Mayhew Vets Save Stray cat With Rare Form of Feline Diabetes

When our Animal Welfare Officers rescued one-year-old Norman from a nearby feral cat colony, they soon noticed something very strange about his drinking habits.

Although he’d been straying, Norman was clearly domesticated, and so we’d settled him down in our Cattery for some rest and respite before assessing him for adoption. However, after giving him some food and water, we saw that Norman was suffering from excessive thirst – drinking two full dog bowls of water every single day, compared to the average single cup that most cats drink.

  • We therefore took Norman straight through to our vet clinic, where our team ran blood and urine tests to try and determine what was causing his insatiable thirst.
  • Luckily, the results came back clear for both kidney disease and sugar diabetes (diabetes mellitus), which are common causes of excessive thirst in cats.
  • Further tests checked for hormonal causes, and our vets decided to trial giving Norman a medication called desmopressin which treats excessive thirst, urination and dehydration.

Interestingly, Norman responded very well to desmopressin, which indicated that he was suffering from something called water diabetes (diabetes insipidus).

This is much rarer than sugar diabetes and especially uncommon in cats, and without knowing anything of Norman’s history, it is sadly impossible to ascertain how he developed it or when it started. Some cases of water diabetes can be caused by a traumatic event, and it can also indicate more serious conditions including brain disease.

Thankfully, Norman hasn’t shown any further signs of weakness or deterioration, and continues to respond well to a twice daily dose of desmopressin. He is therefore not expected to develop any additional symptoms, though he will need to be monitored closely and requires a rather special home.

Norman’s treatment will be lifelong, and although his current symptoms are manageable, he will need to drink double the amount of water the average cat imbibes in a day, and correspondingly will also urinate more.

Because of this, whoever adopts Norman will need to make some adaptations in their home, including providing multiple litter trays, access to fresh water at all times, and more frequent litter changes. He will also require regular check-ups and annual blood and urine tests at a private veterinary practice. Although there are various forms of medication available to Norman, his current daily tablets can be easily crushed into food, and he has no problems taking them.

We know that there is the perfect home out there for Norman, with an owner who will love him for who he is and be willing to give him a little extra care and attention. He is a sweet, shy, and sensitive soul who loves to be stroked and fussed over, and he’ll be best suited to a calm and quiet all-adult home with an enclosed garden.

If you think this could be you, or you know someone with experience in looking after cats with unusual medical conditions, and who may be ready to adopt again, please take a look at Norman’s adoption profile here and get in touch if you think you could be a match.

You can also find out more about our adoption procedures during lockdown here.

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4 thoughts on “Mayhew Vets Save Stray cat With Rare Form of Feline Diabetes

  1. SGC Admin says:

    Wow who would have thought of such a thing as water diabetes… thank you for sharing this story… and we are so happy to hear that this little furball is doing so well… Fingers crossed that he finds his forever home soon…

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