Focus on diabetes mellitus symptoms and treatment in cats


Types of the disease

There are two main types of this disease:-

Type 1 Diabetes in Cats:

Type 1 diabetes in cats is relatively rare and occurs when the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin. Insulin is necessary for regulating blood sugar levels. Cats with Type 1 diabetes will require insulin injections to manage their condition.


Increased thirst (polydipsia)
Increased urination (polyuria)
Increased appetite (polyphagia)
Weight loss despite increased appetite
Lethargy and weakness


Cats with Type 1 diabetes require regular insulin injections to regulate their blood sugar levels. The insulin is usually administered twice a day, and the dosage is determined by a veterinarian based on the cat’s weight, blood glucose levels, and individual needs. In addition to insulin therapy, a controlled diet and regular exercise are important components of managing Type 1 diabetes in cats.

Type 2 Diabetes in Cats:

Type 2 diabetes in cats is more common and is characterized by insulin resistance. This means that the cat’s body doesn’t respond effectively to the insulin being produced. Type 2 diabetes can often be managed with dietary changes and, in some cases, oral medications.


Increased thirst (polydipsia)
Increased urination (polyuria)
Increased appetite (polyphagia)
Weight loss despite increased appetite
Lethargy and weakness


  • Diet: Dietary management is a key aspect of treating Type 2 diabetes in cats. A high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet can help regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. Your veterinarian can recommend an appropriate diet for your cat.
  • Oral Medications: Some cats with Type 2 diabetes may respond to oral medications that help improve insulin sensitivity and regulate blood sugar levels. These medications are prescribed by a veterinarian and their effectiveness varies from cat to cat.
  • Insulin Injections: In some cases, cats with Type 2 diabetes might eventually require insulin injections if their condition doesn’t respond well to dietary changes and oral medications.
  • Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for managing Type 2 diabetes in cats. Weight loss, if necessary, can improve insulin sensitivity and overall health.

diabetes mellitus in cats

It’s important to note that diabetes management in cats requires regular veterinary visits for monitoring blood sugar levels, adjusting treatment plans, and ensuring the cat’s overall health. If you suspect your cat might have diabetes, it’s essential to consult a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment recommendations.

Health complications that can arise with this disease

Diabetes in cats, if not well managed, can lead to various complications that can significantly impact their overall health and quality of life. Regular veterinary care and diligent management are essential to prevent or minimize these potential complications. Some of the complications that can arise in diabetic cats include:

  • Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar): This is one of the most immediate and serious complications of diabetes treatment. If a diabetic cat receives too much insulin or doesn’t eat enough, their blood sugar levels can drop dangerously low. Hypoglycemia can lead to seizures, weakness, disorientation, and even coma if not promptly treated.
  • Hyperglycemia (High Blood Sugar): Prolonged high blood sugar levels can lead to a range of issues, including increased risk of infections, impaired wound healing, and potential damage to various organs and tissues.
  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA): This is a life-threatening condition that can occur when the body breaks down fat for energy due to a lack of insulin. It leads to a buildup of ketones in the bloodstream, causing symptoms like vomiting, lethargy, dehydration, and rapid breathing. DKA requires immediate medical attention.
  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs): Cats with diabetes are more susceptible to UTIs due to the increased sugar content in their urine, which can provide a breeding ground for bacteria.
  • Kidney Disease: Diabetes can contribute to kidney dysfunction and kidney disease over time. Cats with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease (CKD).
  • Neuropathy: Diabetic neuropathy is a condition where nerve function is impaired due to chronic high blood sugar levels. It can cause weakness, difficulty walking, and loss of coordination in the hind limbs.
  • Cataracts: Some diabetic cats develop cataracts, which can lead to vision impairment or blindness if left untreated.
  • Pancreatitis: Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) can complicate diabetes management and cause further disruption to insulin production.
  • Heart Disease: Diabetes can increase the risk of heart disease in cats, leading to cardiovascular issues.
  • Poor Wound Healing: High blood sugar levels can impair the body’s ability to heal wounds, making infections more likely and healing slower.
  • Increased Susceptibility to Infections: The weakened immune response associated with diabetes can lead to an increased risk of various infections, including urinary tract infections and skin infections.
  • Weight Fluctuations: Finding the right balance of insulin, diet, and exercise to maintain a healthy weight can be challenging for diabetic cats. Weight loss or gain can impact their overall health.

