How do I care for my cat with diabetes?
When you find your furry buddy with even a hint of sickness, you tend to get anxious and confused. You want to seek the best possible way to comfort them. Diabetes is quite common among humans. However, this metabolic illness is not limited to human bodies. Your beloved felines can also develop this health condition. Diabetes mellitus occurs in cats, either due to lack of Insulin response from their pancreas or as a result of insulin resistance.
It can cause a consistently high blood sugar levels. Around 80 to 90 percent, Diabetic cats suffer from Diabetes, similar to Type II diabetes. As per the Journal of Feline Medicine and Study, Diabetes is found in about 1 cat in 230 cats. Some professionals estimate that about 2 percent of the total cat population develop this disease.
The good news is Diabetic Cats can also lead a healthy and long life with proper diet and medication. As they say, “Love heals all wounds,” if you find your purring pal suffering from Diabetes, all he needs the most along with medications, is your love and care.
With so many apprehensions arising in your mind, let us go through answers to some common queries put out by guardians of diabetic cats.
What can you expect when your cat has Diabetes?
Usually, if your kitty develops certain types of symptoms, you should surely get it checked for Diabetes with a Vet. It is found that cats generally affected with Diabetes are obese. The risk also rises if they have an unhealthy diet, a long period of sexual inactivity, undergo steroid treatments and are not spayed. There is a gradual onset of Diabetes spread over a few weeks or even months.
- The most common symptom is an unexpected weight loss or sometimes even weight gain. This is followed by excessive thirst and frequent urination. You will find your pet developing a strange liking for water. It may persistently wander near water taps or bowls.
- There are two situations observed. Either there may be a rise in hunger levels of your cat, up to triple the usual diet or an extreme loss of appetite.
- You can also find it walking on the back of the hind legs – this is referred to as “plantigrade.’ Cats don’t do this for fun in any way. Cats typically do this when the nerve connected to the back legs is damaged and dysfunctional.
- If your purring buddy can’t jump any more may not be a sign which is one of the biggest standouts, but if you have an energetic cat that loves to jump and all of a sudden they aren’t doing it anymore; this loss of enthusiasm is can also indicate serious physical issues.
If all these traits are prevalent for some weeks, you should definitely consult your Veterinary doctor.
A fasting sugar blood test is recommended. It is very similar to glucose blood tests for humans. You should also go for a urine test, wherein the case of Diabetes, ketone bodies will be found in the urine sample.
At an advanced stage of Diabetes, the symptoms turn quite acute
- The cat’s body starts cutting up its muscles and fat to be able to sustain the energy requirement. Often we hear ketosis referring to the human body breaking down fat in order to lose weight. This term also refers to a cat; when a cat gets to the point where food intake isn’t working, they will become very ill. If there is an excessive amount of waste in the blood, this causes your cat to be very nauseous and to vomit excessively.
- Limpness and extreme weakness can be seen due to loss of appetite and less energy.
- You can sense an Acetone smelling breath, which is a sign of dehydration caused due to Diabetes. This is a medical emergency where it needs immediate consultation with a doctor. It occurs in rare cases where the disease remains undetected and untreated for a long time.
How long do cats live with Diabetes?
Once a cat parent detects the onset of Diabetes in his little cat, he may enter a panic mode where he begins to think that they do not have much time together, and his buddy will leave him forever. But, you should rest assured that in most cases of diabetic cats, the cat is able to lead quite a normal and long life. All you need to ensure is a regulated diet, timely dosages of prescribed medicines, and regular checkups. Most cats found with Diabetes go on to live a long life spanning many years without various complications.
Just remember to keep a check on the numbers! The sugar levels in your cat’s blood must be kept as near to the normal range as possible.
Can a cat recover from Diabetes?
On a positive side, there is a possibility of recovery or remission from Diabetes in cats. But, this is subjective to various factors. For the most part, Diabetes is an illness that cannot be cured entirely but only regulated.
The cure or remission from Diabetes can happen in a few cats, mostly when they are diagnosed at a very initial stage. Early detection when the condition has not worsened and is still at a minor stage, you can hope for subsequent recovery.
- When your cat develops Diabetes, its body is not able to utilize the insulin produced in the pancreas, which helps in decreasing the blood sugar levels.
- At the elementary stage of the onset of diabetes, the pancreas in the body does possess the capability to secrete insulin to some level. The insulin secretion slows down gradually over a period. With immediate medical attention and treatment, you can regulate the blood sugar levels. This gives the pancreas the much needed time to recover, and it may resume its task normally.
However, if Diabetes is diagnosed in your cat at a later stage, the pancreas becomes redundant. The cells in the pancreas that secrete insulin tend to turn irreparably damaged. The disease, in such cases, cannot be completely cured. You then have to tend to its medication and diet control needs for the remaining life.
Hence, it is recommended to go for periodical checkups. Visit your Vet with your kitty for routine checkups, at least twice a year.
How much does it cost to treat a cat with Diabetes?
As pet owners, once you diagnose your dear cat with Diabetes, the thought of excessive expenses to look after your cat does bother you.
- The costs incurred generally include monthly medication costs, expenses on diagnosis, and equipment like glucose meters and test strips.
