Can Cats Have Diabetes?

Can cats have diabetes? I am afraid that the answer is yes. In fact, diabetes in cats is on the rise due to the types of food us humans are feeding them. Animal Planet estimates that one out of 1,200 cats will develop diabetes at some point in their lifetime.

However, there is good news for those that discover their cat has diabetes. With the help of your vet, you will be able to keep it under control so that your furry friend doesn’t unduly suffer.

Here we will look into the reasons a cat might get diabetes, the symptoms of the condition and how you can go about treating it.

Cats and Diabetes – The Causes

Cats get diabetes much the same way us humans do. Diabetes affects the hormone insulin within the body, which in turn controls how the body moves sugar (glucose) from the blood stream into the cells.

The most common form of cat diabetes acts in a similar way to type 2 diabetes in humans. The feline is able to make insulin, however the body becomes less sensitive to the hormone. This results in a build up of sugar in the bloodstream.

The cause of the condition in cats is unknown. Clearly a too high a sugar content diet will have detrimental effects. Statistics also show that an over weight cat or an ageing cat is more likely to have the condition.

over weight cat

An over weight or ageing cat is more likely to have diabetes.

The Symptoms Of Cat Diabetes

Symptoms to watch out for include increased urination and thirst. A cat will pee more because the urine contains the excess levels of glucose that are not being absorbed into the body.

Your cat may also sleep a lot more.

If you notice a change in your cat’s health and behavior, you should certianly take him to the vet. In the test for diabetes your vet will usually take a complete blood count, a serum biochemistry profile and a urinalysis.

It is best to be safe than sorry. If your cat has diabetes and it goes to long without being diagnosed, the untreated condition could lead to life-threatening complications over time.

Cat Diabetes – Methods of Treatment

If your cat has diabetes they will need continuous care and monitoring. Essentially, the insulin level of the blood has to be carefully controlled.

After diagnosis your vet should explain some of the options open to you. One of the first things you can do is to watch their diet. Obesity is often linked to diabetes, so weight reduction may well have to be looked into.

The vet may also suggest treatment via the application of insulin. This might involve oral hypoglycemic medication, however the more common method of application is via insulin injections.

But don’t worry, your vet will assist in the beginning to ensure that the correct dosage is found and that you know what to do.

Watching your cat's diet and exercise can help prevent diabetes

Watching your cat’s diet and exercise can help prevent diabetes

Can Cats Have Diabetes – The Bottom Line

Cats can certainly have diabetes, however there are many ways in which we can control the symptoms.

If your cat is overweight, it might be time to think about changing his diet before diabetes has a chance to take hold. If you spot any of the signs of feline diabetes, take your pet to the vet as soon as you can.

(Image Credits: Nick McGowan-Lowe/PDSA/PA Wire,, Vitality Science)

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