A rising number of cats are developing type II diabetes, which is the inability to produce or properly use enough insulin to balance blood glucose levels. Left untreated, it can lead to loss of appetite, dehydration, vomiting, weight loss, motor function problems, a coma, and even death.
Additionally, diabetes can lead to liver disease or a disorder called diabetic neuropathy that may cause cats to become progressively weaker, especially in the hind legs.
The increase in feline diabetes is linked to the rise in pet obesity. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimates that nearly 60% of cats in the U.S. are overweight or obese, which is a major risk factor for the development of diabetes.
There are other risk factors for diabetes such as age and genetics, but if your cat is overweight be on the lookout for these symptoms:
- Excessive thirst
- Increased urination
- Increased hunger while losing weight
- Lethargy or weakness
- Thinning, dull, or dry hair
If your cat is displaying any of these common signs, consult with your veterinarian. Early diagnosis is key so that you can begin managing the disease and prevent further complications. Diabetes treatment is based on the severity of the disease, and may involve oral medications or insulin injections. You’ll need to monitor your cat’s food and water intake, weight, and urine output as any significant changes may indicate that the diabetes isn’t under control.
Leaving food out for your cat to eat anytime may not be the ideal routine for a diabetic cat. If your cat is receiving insulin injections, she should eat half her daily food at the time of the injection. It will be important to feed your cat a consistent amount at the same time each day so that you can monitor if your cat either doesn’t eat or seems unusually hungry after eating.
Likewise, you’ll want to monitor your cat’s water consumption so that you know what’s normal for your cat. You can roughly estimate urine output by the amount of litter scooped out of the litter box each day.
Dietary changes are also typically in order and will vary based on your cat and the severity of the diabetes. High-protein, low-carbohydrate foods are commonly recommended for diabetic cats to provide necessary energy without the extra carbs that can convert to excess sugar. And since weight is the one crucial predisposing condition for diabetes that pet owners can influence, helping your cat get to and maintain a healthy weight is vital.
PetWellClinic® is affiliated with Knoxville Pet Food Company to offer high quality pet food at discounted prices. High protein options for regular and prescription diets that address weight management are available and easy to order online for in-store pickup at our three PetWellClinics and My Pet’s Animal Hospital. We recommend the Hills Science Diet Prescription brand, as well as select Purina blends, and can help you choose the best option based on your pet’s age, size, and overall health.
We can also help you decide which flea, tick, and heartworm prevention products are best for your pet. By operating convenient hours for non-surgical care, PetWellClinic® is able to offer substantially discounted prices for parasite prevention products, as well as low cost vaccinations, wellness exams, and treatment of minor conditions.
We are dedicated to helping you keep your pets healthy and happy with top quality products, caring veterinarians and staff, and affordable services at convenient hours. See for yourself why so many people and their pets rely on PetWellClinic and Knoxville Pet Food Company.