Why Do Some Cats Get Diabetes
It’s not entirely clear why certain cats get diabetes and others don’t. Like with humans, being overweight is a major risk factor. This is because extra adipose tissue, aka fat, increases inflammation and further impairs insulin sensitivity.
What this means for pet parents is to watch portion control when feeding their animals! Kitties who are overfedand who are given foods that are filled with sugar, chemicals, fillers, and garbage ingredientsare more likely to get diabetes. That said, genetics do play a role, so it may not be possible to completely eliminate a feline’s risk.
Strangely enough, male cats appear to get diabetes more frequently than female cats do. Nobody’s really sure why. And some breeds, including Burmese cats, appear more likely to get diabetes than others .
Changing Your Diabetic Cats Diet
Its important to work closely with your vet if your cat has diabetes. The type of insulin your cat takes, the dose, and how often he gets his dose are determined by a blood glucose profile for your cat while he is eating a specific diet. If you change his diet, the blood glucose profile will also change. This means that your vet will need to make adjustments in your cats insulin dosage. Even if you just change your cats diet from wet to dry it could make a big difference in his blood glucose profile. You should also let your vet know if your cat is not eating well or doesnt like the food you are feeding. Please be sure to discuss changes to your cats diet with your vet and let him or her know about any changes you plan to make to the diet. Its very important to keep your cats insulin dosages adjusted correctly.
Diabetic Diet Guidelines For Cats
Cats with diabetes need to start a special, species-appropriate diet. Diabetes affects a cats ability to control carbohydrates in their bloodstream, as their cells become resistant to insulin. For this reason, their blood glucose will continue to rise. This can cause all sorts of problems, including organ damage.
A diabetic cat should be consuming a diet that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates. Carbohydrates will raise your cats blood sugar, as they can no longer remove it from their system in a timely manner. Protein and fats will not cause their blood sugar to rise, so they should be receiving most of their calories from them.
Youll also need to keep an eye on your cats weight. Some cats are obese at the time of their diagnosis and may need to lose weight to decrease the effect of diabetes. In fact, some obese cats can practically be cured if they lose weight.
However, other cats may be underweight. This is especially true if they were eating a high-carb diet before their diagnosis or went years before being diagnosed. If a cat has diabetes, they will be unable to use the carbohydrates they consume. They quickly lose their muscle mass and body fat to use as energy sources. If your cat is consuming mostly carbohydrates, they may be running at a deficiency.
With these steps, your cat can live a full and happy life. Many cats with diabetes can become healthy and sprightly again with the correct diet and insulin regimen.
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How To Feed Diabetic Cats
Consistency is key when it comes to feeding diabetic cats, particularly if they are on insulin. Cats should eat the same amount of food at the same time each day. Most diabetic cats receive two daily insulin injections that are given 12 hours apart. Ideally, food should be offered just before the next dose of insulin is due. That way, if a cat does not eat a full meal, the amount of insulin can be reduced. Your veterinarian will put together a detailed plan regarding when and how to adjust insulin dosages. If in doubt, do not give your cat any insulin and call your veterinarian for advice.
Treats should be limited to 10 percent of a diabetic cats diet and given at the same time every day. Good options like freeze-dried chicken, beef, salmon, tuna, and liver are high in protein and low in carbohydrates, just like the foods recommended for diabetic cats. Stop giving treats if they interfere with your cats appetite at regular mealtimes.
Finally, never make any changes to your diabetic cats insulin dose or diet without first talking to your veterinarian. Diabetes management is a delicate balance between diet and insulin levels. Changing one almost invariably necessitates a change in the other to keep cats safe from potentially fatal fluctuations in their blood sugar levels.
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How Many Times Do I Need To Feed My Diabetic Cat
If your cat is on insulin shots, feed her meals two to three times a day. You can give her low-carb snacks in between. But do try to control free feeding as it will cause unnecessary spikes in her blood sugar levels. This is for cats on short-acting insulin shots.
In case your cat isnt getting insulin shots or is on long-acting ones, stick to whatever schedule you both are comfortable with.
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Our Runner Up Pick: Nomnomnow Wet Cat Food
And now for something slightly different. NomNomNow provides a cat food delivery subscription tailored to your cats dietary needs. When you sign up, you enter details about your cats size, weight, medical conditions, and dietary requirements, and the company tailors portion sizes and feeding schedules to meet the needs of your feline friend.
NomNomNow makes two wet cat food recipes, both of which are suited to diabetic cats. The Chicken Chow-Meow gets 56% of its calories from protein and 10% from carbohydrates, while the Flavorful Fish Feast gets 50% of calories from protein and just 5% from carbohydrates. If your diabetic cat thrives on low carbs, the fish recipe is a slightly better option, but 10% of calories from carbohydrates still makes the chicken recipe a low-carb option.
