Feline Diabetes Prevention Tips

Feline diabetes is a serious chronic illness that affects the health of more and more cats. Fortunately, feline diabetes is also largely preventable. Here's what you can do.

Understand the Causes of Cat Diabetes

Feline diabetes occurs when the feline pancreas can no longer produce insulin, and your cat can no longer regulate his body's blood sugar levels. Thus, the blood sugar levels become too high.

The number one cause of feline diabetes is dietary. Many pet cats are obese, and this puts them at increased risk for diabetes. Many owners feed their cats too much of the wrong kind of food.

Understand Your Cat's Dietary Needs

Your cat needs a diet based on animal protein and meats, not vegetable products. You can help prevent feline diabetes by minimizing the amount of dry kibble you feed your cat. While dry kibble can help keep your cat's teeth clean and can provide a tasty snack in between meals of canned food, your cat's diet should consist mainly of canned food or even fresh meat. Dry kibble contains low-quality ingredients, is poorly processed and is heavily based on carbohydrates; for these reasons, dry kibble alone will never meet your cat's dietary needs.

When removing dry kibble from your cat's diet, you'll need to increase the levels of protein and fat in his diet, to ensure that he gets enough to eat.

Make sure your cat also has an adequate water supply. You can encourage your cat to drink more water by purchasing a cat fountain, as cats instinctively prefer to drink running water.

Exercise is Vital to Your Cat's Health

Exercise is also key. Play with your cat regularly; if possible, let him frolic outside as often as you can. New toys might encourage your cat to be more playful; some cats prefer certain types of toys over others, so experiment a little. Don't just let your cat lie around.

Recognize Feline Diabetes Symptoms

If your cat does begin to develop diabetes, you'll want to be able to recognize the symptoms, because feline diabetes can be deadly if left untreated. Symptoms of feline diabetes include:

  • Excessive drinking and urinating
  • Weight loss
  • Increased appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Plantigrade posture (walking on their hocks)
  • Sudden cataract formation

If diabetes remains unchecked your cat may become ketonic (a serious complication in which ketone bodies begin to form in your cat's blood). Symptoms include those listed above, as well as:

  • Depression
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid breathing
  • An odor of acetone on the breath

If your cat becomes diabetic, he will require regular injections of cat insulin for the rest of his life.