6 Tips On How To Prevent Feline Diabetes
As the owner of a diabetic cat who, fortunately, has been in remission for a few years now, I get asked about feline diabetes quite a bit. One question a lot of people have is how they can keep their cats from getting the disease. The good news is that for the vast majority of cats, there are six simple steps you can take to prevent your furry friend from getting feline diabetes. 1. The first step in preventing feline diabetes: watch your cat’s weight As with Type 2 diabetes in humans, the most common risk factor for development of the diabetes in cats is obesity. A recent study revealed that 58 percent of cats are overweight or obese, and that’s a lot of ticking diabetes time bombs. Fat cats may be cute, but the health risks certainly are not. Make sure you feed your cat according to the instructions on his food, and if you are going to feed treats and snacks, make sure you compensate by feeding less at mealtime. 2. Feed your cat a species-appropriate diet Cats are obligate carnivores. Their bodies evolved to eat a high-protein, low-carbohydrate and grain-free diet. Most vets these days agree that cats do best on a diet of canned food because the protein-carbohydrate balance is more in alignment with what their systems are designed to handle. Talk to your vet to determine the right diet for your cat. 3. Provide exercise and enrichment Not only will exercise keep your cat’s weight down, it will reduce his stress level as well, so be sure to play with him every day. A bonus of daily play is that it will strengthen the bond between you and your furry friend. Environmental enrichment such as “catification” projects or outdoor catios can go a long way to de-stress a cat and give him things to do and play with when you’re away from home. 4. Make sure your cat get Continue reading >>
How To Feed Your Diabetic Cat
“There’s a prevalent myth that dry foods cause diabetes in cats,” says Dr. Linder. “I don’t know where this comes from. In humans, excess sugar is associated with diabetes, but that’s not the case with cats. There’s nothing wrong with giving cats carbohydrates as long as the diet is balanced with protein, fats and carbs.” It’s the total calories that matters most — and avoiding obesity — when it comes to preventing diabetes. Once your cat actually has diabetes, however, restricting carbohydrates is a good idea. Since canned food tends to be lower in carbohydrates than dry food, it is usually the best choice for a cat who already has diabetes. With the help of your veterinarian — or a veterinary nutritionist — it may even be possible to modify your cat’s diet so that she goes into remission. When your cat is diagnosed with diabetes, it’s certainly going to require a lifestyle change for your pet, explains Deborah Linder, DVM, Head of Tufts Obesity Clinic for Animals at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. “Your cat can do very well, and have an excellent quality of life for many years,” she says. “But it does require intensive management by the owner.” In most cases, you’ll need to become accustomed to giving your cat insulin injections twice a day, usually timed in conjunction with feeding. “If the cat and the family are amenable, we switch to canned foods that the cat can eat twice a day, and he receives insulin at the same time,” says Dr. Linder, who is board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Nutrition. So, if you’ve gotten into the convenient habit of pouring some kibble into a bowl or if you use an “ad libitum” auto-feeder, you’ll need to get into different habits. And if you’re accustomed to Continue reading >>
Join Hill's® My Pet Companion
Diabetes mellitus is a condition that develops when your cat cannot use sugar (glucose) effectively and control the sugar level in her blood. Insulin, which is made in the pancreas, is essential for regulating the use and storage of blood glucose. Insufficient insulin production is potentially life threatening. There are two types of diabetes, and although there is no cure, cats with either type can be successfully managed through nutrition, exercise, and if necessary, regular insulin medication. With the right cat food and advice from your veterinarian, your diabetic cat can enjoy a happy, active life. What causes diabetes? A reduction in insulin production is usually caused by damage to the pancreas. The pancreas is responsible for producing the proper amount of insulin to control sugar levels. If your cat's pancreas is damaged, long-term and potentially life-threatening symptoms could occur and must be managed. In some cats hormonal changes or medications can reduce the effect of insulin. Other factors that increase the chance of your cat developing diabetes include: Body condition: Overweight cats are more likely to develop diabetes. Severely obese cats are most at risk. Age: Cats can develop diabetes at any age, but the peak onset is around 8 years. Gender: Diabetes in cats is more prevalent in males Breed: Burmese are more at, risk than other breeds. Other Factors: Poor nutrition, hormonal abnormalities, stress Does my cat have diabetes? The signs of diabetes are difficult to recognize because they are similar to those of other disorders like chronic kidney disease and hyperthyroidism. If you notice any of the following, it could mean your cat has diabetes. Signs and symptoms of diabetes: Increased thirst Rapid weight loss Not eating Tired, lack of energy Vomiting Continue reading >>
