Sunday, August 22, 2010

Max & Leo

Lesson in parenting #41: Give Attention Equally.

Ok, so we're not parents, and maybe I'm crazy, but I think we learn a lot of lessons in parenting from our pets. This is ideal, because no matter how much you screw up a cat, it's not going to grow up to be a kleptomaniac, a serial killer, or one of those people who have a melt down if their food touches on the plate. It's sort of like a dry run, with no consequences. Well, except for the occasional poop on the carpet.

Back in May, our 6 yr old cat was diagnosed with Diabetes. He was extremely sick and almost died. He was drooling at the mouth and had lost the use of his hind legs when the diagnosis was made. He had been showing mild symptoms for months, but we didn't clue in. He deteriorated very quickly and got medical care just in time.

We were devastated by the diagnosis, and worried about how we were going to pay for it all. We went through weeks of testing every 3 hours or so, 24hrs a day, trying to get him regulated. Our vet was telling us to do one thing, and new veterinary science, as well as online communities were telling us another. It was a tough decision, but we finally broke with our vet and started treating Max with the guidance of an online community called FDMB. Within a week or so, following their advice, we had Max on his way to being regulated on insulin, and we've since been able to drop his dose twice. If things keep going well, we might eventually have him off insulin for good. For now, it's enough that Max is well, and we don't have to test him a million times a week!

Now that things are as normal as they're going to get, Max gets 2 shots a day, at 7am & 7pm. Both cats also get fed at shot times, so Leo has adapted to Max's routine.

It broke our hearts yesterday when we finally realised how much we've been neglecting Leo since Max got sick. Sean was playing fetch with Leo, and when he brought the ball back, Sean said "Good Boy!". Leo immediately looked up at Max, then dropped his head and slunk away. We usually say "good boy" to Max after his shots, so I guess Leo has connected those words with Max getting attention.

So now we're trying to give more attention to Leo, to balance out all the time spent with Max. Are we crazy cat people? Definitely, but they do seem to teach us lessons that can be applied to other aspects of life.