Did a bunch of research on this due to the fact I can no longer tell when my glucose is low. I have been a type 1 diabetic for 40+ years and within the last 5-10 years or so have gradually lost ALL ability to "feel" low blood sugars. Was spoiled when young by extreme early warning system that would alert me even with the most minor low glucose. These symptoms would wake me up from the deepest sleep.
These "automatic notifications" gave me a false sense of security over the years. Then In my late 30's early 40's this "ability" started to go away, I had a really hard time adjusting to it. I started to have black outs because I never felt even a twinge at all of lows until I would just "fade away". Recently, in the last 5 or so years, as I try to maintain a tighter control, these dangerous lows are happening more often. I keep bottles of glucose tablets ALL OVER THE HOUSE. Several times I have woken from blackouts holding one of these bottles, my mouth full of sweet sugary goodness.
Lately this is getting annoying and frightening so I did research on how to deal with these situations and found "CGM" (continuous glucose monitors). Unfortunately they are expensive and inaccurate (they are getting better but not fool proof). Pumps are out of the question. The dangers far outweigh the benefits. I would only consider a newer pump technology. The new ones being developed with glucagon AND insulin. If a pump is going to be pumping insulin... I want it to have some glucagon to go along with it just in case.
Soooo... long story short... and back to the MAGIC CATS!!!!!
What is cheaper (relatively) and more reliable than electronic technology??? CATS AND DOGS!!! If someone could figure out how or what those critters are "sensing" and digitize it... yikes!!!! Make a bazillion bucks (training dogs and cats involves "sweat" and "smell" but is still fantastically accurate and completely "noninvasive glucose monitoring". Somehow that little beasts can accurately judge glucose levels just by smell!!!!!!. Millions upon millions have been spent for years and years by scientists desperately trying to find a nonintrusive solution to testing blood glucose... dang cats and dogs just "do it" and are faster and as reliable as any technology.
In the meantime I am debating options. Simply buy one of the dogs that is carefully and specifically trained for you (WHOA!!! Expensive!!!!!) or... buy a cat or kitten, puppy or dog, and TRAIN IT on my own. There are "legitimate" instructions on the web, not crackpot stuff teaching you how to do this. Apparently what these cats and dogs sense are changes in the smell of our sweat. You swab your skin when HIGH and LOW, save those swabs and use them to train your animals with treats and rewards. When they recognize high or low they are trained to react differently. Secretly but without any evidence or first hand knowledge, I believe these animals recognize MORE than "smell". I believe they are also sensing behavioral differences.
Now for those of you with animals "already trained" or simply born that way, that's also a possibility with ANY dog or cat from a shelter or pet shop or from a friend or relative etc. Many dogs and cats are born with this ability. Probably based on loyalty to their owners? Going out on a limb that probably all cats and dogs are aware of those changes in people but not all of them do something about it. Let's face it... some pets just aren't that interested in their owners. When younger I had cats that were very indifferent to my existence as long as they had a bowl of food when they decided to come home.
So my choices.... love cats, always have. I could put up with a dog if I really had to. I would PREFER an electronic device that DOESN'T lick itself all day, require a box to poop in, walks in the snow with encouragement to deficate on command... but...
.... from what I know about this... cats and dogs are WAY MORE EFFECTIVE AND ACCURATE than ANY of the devices out there. A CGM won't "bite you" when your sugar is low. Some of them have phone apps to call or set off an alarm... still not enough. Would much rather have SHARP TEETH BITTING ME when my sugar is getting dangerously low!!! There have been times when I had to crawl to the bottle of juice or glucose pills because I forgot to stock up. I am sure a dog could be trained to bring something like that to you... a cat??? Uh... maybe not so much. A BIG cat maybe.
Dogs and cats who sense hyperglycemia can sense dangerous levels up to an hour before it happens. They can sense the approaching dangerous levels before it even becomes an issue. In some cases I've heard they can sense low glucose before it would show up with traditional blood glucose testing. Maybe they sense the change in DIRECTION of glucose not just the exact value? Just guessing.
Dogs and cats can be trained to bite you if necessary, to make sure you wake up if you are unconscious or simply to make sure you don't ignore them. Some of the places that train dogs and cats for this will let you choose how to be alerted. The "DIY" solutions also talk about training with specific alerts.