Feeding The Diabetic Cat
Diet plays a critical role in the management of feline diabetes. In fact, with the right diet and medication, it is highly likely that cats newly diagnosed with diabetes will achieve diabetic remission — meaning they will become non-diabetic and no longer require insulin therapy. This is most common within the first four to six months after diagnosis and institution of appropriate diet and insulin therapy. What Is the Best Food for a Diabetic Cat? Cats are true obligate carnivores and as such have a very high protein requirement and an almost nonexistent carbohydrate requirement. Cats are designed to consume foods that are high in protein, moderate in fat and very low in carbohydrates. The following composition is ideal: 50 percent (or greater) of calories from animal-based protein 20-45 percent of calories from fat 1-2 percent of calories from carbohydrates Rich in water (approximately 70 percent by weight) When referring to commercial cat food, this ideal composition will only be found in canned cat food formulas. Most dry foods are not low enough in carbohydrates. Additionally, dry foods usually contain plant-based protein and are too low in overall protein to satisfy a cat’s high protein requirement. Therefore, dry foods are not generally recommended for diabetic cats. It is well established that the ideal feline diet — especially to achieve diabetic remission — is a canned high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. What Is a Low-Carb Diet? A low-carbohydrate diet is one that provides less than 10 percent of the total calories as carbohydrates. Some cats will have adequate control of their diabetes on higher-carbohydrate diets, while others may require further restriction to 5 percent of the calories as carbohydrates. In general, the lower the carbs the better for Continue reading >>
What Food Is Best For A Cat With Diabetes?
The great majority of diabetic cats have what is called Type 2 diabetes. This means that, early in the course of the disease at least, they are still producing levels of insulin that should be adequate for normal body function. The problem is that the rest of the body has become less sensitive to insulin, almost always due in large part to the hormonal effects of obesity. To have an effect on blood sugar levels, the pancreas has to crank out ever higher amounts of insulin, which eventually exhausts the pancreatic beta cells responsible for insulin production. If Type 2 diabetes is caught early and treated appropriately, enough beta cell function may remain, allowing the cat to eventually be weaned off insulin injections (called a diabetic remission). This is not usually true for more advanced cases, however. These patient’s beta cells are permanently worn out, and insulin injections remain necessary for the rest of the cat’s life. The ideal food for diabetes management must achieve three goals: Blunt the wild swings in blood sugar levels thereby decreasing the amount of insulin the body needs Promote weight loss to reduce the negative hormonal effects of obesity Cats must want to eat it Let me focus on point three for a moment. If a cat won’t eat a food, it obviously can’t have a positive effect on the patient’s condition. Equally important with diabetes is that insulin doses need to be modified based on how much food a cat takes in. A cat’s prescribed insulin dose is based on the assumption that the patient is eating a specific amount of food. If she eats significantly less, the dose must be lowered to avoid the potentially fatal complications of low blood sugar levels. Disease management is much easier and less dangerous if a diabetic cat looks forward to Continue reading >>
Binky died not from diabetes but due to general failure of all systems. His obituary can be found here. Au revoir, sweet boy. Binky was my adorable, plush, extremely loving, beige tabby cat, who was diagnosed with diabetes in January 2000. Several years ago, with major input from the wonderful and supportive community at the Feline Diabetes Message Board (FDMB), as well as many others who have sent me information on cat foods, I compiled several useful documents, which are listed below. Continue reading >>
Will My Diabetic Cat Need Prescription Cat Food?
