Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

“I’ve Never Seen a Diabetic Cat Before”

I arrived in Qatar with my diabetic cat, and quickly had to find a vet who could help me keep her blood sugar stable. I had been working for a year with a German vet who had all the latest equipment, but we were never able to fully stabilize my little kitty.

I was told there was a vet in Qatar, and fortunately, his office wasn’t too far away. We made an appointment and went for a visit.

“I’ve never seen a diabetic cat before,” he said. “I’ve seen one diabetic dog, and I will go on the internet and find out what to do.”

Diabetes in animals is relatively new, and most of the vets think it is a combination of more people having housepets, the pets living long enough to develop these illnesses, and the poor quality of the processed kibble we buy them. My little cat had been put on special foods, those expensive cat foods which have a guaranteed formula.

He was a very friendly and open vet – always had lots of customers. When my cat would have a diabetic crisis, he would take a blood sample and run it to the lab across the street himself, even with a waiting room full of people and their pets. He loved his job and he was very open.

On yet another visit when my cat was in crisis (it’s not easy to give enough insulin and not too much insulin, and that can vary even day by day) he took her into his surgery, and the floor was littered with dead cats in nylon net bags. Dead cats everywhere! All over the floor! I was horrified!

“It’s spaying day,” he explained briefly. The cats were not dead, just anaesthetized, and kept in nylon string bags to keep them contained if they started to come out of anaesthesia. Believe me, there are sights you don’t want to see. That is one of them.

Eventually, my little sweetie gave up the fight. She died in the car on our way, one more time, to the vet. Diabetes is a terrible disease, and when the body fails, it just fails utterly. It can only manage so much destruction.

The vet suggested another cat – he always had cats that needed homes – but we weren’t ready yet. We needed some time to grieve our little sweetie. Adventure Man said “NO MORE CATS” because his heart breaks every time we lose one.

And this was the same vet who, when we were ready, gave us the Qatteri Cat. He said he thought the Qatteri Cat looked like me!

If you have a cat who develops diabetes, it is not a death notice. First, go online and gather all the information you can. Thousands of people have diabetic cats who are living fine, normal lives, they have formed an online community, and they can give you support and information. There is special animal insulin made for cats, and special small syringes. Some diabetes can be controlled with diet alone, other cases require one, two or three shots a day. The cats mostly don’t mind. (Mine did.)

My sister has a diabetic cat, too, and she tells me that he KNOWS when he needs another shot and comes to her at his injection time. He doesn’t resist, he seems to know the insulin helps him. You will think at first that you can’t give injections, but you can. It’s amazing what you can do when you have to.

November 7, 2007 - Posted by | Community, Diet / Weight Loss, Education, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Pets


  1. “It’s amazing what you can do when you have to.” – it says it all!

    Comment by kinano | November 7, 2007 | Reply

  2. Awww sorry to hear about that
    Even cats are getting diabetes?
    They are known to be very adaptable to their environment

    Comment by Kaos | November 7, 2007 | Reply

  3. OMG, that is so heartbreaking 😦 I can’t believe it! We had a cat with a heart problem, also he died.. I said I won’t get cats anymore as I get attached to them, now I have 5 :$

    Comment by Chika | November 7, 2007 | Reply

  4. That so sad and sweet at the same time. I love the vet for being so kind to the animals!

    Its the first time i’ve heard about diabetic animals. Thanks for giving me a heads up. Will test my cats & dogs.

    Comment by This Lady | November 7, 2007 | Reply

  5. Kinan – 🙂

    Kaos – Maybe because they are living longer. Maybe because they are not getting enough exercise, chasing mice, running in the fields.

    Chika, you are certainly doing your part for cats in Kuwait! 😉

    Comment by intlxpatr | November 7, 2007 | Reply

    • my cat is 7 years old great health all of a sudden seems thirsty alot sometimes he drinks so much he throws up but not every day he is eating fine not to much not to little going to the bathroom fine so I dont know what to do

      Comment by tommy smith | January 7, 2010 | Reply

  6. Lady, what to watch for is if any one of them is very very thirsty and very very hungry. First my cat got very very fat, then she got very thin – she was eating all the time, but it was all going right through her.

    Drinking a lot of water was the first thing I noticed. She was 13 years old when she got diabetes though – so you probably don’t have to worry.

    Comment by intlxpatr | November 7, 2007 | Reply

  7. Oh, oh, oh. I remember, and I remember what a sweet cat she was – in Florida, in Germany, and in Doha. She had a very good life with you – and all that care gave her a longer, happier life than she would have been able to have otherwise.

    Comment by adiamondinsunlight | November 7, 2007 | Reply

  8. My 19 year old daughter took the cat she grew up with when she left for college. At 9 yrs old the cat developed diabetes. She is my squeamish child but she loves her cat so she injects him twice a day with no problems. He also seems to know when it is time and makes himself available with no reluctance for the shots. Another clue besides the water consumption is frequent urination–easy to monitor if you are using a litter box. Oh, we have a fabulous vet who seems to specialize in geriatric ailments in animals.

    Comment by momcat | November 7, 2007 | Reply

  9. Little Diamond – What glues families together is what they walk through together. . . I will always treasure that you were there to help me when she died.

    Momcat! I am so happy to see you! And your daughter is so sweet, taking care of the baby like that when she could be a happy and carefree co-ed! Thanks, too for the litter box reminder.

    Comment by intlxpatr | November 8, 2007 | Reply

  10. Poor kitties 😦

    Comment by 3baid | November 10, 2007 | Reply

  11. 3baid – I can’t remember – do you have cats?

    Comment by intlxpatr | November 10, 2007 | Reply

  12. No. I had one for a short time, then had to give him away because nobody in the house could tolerate him :/

    Comment by 3baid | November 10, 2007 | Reply

  13. Oooohhh, 3baid, poor kitty. When they are young, they can be so difficult, and they can cause a lot of damage. It takes a while for them to outgrow it. I’m so sorry; I wish you had a sweet kitty!

    Comment by intlxpatr | November 10, 2007 | Reply

  14. Tommy, I’d take him to the vet and have him checked. Excessive thirst is one of the early signs cats show, then weight loss.

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 8, 2010 | Reply

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