According to NomNomNow, it costs roughly $14 per week to feed an average 7-pound cat on its food, which is very reasonable considering the quality. That said, it may cost more depending on your cats portion sizes.
NomNomNow Wet Cat Food Key Features:
- Delivered straight to your door
- Low calorie
Feeding The Diabetic Cat
You probably already know that cats require meat in their diets. They need more meat and protein than dogs and they are not as good at breaking down carbs and starches as dogs. This is even more true when it comes to diabetic cats. Their bodies have greater difficulty moving sugar/glucose from the bloodstream to distribute it to the cells in the body. This is why sugar builds up in the cats bloodstream and can become harmful. As you might guess, it makes sense to feed a diabetic cat a diet that has less starch in it so it wont break down into more sugar/glucose.
According to the latest research, diabetic cats can benefit from diets that are high in protein and fat and low in carbohydrates. Kitten foods can supply high protein and fat for this kind of diet. You can also find really good new diets today that have been made especially for diabetic cats such as Purina ProPlan DM Dietary Management Feline. Some vets may also prescribe a starch blocker called acarbose to help prevent or slow your cat from digesting the starches in their diet. This drug requires a veterinarians prescription. Cats fed a high protein/low carb diet that take acarbose can often discontinue their insulin injections , or have their diabetes regulated on a lower dose of insulin.
If you are interested in following a high protein/low carb diet for your diabetic cat, most people recommend that you feed canned cat food. They have always had higher protein and fewer carbs than dry cat food.
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An Excellent Dry Food Option For Diabetic Cats
For those of you hoping for one dry food option for your diabetic cat, we do have an honorable mention, and that goes to Ziwi Peak Lamb Recipe Cat Food.
Ziwi Peak is a good diabetic cat food option because its air dried. In other words, rather than relying on fillers and carbs to do the work of keeping the food dry, this food is naturally dehydrated, maintaining its healthy low-carb edge and high crude protein amount!
Using every conceivable part of the lamb, including tripe, heart, lung, and bone, this option can also help out in the weight loss department without sacrificing flavor.
To help fend off skin and coat issues, Ziwi contains ingredients like dried kelp, green mussel, and an amino acid complex, which all work together to help maintain a healthy coat and resilient skin, free of flakes and over-shedding.
When it comes to selecting a food for your diabetic cat, always look for low carb content, high protein content, and a lack of filler. If you keep these in mind, and prioritize a limited ingredient list, youâll have a happy, healthy cat. Of course, be sure to discuss your catâs diet with your vet to ensure optimal health.
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High Moisture Foods Are Best For Diabetic Cats
The title for the best type of diabetic cat food has to go to the brands in the can. Thatâs because, as weâve already discussed, most dry cat foods are chock-full of unhealthy fillers that cats donât want or need. In order for dry foods to stay dry, CatInfo.org says cat food makers fill them with carbs, including potatoes and peas, and these can make cats unwell in general.
Though some of our recommended brands may be unfamiliar or unexpected, theyâre here because they are manufactured with more than the use by date in mind. Quality wet foods are often preserved naturally and made with the high protein content cats need to potentially end heavy reliance on insulin shots.
To be sure, these arenât the brands of wet cat food youâre going to find on a grocery store shelf at 10 p.m. However, that doesnât mean youâll only be able to find these foods online and in high-end feline emporiums. The fact is, the very best food for diabetic cats will be stocked by pet stores that put a focus on diet over toys and treats. Places like feed and tack shops are going to be your best bet when trying to hunt down the best brands.
Letâs take a closer look at some of the best diabetic cat foods and see what health benefits they can offer for cats.
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Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Cat Food For Diabetic Cats
If you have an adult or senior cat, you`ve already noticed that she doesnt run and jump like she used to. Don`t forget that such inactivity can lead to weight gain and as a result to diabetes. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets is an ideal selection, in any case, whether you have the cat with diabetes or she is at greater risk of becoming diabetic.
This high protein, low carb product is known as a quality dry food for diabetic cats. It doesnt contain grains and the main advantage of this meal provides a limited ingredient diet that makes it perfect for cats with sensitivities.
Moreover, this diet is all natural and includes prebiotic fiber that helps prevent your cat from overeating and control her weight.
- Can make your feline friend finicky
- Should be supplemented with canned food for moisture
What To Look For In A Cat Food For Diabetic Cats
The fact that your cat has diabetes doesnt change his basic nutritional requirements. Cats are obligate carnivores, so they have an evolutionary need for protein in their diets. Generally speaking, cats are designed to consume a diet low in carbohydrates as well, though most commercial cat foods contain more than enough to meet your cats needs for fiber and nutrients.