One of the biggest and most important factors when treating a diabetic cat is nutrition. Your cat will not only need a brand new diet, but they may need a prescription diet. Learn more here. Was your cat recently diagnosed with diabetes? Even if you’re just delving into the best strategies for managing this disease, you’ve probably gotten a sense of the importance of your cat’s diet to managing feline diabetes. Find out what you’ll need to know about prescription cat food, and tips for feeding your cat after this diagnosis. In general, a prescription diet is not always necessary after a cat’s diabetes diagnosis. It can, however, make feeding simpler. For some cats, even ones on a non-prescription diet that follows all the recommendations, it can be tough to regulate their glucose levels. And for you, it can be a challenge to figure out how ingredients are balanced. Prescription diets remove this guesswork and the need for research. Prescription cat food is more costly, though -- you can expect to pay around $40 to $50 for two dozen cans of wet food. When Not Using an Rx Diet: Go With Wet Cat Food If your cat is currently on a dry food diet, a diabetes diagnosis is a cue to switch them over to wet food. As well as helping to keep them hydrated, wet food generally has less carbohydrates and more protein. For diabetic cats, the right diet is low in carbohydrates and high in protein so wet food more often fits the bill. Remember: cats are carnivorous creatures, and thrive on meat-based foods, so a protein-focused diet is the best option. If you do have to switch your cat from one food to another, do it slowly, since cats deal poorly with dietary changes. Try serving smaller and smaller amounts of the original food, while mixing in larger and larger amounts of the Continue reading >>
Feeding Diabetic Cats
The aim of dietary change is to improve blood glucose control. Type of Diet Commercial, ‘prescription’ diets designed for diabetic cats are available. These diets are ideal as they have the correct nutritional value for a diabetic cat. They usually have a high quality, highly digestible protein source, restricted fat and are often low in carbohydrate. Cats are known for their fussy eating habits. Anorexia and resultant hypoglycemia is far more dangerous than hyperglycemia: diabetic cats can be stabilized on their usual diet (preferably exactly the same type and amount of food every day) if need be. Number of meals Many cats prefer to browse, eating many small “snacks” (somewhere in the range of 5-11) every day rather than being fed distinct meals. The usual feeding routine (e.g. food always available (ad libitum), meals/fresh food given twice or three times daily) should be kept when starting to stabilize a diabetic cat. The exception is cats that are obese. These cats should be given a diet designed for weight management (these are high fiber diets) and fed according to a strict regime until they reach their ideal/target body weight. In some cats, weight loss may dramatically reduce or even eliminate the need for insulin treatment (“clinical diabetic remission”). Continue reading >>
Feeding Schedule For Diabetic Cats
Go to site For Pet Owners Effective glycemic control is dependent upon a controlled and consistent dietary intake. It’s important to achieve and then maintain a normal body weight, because this is a strong indicator of good diabetes control. Body weight is a major factor in diet selection. Obese cats require reduced caloric intake, either through feeding a calorie-restricted diet or a reduced quantity of the normal diet. Increasing physical activity will also benefit obese cats. In contrast, underweight cats may require calorie-rich diets such as pediatric or convalescent foods. Another important consideration is the presence of concurrent disease, for example, renal failure or pancreatitis. In some cases, dietary management for associated problems is more critical than a specific diabetic diet. Also, any concurrent infection, inflammation, or hormonal or neoplastic disorder can interfere with insulin therapy. Control weight Average daily caloric intake for a geriatric pet should be 30–50 kcal/kg. Adjust daily caloric intake on an individual basis. If required, eliminate obesity by decreasing calories and feeding diets designed for weight loss. Feeding recommendations Cats are obligate carnivores and naturally require a high-protein diet. Though diet needs to be tailored to a cat’s individual needs, high-protein, low-carbohydrate foods are ideal for many diabetic cats. Feed canned or dry foods (but canned foods are preferred because they tend to be lower in carbohydrates). Timing of meals For twice-daily Vetsulin® (porcine insulin zinc suspension) dosing of cats: Keep caloric content of meals consistent. Maintain consistent timing of feed schedule. Feed one-half of the total daily food intake either concurrently with or right after Vetsulin administration (at 12- Continue reading >>
What Causes Cat Diabetes?
