Cat Diabetes – Symptoms and Treatment Options

Diabetes runs parallel in the people and pet worlds; same predispositions for the disease like obesity and the same initial symptoms like increased thirst and urination. Cats typically develop type II diabetes just like their human counterparts and the feline version can be managed when detected early enough through routine blood tests.

Symptoms of Cat Diabetes

Diabetic cats often have increased thirst, so a perpetually empty water bowl is a clue to the beginning stages of the feline disease. The increased drinking will of course be followed by increased urination, a pattern that will continue in a diabetic cat. Inexplicable weight gain followed by inexplicable weight loss also indicates cat diabetes, as does lethargy. As a case of undiagnosed and untreated cat diabetes progresses, the cat may develop nerve damage in the hind quarters which will result in rear leg weakness and the inability to jump as high or far as before.

Also be aware that diabetic cat may display no symptoms at all, or the symptoms may be so subtle they go undetected by the owner. Routine veterinarian exams and screening tests are vital for early detection of feline diabetes.

Treatment Options for Cat Diabetes

Cat diabetes is a serious medical condition, but it can be managed if detected early and properly treated. A special diet is the first line of treatment for the diabetic cat, followed up with oral insulin or insulin injections. Cats metabolize insulin quickly and most diabetic cats will need two insulin injections daily to remain healthy and avoid diabetic complications.

Most diabetic cats do well on a treatment plan of diet and insulin and will go on to live a normal and healthy life. Some diabetic cats will even go into remission when their diet is changed and weight loss occurs. Initial insulin therapy will still be needed for the cat until weight loss occurs and the veterinarian confirms the remission with blooding testing.

Preventing Cat Diabetes

An ounce of prevention is always better than a pound of cure and steps for preventing cat diabetes is the same as it is for their owners – Eating a healthy diet, exercise and weight management. Feed your cat quality food formulated for their age at slightly less than the recommended daily amount. Enjoy active playtime with your cat each day to provide exercise and bonding time for both of you.


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