Diabetes in cats

a cat at the vet

Diabetes in cats is an incurable disease that results from the pancreas not being able to produce enough insulin or their body has an inadequate response to the hormone. Insulin is needed to help regulate the level of glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream and transporting it to cells around a cat’s body to enable them to thrive and grow.  

Without treatment, it can affect a cat’s vital organs and other bodily parts, so being able to recognise the signs can ensure your feline friend gets the help they need.

Symptoms of diabetes in cats

There are many possible symptoms of diabetes in cats, which can vary depending on the severity of the condition but often include:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased hunger
  • Weight loss, even if they’re eating more
  • Increase in urination

Advanced signs can be more pronounced and may include:

  • Tiredness or lack of energy
  • Bladder infection
  • Poor coat
  • Vomiting
  • Collapse

What causes diabetes in cats?

While the exact cause of diabetes In cats is not entirely known, it’s thought that some breeds are possibly more genetically prone than others. Other factors including age and obesity, and certain hormonal disorders such as hyperthyroidism and Cushing’s disease, may increase the risk of developing this complex disease.

Prevention and treatment

Taking preventative measures is not a guarantee that your cat won’t develop diabetes but making sure they lead a healthy life can help reduce the risk. Here are some steps you can take to help ensure your cat stays as healthy as possible throughout their lifetime:

  • Keep your cat at a healthy weight
  • Feed them a balanced diet
  • Provide enough exercise for their age

Once diagnosed, a vet will be able to provide your cat with an ongoing treatment plan.

Ongoing care

Although some cases may be more challenging than others, feline diabetes can usually be managed successfully without complications. Your cat’s plan and ongoing care provided by your veterinarian will probably include:

  • A specific diet
  • Regular exercise
  • Insulin therapy

While there’s no cure for cat diabetes, it doesn't mean your feline friend can't live a fulfilling life. With proper management and treatment, cats with diabetes can live long and happy lives. If you notice any changes in your cat’s behaviour and think they might have diabetes, speak to your vet.

Looking for more cat advice?

We’ve written some handy cat advice guides, to help you unlock the secrets of your mysterious moggy.


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