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Treating Diabetes in Cats

Diabetes can threaten your cat’s quality of life and longevity if left untreated. Our Huntersville vets discuss risk factors for diabetes in cats, treatment options and when to seek assistance from your veterinarian. 


What is Cat Diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus can afflict cats whose bodies cannot produce or effectively use insulin, which the pancreas produces to control the flow of glucose (blood sugar) to cells throughout the body. Energy is then sent to the rest of the body.

But without appropriate amounts of insulin, glucose doesn’t get to the cells. Instead, the body converts protein cells and fat into energy. Unused glucose stays in the bloodstream and eventually develops into excessive amounts.

Also similar to humans, cats can get 2 types of diabetes:

Type 1 (insulin-dependent)

Not enough insulin is produced or released into the body.

Type II (non-insulin dependent)

While enough insulin may be produced, organs or tissues resist insulin. They require more insulin than a healthy cat’s body would need to properly produce glucose. Overweight male cats over 8 years old and those that eat a high-carbohydrate diet are especially susceptible to this type of diabetes. You’ll sometimes notice an insatiable appetite, and their bodies are unable to use the fuel their food provides.

Diabetes Signs & Symptoms

Since a diabetic cat’s body breaks down fat and protein in place of glucose, even cats who are eating regularly and sustain a healthy appetite will lose weight. Untreated diabetes in cats can lead to other health issues and symptoms, including:

  • Liver Disease
  • Bacterial infections
  • Increased urination
  • Lethargy or weakness
  • Increased thirst
  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Unhealthy coat and skin

Subtle Signs

    • Drop in physical activity (unable/unwilling to jump)
    • Walking flat on backs of their hind legs (caused by nerve damage)

Treatment Options for Cats with Diabetes

Although cat diabetes should be monitored closely, your furry friend can still enjoy quality of life with this disease. Litter box use and appetite should be tracked, and any complications will need a vet’s care right away.

Have your kitty’s blood sugar and response to treatment checked at your regular vet appointments. If you’d like, ask your vet if testing your cat’s glucose at home is an option.

Diabetes in cats should be diagnosed and treated early. Should your cat develop any symptoms mentioned above, bring them in as soon as possible.

Physical exams and early detection of issues are critical to maintaining health in senior pets. If your cat is showing signs of diabetes, book an appointment with our Huntersville vets.

Treating Diabetes in Cats | Huntersville Vet

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