Feline Diabetes; The Story of Palmer. It’s a sad one.

September 9, 2015

Loss | the state or feeling of grief when deprived of someone or something of value.

Loss is a feeling that I have struggled with for a few weeks now. If you’ve read my blog before you may have seen my post on Feline Diabetes, story of my cat Palmer’s diagnosis earlier this summer.

We were doing so good, really good for about 7 weeks. I was SO SO excited to have my beautiful, soft, fuzzy, talkative, curious, independent farm kitten back. Jesse and I were adjusting well to the 7am and 7pm feeding and injection times. I was taking Palmer to the University of Minnesota for bi-weekly blood glucose curves. We were coasting. After all of the emotional roller coaster the summer had been it felt great.

Then everything changed again. We lost Palmer on Saturday, August 15.

Baby Palmer
Baby Palmer…cutest kitten ever!

On the evening of August 14 I was preparing for Palmer’s home blood glucose curve that would begin next morning. (If you know me personally chances are that you know Palmer was not a good traveller. It made him very anxious; he drooled, he puked, he peed and he pooped in his carrier every time we had to go somewhere. Since he was so stressed our vet recommended that I purchase a glucometer and perform the glucose curves at home.)

I would start Palmer’s curve at 8:30am on Saturday the 15th. Friday evening was a lazy one. Palmer’s 7pm feeding time came around but when I put his food down he didn’t inhale it as he usually did. I was a little concerned so I kept sitting him in front of his plate saying “come on buddy, you gotta eat.” He would eat a little then walk away. I’d go back and do the same routine a few times. Then I thought, “Okay; our AC is not on, it’s a little warm in here. I don’t feel like eating when I’m warm. He’s okay. He’s not hiding. He’s playful. We’ll wait and see what his numbers are tomorrow. Everything is fine. Stop being such a worried Mom.”

Other than the lack of eating that night everything seemed okay. I was busy re-arranging our bookcases (because fun, right?). Palmer was around as usual, laying here, sitting there watching and interacting with us. I even got him to chase the laser pointer for a little while.

We all hung out in the living room until bedtime. My alarm was set for a 7am feeding and an 8:30am blood draw. I was slightly anxious about the curve and worried since Palmer didn’t eat quite right that night (told you, I’m a Mom) so I wasn’t sleeping well. I was jolted awake a little after 3am after a commotion downstairs. I woke Jesse up and we investigated. There was nothing amiss. Just Palmer sitting on the living room rug looking at us with his cute little face. I reached down to pick him up and I knew immediately something was very wrong.

Palmer was warm and weak. He dug his sharp little claws into me as I lifted him, he was panting. I had thought that maybe since he didn’t eat well the night before he was hypoglycemic. I knew this was very dangerous and we had to get him to the vet right away. At 3:30am we were on our way.

They took him in immediately for tests only to find out that he was in ketoacidosis (again). Treatment would be thousands (again). Jesse and I couldn’t do it financially (again). We don’t even spend that kind of money on ourselves, how could we possibly do it for a second time this summer on our cat? Alas we made the heart-wrenching decision to let Palmer go early that morning. Insert tears, sobbing, snot, more tears – the whole nine yards.

I know it was the right decision but still question if there was more I could have done for him.“What did I miss? Was I injecting him correctly?”  There were little signs but nothing alarming, I thought we were just adjusting to our new normal. The answer to all of this is that we did the best we could for him. Had I brought him in any sooner, the outcome would have been the same.

My opinion is that something with Palmer’s feline diabetes changed and changed fast. When he started feeling bad again he hid it very well; cats are like that. He didn’t want us to know. Palmer was a very smart kitten. He knew it was his time, but knew we would be heartbroken if we knew too. So he waited until the very end. He woke us up by trying to jump on something even though he knew he was too week.  He wanted us to wake us up to let us know something was wrong. If not we may have discovered the worst in the morning.

Palmer as a kitten in his carrier.
The day I brought Palmer home. He was so tiny!

I guess this post doesn’t really have a point. I don’t have any advice or words wisdom other than feline diabetes is hard. Maybe someday I’ll have some revelation but today I do not. Feline diabetes treatable in some cases and ends like our story in others.

Palmer. A little trooper, my little trooper right up to the end. Not a day goes by where I don’t wish I could pick you up and give you 1000 kisses that you’d hate and hear your sweet meow. We miss you Stinky.

One of the last shots I have of Palmer taken shortly after the feline diabetes diagnosis.


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