Experiences of being owned by a diabetic cat



The Story of Boo Boo Kitty, Our Diabetic Cat

(Submitted 02/02/07 by Fred J.)

Boo Boo Kitty – The Beginning

This is the story of Boo Boo Kitty. She came to us on a cold Saturday morning in February 1994. During his last decade of life, my father-in-law would get up around daybreak and drink coffee on his back porch. Their home is off a country highway in rural Alabama. One morning, while drinking coffee he heard a faint cat like sound coming from a good distance toward the highway. He first thought that the sound was that of a wild cat, like a baby bobcat maybe. He began to call toward the sound and soon realized it was a kitten. By noon the sound of “meow” was very close to the house. My wife was visiting that day and went looking in the direction of the cries. There in the bushes she saw a small calico kitten. She quickly went inside and got a bowl of canned food and milk and placed them near the bushes. Although very scared, the kitten made her way to the food bowl and began eating. She ate as if she hadn’t eaten in days. She eventually threw up her food. It was quite apparent that she had worms in her stomach. After filling up on food and milk, the kitten stayed around the house still somewhat unsure of her new human acquaintances. My wife decided to bring the kitten home and nurse her back to health. She was then given the name Boo Boo Kitty. I’m not exactly sure where the name came from but it seems to fit her very well.

Trauma as a Kitten

She was a tiny kitten at that time. My wife decided to close her up in the bedroom while we went to visit my parents the next afternoon. Upon retuning, we found Boo Boo mostly submerged in the toilet with only part of her head sticking above the water line. We quickly plucked her from the toilet and called the vet. She was semi conscious and barely breathing. This was on a Sunday afternoon. Luckily the vet was checking on boarded animals at the clinic. He said to bring her in to see if she could be saved. Upon examination, the vet indicated that she was suffering from hypothermia. He gave her a small chance of survival but said to keep her very warm for the next several hours. This would give her the best chance, However, the vet told us not to warm her too quickly because she would die so she had to be next to one of our bodies all night long. She had water in her lungs that the Vet cleared by gently pressing down on her tiny chest area somewhat like the resuscitation of a person. We returned home. Boo Boo spent the rest of the afternoon and that evening sleeping on my wife’s chest with a blanket over her entire tiny body. Boo Boo Kitty made it through the night!

Her new Best Friend

At that time, Boo Boo Kitty became the third house cat and fourth pet. She joined Moochie, Sinbad and Sparky. Moochie was beautiful female tabby. Sinbad was a blue eyed Siamese. Sparky was a Spitz mix. Unknown to Boo Boo, she was about to have a playmate. Introduce Gizmo, a male tabby kitten. He was a stray that arrived unannounced at my mother’s house. Boo Boo and Gizmo became the biggest playmates and best friends. They would play chase all through the house at all hours of the night.

Many nights we could here them romping around and someone would say “its play period”.

Becoming a Mama Cat

After a year or so of fun with Gizmo, Boo Boo met a stray orange tabby. He was a rough looking character that didn’t want any part of being “rescued” or becoming a house cat. He appeared to be somewhat of a rogue. This was right before the time Boo Boo was to be spayed. Well, BooBoo visited the orange stray and had a “roll in the hay”. Several weeks later, Boo Boo gave birth to 5 kittens. She tried to be a good mother but it was not to be. Each kitten died within a few days of birth. The vet said Boo Boo has a recessive trait of a liver dysfunction. Her kittens were not able to survive do to the lack of this enzyme. Boo Boo still cries to this day as she carries a roll of socks in her mouth from time to time. It reminds us of those first few days of her motherhood when she would instinctively move her babies from place to place.

The Ear Incident

As a younger cat, Boo Boo wore a flea collar. Sometimes these collars would become difficult to remove. My wife and I got the bright idea to cut off the collar with scissors. Well, as I steadied Boo Boo, my wife slipped the scissors on the collar. At the exact instant the cutting began, Boo Boo jerked. As the collar fell to the floor so did the tip of Boo Boo’s right ear. There was a little blood but not much. My wife was shocked and quickly called the vet. She actually took the piece of ear to the vet in some napkins with ice to see if it could be reattached. The vet assured her that Boo Boo would not miss that part of her ear and that reattachment was not an option. To this day our vet still gives my wife a hard time about cutting off her cat’s ear.

