How Long Can a Cat with Diabetes Live Without Treatment?

Caring for a diabetic cat can be difficult and costly. Regular doses of insulin are required to prolong the life of your cat, but what happens if you don’t treat them? The answer to this question largely depends on what type of diabetes your cat has, their specific level of insulin production, and their insulin sensitivity. Since there’s no single formula, let’s look at the factors that affect a diabetic cat’s survival rate in the absence of insulin treatment.

How Long Can a Diabetic Cat Live Without Insulin Treatment?

If your cat has been diagnosed with diabetes that requires insulin shots, there’s a reason your vet advises you not to ever miss an injection. Insulin shots are given on a very specific schedule to ensure your cat has a steady supply available to regulate its blood glucose levels.

There are some consequences in an emergency situation where you can’t get home to give your cat their insulin. As a rule, each insulin shot will provide insulin for your cat for between 12 to 24 hours. Once it wears off, their blood glucose will start to rise and lead to life-threatening ketoacidosis.

Diabetic ketoacidosis or DKA is a serious condition. Once an insulin shot has worn off, glucose cannot go into the cell to be used as energy, and the body will then look for an alternative energy source to keep the brain heart and other vital organs functioning. Fat stores then have to be used for energy and they will be broken down by the liver into a fuel called ketones.
Unfortunately, this isn’t natural, and it is life-threatening if not treated. Ketones are acidic and lower the blood’s pH causing acidemia. If this phase lasts too long, ketones begin appearing in the urine, and this is the phase where the condition becomes life-threatening.

Once cats are in DKA, they won’t eat or drink. After a day or two, they will be seriously dehydrated and lethargic. Without treatment, the cat will slip into a coma and subsequently die. The exact time frame it takes for this to occur can vary from two to three days in a kitten, while some older cats can hang on for a few weeks.

How long can a cat live with diabetes
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Do All Diabetic Cats Require Insulin?

Some cats with diabetes won’t need insulin shots but require only a special diet plan to improve their health and quality of life. Although it requires intensive hands-on care, it will help your cat to maintain a normal blood glucose level.

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Other cats require a few insulin shots as an initial treatment, but they can then regulate their blood glucose levels with a special diet. Many overweight cats with diabetes go into remission after losing excess weight and sticking to a low-carb and species-appropriate diet.

Whether a cat needs insulin shots or not, if your cat has been diagnosed with diabetes, learning how to monitor blood glucose levels and regularly testing glucose and ketones in urine will be necessary in order to prevent a complication. Knowing these values allows you to provide adequate treatments. You will also need to record levels and be in constant communication with the veterinarian, and your cat will need to be checked at the clinic regularly.

Can Diabetic Cats Survive Without Insulin?

If your cat is able to maintain a normal blood glucose level for four weeks without receiving an insulin shot, they are considered to be in diabetic remission. There are many cats that can live with diabetes and without insulin for years. Some relapse after only a few months, so once a cat has been diagnosed with diabetes, it will need continued monitoring of its blood sugar levels.

Between 17 and 67% of diabetic cats who undergo insulin therapy will subsequently go into remission. This is a wide range, so there is no guarantee, even with intensive treatment. There are still some things you can do to help improve your cat’s odds.

How long can a cat live with diabetes
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Should a Diabetic Cat Be Put Down?

Euthanasia should only be reserved for the worst cases when all possible treatment options have been considered in consultation with your veterinarian.

If your cat’s diagnosis is poor or your cat is very old, your vet may advise you to consider putting your cat down. The reason for this is that treatment is unlikely to improve your cat’s condition, or it would be very expensive.  Euthanasia is recommended when treating your cat would only put her through more suffering.

Sometimes, diabetic cats are euthanized because the owners aren’t financially capable of supporting their care. While this decision is heartbreaking, many owners are left with no choice.


Diabetes is a manageable condition for most cats. They do, however, require regular insulin injections or special diets to normalize their blood glucose levels. If a diabetic cat goes without treatment, the condition will become fatal in 2–14 days. Euthanasia is only recommended in severe cases where treatment would cause more suffering to the cat.

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— Update: 03-01-2023 — found an additional article How Long Will a Cat With Diabetes Live Without Treatment? from the website for the keyword how long can a cat live with diabetes.

Diabetes is a common, serious, and costly disease that affects the health of cats. Left untreated, diabetes can cause blindness, kidney failure, and other health problems. Fortunately, most cases of diabetes in cats can be controlled with diet and medication. How long a cat with diabetes will live without treatment depends on how well the diabetes is controlled. Cats with poorly controlled diabetes may only live a few months, while cats with well-controlled diabetes may live for many years.

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How long can a cat live with diabetes

Is Diabetes Treatment For Cats Expensive?

