I pop open the can, Roz rubs against my leg. She paces back and forth, eager, and lets out a “mrouw.”
“Mmm, Roz, it’s Salmon Feast in Gravy, your favorite.” It’s mine, too. I smell it and think how good it would taste over crackers—Carr’s® Table Water crackers to be specific. Two summers ago, my brother-in-law returned from a month working in France. He brought back several small tins of pâté as a gift. Those we ate over Carr’s® Table Water crackers. The tins resembled the Fancy Feast® cans of food we buy for Roz. The contents? Well, Fancy Feast® smells better. I haven’t eaten any yet.
Roz gets the good food. Tommy gets kibble. When they first diagnosed Roz with diabetes, the vet said Fancy Feast® is the best grocery store food for diabetic cats. She promised to make a medical-based recommendation in the future. That was in May. Still no recommendation.
We actually bailed on the vet. After Roz was diagnosed, I asked about the cost of treatment. Roz is a great cat, but we have limits to what we can spend. “You’ll pay for a new bottle of insulin every couple of months,” they said, “and maybe three glucose tests to zero in on her dose.”
Months later: “Bring her back next week, we’ll run a glucose curve, get some labs and adjust her dose by one IU. Then we’ll wait a week and do it again.” I’ve had this exact conversation five times. The price tag for a glucose curve and labs: $250. We put Roz in hospice care. That’s actually not true. But rather than tweak her dose every week and follow up with more medical tests and more tweaks, we just stopped returning to the vet. Roz is gaining back the weight she lost, she’s alert and she seems happy. She’s even fighting with Tommy again.
Having a diabetic cat isn’t quite the pain in the ass I expected. Days after her diagnosis, we left on a two-week vacation. We contemplated waiting until we returned home to start her treatment, but Roz was losing weight so fast, we didn’t think she’d last. We begged and pleaded for Susan’s father to come twice a day to shoot-up the cat.
Our pet situation has gotten hairy. For that vacation, my father-in-law came in to take care of the cats, a neighbor’s kid came in to feed and water Sheena the corn snake (Susan’s father wouldn’t do that), and King Tut, a bearded dragon, went and stayed with Sophie’s friend Molly. We’ve lost track of our purpose. The reason we got the cats and a snake is because they require minimal care. Every few days they get food and water and they’re happy until they run out. For us, freedom from responsibility.
We made a misguided purchase with King Tut. He needs care daily—optimally, twice a day. Someone needs to catch three or four live crickets in the Cricket Keeper® and release them in his tank. We’re also supposed to cut up fresh vegetables for him to eat, but we usually make do with the freeze-dried variety.
Comparatively Roz is no more trouble than that. As she eats her Fancy Feast® I grab the back of her neck and inject her insulin. In fact she waits for the shot so her meal isn’t disrupted. Sometimes she’ll complain, and sometimes she won’t, but she and I have come to an agreement that the shot is a small downside to dining on Salmon Feast in Gravy.