The Feline Diabetes Epidemic

feline diabetes

Diabetes in humans has reached epidemic proportions, and sadly, this trend also affects our cats. Diabetes affects as many as 1 in 50 cats, with overweight cats being especially prone to the disease.

Diabetes results from inadequate production of insulin by the pancreas or an inadequate response of the cells to insulin. Without insulin, the body can’t utilize glucose. This results in elevated blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia). In diabetic cats, excess glucose is eliminated by the kidneys, producing frequent urination. This in turn leads to increased water consumption to compensate for the increased urination.

In a recent article on, I explained what diabetes is, how it is diagnosed and treated, and what may be causing the increase in diabetes in cats. Click here to read the full article.

4 Comments on The Feline Diabetes Epidemic

  1. Phoebe, Tiggy & Norton GA
    August 14, 2014 at 10:14 pm (3 years ago)

    I have been treating diabetic kitties since Norton was diagnosed in 2006.
    FDMB is an excellent resource for information and support.
    Diet change, and twice daily insulin injections (every 12 hours) are the best treatment, and learning to test blood sugar at home using a human glucometer is the best way to manage the disease.
    Oral medications for diabetes really don’t work for cats — don’t waste time and money going down that path because you may be afraid of needles. The insulin needles are tiny, and the cat barely notices the injections if you are doing it right. The injections just need to go under the skin (“subcutaneous”) — not into muscle (ouch).

    • Ingrid
      August 15, 2014 at 6:11 am (3 years ago)

      Even though diabetic cats who do well on oral medications are few, it should not be ruled out if your veterinarian considers it a viable option.

  2. Sue Brandes
    August 12, 2014 at 9:17 am (3 years ago)

    I didn’t know there were different types of diabetes in cats. I have had 2 different cats who were diabetic. Both had insulin shots daily. Thanks for your post. You explained it much better than anyone else before.

  3. Laura & Heffernan
    August 12, 2014 at 8:59 am (3 years ago)

    My Heffernan was diagnosed with diabetes last October. I was devastated, overwhelmed and scared for him and scared for me. The amazing caring techs at my vet’s office taught me how to do his insulin shots, which thankfully Heff doesn’t even notice. I also found amazing resources like the Feline Diabetes Message Board and several support groups on Facebook that encouraged me to home test (simple prick to the ear using a human meter). I keep a spreadsheet of his numbers and have been able to lower his insulin dose by changing his diet to a grain free wet canned diet only. I have a shopping list of wet food that is 5% carbs or lower. The diagnosis is not a death sentence, it’s a disease that can be managed and your cat and you get in to a routine.


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