Managing diabetic cats involves looking at all the factors that can affect their insulin production and insulin response.
As obesity can lead to resistance to insulin, in some cases getting an overweight cat down to a healthy weight will result in resolution of the diabetes.
As well as helping your cat become a healthy weight, giving the right diet can also help manage their diabetes directly.
Feeding a low carbohydrate diet can lead to less insulin requirement and can even, in some cases, help diabetes resolve.
Specialised diets for diabetic cats have been developed so if your cat will take these this can be very helpful. Your vet can advise on the best nutrition plan for your cat.
Click here for more information about your cat’s healthy weight
Keeping your cats feeds as regular and routine as possible will also keep their insulin requirements predictable. Try and feed your cat at the same times every day, with the same food, and avoid treats.
As most diabetic cats struggle to produce their own insulin giving insulin via injection is the most common way to manage their blood sugar levels.
Insulin injections are usually given every 12 hours, immediately after meals, although in some cases cats can be managed by a once daily injection.
Your cat’s starting insulin dose will be based on their body weight. Your vet will then monitor your cat’s response to the insulin, making adjustments to the dose until the current optimal dose has been determined.
Never change your cat’s insulin dose yourself without speaking to your vet.
This process can take weeks or months, and your cat’s ideal dose may change over time so it’s important to keep having regular check-ups with your vet. Getting the dose right is critical – a too high dose can push your cat’s blood sugar too low, which is very dangerous.
Many people find the idea of injecting their cat scary at first. Your vet will spend time with you showing you how to inject your cat – the needle is very fine and most cats don’t react at all!
If you are in any doubt about giving your cat’s insulin, always speak to your vet.
Anything that may be affecting the way your cat responds to insulin should be addressed.
- Any drugs that may be causing diabetes
There are some tablet medications available for cats with mild diabetes. These are usually not as efficacious as the injections, but may be useful in cats that are impossible to inject.