Simon the Cat
Simon is a yellow and white, rather large, neutered male cat of indeterminate age. A guess might put him around 15. Last year toward the end of March, I noticed that he seemed to be losing weight and appeared to be drinking more water than usual. A week later I decided I wasn't imagining things, so I called my vet. As expected, she took a blood sample. His glucose level was 322. It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out - Simon was diabetic. The vet wanted to put him on insulin but I said I wanted to try treating him nutritionally. I didn't want him to begin insulin shots that very likely he would need for the rest of his life. At that time I had no idea what I was going to do, but I knew where I was going to go for advice. The date was the 25th of April, 2003.
I took Simon home and called my herbalist, Loryhl Goodman Davis of Herbs of the World. I told her what was happening to him and asked her if she could suggest a diet that might counteract his diabetes. She suggested I prepare for him the following: organic raw salmon and chicken, alfalfa sprouts, and flax oil, plus the juice of two cups of green beans, two zucchini, and a piece of ginger one and one-half inches long.
I located a juicer and a whole foods store where I could buy organic vegetables and farm-raised chicken and salmon. Simon began his new diet on the 9th of May. Per instructions, we began with three drops of what I call his "green stuff" at 6 and 11 p.m. I introduced the salmon, chicken, alfalfa, and flax gradually, mixing small amounts of it with the canned food I had been giving him (Iams chicken). His green stuff had been increased gradually, too. On May 10th he got six drops three times a day - 9 am, and 3 and 9 pm. Somewhere along the line I added a mixture of brewers yeast, kelp, wheat germ, lecithin, and bone meal, and the green stuff was upped to two droppers three times a day. This was increased in small increments and by May 19th, he was getting three eyedroppers three times a day, and was on his new diet exclusively.
Simon went back to see the vet again on June 6th. His blood test results are as follows:
(April 25th - 322)
June 6th - 144
August 28th - 101
October 27th - 163
January 2 (04) - 165
January 16th - 141 (This visit was unscheduled. We thought he had ingested some chocolate and rushed him to the vet. Just to be safe they kept him overnight. I asked them to do a blood test when we picked him up the next day.)
Simon is being phased off the green stuff now as Loryhl wants to see how well he can manage without it. He still is on his salmon/chicken diet and, as far as I'm concerned, will stay on it for the rest of his life. He eats breakfast and dinner, and then small amounts frequently during the day. We'll see how he does without the green stuff. An interesting sidebar to Simon's story is that our other cat, Paws (who has been on Simon's diet minus the green stuff), now looks like a different cat. His coat is thick and glossy, he is well-fleshed but not fat, and acts like a kitten. (He's at least 11.)
This is not an easy diet. It is expensive, especially if you buy organic. I had to buy a juicer. It is time-consuming because preparing the food takes a lot longer than opening a can. Finding nice green beans and zucchini in mid-winter isn't always easy, and sometimes the alfalfa sprouts have to be rationed. I freeze the green stuff in ice cube trays, and thaw cubes as needed. When I buy the salmon and chicken, it has to be prepared and frozen that day, which isn't always convenient. I use a food processor to mince and mix the meat, and then freeze it in one-cup containers. The cats eat better than we do.
I don't know that my vet is convinced this is working but I think she's beginning to believe it. Simon will be going for blood tests every three months, just to keep an eye on things. Regardless of the outcome, all this has convinced me of one thing. Never again will I buy commercial pet food.
After writing this story, I noticed Simon began drinking more water again, so Loryhl suggested 200mcg of chromium picolinate be added to his diet twice daily (a capsule that I just empty into his food and mix; he doesn't even know it's there). His intake of water has lessened, so it appears the chromium picolinate is helping. We have not found a "cure" for feline diabetes (one cat does not a definitive study make!), although all this does seem to be helping Simon. As I see it, Simon is a work in progress.
About the author:
Sue Sauer is a former newspaper reporter, former editor of HorsePlay Magazine, and a freelance writer. She and her husband Ed own Thornbeck Farm in Douglassville, PA, a horse boarding facility, and have four horses, seven parrots (most of them rescues), and two cats.
For more information:
Herbs of the World