Yes, even cats can get diabetes. And no, that doesn’t mean the end of the world. If the disease also requires a lot of attention from you as a cat owner, this is not an impossible task.
Diabetes mellitus is one of the most common hormonal imbalances in cats. Diabetes in cats is similar to type 2 diabetes in humans. This disorder occurs when there is a lack of insulin, or when the body cannot respond properly to insulin. This causes the blood sugar level to rise. The increased amount of sugar in the blood causes glucose to escape through the kidneys into the urine. This causes more fluid to be excreted, causing the cat to drink and pee more.
What symptoms should I look out for?
Studies have shown that obese cats have an increased risk of diabetes. Male cats are affected more often than females. The most common symptom of diabetes is increased thirst and large amounts of urine. The cat often loses weight despite an increased appetite. Some cats are also more likely to be tired or lethargic.
How does feline diabetes affect our lives?
When the vet diagnoses your cat as having diabetes, there will be a number of changes to your day-to-day life. The sooner the disease is treated, the better your cat’s chances of a good life without complications. Also, if treatment is started early, there is a chance that your cat’s condition will subside and eventually no longer require treatment. Untreated diabetes leads to death.
Most owners of a diabetic cat can cope well with the new everyday life, but it is still important to find out in detail about the treatment and the necessary adjustments in advance. Your vet will help you and tell you what symptoms to look out for.
A routine routine is important for a diabetic cat. Food, often special low-carbohydrate diets, should be given regularly. Free access to water is a matter of course. A diabetic cat should not be left alone for long periods of time as blood sugar levels can fluctuate wildly and both high and low levels can be fatal. So it’s important to check on your fluffy friend regularly.
Treatment involves insulin shots, which should be given twice a day. Keep in mind that treatment often needs to be continued throughout the cat’s life. However, in some cats the disease goes into remission and insulin treatment can be stopped. The clinic staff will show you how to insert the syringes and what needs to be considered when handling insulin.
Regular visits to the veterinarian are important early in treatment to check blood sugar levels, weight and symptoms. Later, you can also measure the amount of sugar in the cat’s urine at home with a urine stick and a blood glucose meter. You will also receive instructions on how to adjust the amount of insulin to be given. Insulin requirements vary from cat to cat and can change over time. Keeping your cat’s blood sugar stable reduces the risk of complications and the number of visits to the vet.
Daily exercise and play is good for all cats but is especially important for cats with diabetes. Exercise helps the body use glucose, thereby reducing blood sugar levels. So think about lots of different activities for your cat – it will be stimulating and fun for both of you.