Diabetes mellitus is an increasingly common—and often silent—occurrence among cats. Unlike human diabetes, we know surprisingly little about the causes of feline diabetes. Thankfully, it is still very treatable. If you live with a cat, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of diabetes so they can receive the proper treatment.
What is Feline Diabetes?
Similar to human diabetes, feline diabetes is split into Type I and Type II. In Type I diabetes, the pancreas fails to secrete an adequate amount of insulin. In Type II diabetes, the pancreas cannot process incoming insulin properly. Cats with either type of diabetes have elevated levels of glucose in their blood.
Veterinarians diagnose diabetes in approximately 0.5% to 2% of all cats. However, this number is most likely underdiagnosed. Symptoms of diabetes can be subtle and thus difficult to spot. Keep a close eye on your cat, and you will stand a better chance at identifying feline diabetes early.
Look out for increased thirst and increased urination. Experts conclude that these are the most common signs of feline diabetes. You might notice larger clumps in the litter box, indicating more output during urination. Additionally, while diabetes can occur in any cat, it is more common among obese cats. In more severe cases, diabetic cats may experience weight loss and/or muscle wasting. Muscle wasting refers to nerve damage in the hind limbs. As a result, cats with muscle wasting may walk lower to the ground or experience difficulty moving.
If you suspect your cat may have diabetes mellitus, schedule a vet visit. Diabetes is fairly common, but it can also be fatal. Your vet will ask you about clinical symptoms and run a variety of blood tests.
Diabetic cats almost always require insulin therapy. Follow your vet’s instructions and dosage carefully. Insulin injection may seem like a daunting task; always remember to stay calm. Over time, the task will become routine and thus more comfortable for both you and your cat.
Diet is also a component of treatment. Diabetic cats benefit from a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. Sometimes, this means switching from dry food to wet, canned food. Ask your vet for their best recommendations for your feline friend.
At Claws N Paws, your pet’s needs are important. Our professional grooming salon provides full-service grooming to both cats and dogs. Additionally, your cats can find a place to stay in our cats-only boarding facility right next door. We are currently open, with certain provisions in place to best protect our clients and staff from the current pandemic. For more information, see our blog on reopening. To schedule an appointment, call us at 714-962-1005.