Pet Pointers: How to help a diabetic cat

by Symptom Advice on December 20, 2011

1. What kind of diabetes?

2. how can it be reversed?

Great questions! Diabetes in cats is different than in humans. in humans there is type I (where the body is not producing enough insulin) and type II (“non- insulin dependent,” often caused by obesity, which can be controlled). Diabetic cats are not classified as type I or II; they are borderline diabetics. If we were going to classify diabetic cats capable of remission they are most closely related to type II diabetics.

Cats can go into remission and stay there for various periods of time. Sadly, with time, stress, diseases or weight gain will cause the pancreas to eventually give out, and the cat will become diabetic again (similar to type I). The goal of therapy is to reverse the symptoms of diabetes, including increased thirst, excess urination and weight loss, by lowering the blood sugar levels closer to that found in “normal” cats.

How can they go into remission?

Diabetics have high blood glucose levels, which negatively affect the beta cells in the pancreas. Insulin allows these cells time to recover and start working again properly. But cats that are overweight are resistant to insulin. therefore, it is important to put your diabetic cat on a weight-loss diet to allow the insulin to start working more efficiently. a low carb and high protein diet is thought to prevent spikes in blood glucose levels so the cat produces less simple sugar. Carbohydrates readily convert to simple sugars and raise blood glucose levels. High-protein and high-fat diets, on the other hand, are less likely to raise the cat’s blood glucose level than a diet consisting of carbohydrates.

Some fortunate cats are transient diabetics and no longer require insulin treatment after initial therapy. this type of diabetes is typically caused by drugs or other diseases. If the pet’s underlying disease is cured (often related to pancreatic diseases), or particular medications are discontinued, the transient diabetic cat can become a non-diabetic.

Unfortunately, diabetes in cats is very complicated and there is still a lot that is unknown. Fortunately, diabetes is on the forefront of numerous research projects.

Alia Kroos is a veterinary nurse at Adobe Animal Hospital in Los Altos. Visit

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If you have questions about pets, The Daily News would like to answer them, with help from experts at Adobe Animal Hospital in Los Altos and other Peninsula vets. Just write to us at

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