8 Signs of Diabetes In Cats You Should Know Today
Our cats are members of our families, aren’t they? Their health and well-being matters to us and we notice when something just doesn’t seem the same. If you are a cat mom or dad suspecting a problem in your feline, this article will focus on the main signs of diabetes in cats to watch for.
As a cat parent, you’ve probably already noticed cats are masters at masking how they really feel. Keeping a close eye on them when you suspect something just isn’t right will help you identify some clues in their behavior. This great article from the ASPCA identifies 5 signs of a sick cat to take notice of.
As always, it goes without saying, having a wellness check with your local Vet is always the right choice to make. Your kitty will thank you!
What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes in cats is a condition in which the pancreas is failing to produce insulin (or enough) to break down sugars in food and balance blood glucose levels.
Glucose is used as energy in the body. However, glucose requires insulin to be activated and used in the functions of the body. When there is an imbalance resulting in high glucose, diabetes may be suspected.
Is Diabetes More Common In Obese Cats?
Unfortunately, as much as we adore our fat cats, the answer is yes. Estimates say that as many as 2/3 of North American cats are considered obese.
“Obesity and diabetes are the two of the most chronic diseases that cats develop”, according to a study done at UCVM. Seeing these epidemics as being connected is no laughing matter.
The quality of many cat foods on the market is poor at best. High sugar content and other additives are having a major impact on our beloved felines’ health.
8 Signs Of Diabetes In Cats
Here are 8 of the most common signs you should be aware of that your best friend could be suffering from diabetes.
(Please be aware that this list is in no way meant to scare or alarm you. It is only informational in nature. If you do suspect diabetes in your cat, please see a qualified professional for diagnosis)
1. Less activity
If you are seeing that your kiddo just isn’t moving around as much, seems lethargic, isn’t interested in their usual activities, this is one of the symptoms of diabetes. It is important to note that many other conditions in cats cause this same symptom. Knowing the cause is critical.
Any considerable losses in energy levels are a warning sign that your cat is suffering and should get medical attention.
2. Drinking much more water than usual
Excessive thirst in cats is a big warning sign something isn’t right. If you have just recently purchased a water fountain that your cat adores (see my review of those here), it may just be the new normal.
Our cat Dizzy began drinking lots of water once we purchased her one of those water fountains. Before that, she really wouldn’t drink water from a regular bowl. This type of change is not something to be concerned about.
If you have not made any changes to the water options and you are suddenly needing to fill the bowl or fountain more frequently with fresh water, you should take notice.
3. Urinating more frequently, possibly outside of the litter box.
If your cat is suddenly not able to make their litter box any more before urinating, this is a symptom of diabetes. Much more frequent trips to the box are a sign to take notice of as well.
Elevated glucose levels are to blame for the cat’s body producing more urine. Since excessive thirst is also involved, the combination of drinking more water and glucose producing urine, you will see the frequency of your kitty’s bathroom trips increase significantly.
4. Changes in weight
Your cat’s body is completely out of whack. Hormone levels and other sensitive levels are telling your cat something isn’t right.
In typical cases, you will see weight loss in your cat versus weight gain. In many cases, the weight loss can be fairly extreme and happen quickly.
All of this happens due to a change in appetite. Some cats will begin to turn away from food completely because they feel so awful. While other cats will begin to eat more but never gain weight. Your cat’s body is telling it that some kind of nutrient is needed.
Hairballs in cats are a fairly common condition that most of us cat parents are aware of. But if your feline is suddenly vomiting often and they aren’t hairballs, this is one of the signs of diabetes in cats.
Much like a cat has been known to vomit if favorable conditions for going to the bathroom aren’t present in the litter box, so it is with diabetes. Your cat’s body is trying to get rid of a build-up of toxins and waste any way that it can.
When diabetes is present in your cat and her body is unable to process glucose for energy, the cat’s body will begin to break down fat as its energy source. The result of this is vomiting.
Diabetic neuropathy, a condition of the nervous system can cause damage affecting the mobility of your cat.
This condition causes weakness, pain, numbness and/or tingling in the limbs. If you notice that your kitty is dragging their hind legs or walking oddly, diabetes could be the cause.
7. Changes in coat
Is your cat’s fur suddenly looking dull, oily, have dandruff or otherwise just doesn’t look as healthy anymore? This is one of the signs of diabetes in cats.
Along with changes in the brightness or texture of their coat, you may also notice a dullness in their eyes.
A cat’s fur is very much similar to a human’s hair. We can tell a lot about our overall health by our hair and it is the same with cats. A lack of essential fats and vitamins can cause a change in your cat’s fur but other conditions can be the culprit as well.
8. Behavioral changes
Are you noticing that your cat is hiding more, seems depressed and just isn’t behaving in their typical way? This is another sign of diabetes in cats.
All cats (and us humans) feel good on some days and not so great on others. Our mood or behavior may be affected. Sometimes your kitty just wants to be a bit more lazy 🙂
However if you are noticing a much more isolated kitty that is not engaging in activities with you or the household, it’s time to take notice.
Diabetes Treatment In Cats
Just as it is with us humans, there are 2 types of diabetes in cats, type 1 and type 2. Type 2 is more commonly caused by obesity.
Treatment is usually multi-faceted and varies on a case to case basis. If insulin is required, the unique dosage for your kitty will be prescribed. Typically insulin is given in shot form.
Many people are afraid to give their cats a shot for diabetes but your Vet will help you understand exactly what to do and make you comfortable with the process. You have the chance to save your cat’s life!
More often than not, a change in diet is also required. It is possible that the sugar content in your current food is contributing to the problem. A healthier food option can make all the difference moving forward in managing the condition.
Additional exercise is also helpful, since diabetes is often found in kitties with obesity. Finding out exactly what gets your cat excited helps. Our Dizzy goes wild over the most unexpected things: a shoestring I gave her, tie backs for hair and other recycled products from the home.
Figure out new ways to play with your cat and get them the activity they need to be healthy. The two of you can bond together during playtime, only making your relationship that much better.
Living with diabetes does require vigilance and some time investment but it is doable. Find out if there are programs your Vet offers to help with costs as well.
With the right care, your diabetic cat can live a happy and healthy life.
Keep your eye out for the symptoms above and get attention for your cat when needed. You can truly save your cat’s life.
Does Your Cat Suffer From Diabetes?
As always, I enjoy hearing from you. Send me a message in the comments below about your cat. Are you already living with a diabetic cat? How is he/she doing?
I hope this article has been helpful for you. Articles that improve the quality of you and your cat’s life are my goal here at Cat Care Solutions. If this article has helped you, let me know about it & please share with your friends on social media.
Your support means everything! Thank you again. I’ll look forward to hearing from you. All my love to you and your feline family!
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I'm Holly. Devoted wife to my amazing husband, Bill. Faithful woman of God. Introverted and Introspective INFJ (MBTI). Lover of nature and animals (especially cats). I love writing and research, especially on topics of nature, plants, faith, and cats! My hope is that people feel encouraged, comforted and supported after interacting with me. Especially fond of who society deem the "underdogs," I love helping people see their God-given beauty and celebrating it!