Is it diabetes?

One of the main symptoms of diabetes in humans and cats is thirst, they need to drink and  because they need to drink they pee, so if your cat is peeing more than usual it is   worth considering taking them to the veterinarian surgeon to check if they  have feline diabetes. If they are really desperate for a drink they will drink anything, even trying to catch the drips from your bath taps.


Diabetes or feline diabetes mellitus occurs when the cat’s body does not produce insulin in sufficient quantities to keep the blood sugar levels in balance. The disease is just the same as the human condition and needs treatment often with diet or insulin therapy which is the same treatment as humans receive.

Healthy cats
Credit: Daniel Flewitt

Testing and treatment for diabetic cats

If your veterinarian suspects that your cat has developed diabetes he will take a blood sample.


This sample will show the level of your cats sugar , depending on the result he may ask you to feed your cat differently and then come back to see if the food has lowered your pets blood sugar levels.


I think most owners will worry when  the veterinarian tells them  their cat has diabetes. You will need to develop a good, trusting relationship with your veterinarian , who will probably suggest that she follows a low carbohydrate diet. ( That would probably be quite popular with a meat-eating cat!). Try to avoid the dried foods as they usually contain a large amount of carbohydrates. There are several types of cat foods specifically made for diabetic cats or you can also feed chicken and fish. Regular visits to the veterinarian become part of the routine to check the cat’s blood sugar levels and he will prescribe proper levels of insulin for the cat. The best way to give insulin is by injection, so the veterinarian will teach you how to give your cat her shot. It can  easier to give the cat her shot at home as she  could be  more confident with you as she is more familiar with your voice and her surroundings. If your cat is pliable you can  take blood tests at home as only a small sample, a drop of blood is used . The blood sugar level is usually measured by using a blood glucose monitor , these are not especially made for cats but it is possible to use a human one.

Other symptoms of feline diabetes

Is your cat overweight?

It is a fact that many of our pet cats are overweight. Weighing

a cat to record its body weight is almost always done when you take your cat for its yearly injections and any increase is usually accompanied with a stern reprimand from the veterinarian. Increased availability of cat food and its relative cheapness means that many of us are feeding our cats too much and like humans it is the overweight cat who has a higher risk of developing diabetes Cats like to eat and if faced with extra special treats they are hardly likely to think of their waist lines!


Sometimes the symptoms of diabetes manifest themselves as the  loss of their appetite followed by weight loss and sometimes accompanied by vomiting and maybe  very dry skin. At the same time other cats may find themselves really hungry and eat and eat as the high level of sugar in their blood means that they are unable to metabolize the nutrients included in their food It is really hard for the cat owner to distinguish between the hungry cat and the cat who is hungry because they are ill. If you cat's eating pattern changes radically then it is really important to let the veterinarian know this on your next visit. Sometimes cats can become diabetic when they are pregnant and the veterinarian will keep a careful watch on her, as the kittens could end up being very big. Like many human mothers this gestational diabetes often disappears after the birth.

Hypoglycemic attacks

Like humans cats can suffer from low blood sugar

 and have a hypoglycemic attack, my dad used to call them hypo. It is when for some reason the blood sugar has dropped really low. This is a serious condition with symptoms of lethargy and coldness which can lead to a coma or death. A woman in our area died a few weeks ago of a hypo, so it is important to treat your cat immediately if you suspect this. There are some sugar gels available in good drug stores and if you suspect a hypo careful rub a small drop of gel into the cat's mouth so that she has to suck it, this will need to be repeated until she comes round. Next, give her something to eat and then call the vet, chances are that he will wish to see her to check her blood sugar levels and adjust her insulin. Above all don’t panic as this is treatable with a calm response, just deadly if you don’t treat it.

Diabetic cats need extra care but can have a happy, full and enjoyable life.

Diabetic Cat Food

ROYAL CANIN Feline Diabetic Dry (4.4 lb)
Amazon Price: $26.68 Buy Now
(price as of Jun 25, 2014)
Food is easily available to help you control her blood sugar levels