So, what should you look for in a cat food for diabetic cats? Here are some ideas:
- High-quality animal protein
- Moderate protein from healthy, animal-based sources
- Minimal carbohydrates from digestible sources
- Rich in moisture
- Complete and balanced in terms of nutrition
For the most part, the best cat food for diabetic cats is canned food at least when youre talking about commercial cat food. Commercial canned cat food tends to be higher in protein, lower in carbohydrates, and higher in moisture than dry cat food which makes it ideal for cats with diabetes. If you can afford to feed your cat fresh, raw, or homemade cat food, those are excellent options as well.
Before getting into our picks for the best cat food for diabetic cats, we want to address one more common question do diabetic cats require a prescription diet?
Now that you have a better understanding of what to look for when shopping for diabetic cat food, youre ready to see our top picks! Keep reading to see our favorites for the best cat food for diabetic cats in different categories.
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Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Morsels In Gravy Canned Cat Food
The Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Morsels in Gravy Canned Cat Food is quite high-quality. This food includes plenty of added prebiotics, which also slow digestion and keep the blood sugar low. The wet food also includes a high amount of moisture, which may be helpful for many cats. It isnt odd for cats to have a hard time staying hydrated.
This diabetic cat food is very high in protein but low in starch. The first ingredient is water, but the next few ingredients are all high protein amounts. The second ingredient is chicken liver, followed by chicken, pork liver, and pork. This formula can prevent stones from forming in the bladder as well.
There are no fillers in this cat food for diabetic cats, including peas. This also helps make it low-glycemic, as many fillers are high in carbohydrates.
This food is a bit messy. It is very watery, which makes it spread out quite a bit as your cat licks it.
Purina is known for their inexpensive yet quite high-quality. Their Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets DM Formula Canned Cat Food is quite similar. However, some of the ingredients included are quite low-quality in this particular recipe. Meat by-products are included as the first ingredient, which is very low-quality. The by-products themselves arent terrible, as this is simply the usually inedible parts of the prey that have been ground up. Our cats would naturally eat by-products like fur and cartilage in the wild.
- Not designed for diabetic cats
Our Top Pick: Hills Prescription Diet Glucosupport Cat Food
Hills Prescription Diet GlucoSupport Cat Food is our first choice of diabetic cat food for a number of reasons. Formulated by both veterinarians and nutritionists, this cat food is clinically tested to support your diabetic cat in two major ways: managing their glucose levels as well as their weight. Whats more, its clinically proven to reduce body fat. This diabetic cat food is packed full of ultra-nutritious ingredients that aid your cats digestion, and even boasts essential amino acids and antioxidants. Its high in protein and low in carbohydrates, which represents an ideal balance for diabetic cats.
At $54.99 for an 8.5-pound bag, it doesnt come cheap. But its worth keeping in mind that youll get what you pay for, as this is without a doubt one the highest-quality diabetic cat foods available. Plus, you may not need to use it long term. Once your cat has lost weight and her blood sugar is more stable, you may be able to switch to a standard high protein, low carb cat food.
Hills Prescription Diet GlucoSupport Cat FoodKey Features:
- Veterinary grade formula
- Manages your cats blood glucose levels
- Includes essential amino acids and antioxidants
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How Many Times A Day Do You Feed A Diabetic Cat
Most people will need to change up their cats feeding schedule after their diagnosis. This is large because the food needs to be consumed alongside the insulin dosages. Otherwise, your cat will be unable to properly use the calories that they consume, which can lead to health problems.
This eliminates the possibility of simply leaving your cats food out, as you wont be able to provide them with the appropriate insulin when they eat. You simply dont know when they are eating! Youll likely need to feed your cat twice a day and provide them with a specific amount of insulin at this time as well. This will prevent their blood sugar from spiking and allow them to properly utilize the carbs in their food.
But your specific cat may need to be fed more or less than that. If your cat is working to lose weight, more meals may help them feel fuller. Generally, you will never feed your cat only once. This would result in far too many carbs entering their bloodstream at the same time, and it would require a very large dose of insulin.
Small snacks are usually better for cats with diabetes. But we understand that most owners only have enough time to feed their cats two or three times a day.
Can Diabetic Cats Be Controlled With Proper Diet
Most type 2 diabetic cats and all type 1 diabetic cats need to have insulin shots to control their blood sugar levels. But itâs sometimes possible for cats with type 2 diabetes to be controlled with a specialized diet alone with the help of an expert vet. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of feline diabetes and more cats have been treated using a specialized diet.
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