Homes and Friends

BooBoo has lived in a number of different places and shared with a number of other animals. As a small abandoned kitten BooBoo survived long enough to find us. After rescue and recovery, BooBoo has lived in a mobile home and 3 different houses. She has shared her homes with cats Moochie, Sinbad, Gizmo, Uncle Remus, Little Orange, Lily, Mama, Abner, and Scooter. Her dog friends with which she has lived include Sparky, Big Black, Little Black, Margeaux, Pee Wee, LeeRoy, Max, Annie, Tookie, Sugar Bear, Bubba, Jimbo and Lucy and a baby squirrel named Chester.

Diabetes and Boo Boo

Sometime after Boo Boo turned 9 or so we noticed how much more water she drank. We use to laugh how she stood over her water bowl, seemingly as if she was trying to keep from falling in the bowl (as if she was still traumatized over falling in the toilet and almost dying as a kitten.) By age 10, Boo Boo began losing weight. She continued the excessive drinking and peeing. We mentioned this to the vet. After answering a few questions on the phone, the vet suggested that Boo Boo may be diabetic. We took her in the next day. Her vet confirmed that she was diabetic and would require insulin. Boo Boo Kitty began injections of Humulin L two times per day. She eventually switched to Novolin N after Humulin L was discontinued. For the first 2 years of Boo Boo’s treatment of diabetes, we tested her urine using Diastix. These became hard to find in the drug stores and Walmart. This turned out to be a good thing as that lack of availability led me to home BG testing. I started home testing in the fall of 2006. I have since reduced Boo Boo’s insulin dosage from a high of 5 to 5.5u BID to 1.5-2.0u BID. It seems that many of her higher readings were due to rebound. She is not tightly regulated but much better than before home testing and much more consistent. Boo Boo’s average high BG is around 300. Her average low at “peak insulin effect” is around 80.

Boo Boo’s personality and nicknames

Boo Boo of course won a very special place in our hearts from the beginning. She has always been very expressive never holding back a good meow and she purrs almost all the time. As she aged she also seems to have become very wise. She sometimes sits back and watches all the other cats in the house as if she is in charge of them and must make sure they play fairly with each other. She even cleans them from time to time if they have not done a good job themselves. She likes peace in her world and If any of the other cats get out of line and begin to growl, hiss, spit or jump on an unsuspecting cat then Boo Boo suddenly appears from nowhere and immediate places herself between the two in conflict and brings closure to the square off. She also seems to be a very appreciative cat. She brings us things with loud meows before and after we feed her as if she wants us to know she is bringing us a gift or small token for giving her such a good meal. These characteristics have led us to jokingly call her “The Great Buddah” since she came from such humble beginnings and is so noble, peaceful and wise. The other nickname she has earned is Buddah Boudini. This is just another form of the great Buddah but attached to her because she disappears from time to time like “Houdini” and no matter how we look for her we never find her. Then suddenly… she’s back.

Boo Boo’s favorite things

Boo Boo loves to curl up with me at night while I play on the computer or we watch TV. We are big friends and never far apart. She also loves her meal times and loves to talk about them. She loves for my wife to move her feet under the covers at night so she can pounce on them, roll over and kick at them with her back feet and spit as if she is perfecting her catlike skills for a big hunt. She loves to sleep late in the mornings always under the covers next to my wife. She also loves to play “stick bug.” Stick bug is a game we play when Boo Boo is on the coffee table and my wife is on the couch. She puts her thumb, pointing finger and ring finger and pinky finger on the table (as if she were getting ready to type) but extends her middle finger out straight. Then she uses her four fingers on the table to act like a big stick bug coming toward her. She stops a second and moves her extended middle finger up and down and side to side as if the stick bug were looking her over and then begins walking toward her again and she goes crazy. Boo Boo paws at her and grabs at her finger and bites it as if she has killed the stick bug and he is forever gone.

Boo Boo’s story will continue

Boo Boo is a part of our every day life. We always make sure to get home in time to give Boo Boo her insulin. We make sure that one of us is home to feed her and basically check on her. We have learned about life’s ups and downs from Boo Boo Kitty. I hope she will continue to be in our lives……


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Last updated 2/03/07

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