Did You Know Cats Can Get Diabetes Too?

Meet Fleur, our little diabetic champion, who was a long term guest at Cat’s Meow when her family had an extended break. With special medication and diet, glucose monitoring and checking, she was just a little angel!

Cats with Diabetes are common Guests at the Cat’s Meow Cattery at Samford and come with a range of special requirements we cater to. Some are Insulin dependent requiring injections and others are managed just through specialized diets. 

Many people are surprised when they find out cats, like people, can become diabetic. Diabetes affects 1 in approximately 400 cats, which makes it one of the most common, serious diseases and well worth while having some general knowledge about in case your puss ever shows symptoms as they get older.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes in cats is similar to that of humans. The body is basically unable to regulate its blood sugar levels.  It causes the body to be unable to digest carbohydrates for energy and instead causes the body to break down muscle to provide energy instead. This then begins to compromise other organ functions, causes your cat to feel unwell and if left untreated, can become fatal.  

Types of Diabetes: There are 3 types of Diabetes that affect Cats with ‘Diabetes Mellitus’ being the most common. Typically onset occurs when the cat is middle aged, however kittens can get this disease too, but it’s less common.  Studies have shown the highest risk group for cats to develop diabetes are – cats over 8 years of age, male cats, overweight cats and the Burmese breed is noted for a higher incidence than other breeds.

Common Signs & Symptoms

  • Increased Urination
  • Increased Thirst
  • Increased Hunger
  • Weight loss (despite eating more than usual)
  • Muscle weakness

In older cats, the pitfall can be in thinking the cat’s kidneys are responsible for these issues, however, it is worth mentioning to your vet if you think your cat is ‘too young’ for kidney problems and has unexplained thirst and urination, is always at the food bowl, yet seems to be losing weight. 

In untreated Diabetes, a condition called Ketoacidosis can develop which is fatal. This stage causes your kitty to become really unwell showing signs of decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy, weakness, dehydration, and breathing difficulties.

Treatment & Management

Proper diagnosis is essential to the successful treatment of this disease.  Your vet will perform a range of tests, including blood & urine tests to determine whether your cat has diabetes and how the diabetes has affected the cat.

Some cats will require insulin injections to help them manage their diabetes, whilst others can be managed through diet. Your vet will tell you what’s required there based on their tests.

Special Diets

All Diabetics require a change to their diet to reduce carbohydrates and increase their protein source to help their bodies function (with or without insulin injections).

We have a range of Premium Veterinary Formulated foods as well as offering a customized meals of fresh meats and special diets to order, at Cat’s Meow to support our Diabetic friends. Owner and ‘Curator of Cats’ at Cat’s Meow, Sharon Tooth is a fully qualified Veterinary Nurse and her specialist training at the Paddington Cat Clinic stands her in good stead to manage her Diabetic guests as well as her own cat’s diabetes.

 If you would like to know how we can support your Diabetic friend during their stay, please talk to us about your cat’s special routine. We’re only too happy to help.