- The truth is the costs depend on the condition of the patient and the Vet’s treatment method. The treatments of vets will never match. The same is the condition of each diabetic cat, which will vary from one cat to the other.
- In case your pet cat is diagnosed at a later stage, there may be complicated health issues like Ketoacidosis or Pancreatitis. The initial costs in such situations will be high. It is also recommended to draw a glucose curve to analyze the overall sugar levels. You need to draw glucose blood samples, which can cost as low as $8 per sample to an exorbitant $49 for one sample. With about six to eight samples to draw the whole curve, you will end up spending about $200. Most Vets do a glucose curve at least twice annually.
- Some diabetic cats are easy to handle. Their condition is not very complex for the Vets to manage. There are, however, cases where the matters get quite tricky for the professionals. This leads to fluctuating outlays. You can expect the fees to range from $50 to $150 per month.
- Insulin and diagnostic tests prove to be the priciest. The charges vary based on the size and weight of your kitty and the complications in its body.
- If there are problems like Urinary tract infection, you will need to spend on the examination fees, antibiotics, and urinalysis. Bigger pets need to have higher doses of medications. Hence, you may have to spend some extra bucks if you have a larger feline.
- Even when your cat’s Diabetes remains regulated without significant complications, the veterinary experts advise a full blood profile and urinalysis at least once every year to keep a gauge on the health status.
- If you are on a controlled budget, you can go for methods like running a glucose curve in your home or doing your own research to solve most issues of your pet yourself. However, try to visit the Vets as many times as possible for the best results.
- It’s difficult to put a price on your cat’s health. If you can afford to take care of your cat then that’s great. Some people that own cats may find themselves in a financial bind. If that is the case be on the lookout for agencies that can help you. Contact your local SPCA and ask if there are lower priced animal clinics around your city. There are many of these facilities in most large towns and cities.
What are the specific medical treatments for Diabetes in cats?
Once your cat is detected with Diabetes by your veterinary doctor, some common treatment methods are prescribed for most diabetic pets. Treatment depends on how early the Diabetes was detected. Treatments can range from diet changes to medicines, sometimes including inulin that will have to be administered by a vet or at home by you.
- One of the essential things which the doctor will prescribe is an Oral medication for your kitty. Medicines like glipizide are used to reduce the sugar levels in the cat’s bloodstream. These medicines contain hypoglycemic agents that control the impact of Diabetes. However, many prefer to go for insulin shots. Discuss with your Vet all the pros and cons of the medicines.
- Injecting your cat with insulin is the sure-shot way to control sugar levels. It may seem scary at first, but gradually you and your cat will accommodate it. Generally, insulin needs to be injected twice a day for best results. It also depends on the severity of diabetes in your cat. Keep in mind that too much insulin may
- Changes to your cat’s diet are also crucial for treating Diabetes Mellitus. It is one of the basic things your cat will need to undergo. Your Vet will recommend the inclusion of various food items that are rich in protein and have low carbohydrate levels.
How can I treat my Cat’s Diabetes naturally?
Once your cat gets diagnosed with Diabetes, frankly treating your cat naturally without regular insulin shots is remotely recommended. In most cases, diabetic cats need insulin to function normally. However, some cats may be managed on a low-carb diet alone without insulin shots. But it is quite unlikely. Most docs recommended a combination of insulin shots with fewer carbs in the diet.
Your pet’s diet is the most crucial factor to regulate if you want a healthy pet. There are many holistic treatment plans, but they do need insulin support from time to time.
- Glandular treatment is also effective, which uses animal tissues and pancreas extracts to repair damage to any vital gland or organ inside your cat’s body. It improves hormone secretion and provides necessary nutrients.
- It is best to feed your cat 2 to 3 times a day. You also need to reduce the meal size, spreading the meal time properly throughout the day. This works well to keep the blood sugar levels stable.
- Go for natural herbs, supplements, and extracts. Natural support for diabetic pets can be catered to by using fresh herbs, high-quality herbal extracts, and supplements. The herbs and essential oils can ensure smoother functioning of the liver, kidney, pancreas, eyes, and also stabilizes the blood sugar levels and cholesterol. Seaweeds, Goat’s Rue, Fenugreek seeds, Chamomile, Aloe Vera, Turmeric root, Calendula, and Alfalfa are some common herbs used for providing needed support to your diabetic cat.
- These herbs have tons of benefits. For example, Goat’s rue enhances the body’s ability to support carbohydrates. At the same time, fresh seaweeds regulate metabolism, balances the glucose levels in the body, ensures proper kidney function, and prevent any infections. Do consult a professional before using these herbs. Cats tend to be quite sensitive to many herbs and essential oils.
- Homeopathic and Acupuncture treatments are also available for diabetic pets. You can find many homeopathic doctors and Acupuncture practitioners to consult for treatment through the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy and Acupuncture.
- Supplements of antioxidants, vitamins, and essential fatty acids work well to manage Diabetes naturally. They help to protect the body from cardiovascular problems.
What is the best type of cat food for your diabetic cats?
