Feeding Diabetic Cats

The aim of dietary change is to improve blood glucose control.

Type of Diet

Commercial, ‘prescription’ diets designed for diabetic cats are available. These diets are ideal as they have the correct nutritional value for a diabetic cat. They usually have a high quality, highly digestible protein source, restricted fat and are often low in carbohydrate.
Cats are known for their fussy eating habits. Anorexia and resultant hypoglycemia is far more dangerous than hyperglycemia: diabetic cats can be stabilized on their usual diet (preferably exactly the same type and amount of food every day) if need be.

Number of meals

Many cats prefer to browse, eating many small “snacks” (somewhere in the range of 5-11) every day rather than being fed distinct meals. The usual feeding routine (e.g. food always available (ad libitum), meals/fresh food given twice or three times daily) should be kept when starting to stabilize a diabetic cat.

The exception is cats that are obese. These cats should be given a diet designed for weight management (these are high fiber diets) and fed according to a strict regime until they reach their ideal/target body weight. In some cats, weight loss may dramatically reduce or even eliminate the need for insulin treatment (“clinical diabetic remission”).

feeding cats with diabetes

Diabetic cats should be fed a diet containing a high quality, highly digestible protein source.