Fat Cat! Tommy’s Journey to Better Health and a Enriched Life 08/20/2022 By Kerry S Tommy began his journey to Pet Haven at the end of 2021 after his owner had passed away. Pet Haven said yes to this 12.5-year-old diabetic boy desperately looking for a soft spot to land. Overweight at 19.5 lbs, Tommy didn’t have much energy to do well, much of anything. He struggled to use the carpeted stairs, so he mostly hung out at the top of the staircase and napped. He was also diabetic due to his obesity and his diabetes was left unregulated so the poor guy just did not feel well overall. This boy would need a lot of help and it was going to be a long road but Tommy’s life has value and Pet Haven would give him the chance for a better more enriched life. Despite Tommy having lived with another cat his entire life, a slow introduction between resident and foster animals is always necessary and crucial to ensuring everyone feels at ease. If Tommy had a mantra, it would be Hakuna Matata because he has no worries – and the three resident cats in Tommy’s foster home could feel his calm energy, making for a very smooth introduction. And it didn’t take Tommy long to be accepted into the resident clouder. He didn’t even mind letting the other cats use him as their personal pillow! Once Tommy was settled into his new foster home, the next order of business was to ensure that he was receiving the proper dose of insulin. Working closely with the vet team at Pet Haven, Tommy’s foster family performed regular glucose checks and glucose curves to check his blood sugar levels. Now on a high-quality, high-protein diet, Pet Haven, Tommy’s vet, and his foster family were all crossing their fingers, hopeful that we would be able to reduce his amount of insulin. When Tommy’s glucose curve numbers were sent to his vet, it was clear that what they were doing was working! They were able to reduce his amount of insulin thanks to high-protein meals, portioned and given twice a day with his slow-acting insulin. While Tommy was grumpy at first at not being able to eat to his little heart’s content, his fosters knew that what they were doing was getting Tommy back on the right track to a happier, healthier life. Then, something amazing happened. He started showing an interest in play! He started to groom himself for the first time in the several months since he arrived at his foster home. Now at a regulated insulin level, Pet Haven and his foster family started making strides to help Tommy lose some weight. Slowly but surely, over a safe and healthy amount of months, he went from 18 lbs to 17 lbs, to 16.6 lbs, to 15.2 lbs. Suddenly, those stairs weren’t so daunting; the spring in his step was back, and Tommy started jumping up on dining chairs and cat trees that he otherwise would not have even attempted. Having made greater strides than anyone could have possibly imagined, it was time for Tommy’s next at-home glucose curve. Even getting poked in the ear for blood draws a dozen times didn’t phase Tommy; he simply rolled on his belly, purring the entire time as if to say, “well, this isn’t such a big deal…” After sending in his glucose numbers to his vet, his fosters anxiously awaited his feedback. The news came, and it couldn’t have been any better! Tommy’s vet was so happy with his numbers that he wanted to try weaning Tommy off of insulin over the next month to see how he did in remission. Tommy has now gone through remission and is officially insulin free! Now under 14 lbs and reaching a healthy weight, this big boy is beating his fosters to the top of the stairs, playing to his heart’s content, and taking in every ray of sunshine. This sweet boy reminded his foster family every day what life is all about, and after an incredible six-month journey, they decided to adopt him. Now an official member of the family, Tommy is living his best life with many adventures ahead. Congratulations Tommy you are healthy and home! At Pet Haven, we value all lives even ones with health issues or seniors that may seem unlikely candidates for a second chance at a good healthy life. Unfortunately, we see more and more pets coming into our care with health issues as a result of nutritional imbalances like obesity. Being overweight in a pet can cause numerous health challenges such as urinary tract infections due to not being able to clean themselves properly, joint issues, breathing problems, kidney function issues, and heart conditions, to name a few. The best things you can do to take care of your pet family member are high-quality nutrition and the suggested feeding amount. Free feeding is not recommended as it leads to obesity issues. The Best Cat Food for Diabetic Cats Is 10% Carbohydrates or Less On A Dry Matter Basis. Ideally, your cat’s food should mimic his natural prey diet. An optimal feline diet is about 52% protein, 46% fat, and 2% carbohydrates. According to Susan Gottlieb and Jacquie Rand’s Managing Feline Diabetes: Current Perspectives, the highest remission rates—over 80%—are reported when diabetic cats eat a very-low-carbohydrate diet containing 6% or fewer calories from carbohydrates.