Diabetic Cats: The good news . . .

The owners of diabetic cats can provide their pets care that will allow them to live a long and healthy life.

Animals can acquire many of the same diseases and afflictions as humans, and diabetes is no exception.

Cats can become afflicted with diabetes mellitus just like people, and feline diabetes can be controlled in cats much in the same manner as diabetes in humans.

The good news is, diabetic cats typically do not suffer many of the devastating complications people do, such as blindness and poor circulation.

Cat diabetes is not a death sentence, and it can be effectively treated and controlled.

Feline diabetes symptoms include a voracious appetite, weight loss, Lethargy, excessive thirst, unkempt coat and an increase in urination.

Although these symptoms may indicate a more serious illness, they typically point to diabetes.

This is good news for those fearing their beloved cat may have a terminal illness.

However, although diabetes in cats can be controlled, it cannot be ignored without consequences.

Cats with diabetes must receive treatment in order to survive. Blood sugar levels must be normalized in order to maintain life-sustaining energy. Even a cat or kitten receiving diabetic treatment is not entirely out of the woods.

A commitment to regular blood glucose monitoring and treatment must be made to prevent life threatening incidents of hypoglycemia.

This complication is more commonly referred to as low blood sugar.

Caring for Diabetic Cats

An owner of a cat with diabetes must be prepared to make an individual as well as a financial commitment to that cat in order to keep the animal as healthy as possible.

crying catDiabetic cats can live long and contented lives provided their diabetes is properly treated and controlled.

The initial cost of treatment for feline diabetes is incurred during the stages of searching for the best course of action to control the disease.

Cats determined to have diabetes are generally monitored in a pet hospital for a couple of days, and once a treatment is found to be effective, the cost mainly involves prescription medications and diet.

Those with limited funds can usually budget money for the medication and food required to maintain the life and good health of their pet.

Insulin injections are commonly prescribed for diabetic felines, but sometimes pills that lower blood glucose levels are recommended.

If pills are found to be ineffective or inconsistent in controlling blood glucose levels, injections become necessary.

Most cats under veterinary care are prescribed two injections a day, but some only require one.

Many cat owners once afraid of administering injections find the process to be painless for their cat, and much easier than anticipated.

Feline diabetes is also controlled through a well-monitored diet that is generally high in fiber and low in sugar. Prescription food for cats on restricted diets is available through pet health care providers.

The veterinarian will also recommend the amount of food to best meet the health care requirements and needs of the cat.

Veterinarians generally recommend feeding a cat with diabetes a measured amount of food at regular intervals. Feedings are usually twice a day and should be provided before injections are administered.

Although feeding a cat at predetermined times can be challenging, cats once provided food on demand can become accustomed to eating at specified times.

A cat with diabetes should be weighed on a regular basis, and the appetite needs to be monitored for changes.

A high quality baby scale works very well for weighing a cat. Detailed notes should be taken so the appetite and weight can be monitored and made available to the veterinarian if necessary.

Monitoring Diabetic Cats


Monitoring a cat with diabetes also requires measuring the input and output of water.

Water should be measured daily, and output can be determined by using litter that clumps when wet.

The wet clumps can be stored in a sealed container, and watching how fast the container fills during a specified period of time can help determine the amount of urine output.

Urine must also be checked for sugar content as often as recommended by the veterinarian.

This can be accomplished by using pea gravel, fish tank gravel, or foam peanuts instead of cat litter just long enough to obtain the sample.

Glucose test strips are available where health care products are sold. These are the same test strips used by people monitoring their diabetes.

A diabetic cat will impact certain parts of your life.

Arrangements will have to be made for any time you spend away from your home, you will need a responsible person to take over the care of your cat while you are away.

Some veterinarians offer boarding facilities or in the home care and with these services you can be assured of your diabetic cat’s treatment.

A responsible adult friend or neighbor may be able to do this for you but would, of course, have to follow your complete instructions.

Caring for a cat with diabetes sounds overwhelming and time consuming, but it isn't as difficult as it seems once the right medication and diet is prescribed and enforced.

The owners of diabetic cats can provide their pets treatment that will allow those felines to live a long and healthy life full of love and dedication.

Diabetes in cats symptoms include:

  • Increased urination.
  • Increased thirst.
  • Change in appetite (increase or decrease.)
  • Lethargy.
  • Depression.
  • Loss of weight.
  • Vomiting.
  • Poor coat.
  • Weakness in rear legs.
  • Foul breath. 

High Protein for Diabetic Cats

You will of course want to feed your diabetic cat a high protein low carbohydrate diet.  This means a high quality cat food without grains, white potatoes, and white rice.  Read more about the best cat foods at the links below.

This page was not written by a veterinarian and is informational only. Reference ASPCA.

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