On our long journey through exploration and research of feline science, we have many unique opportunities to meet brave cat heroes and hear their inspiring stories. Recently, we had the pleasure of speaking with a pawsome cat mom, Erin, about her very special bundle of joy named Lark. Lark is a brave little kitty who has been fighting diabetes for the past 2 years with admirable power and strength. Erin signed Lark up for our Feline Diabetes Mellitus (DM) Research Project in hopes that his DNA could reveal to us a few secrets about this vicious disease. We were eager to learn Lark's inspiring story and share the love with the rest of you. So, without further ado, please welcome Lark and her hooman Erin!
“My husband and I adopted Lark when she was about 6 months old. At the time we already had another cat in the house, our boy Panthro, who was about a year old. We were considering getting another cat because we wanted him to have a cat buddy. So, we went down to Petsmart, where the local cat rescues were available for adoption at the time, to look around. When we came, we saw our Lark… she was this cute little ball of fluff! We asked to hold her and she was the sweetest little thing ever! She kept crawling up on me and she was very friendly. Before we came and saw her, we weren’t entirely sure if we wanted a second cat. But after meeting her, we just couldn’t stop thinking about her. We simply had to go back and get her!” – Erin shared with us. – “When we finally brought her home, she pretty much took over the house. In the hierarchy of our house, Lark definitely rules it!”
We asked Erin how Lark and Panthro adjusted to each other. “Actually, Panthro accepted her immediately and they are very bonded. They love to wash each other’s faces, they play together, they pile up together for a nap. They’re definitely best friends. Lark is also very protective of everybody, particularly her brother. One time I accidentally stepped on his tail and he yowled and Lark came running from the bedroom to check on him.” Yep, sounds like brave little Lark got her house under control!
Lark was always a happy, friendly and playful kitty. She absolutely adores balls and other kitty toys, and she happily engages in snuggles and games with her brother and two hoomans. One day in October, a couple of years ago, things took a sudden turn and Lark’s life was changed forever. “I had gone to Portland to visit my sister for a weekend and my husband was out of town too. When I came home from the trip that night, I immediately knew something was wrong. Usually, both cats always welcome me at the door. This time, Panthro was alone. I saw Lark curled up on the couch and I went over to her to pet her. She didn’t even lift her head. I picked her up and sat her down to see if she was OK, and I saw she could barely stand. She slowly walked over to her water bowl and she just kind of laid on it. It was completely heartbreaking. I called my brother in law in Portland, and he told me it sounded like diabetes and that I should admit her to a vet’s office immediately. I took her to the emergency vet, and surely enough, she was diagnosed with Feline Diabetes Type 2.” – Erin told us about the shocking turn of events.
The family had an extremely difficult time upon the diagnosis. “Lark was always a relatively healthy cat all of her life until the diagnosis. But then it seemed like when it rains it pours. Shortly after the diagnosis she also ended up being diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. For a few months after she was diagnosed with diabetes, Lark was in such bad shape that she had to be hospitalized several times. Sometimes she would have to stay admitted at the hospital for a week at a time and we genuinely thought we were going to lose her on several occasions. One time was particularly hard. I remember the vet telling us, ‘You can either put her down right now, or you can take her home. But I don’t think she’s going to make it through the night.’ So, we took her home and we stayed up with her and held her through the night. And she made it! She is such a fighter! I could see it in her eyes that it wasn’t the end. She wanted to keep going. And surely enough, she fought her way out. Some time afterwards, she was admitted to the hospital again, and again we got the call from the vet telling us she might not make it through the night. We went in and stayed with her for hours. In the morning, we get a call and the vet tells us ‘I don’t know what you guys told her last night, but she’s perking up this morning!’ So, she has a lot of fight in her. She never gives up. And when I look at her now, I am so proud and amazed.” – Erin shared with us.
Lark (right) with Panthro (left)
We asked Erin how the heartbreaking news changed the family’s life and daily routine. “Our lives changed significantly after Lark was diagnosed with diabetes. When she was first diagnosed, I remember thinking ‘Oh, okay! We know what it is!’. But little did I know; things were not about to be simple. Lark has to get two insulin shots a day, a steroid shot every morning and her Metronidazole medications twice a day. Her life is now very different that before. She was very used to eating her prescription dry food whenever she wanted. But now, she is on a special diet and her meals are very structured. In the morning, I first check her blood glucose levels. Then she gets her breakfast, her pills and her shots. She then gets two more meals later in the day, and in the evening, we repeat the same routine. It’s definitely been a juggling act at times, but we trained our routine well. I also taught my husband how to give her medications too, just in case I’m not around.”
Fortunately, Lark has been getting stronger and better over the years and she is now doing very well. “I would say her quality of life is a lot better. I think she’s a very happy cat! When I look at her, and I keep telling this to my husband, I am just AMAZED with her. We’ve come really far!” – hooman Erin told us. Nowadays, Lark and Panthro spend their days playing, napping and snuggling. You know, all the things best friends do together! They are deservingly spoiled with lots of love, attention, treats and toys. Lark likes to make her
own rules on how certain toys are used, though. “We have this cat wheel and instead of running in it, Lark likes to lay in it or scratch it.” – laughed Erin. Panthro is a lot happier now that Lark is feeling better too. “Whenever Lark had to be admitted to a hospital for a longer period of time, I could definitely see a difference in Panthro. He seemed very sad and he obviously missed her very much. It was actually very heartbreaking to see him like that.” – Erin shared about her beautiful little boy.
We utterly enjoyed talking about Lark with Erin but, sadly, we can only gush so much about our chat here. Erin, thank you for sharing Lark’s story with us and thank you for joining forces with our research. We need powerful and strong hoomans and kitties on our side! We cherish you and Lark and can’t wait to share Lark’s DNA report and some scientific discoveries very soon. Meow!
“Through this process, Lark and I have definitely become closer. Our relationship got so much stronger after this experience. I am now looking forward to see if Basepaws will be able to find anything in the diabetes study that may be able to help other people with cats like Lark. Is there something that can help us spot the disease early on? That would be an amazing achievement. But it will also be fun to learn a few other things about Lark’s DNA through her report too!” – shared Erin on her expectations with Basepaws.