Diabetic Cat Food

Feline diabetes is a blood disease that often requires pet owners to feed their cats special kinds of diabetic cat food. A diabetic cat has an imbalance in the sugar levels in his bloodstream. A dietary adjustment to foods with different amounts of nutrients, such as glucose, can help to counterbalance the cat’s blood sugar levels, thereby helping to alleviate the symptoms of feline diabetes.

What Is Diabetes?

A healthy feline digestive system produces insulin when the broken down components of the cat’s food enter the bloodstream from the small intestine. Insulin is a hormone that signals the cat’s cells to absorb glucose from the blood stream. The body of a cat that suffers from diabetes either has a problem with the production of insulin or the body’s response to the hormone. These problems with the insulin of a diabetic cat lead to a failure of the cells to absorb glucose. This allows the glucose to collect in the blood stream. The major negative health effects of feline diabetes result from the cells in the cat’s body being starved for glucose, preventing them from processing the chemical energy they need in order to function.

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Feline Diabetes

The inability of a diabetic cat’s cells to process chemical energy makes them lethargic and very inactive. Diabetic cats are always hungry, but no matter how much they eat, they continue to lose weight. The kidneys respond to the excessive amount of glucose in the bloodstream by trying to filter it all out. The process of filtering glucose out puts unnatural strain on the kidneys, often leading to kidney damage in advanced cases. The kidneys’ reaction gives rise to more symptoms of diabetes, including excessive drinking and frequent urination. Because so much glucose is filtered into the urine, the sugar content of diabetic cat urine is usually very high, allowing veterinarians to test the sugar content as a fairly conclusive method of diagnosis.

Food for Diabetic Cats

In the best of cases, a diabetic cat can be permanently cured of its illness as long as it eats appropriately every day. It's more often the case that diet will only reduce the severity of the symptoms. To help prevent a buildup of glucose in the cat’s blood, the sugar content of a diabetic cat’s food must be carefully regulated. Recent research has also shown that a diet high in protein and low in carbohydrates is very good for diabetic cats. If a high-protein diet is not an option for your diabetic cat, you can try a diet high in fiber, although high-fiber diets often cause cats to defecate more and have bad gas.

Some Specific Foods for Diabetic Cats

Wet food is better for diabetic cats than dry food, because it is 100% meat. Dry cat food contains cereal ingredients that are not suited for the carnivorous feline digestive system. Diabetic cat food should also have less than ten percent of its calories derived from carbohydrates. Cat food companies that meet this requirement include:

  • Authority
  • Evo
  • Sophisticat
  • Precise Pet

Some companies that do not meet the requirement include:

  • Blue Buffalo
  • Friskies
  • 9-lives
  • Innova
  • Special Kitty
  • Fancy Feast

How to Feed Your Diabetic Cat

The amount of food you give your diabetic cat depends on how much insulin you administer, so you will have to follow the direction of your veterinarian. Give the cat half of its food at the time of insulin injection, and the other half when he's most active during the day. Do not feed a diabetic cat scraps from the table.

Diabetes in cats is difficult to permanently cure, but there are ways for an owner to mitigate some of the worst symptoms associated with the illness. The best way to help your diabetic cat is to regulate its diet carefully.