Have a Diabetic Cat? Tips for Feeding, Insulin Shots, and Glucose Checks
April 16th, 2019 by Cherished Companions Animal Clinic
If you recently learned your cat has diabetes, take heart…
A diabetic cat can have a fairly normal life, particularly if:
- Your cat regulates glucose well and
- You’re committed to your kitty’s care
And yes, your cat may be able to live a fairly normal life expectancy!
While there isn’t a complete cure for a diabetic cat, it IS possible for your cat to stop showing diabetic symptoms for a while with the right feeding and care.
Here are 4 diabetic cat tips to help you do your best with feeding, insulin shots and glucose checks.
Tip #1: Consider prescription foods that are formulated just for diabetic cats
Diabetic prescription foods tend to be the best foods for diabetic cats.
These foods are usually higher in protein than regular cat foods.
You can find diabetic cat foods from Royal Canin and Purina (to name a few brands).
Some people shy away from prescription cat foods because they cost more, and we certainly understand that concern.
If your goal is to help your kitty live as long as possible, though, your costs may actually work out to be less.
When you commit to one of these foods:
- Your cat’s glucose tends to be easier to regulate, so…
- You don’t have to recheck your cat’s blood glucose as much, so…
- You’re paying for fewer visits to the vet. Your veterinary expenses are lower, offsetting the prescription food costs.
Tip #2: Make sure your diabetic cat eats before receiving an insulin shot
Our veterinarians are often asked:
“How many times a day should I feed my diabetic cat? What’s a good feeding schedule?”
In most instances, it’s okay to leave food out and let your cat graze.
The important thing is to make sure your cat eats before you give an insulin shot.
You do not want to run the risk of dropping your cat’s glucose level too low.
This means your cat should eat twice a day before receiving insulin injections.
A lot of our cat families feed their cats several spoonfuls of canned food before an insulin shot. Then, they just leave the dry food down.
If your cat does not eat anything, DO NOT give the injection.
(Be sure to contact your veterinarian ASAP if your cat doesn’t eat for a day or so.)
Let’s say your cat has a healthy appetite…
Your cat could easily gobble up all the food in one sitting.
In these instances, go to two equal servings of food a day before the insulin injections.
Veterinarians, like ours, can help you calculate the exact amount to feed your cat, so your cat maintains an optimal weight.
Tip #3: Come up with a game plan for feeding your diabetic cat when you have another cat in your home
Ideally, you don’t want your non-diabetic cat eating your diabetic cat’s food. (Or vice versa!)
There are a range of strategies you can consider, such as:
- Placing food in strategic places around your home
- Feeding your cats in separate rooms
- High-tech solutions like special collars that trigger the lid to open on the right cat’s bowl (yep, that’s actually a thing!)
Because each situation with multiple cats is unique, it’s best to chat with your veterinarian for tips for your cat family.
If you live in the Castle Rock area, our veterinarians are happy to help.
Tip #4: Stick to a consistent insulin shot schedule (twice a day) and follow your veterinarian’s suggested schedule for glucose checks
To help your diabetic cat feel better, the first step is to start on a treatment plan. Your plan may include:
- Changing your cat’s diet
- Giving your cat more activity
- Providing insulin shots, or
- Some combination of the above
After one to two weeks of home care, you’ll bring your cat to veterinarians, like ours, to check whether your cat’s glucose is regulated.
This means your cat is getting the right amounts of insulin to move glucose out of the bloodstream and into cells for energy.
You don’t want the glucose to be too high or too low.
Typically, diabetic cats will come in 3 to 5 times (every couple of weeks) before their glucose levels are where they need to be.
It varies by cat and how diligent you are with home care.
Once your cat’s glucose is at a regulated level, your cat’s check-ups will start to spread out
For example, they may start to go to 3 months and then to 6 months.
If your cat’s glucose gets out of whack, you’ll go back to a visit every few weeks until it’s back on track.
As we mentioned above, a prescription diabetic cat food can make it easier to regulate your cat’s glucose than a regular cat food, which may reduce your vet visits.
Ultimately, though, it depends on your cat.
Some regulate quickly.
Others take some time.
For more insights on cat diabetes, check out:
If you want to make sure your diabetic cat is getting the right care and you live in the Castle Rock area, call us at 303-688-3757 or:
Cherished Companions Animal Clinic is a veterinary clinic in Castle Rock, Colorado. Specializing in the care of cats and dogs, our goal is to help you and your pet feel more comfortable, keeping your stress to a minimum.
This article is intended to provide general guidance on diabetic cat tips, including feeding schedules, insulin shots and glucose checks. If you have specific questions or concerns, please contact your local veterinarian. (If you live in or around Castle Rock, we welcome your call.)
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