Skip to comments.Did Our Cat Detect Hypoglycemia In My Sleeping Wife?
Posted on 06/19/2014 5:48:04 PM PDT by who knows what evil?
As readers of the garden thread already know; I grow loads of vegetables to supplement my wife's diet in order to manage her diabetic condition. My wife is under tremendous stress due to a dispute with neighbors here in Red Hampshire. This has been a contributing factor in the deterioration of her pancreas, and she is now on insulin.
The other night, my wife was awakened by one of our Siamese rescue cats sniffing and poking around her face. This is a rescue cat that is considered 'her' cat. He waits at the door for her to come home from work, lays on her lap in the evenings, and sleeps in the crook of her leg every night. He's her little boy. Since she feeds them at five in the morning weekdays before she goes to work; they will wake us at 5 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday; not understanding the concept of 'weekend'. It was very out of character for him (or any of our other cats) to waken either of us in the middle of the night.
Upon wakening; she realized she had a pounding headache, and when she stood up, she realized her body was trembling...classic symptoms of low blood sugar...hypoglycemia. She went downstairs (bad idea at the time), had a half bowl of cereal and a mini-carton of Juicy Juice to 'normalize' her blood sugar. Back to bed, where she informed me that her blood sugar was only 66. I was 90% asleep, and that didn't register.
She had told me what had happened the next morning...I thought she had just gotten up to use the restroom, although I noticed that the downstairs light had stayed on for some time. I have been busy with my garden, and what she had told me didn't click until today. The cat woke her up in the middle of the night at the onset on hypoglycemia? Wait...what?
It's all there...the readings from her monitor were downloaded at the doctors' office the other day, and there it was. A reading of '66' at 1:30 in the morning.
I used to call her cat 'Satan'. He is a small adult Red Point Siamese that beats up on the other cats, knocks over my prized tomato seedlings, and otherwise gets in my hair. Well..if you saved my wife, buddy; no more 'Satan'. (He was one of the two Siamese kittens we had rescued from the 'Green Mile' in Maryville, TN.)
I did a bit of research, and have found similar stories on the net and in other newspapers. Did Apollo detect some change in my wife's metabolism that caused him to wake her up in time to address her dangerous condition?
I have no idea...and Apollo isn't (and won't be) talking.
Can you ‘ping’ the kitty list, please?
I’ve never experienced anything like this, but I’ve worked (professionally) around animals for years, and I will say that there is something going on out there that we may never understand.
No, but you should treasure that cat.
Wouldn't be a bit surprised if cats had the ability, as well. (prob just not as readily trained as dogs in a global setting, though :P)
Keep the cat.
The cat was just doing a CAT Scan.
Perhaps kitty detected ketones in her breath?
I dunno, did you try truth serum?
Seriously, I have read some interesting stories about cats, although I've never witnessed any.
There is a cat that lives in a nursing home, who normally is fairly aloof. But when a patient is hours away from death, he becomes very friendly to that patient. When the nursing home staff sees him become friendly, they know to call the patient's family so they can come say good-bye.
I read a story about a little girl who was dying of cancer. One day, she went with her mother out to the barn, and found a dirty bedraggled cat in the barn. The little girl begged to keep him, and the mother acquiesced. Over the next few months, as the little girl lost her strength and could only lie on the sofa all day, the cat was her constant companion. He comforted her when she was in pain and was always there for her. When she died, the cat disappeared, never to be seen again, while the family was attending her funeral.
66 is not that low....
My brother-in-law (who has Downs’) has a dog that seems to be able to alert the family to an imminent Grand Mal seizure.
I had a cat every bit as attached and affectionate as the one described. He could respond appropriately to moods, but I had no chronic illnesses for him to detect.
Her physician has advised her to contact her when her sugar drops below 70. This was in the middle of the night, and she would have spent another four hours in that condition.
LOL! If that particular cat were to kill someone; it would be me...even though I was the one that drove 300 miles round-trip to save his furry *ss from certain doom (along with his brother, who appreciates me.)
The State of Virginia has a program in which specially-trained dogs are given to Type 1 diabetics to alert them when their glucose readings get too low.
Well. THANK YOU for that....I had looked up service dogs before for people with diabetes because my nephew is a Type 1. Guess what...he lives in Charlottesville, VA, which is where this organization has its home base! Again, thank you! (he probably won’t do anything with it, but I’m sure going to send him the link) http://www.servicedogsva.org/index.php/learn/faq/
I believe that there is a chemical (ketone?) that is expressed by a patient experiencing hypoglycemia. A cat could easily smell the new, odd smell and recognize a possible problem.
Ketones seems to be the consensus of opinion, and it certainly makes sense.
Not this type of experience. However at the nursing home where my mother eventually passed, there was a cat that visited people the night before they died. The kitty was never wrong.
My daughter knew someone with a service dag who could detect either hypoglycemia or seizures. I don’t recall which condition, but I’ve heard of cases where animals can detect that kind of thing.
