If you watch television, you “learn” certain things.
Certain brands of cat food will cause your pet to have a hallucinogenic, quasi-religious experience.
Certain politicians will literally fix all the problems that ever existed and make everything awesome all the time.
And a certain diagnosis means you are inevitably enormous, out of shape, and probably walking in slow motion with your face blurred out while the camera zooms in on your great groaning grievous gut.
The way the TV tells it, diabetes is a condition limited to the colossal. If you don’t look like Homer Simpson, spend 23 hours a day beached upon the recliner, and eat 40,000 Zebra Cakes each hour, there is no way you are a diabetic.
Yes. And I’m a porpoise named Zenobia.
Since diabetes has such a ridiculous reputation when it comes to humans, it’s no surprise that the same assumptions go for cats. Many assume that only uber-fat cats get the disease, and lithe little ladies like, say, Reese, just aren’t at risk.
And you can hardly blame such assumers: there’s that persnickety grain of truth here. Yes, being overweight can contribute to diabetes. Yes, that’s one of the reasons we work (kind of) hard to help our obese cats de-obesify.
But no — NO!! — there is not one “type” that gets diabetes.
Meet lean, leggy, low-BMI beauty Reese.
We encountered Reese’s tale of woe before we welcomed the actual cat, and I confess I bit right into the old apple of assumption. We’d be rescuing a diabetic cat — age and details otherwise unknown — from a public shelter. They adored her; they wanted to do anything necessary for her; they just couldn’t afford to keep her going…or to keep her cage space much longer.
So Reese The Diabetic would be our next Tabby’s Place cat. Based solely on this knowledge, I formed a mental picture of Reese as a great, glorious, globular slab of tab, 18 pounds or so of diabetic delight.
As you can see, I was 100% right, if by “one hundred” you mean “zero.”
But I wasn’t alone. Members of our staff with far, far more veterinary knowledge than I were heard to utter, “Reese is such a sweetheart…and she doesn’t look diabetic at all!”
We should have known better.* We do, technically, know better.
But Reese, big heart and candy-brand name and all, is giving us a gentle, gleeful public service announcement: diabetics come in all shapes and sizes.
And in this case, they come in one irresistibly awesome, bottomless-pit-of-affection package of perfection.
This has me thinking another stereotype is about to be crushed finer than confectioner’s sugar: “diabetics are highly unadoptable.”
Prove preconceptions wrong again, Reese. And meantime, sweeten our world as only a trim tuxedo treat like you can do.
*Making all this assumption idiocy even more outrageous is the fact that I am, in fact, a Type I diabetic, diagnosed at age 9, built like a beanpole. Proof positive that humans haz teh dumb, starting right here.