Hello from quarantine STILL! Luck decided to hang elsewhere and my time of isolation has been extended. It has been almost a month now. My dogs are thrilled, and the cats are completely unaffected. They keep to their own routine (whether we like it or not), but as far as the fur babies are concerned, this time can be used to tweak insulin and diet, find new ways to play with Kitty to keep her active, and gain a good long baseline for comparing behavior changes. Observing Kitty without interference is the best way to keep up with their changing baselines.
Tweaking insulin and diet is a lot easier if one is home for a stretch. If you over or under correct, you can continue to adjust (still keeping your journal notes) and really fine-tune those numbers. As normal outside life resumes, we have journal entries to tell us what worked and what did not, and hopefully a pretty reliable routine for another to follow if an emergency arises. Keeping a good journal also supplies you with better solutions to problems that creep up. Many outside factors can affect Kitty’s blood glucose levels, and the journal can provide information on what worked in similar situations before.
Keeping Kitty active whilst being at home and ill is VERY challenging. However, the feather toys with the long stick, or toys tied to a long string will enable you to interact and play with Kitty without having to move. (Those long shoe strings are absolutely wonderful when you can’t get off the couch/chair/bed.) Keeping some catnip or cat grass nearby (if Kitty likes it) will also help stimulate activity. Of course, any other items you have in your general area is also up for grabs as far as Kitty is concerned, so they may create some new entertainment items you never considered.
We know our kitties so why would we need another baseline? Cats change due to age, illness, stress, etc. They are also quirky. I have a cat who walks around howling like he is in terrible pain because his person is NOT where they are supposed to be or if he found a lizard and it stopped moving (in shock, not dead). He absolutely expects his person to comply and for me to resurrect the fainted lizard (they go outside, and he howls a little longer). I have learned to follow him when he howls instead of worrying – he is just vocal about certain things. The first time he did that, I was all but ready to go the emergency animal hospital until I found him with a bug that stopped moving. He looked at me, let out another long howl and looked from me to the bug and back again fully expecting that I would fix his “toy”. Lesson: Zeus howling means he wants something.
One of my younger kitties likes to jump on the bookshelf and glides like a flying squirrel across the hallway to other shelves so she can climb to our plant shelves and nap. It is horrifying and fascinating to watch. She sticks that landing like a pro! She also sails from chair to chair and all over the place. Distance will not hinder her! Lesson: Gwen is nuts but graceful and agile.
It goes without saying that extra time around our fur babies can be very rewarding. (I am aware of the CDC recommendations to stay away from pets, but the risk is minimal, and the person who wrote that does not have cats.) Kitty may hang around the ill person more because it’s a warm place to snuggle, a lap that won’t kick them off any time soon, and a chance to binge watch with Kitty. For me personally, when the blanket comes out, the kitties come running – at their convenience, of course. Even being ill, being at home with my fur babies has been a rewarding and educational experience.
*BREAKING CAT NEWS: I have a potential celebrity update for the kitties out there. Cat heartthrob David Attenborough may have some serious competition from yet another Brit, John Oliver. Apparently, many cat lovers have sent videos showing how much cats like to chase his hands around the screen, so he made a special mini episode for his Kitty fandom called Cat Week Tonight with John Oliver. The video is highly recommended by humans and kitties (mine, at least).
Be safe out there! Remember that the COVID-19 virus did NOT disappear, and we still need to practice social distancing and follow the recommendations from the World Health Organization and the CDC to the best of our ability.
As always, the Feline Diabetes Support Group on FB is a wonderful resource with great admins and community members who are caring and very, very helpful.