Best thing to do is watch his behavior and record every instance of when he acts like that and what her blood sugar is. Having a record will help detect a pattern if it’s there.
It’s far better than trying to rely on memory.
I would enjoy having a feline companion around on my last day...others would freak, I’m sure. :-)
Good idea...she just went to bed, and that particular kitty just went up the stairs to join her.
Not bashing your wife, but it might help matters if she’d eat so as to keep her blood sugar on more of an even keel and not yo-yo-ing between too high and too low. Eat some protein and fat, but go very easy on the carbohydrates. Protein has a relatively small effect on blood sugar/insulin levels and animal fat close to none, but eating carbs can make for relatively large swings in blood sugar and insulin levels. Can cats detect that kind of a metabolic change? I don’t know.
While I was in Walmart several years ago, I came upon a man in the pet section who had a dog. On that dog’s harness was clearly embroidered the words, “Diabetic Alert Animal.”
Yes, the cat saved your wife’s life, without a doubt.
She’s clear on the diet protocol, but she is new to insulin and how it relates to the two different doses of metformin she is taking. As another poster suggested; we are going to watch the cat. She now has glucose tablets and other snacks on her nightstand so she doesn’t have to use the stairs in case of another bout of hypoglycemia.
My bedtime now...thanks to everyone for their advice and opinions. ;-)
DKA or diabetic keto acidosis is caused by high blood sugar. I have been able to smell it when I walked into the room quite a few times.
I suppose low blood would be characterized by a lack of normal ketones.
Aren’t ketones a sign of very high blood sugar?
I appreciate the thank-you note, ma’am. Made my day.
I saw this news item not long ago (forget the publication) and it got my attention...everything involving dogs gets my attention.
It would be great if your nephew were to look into this program. He certainly would benefit from having a trained dog keeping tabs on his glucose levels.
>> “The cat was just doing a CAT Scan.” <<
Did their retriever then do a “Lab” report?
Body tremors possibly too.
>> “Arent ketones a sign of very high blood sugar?” <<
No, ketosis is the state where the body metabolizes fats rather than glucose.
I have a type 1 who thankfully wakes up when she's low. One night I heard a banging in the kitchen. She was in there trying to feed herself, falling down, arms flailing and jerking, totally out of it. Stood up, fell down. Stood up, fell down. I got a banana and made her start taking bites, which she didn't want.
Her numbers were in the 30s. Turns out she had eaten a bedtime snack high enough in carbs that she needed to dose. And the insulin took her down in the middle of the night to very dangerous levels.
If I hadn't have been there and she could not get up off the floor to eat something she would have died.
And yes, I've read that dogs can smell when something's wrong with a diabetic.
It doesn’t require a belief in magic cat ESP to credit this. Dogs have been trained to sniff out cancer. There are accounts of dogs being trained to recognize the onset of epileptic seizures. No doubt a cat can smell changes in his mistress’s body chemistry due to very low blood sugar as well. You are blessed to have a furry physician in the family!
The train dogs for this stuff. It has to do with your breath. Don’t know why a cat could not do it.
I’ve heard similar stories, enough that I really do believe cats do this.
Well, that’s a Siamese for ya. Siamese are very smart and perceptive. I have one that s only half Siamese and that cat is smart as a whip. I’m diabetic as well with other health problems and she seems to know when I’m “off”. Her sister, who passed away this winter was the “get well kitty”. If either me or my ex-wife were getting sick she’d climb up in bed with us, stare the sick one straight in the face and “mraow?”. She would then curl up with whoever was sick. And would tend to stay close until that person was feeling better. Just accept that animals have perceptive skills we don’t entirely understand. And listen to Dr. Satan! (lol)
We had considered that possibility, as well. She clearly trembles when her sugar is low...is that what the cat picked up on?
Indeed. I USED to refer to him as 'Satan' because he is a little stinker. But now? "That's DR. Satan to you, hoomin!"
There was a story recently about a school taking a picture of a girl’s service dog and putting it in the yearbook. The dog detects the girl having a seizure and positions itself to keep her from hurting herself when she falls, etc. Pretty impressive.
They had examples of the dog detecting the seizure enough in advance of the event to prevent terrible harm; like fussing at the edge of a pool when the girl was swimming. Something like 10 minutes before the event.
That's funny...I am a big fan of old time movie serials. There had been plans for a 'Superman' serial in which he would battle a mad scientist and his 'giant' robot. They couldn't get the rights to the Man of Steel or some such; so they replaced Superman with a character called 'Copperhead', an ordinary man who wore a copper hood over his head.
The title of the serial? 'Mysterious Dr. Satan'.
LOL. Now I’m guilty of copywright theft! Hope your wife is feeling better, been there, done that, got the t-shirt.
I did read a few years ago about dogs that smell cancer in patients.
Our furry friends are attuned to us, so kitty probably did notice something different and wanted to wake her up.
Not sure about that serial, but many of them are 'public domain'. :-)
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