Saturday, March 11, 2023

No Plans for Neville

Neville is insulin-resistant. This causes a number of issues related to uncontrolled diabetes, including the possibility of eventual blindness due to cataracts. I have been researching the possible causes of the resistance Nev’s body is presenting to insulin, but have come up with nothing definite – certainly nothing treatable.

Two of the possibilities are Cushing’s Disease and acromegaly. The former is very rare, and produces symptoms that are not being shown by my cat. The latter is more likely. Acromegaly is caused by a tumour, usually benign, on the pituitary gland; it forces the gland to excrete growth hormone that it shouldn’t. Among the effects are a resistance to insulin. Other symptoms include increased body weight, decreased condition of the coat, enlarged feet, enlarged internal features (which creates difficulty breathing) and a broadened face.

The problem with this diagnosis is that the Nevsky has only some of these symptoms, the most significant one – the broadened face – he does not appear to have. I include two photographs below, the first from a couple of years ago, the second from today. Though my boy has aged rather more than he should have in the interval, I don’t think his visage is larger. What do you think?

His breathing is more audible, however, his body weight is substantial and his fur is worse than it was. I suspect, though, that these conditions could arise from the diabetes working its ill magic, and so may be the effects of the effects of the cause of it all, if you know what I mean, rather than the direct effects of acromegaly.

I spoke with Neville’s veterinary and he agrees that acromegaly is a possibility, but didn’t offer much hope of treatment, even if Nev has it. To determine acromegaly’s presence, Nev would have to undergo various scans. To fight the condition, if it exists, there is radiation therapy, and chemo-therapy; both are expensive and provide their own adverse reactions. As well, they aren’t immediate cures. Neville would have to suffer continuing treatment, with numerous hospital visits, possibly not even in my city. I don’t feel that I can put him through something he would greatly detest.

I asked the doctor if Neville is in pain or discomfort. He said that Nev is probably feeling “off” all the time. I imagine it is much like a diabetic human feels when he is not receiving a proper dose of insulin. Perhaps any diabetic reader could let me know the extent of that discomfort.

Neville continues to eat, and I can tell by his posture, especially when he sleeps, that he is not in pain. He is feeling poorly, I am sure; “all overish”, as Mr Parker might have termed it. I don’t think this is a situation that calls for drastic measures regarding his future.

For now, I will give him what makes him happy. This morning, he hopped up onto my lap and lie there purring for more than half an hour. He is still content with his life, I think; as content as a fairly grumpy old man can be. Until that changes, my Nevsky will remain with me, my friend and companion.


  1. I am so sorry to hear about Neville. But the important thing is that he is eating, happy, not in pain and otherwise able to function normally. I can certainly see how treatment, if in fact acromegaly was diagnosed, would impact his quality of life. Your decision to keep him happy and content would seem to be the correct one.

  2. All that matters is he knows you love him. I am glad he isn't in pain.

  3. He is such a sweet guy, and being happy is a grand thing for him.

  4. This makes us sad for Neville, and I hope for improvement for him.

  5. I am sorry to read this about Neville. My 5 cats are all older (the youngest is 9 the oldest 12 and a half) so every time a health problem arises I have to weigh what the effect on them to the best of my understanding. We send purrayers and Power of the Paw to Nev and all who care for him.

  6. We are sorry to hear Neville is insulin-resistant. We are glad he is not in any pain. That he knows your love and is happy are good things indeed.

  7. I think it will be a case of not knowing the cause of Nevilles insulin resistance. We do know that your love and care is the best medicine for this boy.

  8. Ah! Bless the little him to bit's...

    I think the difference in photos is just the
    aging...And in the top photo he's decided
    to pose for the camera...and in the bottom
    one he has not..HeHe! But! What do l know..!
    He's lovely...! :)x

  9. I am sorry to hear about Neville. The way he is lying on his back doesn't suggest pain but being relaxed. I also don't think his face has broadened at all. I think treatment for acromegaly would cause him stress and not in his best interest, so just continue and monitor that he doesn't worsen and lose his quality of life. Give him a hug for me.

  10. Neville has had such a hard go of it, I'm glad he has you as his caretaker. I'm also glad he's not in overt pain, though we cannot know that he's not in *any* pain, given that are so good at hiding that. I agree about not putting him through a barrage of tests that would impact his quality of life--for what end? That would have been cruel. You are doing right by him, IMO, and I'm glad he still is enjoying his life, still eating, cuddling and purring, and seemingly content. ♥

    1. I agree with every word Kim, and I would have said the same.

    2. I agree as well. I am so sorry this has happened to Neville, but I believe that there can be such a thing as *too much* medical treatment, especially with animals who essentially have no say in the matter. John, you're definitely doing the most humane thing for him.

  11. Neville, I am so grateful that you appear not to have , as Kea put it, every pain. You are in a loving home and your life is good because of that. You have our care and lot too.

  12. What a conundrum.
    Nevsky's face could be broad; the cheekbones, but he doesn't really fit 'my' idea of a broad face.
    Could a 2nd opinion be of benefit here, as he's sorta borderline for many things?
    Continued purrs.

  13. I'm so sorry to hear this news about Neville. I'm in agreement that the treatment would be harder on Nev, that allowing his life to run its course. I must say, in the two photos, it looked like his face had slimmed down (especially in the cheeks) and not broadened.
    We went through something similar when Silas was diagnosed with cancer. There was no guarantee he'd survive the surgery, and I couldn't see putting him through the treatment. We had another six months with our special boy.
    I do hope that Neville is here for much longer, and I know that in the meantime, he'll be loved and cared for as he deserves. He's a lucky cat having found his way to you.

  14. I think Neville would thank you with grateful purrs that you are must going give all the TLC and love he desires.
    Sorry that insulin no longer is being helpful.