more capillaries form and this gives better results. Try the warming techniques, and the treats whether the test is successful or not. Don't forget your treat too.
    Jasper Blue and Jay likes this.
  10. Lisa and Witn (GA)

    Lisa and Witn (GA) Well-Known Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    There are a couple of tricks to help get the ears to bleed. One is to warm the ear using a rice sock or damp wash cloth. Just make sure it is not too warm. I also found that massaging the ear towards the tip also helps. If he has a hard time sitting still while testing, if you can get the blood on your fingernail, you can use it on your strips.

    It is good that you are planning to have both of your cats on the same diet. It reduces the chance of the other one developing diabetes and will keep him from cheating.
  11. Chris & China (GA)

    Chris & China (GA) Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2013
    @Jblue ….Please contact me by private message or if you're on Facebook, you can send a message directly to DCIN (Diabetic Cats In Need)

    The reason we exist is to help low income caregivers with treating their diabetic cats!!

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