Diabetes in Cats You may have heard that cats can get diabetes. Is diabetes in cats the same as in humans? In some ways it is: Diabetes is caused by a lack of insulin, the hormone that regulates how sugar is absorbed and used by cells and tissues in the body, human or cat. Some Signs of Diabetes You May Want to Look For: 1. Extreme hunger or thirst. 2. Eating and drinking far more than normal and still losing weight. 3. Increased urination. Impact of a Healthy Diet Fortunately, the disorder can be managed with medicine and diet. If you notice any signs of extreme hunger or thirst in your cat, contact your veterinarian immediately. We hope these signs will help you keep your eyes open for possible signs of diabetes in your cat. Continue reading >>
A Guide To Feline Diabetes
When diabetes mellitus occurs in cats, it is called feline diabetes. Cats can develop this disease in a fashion that has similarities to the human illness. When feline diabetes occurs, a cat's body might not produce enough insulin. The cat's body might also struggle with utilizing insulin properly. Pet parents must maintain vigilance to catch the symptoms. With a proactive approach, treatment options may provide relief for their cat. In a healthy cat, the pancreas produces insulin. Insulin serves to regulate glucose present in the bloodstream, delivering it to cells throughout the body. If insulin is not present in the required amounts or if the body is not managing it effectively, a cat's body may begin seeking energy from alternative sources. Fat and protein stored by the body will become sources of energy, which usually leads a cat to begin eating more but losing weight. The four main symptoms of feline diabetes include increased appetite, unexplained weight loss, increased urination, and increased thirst. Precise causes of feline diabetes remain somewhat uncertain. Obese cats may have an elevated risk for developing feline diabetes. Cats with weight issues may remain healthier if they eat a diet that is lower in carbohydrates. Some veterinarians recommend specific types of food for their patients, believing that foods that are higher in protein are a better fit for the physiological needs of cats. Some breeds of cats might have a genetic predisposition to developing feline diabetes, but evidence has not led researchers to make definitive conclusions regarding a genetic link to diabetes. A veterinarian will diagnose diabetes by examining the cat in conjunction with symptoms reported and noted. The veterinarian may also perform laboratory tests to detect sugar levels Continue reading >>
Does Dry Cat Food Really Cause Feline Diabetes
The link between food and feline diabetes is a subject that we’ve talked about before but it keeps coming up so I think it’s a good idea to revisit the subject. One of the concerns surrounding dry food is the carbohydrate content in the foods. Dry foods tend to have moderate to high levels of carbohydrates. Many sources on the internet will tell you that feeding dry foods that contain high levels of carbohydrates will cause your cat to develop diabetes. But is this true and what is the real relationship here? We know that feeding a high-protein low-carbohydrate diet can be effective for controlling the glycemic response in diabetic cats and many diabetic cats fed this type of diet will actually go into diabetic remission. Many people make the claim that since feeding these diets to a diabetic cat is beneficial, then feeding a healthy cat a high-protein low-carbohydrate diet should prevent diabetes. However, the situation is actually much more complex than that. In 2011, at the World Small Animal Veterinary Association World Congress, Claudia A. Kirk, DVM, PhD, DACVN, DACVIM presented a session entitled Cats and Carbohydrates – What is the Impact? These are some of the highlights of her presentation: Several studies have evaluated the potential role of carbohydrates in the pathogenesis of DM (diabetes mellitus) in cats. Summarizing key findings: An epidemiological study of cats from the Netherlands found indoor confinement and low physical activity and not amount of dry food were associated with DM. High carbohydrate intake was not considered a risk factor for feline DM. But recent reports from these investigators have suggested an association of high carbohydrate foods with calcium oxalate urolithiasis. Indoor confinement and physical inactivity rather than the pr Continue reading >>
