Cat Diabetes Symptoms: Early Warning Signs and Indicators

Cat Diabetes Symptoms, A White and Gray Tabby Cat in Close-up Photography // Healthier Pets Today

Cats are fascinating and extraordinary animals, but like most other animals and humans, they can also develop diabetes. So, how can you tell if your cat has diabetes? Although cats are very good at hiding their health problems, it’s pretty easy to spot cat diabetes symptoms. So, let’s start with the different types and their indicators!

Type 1 and Type 2 Feline Diabetes

Little Cat Getting a Vaccine // Healthier Pets Today

There isn’t a straightforward answer to what causes diabetes; instead, a few factors should be considered. The most common factor is weight. When a cat is overweight, its hormones fluctuate, and the body may over or underproduce certain hormones. This can lead to the body being unable to respond to insulin appropriately. 

Another factor is that cats are renowned carnivores, meaning they need high protein in their diet. Some cat food options have low protein but high carbohydrates. This overload of carbs and lack of essential protein can cause high blood glucose levels and low insulin production. The best way to ensure that your cat has a diet higher in protein than carbohydrates is to try switching to good-quality canned food over cat pellets. Many owners fear that canned food can lead to dental problems, but this has not been proven. Ensure that the canned food you give your pet is ethically made with good ingredients; there is no reason to worry. 

Cat Diabetes Symptoms and Indicators

Close-Up Shot of a Tabby Cat // Healthier Pets Today

When it comes to indicators of diabetes in cats, all feline owners must know and understand the signs, as this can be a massive advantage in getting medical help quickly. 

Here are 9 critical signs of diabetes in cats:

1. Frequently Urinating

Because cats with diabetes drink more water, it can cause them to urinate more frequently. This is also because their body is likely trying to expel the extra sugar in their body. 

2. Thirstier Than Usual

A very common and noticeable side effect of diabetes is that your cat may be drinking a much larger amount of water than normal. This is because their body knows there is a loss of glucose and tries to compensate by increased thirst.

3. Increased Appetite

Because a cat that suffers from diabetes cannot properly turn sugar into energy, it stays hungry. Despite how often or how much they eat, they simply do not feel satisfied and know their organs lack vital energy. 

4. Losing Weight

Despite increased hunger and thirst, the body is not able to function properly with diabetes. This means that instead of getting energy from the glucose in the food they are eating, the body takes energy from fats and protein, which, despite having more than enough food consistently, they still lose weight. 

5. Changes in Behavior

Cats are very similar to humans when they are not feeling well. They are less like their usual selves. Cats suffering from diabetes may sleep more often, be grumpy, and become very withdrawn and less lovable. 

6. Vomiting or Diarrhea

In bad cases of feline diabetes, cats can get what is called ketoacidosis. This is when the body creates too many ketones as the cat’s body tries to find energy in other sources, such as fat. When there are too many ketones in the blood, this can cause a cat to become nauseated, vomit, or have diarrhea. When this happens, it is vital that you get your cat to the veterinarian as soon as possible. 

7. Dry Skin and Dull Coat 

Due to the cat’s body not being able to properly function or being overweight, a cat’s coat can lose its shine, and their skin can become flaky and dry. This is because nutrients are not being probably used, and from being overweight, they are also not able to clean themselves as effectively as they have trouble reaching certain spots of fur.  

8. Diabetic  Neuropathy 

In serious cases, diabetes can show in the form of diabetic neuropathy, which is when cats experience tremors, shaking, and twitches. This can also cause your cat to limp or drag its leg, cause poor balance, and possibly cause it to fall over frequently. If your cat is showing these signs, get them to the vet promptly to be checked for diabetic neuropathy. 

9. Fatigue and Little Energy 

Despite eating a lot, a cat with diabetes will often lose weight and muscle. This, combined with their body’s inability to use glucose as a source of energy, means that they will have very little as their body desperately tries to outsource more. You may notice your cat sleeps more often or for longer. They have little to no interest in playing and are not very active at all. This symptom alone can lead to more health concerns, and it’s crucial to seek help from a veterinarian’s veterinarian.

Treating Feline Diabetes

Woman in White Shirt Holding a Glucometer // Healthier Pets Today
Ginger cat getting treatment, Steel stable, Vet injecting medicine // Healthier Pets Today

Diabetic Cat Diet and Weight Loss

A change to your cat’s diet can help them with remission. Because many cat kibbles are high in carbohydrates, it’s best to replace them with canned food. The extra moisture, low carbohydrates, and high protein in canned cat food can help your pet healthily lose extra fat and maintain a healthy weight. It is also important to consider sticking to certain feeding times, as this also helps cats who use insulin. 

Insulin for Cats

Insulin called Glargine is what is mostly given to cats who are freshly diagnosed with diabetes and have uncomplicated, straightforward cases. However, there are many different types of insulin that can help with feline diabetes; the factors depend on the vet’s experience and recommendation, the seriousness of the case, cost, and availability. 

Oral Medications

Some owners and cats are not comfortable with injections and needles. Vets tend to lean more towards injectable treatments as they are more effective and some people may find it difficult to give their cat pills. On the other hand however, there are cat owners who find it easier to sneak the oral medication in the cat’s food as opposed to injecting them. 

Checking for Other Medical Concerns

A cat who has diabetes is likely to feel the effects of other medical conditions or issues more severely. It can also compromise their medication and remission. This is why it is important to have your cat checked for any other forms of health problems, such as an infection, kidney or heart disease, or compromised adrenal glands. 


Close-Up Shot of a Tabby Cat Sitting // Healthier Pets Today

Cats show their symptoms in different ways, and as an owner, it’s important to note what they could possibly be. Diabetes in cats can be treated and managed with the right medical care and attention. Be vigilant of your cat’s behavior and don’t make changes.