New Member 1/14/20 - Diabetic Cat Not Gaining Weight

Discussion in 'Feline Health - (Welcome & Main Forum)' started by OldBlackCat, Jan 14, 2020.

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  1. OldBlackCat

    OldBlackCat New Member

    Jan 14, 2020
    Hey everyone, I just found this site today and am hoping I can get some better help/guidance than what my vet is doing. To try and keep this from becoming a wall of text, I'll just put some bullet points of background info that might be useful information:

    -15-year-old cat grew up chubby but lost a lot of weight after disappearing for a month; couldn't get him to gain weight. He looks like a walking skeleton and it kills me to see him in this state...
    -Vet diagnosed him with diabetes some months ago and put him on Vetsulin. He was on 3 units for a while, but the vet recently upped his dosage
    -He's on Hills W/D dry food. He doesn't care for wet food and usually licks up the gravy and won't touch the food itself unless it's his only option.
    -Other than making sure he eats when he's given his injection, his food is just placed out for him to eat as he pleases
    -Despite getting him a cat water fountain that he really seems to like, the vet is still saying he's dehydrated
    -I'm a college student living away from home and can't bring my cat with me, so he's being cared for by my busy family members. They're doing what they can, but that unfortunately does not include monitoring his glucose levels from home.

    At this point, I'm convinced we need to get him on some kind of high-calorie wet food diet, but the vet seems to think the Hills W/D dry food is enough. Should I ask for the wet food version of the Hills W/D, get non-prescription wet food, or use a home-made food recipe? Additionally, should I consider getting him a weight gain supplement like Doc Roy's Forti Cal? He doesn't chew his food anymore, and one of his fangs fell out the other day, so I'm thinking he's going to need food that's very soft/liquid. Suggestions?
  2. Wendy&Neko

    Wendy&Neko Senior Member Moderator

    Feb 28, 2012
    W/D food is generally given to fat cats that need to lose weight, it's full name is digestive/weight management. It's not a food even designed for diabetes. Diabetics should get low carb wet or raw food. If he has to eat dry food, there are lower carb dry foods out there. However, and this is the big one, i would not change his diet until he is being home tested. Changing to lower carb food can hugely impact the size of dose needed. We have had many cats go into remission when changed to low carb wet or raw from dry food.

    Cats aren't great water drinkers, they are originally desert animals. You might want to read Dr. Lisa Pierson's website on feline nutrition. The blue is a link. Wet food ia one way of getting more water into him.

    Sounds like you kitty might need a dental if he had a tooth fall out. Infections or inflammation in the mouth can make it hard to get a cat regulated. And he'll have an easier time eating with a healthy mouth.
  3. JanetNJ

    JanetNJ Well-Known Member

    Jun 8, 2016
    Any chance you can get your family to join this site?

    Please have them try other wet foods. Most here feed fancy feast classic or Friskies pate foods. No gravy. What they need are foods under 10 percent carb. The w/d food is 25%carb and not intended for diabetics or cats trying to gain weight. The vet does not know what he's doing. I strongly suggest your family seek out a different vet. But as stated above the dose is going to need to be lowered when switching to a diabetic appropriate diet.
  4. JanetNJ

    JanetNJ Well-Known Member

    Jun 8, 2016
    Any chance you could get your family to join us here?
  5. Deb & Wink

    Deb & Wink Well-Known Member

    Jan 31, 2013
    The W/d canned food is 25-26% carbs. The W/d dry food is 37% carbs.
    JanetNJ likes this.
  6. Deb & Wink

    Deb & Wink Well-Known Member

    Jan 31, 2013
    Hi and welcome to the message board. Would you introduce yourself and your cat please?

    My name is Deb and my diabetic cat was Wink.

    The 3 basics of feline diabetic treatment are 1. cat appropriate insulin 2. low carb food <12% with adequate protein 3. home testing.

    With your vet putting your cat on a food for weight loss, it's no surprise he can't gain any weight.

    The Doc Roy's Forti Cal you mentioned has glucose as the 4th ingredient. Not a good choice for a diabetic cat who already has too much blood glucose.