Preventing these complications involves close monitoring of your cat’s blood sugar levels, regular veterinary check-ups, proper insulin administration, appropriate diet, and maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle. If you suspect any complications or notice changes in your diabetic cat’s behavior or health, it’s important to consult your veterinarian promptly.

Importance of diet in the disease management

Diet plays a crucial role in managing diabetes in cats. The goal of feeding a diabetic cat is to regulate blood sugar levels and maintain a healthy weight. High-protein, low-carbohydrate diets are typically recommended for diabetic cats. Here’s what to consider when choosing food for a diabetic cat:

1. High Protein Content:
Cats are obligate carnivores, which means their bodies are adapted to thrive on a diet primarily composed of animal-based proteins. High-protein foods help maintain muscle mass and can help stabilize blood sugar levels. Look for cat foods with a high percentage of quality animal protein sources.

2. Low Carbohydrate Content:
Carbohydrates can lead to spikes in blood sugar levels, which is undesirable for diabetic cats. Choosing cat foods with low carbohydrate content can help prevent these spikes. Look for foods that list protein sources as the main ingredients and have minimal grain-based fillers.

3. Limited Simple Carbohydrates:
Simple carbohydrates, such as sugars and grains, should be minimized in the diet of a diabetic cat. Instead, opt for complex carbohydrates that are slowly digested and have a gentler impact on blood sugar levels.

4. High Fiber Content:
Fiber can help slow down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, leading to more stable blood sugar levels. However, the fiber content should be moderate, as excessive fiber might interfere with nutrient absorption.

5. Wet (Canned) Food vs. Dry (Kibble) Food:
Wet cat food generally has higher water content and lower carbohydrate content compared to dry kibble. This can be beneficial for diabetic cats as it can help with hydration and blood sugar control. Consult your veterinarian to determine whether wet or dry food is more appropriate for your cat’s specific needs.

cat food diabetic cats

6. Prescription Diets:
Some veterinary brands offer specialized prescription diets formulated specifically for diabetic cats. These diets are designed to support blood sugar regulation and overall health. Your veterinarian can recommend suitable prescription options if needed.

7. Portion Control:
Feeding the appropriate portion size is essential for managing your cat’s weight and blood sugar levels. Follow the feeding guidelines provided on the cat food packaging, and work with your veterinarian to determine the right amount for your cat’s individual needs.

8. Consult Your Veterinarian:
It’s important to consult your veterinarian before making any significant changes to your cat’s diet, especially if they have diabetes. Your vet can provide personalized recommendations based on your cat’s health status, weight, and blood sugar levels.

Remember that dietary management is just one aspect of treating diabetes in cats. Regular monitoring, insulin administration (if necessary), and overall veterinary care are essential for the successful management of diabetes in your feline companion.

What can a diabetic cat drink?

Water is the primary drink for diabetic cats, as it is for all cats. Proper hydration is important for their overall health and well-being. Diabetic cats tend to have increased thirst (polydipsia) and increased urination (polyuria), which are common symptoms of the condition. Providing fresh and clean water at all times is crucial to ensure your diabetic cat stays adequately hydrated.

treatment for diabetic cats

It’s important to monitor your cat’s water intake, especially if you notice any significant changes. If you notice excessive thirst or changes in drinking behavior, it’s a good idea to consult your veterinarian. These changes could be indicative of poorly controlled diabetes or other underlying health issues that need to be addressed.

In addition to water, some cat owners might wonder if it’s safe for diabetic cats to consume other liquids, such as milk or certain pet-safe broths. While occasional small amounts of certain low-sodium and low-fat broths might be acceptable as a treat, it’s essential to ensure that these additional liquids do not contribute to an excessive calorie or carbohydrate intake. Always consult your veterinarian before introducing new foods or liquids to your diabetic cat’s diet.

Ultimately, water should be the primary source of hydration for your diabetic cat, and monitoring their water intake and overall health is key to managing their condition effectively.


Even though diabetes mellitus in cats is quite rare, and will probably never happen to your cat, it’s always a good thing to be informed, and know about the possibility of this condition. Knowing what to look for, and seeing the signs early on can make a big difference in the treatment of this sometimes fatal condition if it is left untreated.  As long as you get your cat to the vet and get started on the correct diabetes treatment, your cat can live a long, healthy life with the disease.


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Author: James Kelly

James Kelly is a network marketer and blogger who earns a living from affiliate programs and blogs 


Author: James Kelly

James Kelly is a network marketer and blogger who earns a living from affiliate programs and blogs

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