Tips for Feeding Cats with Diabetes

Cats with diabetes can often be improved with a proper diet. In fact, with a proper diet, you can reduce the amount of insulin you give your cat and possibly even remove it completely. However, when beginning a diet change, do so in conjunction with your veterinarian. Test the insulin levels regularly as the diet changes so you don't deliver the wrong dosage.

Reduce Carbohydrates

Many veterinarians claim that the high instance of diabetes in cats is caused by their high carbohydrate diets. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they consume their energy and nutrients from the protein of other animals. Their bodies are not designed for a high carbohydrate diet.

However, many commercial cat foods, especially dry kibble but often wet food as well, rely on carbohydrates as cheap filler to reduce the cost of the food. This is extremely unhealthy for your diabetic cat. It's like feeding a human diabetic sugar because the carbohydrates are not digested and do turn to sugar in your cat's body.

Look at the ingredients of your cat food. The first three to five ingredients should be high-level protein, and the food should include very little, if any, carbohydrates. It should contain no corn, wheat or soy.

Less than 10 percent of your cat's calories should come from carbohydrates. In the wild, a cat's diet is less than 5 percent carbohydrates, but most commercial cat food contains 30 to 50 percent. This causes obesity, which is especially bad for your diabetic cat, and causes many cats to be deficient in many enzymes they can easily obtain in the wild.

Quality of Proteins

In addition to reducing carbohydrates, ensure the quality of protein your cat is receiving is high. This will promote the production of enzymes in the body that are naturally found in high-protein food. If the food contains "meat byproduct," don't feed it. This doesn't include muscle meat, which is where cats get most of their protein.

Diabetic cats should not eat dry food. It is too high in carbohydrates and too low in protein.

Reducing Fiber

In humans and dogs, a high fiber diet can be beneficial. However, this is not true for cats. High fiber diets are so contrary to a cat's natural diet that he will not benefit from this addition. The owner of a diabetic cat should strive to keep all grains from their cat's food.

Changing the Diet Safely

When changing from a diet that contains, for example, 35 percent carbohydrates to a diet with only 5 percent carbohydrates, you must monitor your cat's glucose levels at home. Reducing carbohydrates by such a dramatic amount will mostly likely require you to lower the dosage of insulin.

When changing any diet, you want to mix the foods for a week or more to ensure the cat's system can handle the change. Monitor your cat and discuss the diet change with your veterinarian.

Diabetics in humans is often caused from years of poor eating, and many veterinarians believe this may be the case in cats as well. To help reduce this trend in your diabetic cat, reduce all carbohydrates and fibers. This will improve his health and quality of life.