Diabetes is a complicated condition caused by either an absolute or relative deficiency of insulin which results in hyperglycemia (elevated blood glucose levels) and glycosuria (glucose in the urine). Diabetes mellitus is most common in older cats. Male cats and obese cats are at an increased risk of developing this condition as well as cats with a Genetic predisposition to diabetes.

Common Symptoms: In diabetic cats, the hyperglycemia is so severe that glucose is excreted in the urine. Glucose takes water with it so an increased volume of urine is produced. To compensate for this, and so that dehydration is prevented, the cat develops an increased thirst. Weight loss and a voracious appetite are also frequently seen and these may be the first signs of a problem. The main clinical signs seen in a diabetic cat are: increased and excessive appetite, and weight loss. However, these signs are not always present or may pass unnoticed. Other clinical signs which may be seen in diabetic cats include: Straining to pass urine and/or passing bloody urine associated with a bacterial urinary tract infection, liver disease, and poor coat.

Next Steps: In addition to insulin therapy, diabetes can be managed through diet changes. Low- carbohydrate, high-protein diets help to reduce the requirements for insulin and improve diabetic management. Many cats that were once in a diabetic state no longer need any insulin when they are finally fed an appropriate diet. If the diabetes has been a long-standing condition brought about by years of feeding a high carbohydrate diet, or another disease process, these cats may always need some insulin-- but the amount necessary to maintain proper blood glucose levels is nearly always significantly reduced once the patient is on a low carbohydrate diet.

Recommended Foods: For diabetic cats who are overweight, it is important to treat the obesity first (which may actually eliminate the diabetes). Select an Ultra Premium food that has less fat and calories to meet your cat’s special needs. Canned or Raw Varieties are a great option.