Your beloved cat is part of your family. Every possible measure to comfort and care for your kitty is what you aim to do. One of the most critical aspects which you need to consider if you have a diabetic pet is the food you feed to it.
A proper diet is necessary to control any spike in the sugar levels. Consult some specialists to gather a more extensive understanding of what elements to include in your cat’s diet. Some of the common suggestions include:
- Give canned food as much as you can. The raw food is usually found with a large level of carbohydrates. It is tough to prepare dry foods with less carb content, which is advisable for Diabetes. There are some canned foods that have almost no carbohydrate concentrations.
- Food with fewer carbohydrates and high protein works best for diabetic felines. Normally, high carbohydrates in food lead to an elevation in blood sugar levels. As there is a lack of insulin in a diabetic cat, you need to avoid such food items. Remember, it is best to source the protein requirement from animal-based foods. It is considered ideal for cats. On average, cat parents are suggested to feed them foods with less than 10 percent carbs. Some cats with unstable sugar levels may need to go for even less than 5 percent carb content.
- Low carb and a low-fat diet also work well. Especially if your cat must lose weight, though, one should also keep in mind that a very low-fat content is also risky for the pet’s health. You need to strike a balance. You should go for meals which have 50 percent of their calories from proteins and the remaining 40 percent come from healthy fats.
- Quantity of food is another aspect you need to consider duly. You should not just worry about feeding quality meals to your baby cat but also monitor the amount of food intake. If your cat is overweight, you need to carefully watch the portion sizes to allow a healthy weight loss rate. It is suggested to target a loss of around 1 percent body weight weekly until the cat reaches its ideal weight. You can also look out for various food meals available in the market, which are recommended for diabetic pets.
- Look for over-the-counter canned foods instead of prescription food diets. They usually have a reduced amount of carbohydrates and are rich in proteins. Prescription diets have a higher content of starch/carbs, which is not preferable. If your cat deters canned food, go for dry foods or kibble, which have lesser carbohydrates than the average food items. These foods are specially created for diabetic animals and can be bought easily through a vet prescription.
- Ensure that your cat feels satiated with the food you feed it. The cats with Diabetes need to be fed on time. It is imperative to control blood sugar. Your cat must look forward to mealtimes, and it must not resist the food you serve it. Look for healthier, as well as tastier options for your kitty. Most canned goods are delectable, and cats enjoy them. It is not very difficult to find the perfect fit for your pet cat.
Why should you promote the habit of exercising for your cat?
As per researchers, the majority of cats who get diagnosed with diabetes are obese. The lack of physical activity has a detrimental effect on the health of pet animals. Regular exercises ensure controlled Diabetes and longevity in animals. It is almost as necessary as maintaining your cat’s health. Most cats suffer from Type II diabetes, as we discussed earlier. Even exercising in moderation has a significant impact on improving the overall health of your furry feline.
It is important to reduce the amount of visceral or belly fat as it is connected to the cat’s metabolism. By getting your cat involved in more physical activity, it will build more lean muscles. It increases the quantity of Mitochondria in the body where the energy is burnt. It ultimately leads to less fat production in the body.
You should not expect hardcore training for the cat, but just need to promote your cat to move around as much as it can. There are many tricks that you can implement to make your little pet more active. Even simply indulge in playing with your cat, it will make it feel happy and ensure it stays healthy.
- A hungry cat will cross all the hurdles! Encourage your cat to move around the whole house by placing the food at different locations where it needs her to invest more effort. If there is a staircase inside your house, make them climb up and down the stairs. The food is the bait. Make it earn the food by exercising hard for it.
- Use toys to amuse your cat. Use a playing mouse or get a catfishing pole to play with your kitty. You can even use laser pointers to divert the cat’s attention and make it move around.
There are various toys available today, which will help you to make your kitty proactive.
Due to the advancement in the medical and healthcare sector, we have found cures for many health issues, which were earlier thought to be almost impossible to treat. A lifelong condition like Diabetes Mellitus, which we can find in an increasing number of pets today, can be easily regulated with the advanced treatments and a proper diet. With so many treatment options and easily accessible professional care, you do not need to worry too much about your pet’s health even when he develops any medical condition. On observing even the slightest of symptoms, it is best to visit a Veterinary doctor. The fact that a state like Diabetes will remain present for your pet’s entire life is undeniable. But, proper measures and care will work wonders to ensure a normal and healthy life for your beloved cat.
How do I care for my cat with diabetes?
Be rest assured that in most cases of diabetic cats, the cat is able to lead quite a normal and long life. All you need to ensure is a regulated diet, timely dosages of prescribed medicines, and regular checkups. Most cats found with Diabetes go on to live a long life spanning many years without various complications.
How much does it cost to treat a cat with Diabetes?
As pet owners, once you diagnose your dear cat with Diabetes, the thought of excessive expenses to look after your cat does bother you. The costs incurred generally include monthly medication costs, expenses on diagnosis, and equipment like glucose meters and test strips.
What is the best type of cat food for diabetic cats?
One of the most critical aspects which you need to consider if you have a diabetic pet is the food you feed to it. A proper diet is necessary to control any spike in the sugar levels. Consult some specialists to gather a more extensive understanding of what elements to include in your cat's diet.