By Marc Morrone
Tribune Content Agency
Q: My nine-year-old cat was just diagnosed with diabetes. He was 16 pounds. Recently he lost three pounds. I am not giving him insulin shots. Is it possible to reverse the diabetes with diet alone? I'm giving him special food the vet has recommended. My question is will the diabetes be controlled enough with diet and no insulin? - Vincent Halstead, Hartford, CT
A: This is one of those questions that can cause endless debates among pet owners. If you go online and ask this question of 30 different people you will get 55 different answers.
You had a vet that examined the cat and has been monitoring the levels, so that is really the person who is best able to answer this for you. I personally have had two cats and one dog with diabetes. I was going through a "holistic" period in my life when my first pet was diagnosed and I did try myself to manage the situation without insulin but I had no success. I ended up throwing in the towel for the sake of the cat and gave her the insulin every day.
Quite frankly it was not a big deal and she lived another 12 years with the insulin. When my other two pets were diagnosed, I went right to the insulin. So I would just advise you to put your trust in your vet as I did, and most likely things will work out as well as they did for me.
Q: Lately we have seen three different species of small snakes around the foundation of our house. We spread something called "Snake Away" around the house and mothballs too, but they just crawl over it. I know that snakes are beneficial, and I do not want to kill them, but I just do not want them around my house. Can you advise anything? - Sandy Williams, Atlanta
A: I am not making light of your situation, but I wish that I lived in an area where the natural habitat could support three different species of snakes. I cannot even remember the last time I saw a snake here on Long Island in its native habitat.
Most likely the snakes you are seeing are DeKay's Snakes that burrow in soft soil to eat earthworms, Garter Snakes that look for toads in moist areas and Green Snakes that eat insects they find in grass and shrubs. Most other snake species would be looking for rodents, and I doubt there would be so many rodents living around your foundation.
So to deter the snakes you have to make the areas you do not want them in to be devoid of food and hiding places. The best way to do this is to make the beds as barren as possible by spreading about two inches in depth of white marble chips that are sold in garden centers. Insects and toads and earthworms have a hard time to hide in those marble chips and they have sharp edges on them that the snakes do not like.
Marc Morrone has kept almost every kind of animal as a pet for the last half-century and he is happy to share his knowledge with others. Although he cannot answer every question, he will publish many of those that have a general interest. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org; please include your name, city and state.
This was printed in the January 22, 2017 - February 4, 2017 edition.