Help your cat manage this treatable disease
Learn More About Feline Diabetes
Human diabetes is a well known and researched disease. However, many pet owners aren’t aware of the ways this disease can affect their cats. Cats can become diabetic and have many similar challenges to their human counterparts. Read on to find out how this disease happens, how common it is and how to take care of it.
How Common is Feline Diabetes?
Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine states that 0.2-1% of cats suffer from feline diabetes. However, research indicates that this could be much lower than the actual rate of diabetes, as many cases may not be diagnosed or reported.
As cats age and/or gain weight, they may be more likely to develop this disease. Now, not all heavy kitties will develop diabetes. Some are prone to develop it through individual genetics and certain breed types.
Diabetes is defined by Type 1 and Type 2:
Type 1 is insulin controlled while Type 2 can be controlled by food and weight management.
Feline Diabetes Warning Signs
There are several warning signs that can tell you if your cat is developing diabetes. These warning signs can also tell you if your cat’s existing diabetes is getting worse.
The main signs to watch for with your cat are:
If you observe any of these signs, a trip to the veterinarian is key. They will diagnose your cat using insulin levels and blood work.
Treating Feline Diabetes
So your vet gives your cat a positive diabetes diagnosis, now what? Your vet will help plan a diet and regular office visit schedule to monitor the disease.
You may be responsible for testing the cat’s blood sugar levels at home. They can recommend the proper glucose meter as human ones are not quite the same and your vet needs to approve the appropriate one. There is also a urine test kit if you want to try that method.
Once you are on the proper path, it can take 3-6 months for the glucose levels to start to show improvement and level off. Have patience as it is a process!
At this point, a proper diet plays an integral role in your cat’s health. My Daphne is pretty spot on with her meals but some cats are not. Having your cat eat at the same time each day will help regulate their insulin and blood sugar levels.
Your vet can recommend what food is best for your cat’s individual health. However, here are a few general pointers to keep in mind.
Dry food can have filler carbs, so be careful with what brand dry food you choose. Now, wet food is typically 7% carbs or less which is the best choice. However, try to avoid the heavy gravy-like ones as gravy equals carbs and fats.
Rich cooked meats such as fish and chicken are healthy, especially if you like to cook and can add some extra to the meal plan for kitty.
Coming up with a game plan with your veterinarian is best as they can advise on brands, portions, exercise regimes, along with other ways to keep the insulin regulated.
Diabetes won’t go away but it is very treatable, meaning your cat can live a long, full life. It is a commitment but that is the same as you made to bring them into your home and heart.
Rock the Cat Spa owner Cari Thompson is a life-long cat lover. When she's not running the luxury cat spa & hotel, she's playing with her cat, Daphne. She writes weekly blogs on cat behavior, health, and care. To learn more about her, check out the About Me page!