Diabetic Alert Cat?


I am 100% with @Jen. I was on MDI for 36 years. Then complications helped me to overcome my inertia. My wife’s encouragement was instrumental. She said “Try it. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to keep it.”. Secretly I hoped that insurance would deny me. No such luck. I started with the dex in 2009. In 4 weeks I learned more about diabetes than I had learned in the 36 years before. I learned that I should have clean fingers when testing my BG. I learned that protein raises BG many hours after consumption. I could go on and on. I started to correct more and more because now I knew when my BG was going out of range. Before, I didn’t know, which also meant that I didn’t need to do anything about out. I eventually tried the OmniPod. My wife helped me again: “Try it. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to keep it.”. These days I am not focused on detecting lows. My gadgets help me to avoid lows to begin with. My BG standard deviation went from 50 to 25. My Clarity 90 day report says: 16% high, 81% in range, 3% low. For me diabetes has been transformed from a disease to a nuisance.


I can’t even train my cats to not lick their butts on the kitchen table let alone alert for hypos


I haven’t laughed so hard in long time.


@heyvern, my son has been T1D for a bit less than a year. He just got a CGM (Dexcom G5) 3 months ago. It has changed our lives.

I used to be anxious every night, wondering if he would go low, and test his finger at night when I saw him sweat or seemingly pale - I lost so much sleep doing that:-) With the Dexcom, we feel relatively secure in the thought that we will get an alert. Like @Helmut, we have learned so much more in that time than all the time before. And, during the day, you can see your BG curve as you go.

And - the FDA just agreed to let people dose off of the Dexcom measurement, as long as you calibrate the device 2x per day.

I think that, if you try a recent Dexcom, you will change your mind about the accuracy and usefulness of CGMs.


IMO, when calibrated correctly, the Dexcom G5 is superior to any diabetes alert animal due to 5 simple facts:

  1. A CGM is “on duty” 24/7, the only exception being the relatively small percentage of time when it is “down”. Whereas a diabetes alert animal is off duty while sleeping for hours every single day.

  2. A diabetes alert animal cannot give you a BG number or a trend arrow.

  3. A diabetes alert animal costs 5 figures and is not covered by health insurance.

  4. A diabetes alert animal will die in about a decade (or less) and a replacement is not covered via a warranty.

  5. It is next to impossible to train a diabetes alert animal yourself. There is a reason why these animals cost 5 figures!


Great responses. I am also starting to think about all the OTHER things involved with one of those dogs or cats. I Will need to walk it, change litter, feed it, interact with it. Can I take it on trips? If not then a kennel and more money. If I don’t take it traveling then I don’t have that backup when I really need it, etc etc… maybe they will have “robot dogs” at CES this year.

Considering the positive reviews here, I am starting to think one of the reasons I’ve only heard “bad stories” about pumps and CGM is because those stories are “easier to remember” for most people, better “click bait”, or a good way to scare people into buying “new technology”.

“Oh my GOD don’t get a pump! My friend has one and dropped completely unconscious with no warning right in front of me!”.

“Oh my GOD! Don’t get a pump! My cousin had a pump! It gave him too much insulin and he just died in his sleep!!!”

For some people, those stories are more fun to tell at parties than “Oh yeah, I heard pumps work great.”

Dex is the major one, most popular. There is a new one approved in “Europe” that has the glucagon and insulin delivery and CGM integration. Consumables are a much cheaper but I don’t think it’s been approved in US yet.

I do website design and last year we did a small site for a startup with an AMAZING CGM that is controlled completely via smart phone app. It’s really tiny and waterproof. When we got the client I believe my jaw was on the table as I read about it. I asked my biz partner if he could “get a sample”… sadly it is years from US testing and approval. They are focused on approval in Europe first. They did say they could try to get me on the trial here once it starts.

It was this product that started my research. At that point hadn’t even heard of CGM. That’s when I started hearing and reading “CGM is just too good to be true. Don’t believe the hype.” and of course the PRICE was outrageous. However… the price of basic standard blood glucose testing use to cost an arm and a leg back when they were new… so hopefully price can drop. Was reading history of blood glucose consumer testing devices. Good grief!!! We have it so easy now compared to the first ones. Was a history article discussing the search for “noninvasive glucose testing”. Millions spent on that with nothing to show for it except what doesn’t work.

That is why the dog and cat thing is so FASCINATING to me. The millions upon millions spent to date on noninvasive testing is totally blown away by these animals.

According to the science glucose in the blood is so MINUTE and diluted and hard to find, and only a small teeny tiny amount of change in that level can knock you into dangerous hyperglycemia, that it’s practically impossible to discern it from other stuff in the blood using things like infrared light, or spectrum analysis. Everything tried so far has failed… and yet… THOSE FREAKING CATS AND DOGS JUST DO IT??? What is their dang secret??? Hahahahahahah. :slight_smile:

I keep thinking they should be studying the ANIMALS abilities instead of trying to study glucose parts per million in the blood stream (so tiny makes your head spin).

p.s. Oh and the value of sugar in different body “fluids” changes. Sweat, tears etc. There was even thought of special contact lenses that could check glucose from tears and transmit to bluetooth… yeah right. Believe it when I see it.


The Dexcom 5 is really tiny and waterproof (my son uses it and swims 8-10+ hours a week). it is also controlled from an iOS device through an app. You should really check it out.


First of all, “Dex” is not a brand of insulin pump. And there is, as of today’s date, not an insulin pump commercially available anywhere that is bihormonal. “Shelf stable” glucagon is still being developed and is also not commercially available. You should do more reading on these topics to bring your knowledge base up to date and check your sources before posting.


According to what science? This statement simply isn’t true. While not as accurate as we’d like, BG meters detect glucose in blood with a fair amount of accuracy.


Also would like to add that an alert animal can only alert you once there is a problem. My cat isn’t going to wake me up until my blood sugar is in the 50s. My Dexcom, however, is set to wake me up when I drop below 80. This allows me to make a cohorent decision before I have an impending medical emergency and be proactive rather than reactive. It also means my judgement isn’t clouded or absent due to hypoglycemia.


I’ve lived with a CGM since 2009 and my hypo-alert service dog, Norm, since 2010. Neither is perfect and I’d rather not live without either. They each have their own strengths and complement each other well. If I had to choose one or the other, I’d pick the CGM but would sorely miss the emotional and warm support my dog gives me.

My dog has provided countless alerts to me that proceeded a BG drop in my CGM. Norm earns treats for alerting at anything below 100 mg/dL. It is plenty of warning if my sugar is headed toward a hypo. While we all know that 100 is not hypo-level but I like knowing when I cross over to the lower end of normal. That elevated treat level allows him to keep his alert training sharp, too.

A pet dog might fill most of the benefit but being able to go everywhere with my service dog provides a lifestyle I really enjoy. My hypo alert dog still earns his keep even though he has stiff electronic competition. He’s occasionally the first to detect a trending low, especially when I’m distracted and miss a CGM alert. I like the multiple redundant safety features of a hypo-alert dog combined with a CGM.


That’s good to know! I retract my statement for dogs. Not sure many cats are that trainable, though :wink:. Thanks for sharing your experience!


I love this so much.


That’s interesting, @heyvern. I’m worried that I am starting to see that inability to feel a low coming on problem pop up. I REALLY don’t like it. I am 36 and have been diabetic for 25 years. I’ve been asking about this and your the first that I’ve seen post about it. Do you know why that might happen?

My 2 cents, I would never wear a pump without a CGM. They are like peanut butter and jelly.