A consistent, tasty and nutritious diet plays a key role in managing your cat’s diabetes
Tips for a Healthy Diet
Your veterinarian will recommend a suitable diet for your cat, but these basic tips can help
- Work with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate caloric intake to help your cat achieve or maintain an ideal weight. Daily total caloric intake should include any snacks or treats suitable for a diabetic cat.
- Consistently feed your cat the same amount (including snacks or treats) at the same times each day to avoid unnecessary fluctuations in blood glucose. A low carbohydrate diet for diabetic cats is the best choice.
- Your veterinarian may advise a weight management program if your cat is overweight. Weight loss should make your cat’s diabetes easier to manage and appears to be an important factor in cats that achieve remission.
- Ask your veterinarian about the best diet and weight management strategy for your diabetic cat.
Timing Meals and Treatments
Feed your cat around the time that you give the insulin injections. This should help, along with a low carbohydrate “feline diabetic diet”, to minimize increases in blood glucose that occur as your cat digests its meal.
It is important to establish a consistent management routine
There are a few schools of thought regarding the timing of insulin injections in relation to feeding
- Immediately before meals: This allows you to feed your cat as a reward after administering insulin
- During meals: This allows you to see that your cat is feeling well and eating normally before the insulin is given as well as distracting your cat’s attention to its meal
- Immediately after meals: This allows you to see that your cat is feeling well and eating normally before the insulin is given
Diabetic cats are generally administered insulin twice daily and their diet is usually split into two equally sized meals, but cats are often fussy and prefer to eat when they choose. Free access to a measured amount of the food is often the best option. Consider using a connected feeder to help you monitor when and how much your cat eats.
Consult your veterinarian for specific questions regarding type, volume, timing and frequency of meals.
Things to Consider
Will Your Cat Eat Diabetic Cat Food?
Some cats are fussy. Is your cat not eating the “diabetic” cat food? It may take a few days for your cat to get used to this new food. Have you tried mixing the new food with your cat’s previous food? This may help. It is important that diabetic cats eat regularly and well. If your cat really does not like the new food there are other alternatives. Please discuss your cat’s diet with your veterinarian before making any changes.
Body Weight and Condition
Ideal body weight and body condition will help simplify managing your cat’s diabetes. Your veterinarian can advise you about your cat’s body weight and condition as well as how to manage your cat’s weight.
If your cat is underweight, a highly digestible diet containing high quality protein should help your cat gain weight gradually.
If your cat is overweight or obese, weight loss and insulin dose adjustment should be gradual, because of the risk of low blood glucose (hypoglycemia), a serious complication of diabetes.