I am an animal lover and have a few myself. First off, is he a Maine Coon? 23 lbs is pretty big if he is an ordinary sized cat (although I have a 17.5 pounder myself. I'm not judging). What is his regular food? Cats eat with their nose, so if there is something that he REALLY likes, maybe you could switch for just a bit?? I am far from a vet, and I have never had a diabetic cat so I don't really know how much help I can be.
EDIT: I just noticed that you posted hours ago! How is he doing now??
All I can say is he is an ordinary orange cat.
He doesn't even want to drink yet alone eat anything. I would just give him conventional canned cat food and dry nibble. He managed to go outside but then urinated out of nowhere and yelled out in pain. He is extremely hyperventilating. It's very painful to watch.
When we checked earlier today his blood glucose was 440..
My fat cat is orange too. Maybe it is the color?
Anyhow, painful urination is a concern. Kitties can have all sorts of urinary problems, I know I have had trouble when my cats are in distress. Sounds like kitty isn't drinking either.
I looked up cat blood glucose levels. Isn't 440 a bit high?
HRV, 440 is extremely high and very dangerous.
Cats, like all animals, fast when ill. A 23 pound cat could fast for quite some time without starving to death. Fasting can help the body heal and preserve their life, but he could be too far gone at this point to recover simply from fasting.
I would ask the vet for advice. He may suggest giving the insulin anyway, but in a smaller dose, to bring down the high blood sugar. But definitely get a vet's advice before you proceed. Unfortunately, a vet, like a medical doctor, will be unlikely to see any value in fasting.
On the contrary the vet said he can't fast for a longer time because of his large body and metabolic demand.
Cats who stop eating can develop hepatic lipidosis (spelling?) and die within a matter of days. It is a very bad idea for cats to fast. Cats are unlike many other mammals in that fasting can be disastrous.
Cats are no different from humans in the following respect: too much fat = oily blood = pancreas working too hard to produce insulin = diabetes.
Give your cat a lower-fat food. At least 9% calories from fat minimum but no more than 20%; I'd shoot for as close to 9 as I could get.
Some vets put cats on a low-carb diet for diabetes. For a human, this would be incredibly stupid, but cats are extremely efficient at gluconeogenesis i.e. a high-protein diet would provide them with mucho energy.
So lower the fat as much as you can. And you might want to go for protein rather than carbs, at least for now. The nice thing about many home-made vegan cat food recipes is that, even though they are cooked, at least they allow for easily manipulation of CPF ratios. You can't do that with a pre-made packaged kibble.
Your cat could have stones (from overly alkaline urine) or overly acidic urine causing pain. You can make adjustments to diet to help regulate urine pH. Some cats have issues with too much magnesium...Your vet could check it out or you could try to stick some litmus paper under there next time it happens.
Thank you everyone for your help.. I just drove him to a vet (his mouth was open gagging for breath.. gums and nose purple/grey during the drive) and they put him in an oxygen tank. His breathing is a little bit better, but he is still having his tongue out and breathing heavily.
They checked through an x ray and saw that his lungs are filled with fluid. They suspect it's heart failure.. He will be there overnight. I heard the doctor say behind my back when I was leaving to the nurse to "take the money from them now".
I am being shredded apart inside at this moment. He is the only living being that was truly there for me. I gave him a last pat on the back.
I am truly sorry for this ordeal, and also appalled at the vet's comment. I hope that he will improve regardless of the tentative diagnosis. Please let me know what happens as I am very concerned for your large furball.
I figured it might be from a fatty liver that impedes the vena cava causing cardiomyopathy and respiratory problems (pulmonary edema). Fatty liver causes diabetes which then also connects to heart disease and failure. This is usually caused by stress and obesity.
Hopefully if at least he has a few months left to live heart disease is possible to reverse. It's just that if he loses weight to rapidly he might just have the fatty liver/hepatic lipidosis problem worsen or have chronic kidney damage. He's not very fit to catch his own food and exercise at that age, so I'm not quite sure what to do in this situation.
Interestingly enough, I analyzed his nibble to find there is supplemental B12 added despite being incredibly high in animal products! I checked whether there is enough taurine in the feed as most generic brand names neglect it, since deficiency of this amino acid causes cardiomyopathy in felines.
Eli, I'm sorry to hear about your cat. I have a dog who has been diabetic for almost 2.5 years now and requires insulin twice a day. It was overwhelming initially (especially her losing her vision to cataracts, the entire change in diet, having to haul yourself out of bed every morning including weekends as she has to have her meals and injections at regular intervals, the vet bills, etc.) but now it is just part of our routine.
I hope your cat gets through this. Now that she's at the vet, she's got the best chance. Unlike with dogs, there is a lot of research to prove that cats diabetes is reversible. I can't draw on the exact references as I came across these when I was reasearching pet diabetes in relation to my dog but I'm sure you'll find them. You can take serious action on the steps detailed to help your cat get on track when she recovers. Painful urination could be a sign of urine infection which is common with diabetic pets. My dog has the same issue and once it occurs, it needs to be treated with antibiotics. I have learnt from experience to keep it from recurring through watching her diet, washing her there everyday (she gets her regular bath once a week), ensuring she has a lot of water.
I would start with the diet. She visits the vet around twice a year now compared to once in 2 months when she turned diabetic. She hates commercial food. It is critical that she eats so we can inject her. They're usually interested to try smtg new out even when they're not in the mood to eat.
Let us know how she's doing!
A few things. First, there is a new guideline here that forbid people from recommending that others feed their pets animal products. There are many references available on nutritionally complete cooked vegan cat foods, though unfortunately not raw vegan cat foods (I am looking into this at the moment). In addition, tinned, unsalted tuna does not contain any taurine so that would just make the heart problems worse. Feeding the cat home-cooked meals with cooked meat would provide absolutely no taurine. It is different for dogs since dogs can synthesize their own taurine.
Eli, most commercial cat food manufacturers add synthetic taurine to their food (since taurine is destroyed by cooking. It being synthetic is not a problem, since unlike many nutrients, synthetic taurine is exactly the same as natural taurine (it is a simple amino-sulfonic acid that does not polarize to light so does not have a D- or L- form. Same with glycine.) The taurine needs of a cat vary, but it sounds like your cat would need more taurine than most cats due to obesity, poor health etc.
Here's my "prescription." Ditch the commercial cat food because if your cat is fat and has fatty liver/etc., the commercial food is probably too high in fat? Might also be too high in carbohydrates for a diabetic cat to recover properly; particularly the kibble. If it's a high-carbohydrate kibble that is even a little high in fat, it could be a recipe for disaster.
Vegepet sells a taurine/etc. supplement along with many free home-made cat food recipes. These range in high-protein to high-carbs. I would pick the recipes with the most protein and the lowest amount of fat and carbs. This would help the most with your cat's weight and diabetes. Some of the recipes are fairly wholesome and use things like rice, oats, potatoes, garbanzo beans, etc. Some are pretty much commercial canned cat food minus the chicken by-product meal (i.e. full of crap like seitan, wheat, even tofu, etc etc.)
If you must stick with commercial food, there are commercial vegan cat foods.