How To Identify and Treat Cat Diabetes

How to treat cat diabetes

We want our kitties to feel loved and pampered, so we feed them especially tasty foods and treats. We say our cats are finicky and won’t eat anything but specialty foods. Our cats aren’t fat. They’re fluffy, right?

A Fat Cat Could Become a Sick Cat

It’s rare to find type 1 diabetes in cats, but it’s increasingly common to find type 2 in house cats. The main cause of diabetes is diet, although age can be a factor. Your senior cat might not be overweight but could still develop diabetes. Unneutered male cats, eight years of age and older, are also at high risk for developing the disease.

As with humans, a low-carbohydrate diet may eliminate the need to treat type 2 diabetes with medication. The steps to take if your cat is more than three pounds overweight:

  • Change your cat’s diet to low-carbohydrate canned foods.
  • Eliminate dry food from your cat’s diet.
  • Increase your cat’s daily exercise.
  • Neuter male cats.

What Are the Symptoms of Feline Diabetes? 

Being able to spot feline diabetes early is imperative for proper treatment. Watch out for the following symptoms:

  • Increased thirst, urination, and appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Changes in fur texture, loss of hair
  • Weakness in back leg muscles

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If you see these symptoms developing in your cat, call us right away at (913) 681-2818 to schedule an appointment to examine your pet.

Diabetes Diagnoses—What Will My Vet Find?

If you’ve noticed changes in your cat’s weight and more frequent  trips to the litter box, you should schedule a veterinary appointment. Your vet will test your cat’s blood to rule out kidney disease, pancreatitis (hyperthyroidism), and a urinary tract infection during the exam.

The two most significant findings to indicate diabetes are:

  • A high level of glucose in the blood
  • Glucose in the urine

What Is the Treatment for Feline Diabetes?

To control diabetes, blood sugar levels (glucose) must be managed to stay within the normal range. Your veterinarian will recommend treatments that may include insulin therapy and adjustments to your cat’s diet.

What If My Cat’s Diabetes is Untreated?

Early detection of diabetes in cats can lead to successful treatment through diet alone. If your cat remains untreated, diabetes will have devastating effects on your beloved pet, like:

  • Nerve damage that will cause further weakness in your pet’s back legs.
  • Ketoacidosis—Increasingly high acid levels in your pet’s blood that will worsen symptoms and be fatal if left untreated.
  • Malnutrition—Your cat will be unable to process its food effectively.
  • Death

What Are the Treatments for Cats With Diabetes?

Once your vet has confirmed that your pet has diabetes, treatment can depend on the progression of the disease. If caught early, you may be able to minimize or even eliminate the effects of diabetes by making cat-healthy dietary changes.

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  • Eliminate dry foods that are generally higher in starchy carbohydrates.
  • Do feed your cat high-protein foods.
  • Feed your cat on a regular schedule.
  • Ask your vet about healthy kitty treats.

When insulin is needed to help process glucose, your veterinarian will explain how to administer insulin at home. Insulin injections should be given after mealtime. Oral insulin products are not recommended.

We’re Here To Help Keep Your Pets Happy and Healthy

Our staff and veterinarians at Blue Valley Animal Hospital are here to provide your pets with excellent health care. We encourage you to have regular wellness checkups for all your pets and especially cats that may be at risk for developing diabetes.

Remember, you can call us at (913) 681-2818 or schedule an appointment using our online form. We are available to answer your pet care questions!


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About the Author: Tung Chi