Feline Diabetes Cat Food & Diet
If you talk to feline nutrition experts, many will agree that diabetes and obesity are preventable diseases in cats. The culprit for both health problems, they feel, is often high carbohydrate, high filler dry foods, in their opinion.
Diabetes is a disease in which the pancreas cannot efficiently or accurately secrete the hormone insulin to balance blood sugar levels. There are two types of diabetes; type 1 is when the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin as required and type 2 is when the body doesn’t respond to the presence of insulin. Because sugar is processed into energy, a diabetic animal though may typically first be obese first, will lose weight because he cannot process that sugar. The risk of diabetes is greater in older overweight cats.
Signs of diabetes in cats are excessive urinating as their bodies attempt to flush sugar in the urine, greater water drinking, increased appetite accompanied by weight loss and lethargy. Neuropathy also might affect the animal’s hind legs.
If the early signs mentioned above go unnoticed, the disease progresses to cause secondary conditions such as an unhealthy coat, liver disease and infection.
Your veterinarian will diagnose the cat based on clinical signs he or she observes and by running tests on the cat’s blood and urine.
Treatment for a diabetic cat is much like that for a human with diabetes—diet control, home blood sugar testing, insulin injections or oral medication. Though some cats may begin requiring insulin, they may later be maintained just by diet once the pancreas adjusts.
Though a complex disease, many books and websites help owners with newly diagnosed kitties adjust to the treatment and maintenance regimen. Your veterinarian will describe the healthiest diet for a diabetic cat as a high protein, low carbohydrate diet. (Many fanciers feel that diabetes can be prevented if pet owners start their cats out right on a low carbohydrate, high protein diet.) Canned food is preferred to dry because canned food is typically higher in protein. Dry food is usually high in grains and fillers that are carbohydrates.
Some commercial foods include canned Wellness, 3% carbohydrates, Purina DM, 8% carbohydrates and therapeutic formulas Hill’s Prescription Science Diet m/d 16% carbohydrates . Plus, even some less costly formulas, such as Fancy Feast, can offer less than 10% carbohydrates.
You may elect to feed your cat a raw or homemade diets so that you can select your own high quality proteins. If you do decide to go homemade, ask for recommendations from your veterinarian as to what to include in recipes and if you should provide a cat supplement.
Experts recommend steering clear of cat foods that contain rice, wheat gluten and corn starch. If your cat is obese, he needs to lose weight. Confirm with your veterinarian the caloric intake that your cat should receive daily. Most cats are fed 300 kilocalories (or Calories) divided into two feedings.
Properly maintained, a diabetic feline can live a happy healthy life and many years after initial diagnosis of diabetes.