Does My Cat Have Diabetes?

November 5th 2018

Cats are one of the sweetest pets in our care, but we must make sure they do not become too sweet!
With rising obesity levels, we are seeing more and more cases of feline diabetes. While diabetes is a very serious disease, it can be treated by your veterinarian. As well, under diligent management of insulin therapy and diet change, many cats can go into remission.

Preventing diabetes in your cat

Maintaining a healthy body weight is the most important thing you can do for your cat to prevent diabetes. Fat is associated with insulin resistance so obese cats are more likely to develop diabetes than lean cats. Here is a weight chart you can refer to.

Signs of feline diabetes

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Changes in appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Poor coat condition or lack of grooming
  • Lethargy
  • Odd gait - walking on their hocks, flat-footed (plantigrade stance)
  • Behavioural changes (urinating outside the litterbox, changes in their routine, etc.)
    Watch our video below to hear more from Dr. Lo about what you need to watch for.


Bloodwork and urinalysis done by your veterinarian will confirm whether or not your cat has diabetes. High levels of glucose in the blood and urine are tell-tale signs of diabetes. However, if your cat is in a grey area, a special blood test called fructosamine can more definitively confirm it.

Diabetes treatment for cats

Insulin therapy is the best way to lower blood sugars in cats. Most insulin is given as twice daily injections and most cats tolerate it very well.

What is the best diet for cats with diabetes?

However, with the addition of a low carb/high protein canned diet, cats have a higher chance of going into remission. Therefore it is important for cats to be exposed to canned diets so they get used to the taste and texture. For more information about diet, weight and the health of pets, read our blog here. 

Monitoring your cat’s diabetes at home

Blood glucose curves are important in determining if the type and dose of insulin is effective for your cat. It normally involves a painless prick on the ear to get a drop of blood and placing the drop of blood on a glucometer. The benefit of home monitoring is the avoidance of the stress (and time) of a veterinary office visit for your cat, as well as cost savings.
We can also perform this at the clinic if you are uncomfortable doing this at home.
If you have concerns that your cat may have diabetes, or they have already been diagnosed with diabetes and you have questions, please call our office at 403-615-8016 to book an appointment.

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