Cases of diabetes in cats are on the rise, and if left untreated, this condition can threaten your cat's quality of life. Today, our Los Angeles vets explain some of the symptoms of diabetes in cats and the available treatment options.

Feline Diabetes

Can a get even get diabetes? Yes, they can. In cats, diabetes mellitus is a condition where blood sugar, or glucose, cannot be effectively utilized and regulated by the body. Insulin, which is produced by the pancreas, controls the flow of glucose (blood sugar) to the body's cells in order to provide energy.

Glucose does not reach the cells as it should if your cat's insulin levels are too low. When this occurs, the cat's body begins breaking down fat and protein cells for energy, while unused glucose accumulates in the cat's bloodstream.

Type I or Type II Diabetes in Cats

  • Type I (Insulin-Dependent) - The cat's body can no longer produce or release enough insulin into the body. This form of diabetes is relatively rare in cats.
  • Type II (Non-Insulin Dependent) - With this form of diabetes, the cat's body produces enough insulin, but the tissues or organs do not respond appropriately to insulin and have become insulin-resistant. This type of diabetes is common in overweight male cats over 8 years old, and those that eat a high-carbohydrate diet.

Common Signs & Symptoms of Diabetes in Cats

Because a diabetic cat’s body breaks down protein and fat instead of using glucose, cats with a healthy appetite, or even those with a ravenous appetite, will lose weight. Untreated diabetes in cats can lead to other health complications and symptoms, such as:

  • Increased urination
  • Increased appetite
  • Lethargy or weakness
  • Dehydration
  • Increased thirst
  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Unhealthy coat and skin
  • Walking flat on the backs of their hind legs (from nerve damage)

Diabetes, if untreated, can lead to a number of debilitating, costly, and potentially fatal conditions. If your cat exhibits diabetes symptoms, it is critical that you seek veterinary care as soon as possible.While there is no cure for diabetes in cats, treatment is available.

How to Treat Diabetes in Cats

Your cat will first require an official diagnosis, then daily management of the condition with insulin injections (which your vet may train you to give at home).

Your veterinarian may also advise you to make changes to your cat's diet to ensure that they get the proper balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. To help manage your cat's diabetes, your veterinarian may recommend a special prescription food.

If your cat has diabetes, regular blood sugar tests at the vet are required, or you can ask your vet if you can test your cat's glucose at home. It may also be beneficial to keep a journal of your cat's appetite and litter box use so that any changes can be detected early and reported to your veterinarian.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your cat is showing signs of diabetes, contact our office right away to book an examination for your feline friend.