Cats are carnivores – for this reason, their ability to break down carbohydrates is not as well developed as their human counterparts. It is particularly important in the case of diabetic felines that their diet is primarily made up of proteins and very few carbs. Similarly, it’s best to choose a wet food over a dry food. Our 95% Premium Meat canned cat food may be just the food your Veterinarian would suggest to help ward off diabetes and or overweight issues. I encourage you to show your veterinarian the ingredient panel. My hunch he or she will whole heartily agree that Dave’s 95% cat food is a fabulous food for your cat. As the name suggests, meat is the main ingredient. It is grain, corn, cereal, gluten and wheat free. More great news? It comes in a variety of flavors because as pet parents we understand that one flavor does not fit all! For more information on feline diabetes, please take a look at this resource from veterinarian Lisa Pierson, DVM: www.catinfo.org Continue reading >>
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Cat Diabetes - Cat Diet Questions
(Shrewsbury, England ) Our 11-year-old male, semi-feral and highly strung male cat has just been diagnosed with feline diabetes. The vet put him on cat insulin injections twice daily. It was an absolute nightmare, but we managed eventually to give him some injections. However, he now runs away from us every time we came close to him or call him. He has quickly learned when the time is due for his injections. Two days ago he completely went missing and had nothing to eat or drink all day and on his return was totally stressed and hid away. We contacted our vet and he has now taken him off insulin and put him on a Hills special diet food (both dry and wet variety). Our concern is that he weighs 6.5 kilos and is solidly built. He is a 'grazer' and his daily diet since being a kitten consists of about 400 grams of freshly cooked whitefish (cod or Haddock), some prawns in the morning and he sometimes helps himself to our other four rescue cat's food dishes which contains ordinary wet cat food and dry food. The vet has said wean him off the fish. It is not possible to feed him separately, so all the other cats will also have to on the Hills veterinary diet food. Our concerns are: 1. Will this course of action help to manage his diabetes as his current diet is high on protein and low on carbs? 2. As our other cats will now also have to go on the special diet, will it in any way detrimentally affect them? 3. Are there any other treatments for diabetes that can be given orally? Can you recommend any other course of action, because we are out of our minds with worry about our diabetic cat. Dear Judy, First, let me start by saying that I'm surprised your cat even became diabetic on the low carb, high protein you have been feeding him for what sounds like the majority of your kitty Continue reading >>
What Should I Feed My Diabetic Cat?
Q Can you recommend a wet food suitable for a diabetic cat? Is wet food better for diabetic cats than dry? I've heard that dry food causes diabetes in the first place. Vet Susan McKay replies: There are quite a few factors that are likely to increase the chances of a cat developing diabetes: a sedentary lifestyle, neutering, advancing age and obesity, to name a few. It has also been suggested that high carbohydrate diets can increase blood glucose levels and may predispose cats to obesity and diabetes. A 2007 study in which cats were fed wet food or dry food showed no differences in glucose tolerance, but the cats gained weight more easily if fed dry food. Once a cat has been diagnosed as being diabetic, it is believed that diets low in carbohydrate and high in protein result in better control of diabetes and may even reduce insulin requirements. But there are exceptions - cats that are ill and diabetic may be better just fed a palatable food. For cats that also have kidney trouble, it may be more necessary to manage their kidney disease and restrict protein. If the cat's main issue is obesity, the food may be chosen to support weight loss. There are veterinary diets that are high in protein and low in carbohydrate, suitable for managing diabetes. They are available in dry and wet formats. If you do want to choose a wet non-prescription food, and your vet has indicated that it would be safe for your cat, I suggest choosing a good quality premium (high meat content) brand. Most wet brands contain negligible amounts of carbohydrate. If you want, you can work out the carbohydrate content: add together the percentage label declarations - protein, oil, fibre, ash and moisture - and subtract from 100 per cent to get the carbohydrate content. Most wet foods also contain sugars Continue reading >>