The cost of diabetes treatment for cats will vary depending on the severity of the condition, the type of medication or treatments prescribed, and whether any special foods or supplies are needed. In general, though, diabetes treatment for cats can be expensive as it often requires regular visits to a veterinarian as well as special food, medication, and insulin injections.

How long can a cat live with diabetes
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How Much Does Diabetes Treatment For Cats Cost?

The cost of diabetes treatment for cats will vary depending on the specific needs of the individual cat. However, some ballpark estimates suggest that costs can range from around $50 to $200 per month, not including diagnostic testing or prescription medications. Treatment for diabetes in cats often includes a combination of regular insulin injections, dietary changes, and monitoring of blood sugar levels.

Should I Treat My Cat’s Diabetes?

Yes, you must treat your cat’s diabetes. It is inhumane to allow this disease to go untreated. Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease in cats that is caused by a lack of insulin. Without insulin, the body cannot use glucose for energy, and your cat will become very ill. Diabetes treatment usually involves giving the cat insulin injections twice a day and feeding the cat a special diet that is low in sugar.

If your cat is diagnosed with diabetes, it is important to treat the condition. Untreated diabetes can lead to a number of serious health problems, including blindness, kidney failure, and heart disease. Your veterinarian can help you create a treatment plan that is right for your cat.

How long can a cat live with diabetes
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Is It Ok Not To Treat My Cat’s Diabetes?

Some people may want to choose to not treat their cat’s diabetes if they feel that they cannot afford it or do not have the time to properly care for a cat with diabetes. This can be very dangerous and lead to serious health problems, suffering, and death for the cat. It is not ok to allow a cat with diabetes to go without treatment.

What Happens If You Don’t Treat a Cat With Diabetes?

The lifespan of a cat with diabetes without treatment is difficult to predict. The disease can progress quickly in some cats, leading to ketoacidosis, organ failure, and death within days or weeks. In other cases, cats may remain stable for weeks or months without any significant health problems. Eventually, all untreated cats will suffer terribly and die prematurely. Ultimately, the length of time a cat with diabetes lives without treatment depends on the individual cat’s health condition.

How long can a cat live with diabetes
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What Happens If My Cat Doesn’t Get Insulin for a Week?

If a diabetic cat does not receive insulin for a week, their blood sugar levels will become dangerously high. This can cause ketoacidosis, a serious and potentially life-threatening condition. Without insulin, the body begins to break down fat for energy instead of glucose. The byproducts of this process are acids called ketones, which can build up in the blood and urine. The high blood sugar levels will cause the cat to become dehydrated and it may also go into a coma. Without treatment, the cat would eventually die from complications related to diabetes.

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What Are the Final Stages Of Diabetes In Cats?

In the final stages of diabetes, a cat’s body is no longer able to produce insulin. This causes blood sugar levels to become dangerously high, which can lead to a number of serious health problems, including kidney failure, and seizures.

How long can a cat live with diabetes
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What Puts Cats At Risk Of Developing Diabetes?

Cats who are obese, old, inactive, and take steroids to treat other illnesses like feline asthma, are most likely to develop diabetes. Cats that are obese are up to four times more likely to develop diabetes, so the best thing a cat owner can do to reduce the risk of diabetes is to maintain a healthy weight and encourage physical activity.

Is There a Cure for Feline Diabetes?

There is currently no cure for diabetes in cats. However, with proper treatment and care, many cases of feline diabetes can be successfully managed with diet and medication, making it possible for cats to live long, healthy lives despite their diagnosis. When diabetes is treated early and aggressively, many cats will enter diabetic remission, meaning they will not need insulin injections to maintain normal blood sugar levels. If you start insulin therapy earlier and monitor closely, the chances of diabetic remission are higher in older cats, cats who have taken steroids in the past, and cats who have been given glargine insulin.

Cats with diabetes who do not enter remission within six months will almost certainly need insulin for the rest of their lives. Cats with diabetes in remission should continue to be fed a low-carbohydrate diet and monitored closely.

How long can a cat live with diabetes
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How Long Does It Take For a Diabetic Cat To Go Into Remission?

Remission times can vary significantly from cat to cat. Some diabetic cats may go into remission very quickly after diagnosis and beginning insulin, while others may take several months or even longer to achieve remission. The most important factor in determining how long it will take for a diabetic cat to go into remission is how well the cat’s diabetes is controlled.

How long can a cat live with diabetes


Diabetes can be a serious illness for cats, but with timely treatment, most cats will live a long and healthy life. With proper care, your cat can enjoy a long and healthy life. It is hard to say for certain how long a cat with diabetes will live without treatment. However, without proper care and management, most cats will not live long, and they will suffer horribly and unnecessarily before they die.

If your cat has been diagnosed with diabetes, it is important to work with your veterinarian to create a treatment plan that is right for your cat.

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