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Diabetes and your cat

Diabetes and your cat

Posted by Patricia on 28th Feb 2023

Feline diabetes affects about 1% of cats during their lifetime, according to PetMD, cited below. Cats are more prone than dogs to develop the condition. Canines are more likely to be diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, but cats are more likely to develop Type 2. The difference is due to how the animal's body produces and processes insulin. Learn the symptoms of feline diabetes and ways to lower the risk of your cat developing the disease.


Symptoms of feline diabetes, also known as diabetes mellitus, are similar to those found in humans: increased urination, excessive thirst, increased appetite, and unexpected weight loss. Be aware of your cat’s behavior so that you know if your cat is acting strangely.


Inactive, obese cats are more likely to develop diabetes. Other risk factors for cats include chronic pancreatitis, hyperthyroidism, Cushing's disease, and long-term use of steroids to treat other issues, such as asthma. Age also makes a difference. Older cats are more at risk of becoming diabetic. PetMD says, "the peak incidence is between 9 and 13 years."

Another contributing influence is genetics. According to PetMD, "diabetes can occur in any cat breed, but orange and Burmese cats are the most likely.” Furthermore, male cats are at a disadvantage when it comes to diabetes risk. “Statistics show that male, neutered cats are more prone than females."

There have been studies about whether dry cat food can cause diabetes. Recent research agrees with that theory. An article from Chicago Pet Sitters, cited below, says dry food is "biologically inappropriate nutrition for cats [because it is] high in carbs and deficient in high-quality protein and moisture."


If your cat becomes diabetic, don't despair. Different treatments are available, including new ones not used even a year ago. For example, in September of 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, cited below, approved the first oral drug to help control glycemic levels in some cats with diabetes. As with any medication, your veterinarian will be the one to decide what treatment and dietary restrictions will be best for your cat's specific condition.


Overweight cats are up to four times more likely to develop diabetes. Therefore, cat parents need to monitor (and improve, if necessary) their cats’ dietary habits and activity levels.

Or, they could turn their cat into a bear. Big, heavy bears that get no exercise while hibernating do not acquire diabetes! According to a report from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, cited below, researchers have discovered an internal process in a bear that shuts down a protein found in fat cells contributing to diabetes. AAAS reports, "this discovery could lead to new diabetes drugs that turn off the same pathway in humans." And conceivably in other animals, as well.

Quote to remember, "I suffer from diabetes. I don't have the energy to pretend I don't like you today." - Any sarcastic, diabetic cat



"Diabetes in Cats: Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors, Treatment, and Life Expectancy"

Chicago Pet Sitters,cause%20diabetes%20in%20mature%20kitties.

"Reasons Cats Get Diabetes"

American Association for the Advancement of Science,protein%20found%20in%20fat%20cells.

"How fat grizzly bears stay diabetes-free"


"FDA Approves First Oral Treatment for Cats with Diabetes Mellitus"