    Without home testing, it can be very dangerous to change the food, because the lower calorie food could cause hypoglycemia. Catch-22. A conundrum. Not sure how you would do the food change without getting your family on board to do the testing.

    Dry food is only 10% water content. Even with the water fountain, he's not drinking enough. Dehydration can have serious side effects in a cat. Diabetic cats are usually very thirsty, because the excess glucose is filtered out of the blood, dumped in the urine and they pee a lot. Pee puddles in the litter box the size of a large fist.

    Is your cat getting sub-q fluids for the dehydration?
  7. OldBlackCat

    OldBlackCat New Member

    Jan 14, 2020
    Hi everyone! Thank you for all of your responses, I've talked with my family and we're getting ready to make readjustments. I'm ordering a glucose monitor for him and will get some sample flavors of the Fancy Feast and Friskies to try out for him once we get home testing implemented. We've found a few potential options for new vets, so hopefully we'll get someone better to help us with his food transition/potential dental problems. I've also given my family the links to this site and Dr. Lisa's site so we're all on the same page on what to do.

    To answer your questions Deb, the vet did give him sub-q fluids. I'm not too keen on giving my name out online, but my cat is oh-so-cleverly named Kitty! (7-year-old me was awful at naming animals...)
  8. Deb & Wink

    Deb & Wink Well-Known Member

    Jan 31, 2013
    Good the vet gave him some sub-q fluids for the dehydration. Easy to learn how to do at home if needed.

    No worries. You can go by the nom de plume of your user name. I simply like having a first name to call you by. OldBlackCat it is.
  9. Juls and Billy

    Juls and Billy Member

    Dec 28, 2019
    Huzzah for your family getting on board! It can seem overwhelming at first, but one quickly gets into a routine when helping a diabetic kitty. You've already got great advice from the board. I couldn't believe your vet put an underweight cat on diet cat food. Unfortunately, like many people doctors, many vets are not nutritionists. I'm so glad you found your way to this site! My Billy was diagnosed Jan 28th, and I would have lost him on day five if it wasn't for the awesome folks and information here. Now it's day 17, and Billy is feeling good and doing great. You can get your Kitty feeling better too.

    I wanted to give you some advice about the canned food, since Kitty needs to gain weight. The Fancy Feast Naturals look good to owners of diabetic cats, but a can only has around 45 calories, so not a great choice for Kitty. Now, the FF classic pates run around 90 calories (depending on the flavor) And the FF flaked varieties run 80-100 calories (depending on flavor.) Those might be a good place to start. And Wendy is right about waiting to change the diet until you are home testing. This is the advice that saved Billy's life. If I hadn't been home testing, I would have given Bill 2 units of insulin when his BGL was only 52. The low carb wet food diet can make a huge difference for diabetic cats and give them a good chance at remission. But you have to make changes slowly and keep an eye on those blood glucose levels.

    There's also a supplement called Carnivore Care. High protein, easy to digest, mostly made of eggs I think. It's meant for cats who are having trouble eating. It has a big bunch of calories in a small amount of stuff. You might look into it. You could add a spoonful to Kitty's food, and a little water, to increase the calorie content. There's no sugar and no carbs in it, so it should be all right for a diabetic cat. I used it when I had a sick ferret that needed to be force fed until it felt better, and it really helped.

    There's also a great document on how to transition a kibble addict to wet food here. It might help you get Kitty to kick the dry food habit. That will help with her dehydration and her diabetes.

    And last but not least, you are awesome for taking such good care of Kitty, and your family is awesome for stepping up to help.
  10. Panic

    Panic Well-Known Member

    Apr 10, 2019
    Just want to throw out there since it hasn't been mentioned but you're not going to be seeing weight gain until Kitty is on a proper insulin dose. Right now his blood sugar is out of wack and food isn't being processed correctly due to the inadequate amount of insulin. I know it's everyone's initial focus to put the pounds back on before working towards regulating blood sugar but it's going to happen the other way around. Obviously get some extra calories in him but don't neglect the blood sugar numbers! :)
    Juls and Billy likes this.
  11. OldBlackCat

    OldBlackCat New Member

    Jan 14, 2020
    Thank you Juls and Panic for the extra info! I came home for the weekend to help out with the changes for Kitty and am running to the pet store tomorrow for food. I'm leaning toward the Fancy Feast pate because I'm still concerned that he may have teeth problems the old vet didn't address. I will still try both pate and flaked just to be certain of his preference though.

