Thursday, October 20, 2005

The New Regime

This is a picture of Grey Cat and Orange Cat being pissed about the new regime in the house, the regime which involves me taking away their leftovers. As they're both rather tubby cats, they've been on a diet for a long time, but they usually left a few kibble in the bowl to nosh on for an afternoon snack. Now that Orange Cat is diabetic, I wait until they've finished breakfast, then take away whatever food they leave behind. So by the time dinner arrives - as in this picture - they're both sitting in the kitchen STARING and every time one of us comes in, they get all excited in the hopes that it MIGHT JUST BE 8 p.m. now and they can have more food. Some evenings there's piteous crying and wailing. One evening I got bitten by a cat trying to get my attention. They sit there as if they think that if they leave, the food might sneak into the bowls and disappear completely when they're not looking. They are not fans.

But Orange Cat is doing fairly well with his diabetes treatment, as am I. I have a needle phobia, so when we went to the vet to learn to give Orange Cat his twice-daily insulin shots, I had minor hysterics beforehand, and then almost passed out after my practice shot. The vet totally was like, "what a wuss." The first few times I had to give him the shot, I had to lie down afterwards because it made me so light-headed, but I'm getting better about it now.

Orange Cat is very mellow about the whole procedure. He's not such a fan of the needle actually going in, but he likes all the petting and praise he gets afterwards, so half the time he comes to find us after he eats because he knows the shot comes next. If it were Grey Cat, we'd all be in the ER by now from the stunning Exorcist impression he does whenever a needle gets within five yards of his tender kitty flesh. Grey Cat got banned from his last vet for using the vet tech's head as a launch pad to the ceiling when they tried to give him a rabies shot. Grey Cat's new vet puts on the gloves they use to handle raptors before approaching Grey Cat with a hypodermic needle. Grey Cat's new vet is substantially smarter than the old one.

(Orange Cat is, in fact, under my desk right now headbutting at my legs to let me know it's shot time! ... There, shot delivered.)

I don't think I really appreciated before now how miraculous a drug insulin is. I read something a couple years ago, for the 80th anniversary of the invention of (useable) insulin, in the Chicago Tribune, about it, and it sounded pretty neat. But observing it up close and personal, even in a cat rather than a human, is to have a glimpse at the astounding achievements of modern medical science. Orange Cat, pre-insulin, was mopey, cranky, crying ALL THE TIME to the point where I couldn't work, having behavioral issues, and usings things that were in the category of "not the litterbox" to pee on.

Post-insulin, he's back to being a fairly mellow, happy cat, very purry, very cuddly, chatty but not annoyingly talkative, watching the birds and squirrels again, fighting with Grey Cat again ... he seems 5 years younger, and all his behavioral problems have disappeared completely. All that - and the whole "not dying" thing - from a tiny little vial of clear fluid. It's amazing. It makes me want to donate money to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

So here's a postmortem shout out to Macleod, Banting, and those other two guys who didn't get to share in the 1923 Nobel Prize in Medicine.

Orange Cat and I appreciate it, dudes.

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