Plastic chewing may signal diabetes

Dear Paws: I’m replying to the letter from Dave F. regarding the cat chewing on his wife’s oxygen hose.  This may sound weird, but you should consider having your cat checked for diabetes. Our cat, “Tuffy,” started chewing on our clear plastic shower curtain. We waited a bit too long to have him checked out and he was in dire condition by the time the veterinarian saw him.

It was my wife who read something in a cat magazine she subscribes to, and suggested that the vet test Tuffy for diabetes. Sure enough, he was. And while our cat’s prognosis was initially not good—the vet said he might have three months to live – thanks to regular insulin injections and care, Tuffy lived another four and a half years.

So Dave, keep the faith, and have your cat checked for diabetes. Good luck– Tom W., via email

A. Tom, thanks so much for calling attention to this possible health condition! Chewing on clear plastic as a signal for possible diabetes is not something I have heard of before, but I’m very glad your wife made that connection.

Readers, keep in mind that many, even most, cats chew on weird things – plastic shopping bags and crumpled paper are especially fascinating and it’s not unusual to see cats gnawing at them. Of course, you should take efforts to stop them from ingesting such items. This type of gnawing does not necessarily signal a health problem, but if you’re unsure, take your pet to the veterinarian to ease your suspicions.

Other signs of feline diabetes include a voracious appetite and/or drinking large quantities of water, as well as frequent urination or urinating a much larger amount than usual. Weakness in the cat’s back legs is another serious symptom.

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