Friday, May 15, 2015

Sully Bear

If you don't like cats or pets, might as well skip this post.

I have been volunteering at the local animal shelter for about a year and a half and it has been a great experience. I am learning so much about animal welfare and it has helped me realize my ultimate dream of working in that field. When I first started volunteering, C had one request: don't bring any animals home. We already had one feisty cat, Caesar, who we weren't sure would ever get along with anybody else. I reluctantly agreed, but after about six months of volunteering, I had already fallen in love with three different cats (all of whom were adopted, yay!) So C knew it was a losing battle, and we made a deal: if I got another cat, he could get a different car.

Fast forward to last June, when he picked out the car he wanted and I found the perfect cat. Sully was a big 16-pound guy who was as gentle and mellow as they come. For the first couple of hours, we weren't even sure if he could meow. It took a week or two, but he and Caesar became friends and now they are best brothers. Every vet visit that I took Sully to, they would tell me that he was overweight and we should work on that. He was on a pretty regimented diet, so I didn't think too much of it. After all, when we adopted him from the shelter he was already a pretty big cat so I figured that was just his size.

In the past couple of months I started noticing that he was losing weight and I could feel his ribs and spine more than ever before. He also had a wound that wasn't getting much better so I took him in for a checkup. He weighed in at 12.1 lb, so almost a 4-lb weight loss in just a few months (which is a lot for a cat - imagine losing 1/4 of your body weight in a couple of months!) I also mentioned that his thirst had become insatiable and he was using the box a lot more than Caesar. They took some blood and urine and sent us on our way, and I took him home fearing the worst.

The next morning, the vet called and gave me the news: Sully has diabetes.

She went over the basics: insulin shots twice a day and a different diet. With my volunteer work at the shelter, I have been able to get to know some amazing people who foster and care for special needs cats, so I reached out to one of my friends who has a diabetic cat for help. Her advice along with the help of the staff at the vet has helped us realize that it will take some time and patience for both cats to adjust, but that Sully can still have a good life with us. It makes me really sad every time I think about him having to get shots and make such big changes in his life, but I also am grateful that he has something treatable.

He is a very unique cat. When we first got him, we noticed some trigger signs that he may have a history of abuse. Since living with us, he has relaxed completely and seems to feel very comfortable. He has a special bond with C and showers him with lots of love. I am hopeful that this won't change his personality, but that he will continue to feel better as we get his blood sugar regulated.