Archive for January 30th, 2008

Jellybean, aka Jelly Belly, aka Jelly Belly Bean, aka The Firecracker… formally “Jellybean II” as named at the shelter.  Funny (to me) as the name “Jellybean” always makes me think of a black cat (like the anise/licorice-flavored jellybeans), but my Jellybean is a tortie (tortoishell), black and red.

Jellybean in window

Jellybean was admitted to the shelter in February 1997, as a newborn kitten with her mother and littermates.  She was adopted quickly after she was old enough to be weaned and spayed.  She was returned years later for urinating outside the litter box.  The shelter staff discovered her urine red with blood and treated her for an infection.  She was adopted again.  Again, returned – this time to a different shelter, one that wasn’t no-kill.  That shelter scanned her microchip and returned her to the original shelter. 

In the summer of 2007, shelter staff noticed increased drinking and urination, and Jellybean was diagnosed with diabetes.  She was monitored for a time, and eventually placed in the new canned food-only room at the shelter, and placed on the oral medication Glipizide.  Glipizide doesn’t work for the majority of cats, and it didn’t work for Jellybean.  She was placed on insulin (PZI-Vet).

I adopted Jellybean in November 2006 – only a few days after she’d started insulin.  I continued the low-carbohydrate wet diet (canned or raw) and tested her blood sugar levels at home.  On December 30, 2006, Jellybean received her last insulin injection – she’s maintained normal blood sugar numbers on diet alone since then.

Jellybean with BG log

We had other issues to work out, though.  When Jellybean moved in, she determined she was going to be “queen of the castle”.  She picked on the other cats, even my large boy Studley.  My friend Jenny laughed the first time she met her, and exclaimed “Wow, she’s a *pistol*!”  (several times)  I think she’s a *firecracker*. 

Eventually, Jellybean made the mistake of attempting to start a spat with little old Afer.  Afer may be 19 years old, and have kidney insufficiency and heart disease, but Afer does not take guff from *any* cat.  Afer promptly chased Jellybean into the bathroom and stood in the doorway, forcing Jellybean to take a time out.  It happened a few times after that, until Jellybean learned not to mess with the Afer E Granny!  However, in the process, the other cats decided they had no reason to be intimidated by this little firecracker.  If Afer could stand up to her, so could they!  They did, and a few of them even started picking on Jellybean.  She lost much of her confidence and spent more time sleeping in a cubby of the cat tree or in a pet tent, and became very fearful of Studley.

I tried separating her in her own room many times, either alone or with Latifah.   Then, I’d attempt to re-introduce them, but it didn’t work out great.  It’s been over a year now that Jellybean’s been with us, and things are better but not perfect.  I’ve seen her sleeping on the bed with Kitty.com (not cuddled together but both on the same bed), and she’ll lick Ralph on the head, and hide behind him from other cats.  She used to lick Louie on the head, but he has teased her several times (chasing her or swatting her pet tent) and she no longer likes him much. 

Jellybean does not have perfect litterbox habits, unfortunately.  She seems to think boxes, matts, rugs, and even dish towels lying on the kitchen counter are just as nice for doing her business as litter boxes.   She is doing better – we’ve found she prefers the Smart Box or “pellet” litter (like pine) rather than clumping.  We have a litter box with just  a puppy housebreaking pad in it that she uses often.   I find it’s easier to find something they’ll use and work with that than re-train them.  Perhaps I’m just lazy or a bad trainer.

Jellybean is very sweet and very cute.  Her fur is very soft and she has the adorable habit of rubbing against you or furniture, arching her back so high she goes up on her tippiest of tiptoes.  Though she is feisty, she quickly learned to cooperate very nicely for her blood sugar testing.  I’m optimistic we’ll continue to make progress toward more peace and harmony at home.

Jellybean face

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