    Speaking of vets, should I wait until I can get in to see a new vet to start changing Kitty's treatment? There's one I want to see that's open tomorrow, but I won't know if they have any available time slots until the morning, and I don't know if they're open on Monday since it's the MLK holiday. On the one hand, I want to start changing things as soon as possible so Kitty can get better, but on the other hand, I still feel uncertain about the best way to do it, and feel like I should have a vet's guidance in the process.
  12. Judy and Freckles

    Judy and Freckles Well-Known Member

    Oct 20, 2019
    When a cat starts gaining weight may be a bit of "Every Cat Is Different" (ECID) kind of thing. I know with my little one, I saw the weight gain, better coat, less dandruff while she is on the journey to finding her 'right' dose. Her improved body condition was the only thing that told me the insulin was doing something... without these indicators it felt like the insulin had about as much effect as injecting saline!

    Freckles also had a dental last week. On early examination, the vet thought she would only need a cleaning but when xrays were taken, it was apparent there were problems below the gum line that could not be detected just visually. Dental issues can be a big player with keeping kitty up in high numbers.
  13. Deb & Wink

    Deb & Wink Well-Known Member

    Jan 31, 2013
    Vet's guidance? ABSOLUTELY.
    Family members agreement and willingness to do this, since you are away at college most of the time and not the caretaker for your cat. ESSENTIAL

    1. If you were willing to add some information to your signature in your user profile, like what you see at the bottom of each of our posts, we could see that at a glance at the end of each post. Would you consider doing that please?

    Such as What insulin? what dose? what food are you feeding now? What was the diagnosis date?

    That info gets attached automatically to your posts each time. Then we won't have to keep asking you or looking back through your posts to find that information. Use someone else's signature as a model.

    2. Some more background would be helpful. You can ask your vet for copies of the vet records,including any handwritten notes.

    What was the starting dose?
    Did the vet increase in 1U doses or more slowly such as 0.25u or 0.5U doses?
    Do you know the dates of increases? actual or approximate?
    Does your vet/new vet prescribe Lantus or Levimir or Prozinc? Those 3 are the best for cats. (Per AAHA and ISFM guidelines) Vetsulin/Caninsulin is made for dogs, but many vets still use it for cats. Unfortunately.

    3. Having a SS setup would be another way for us to track the information and help with suggestions. How to instructions here.
    New? How You Can Help Us Help You!

    4. Switching to a lower carb food can dramatically drop the BG levels. 100 points or more. Without knowing what dose you are on now, and what the BG levels are, this could cause hypo (hypoglycemia) and can be deadly.

    Please keep you kitty safe. Work with your vet. DO NOT change to wet food until you are home testing and your family members who are taking care of your cat for you understand the risks.

    5. You said have a meter on order. Good if you and his primary caregivers (family members) all learn to home testing.
    Do you have all the other supplies? Know what they are? We can get you a list.

    6. Do you have a Hypo toolkit prepared?
    Do you/family members know what hypo symptoms to look for ?
    Closest 24 hour emergency Vet?

    7. Would you like some tips for getting dry food addicts off the dry food and eating wet? Look back at post #9 in this thread. Juls gave you that info.

    8.Testing tips? Let us know when you are ready and we'll get those to you. Black eared kitties are hard to see the blood drop.

    9. Food switch done SAFELY will take time. My diabetic cat Wink was on the W/d dry food. He was a dry food addict. Took a long time to get him to realize that it was edible. If I hadn't been home testing, he would have had a symptomatic hypo and likely died. His case is a bit complicated, as he was a foster cat from my local shelter. I had 2 shelter staff and 2 vets telling me conflicting things.

    10. It can be hard and requires patience to get a diabetic cat feeling better, regulated, eating better food. We'll help get you there.

    11. There are some visual assessments you can do before you are home testing. Would you like those?
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