Just like humans, if a cat’s diet is left entirely unchecked, they can fall into a slump and become diabetic, though it’s not necessarily without warning. I personally have a cat who began showing the signs, finally having his condition confirmed by a vet. If you have a cat you think is showing the signs of diabetes or you believe is at risk, here’s a short guide for recognizing and then managing a diabetic cat.
Despite being similar to humans in some regards, the biggest difference is that cats can’t live off the same diets humans live off of. They need meat and lots of it. Sure they need other things, but meat is the staple of their diet, so if they don’t get enough of it and instead receive only processed food, they are at high risk of developing diabetes. There are a few other factors, such as the age of your cat or their gender (older male cats are more likely to show signs), but overall it comes down to diet and exercise, just like anyone else.
With my cat, the typical symptoms took over, such as a sudden excessive weight gain and frequent urination. It got to the point that we had to change his litter box daily because he’d just completely saturate it in a few hours. After a while of this we had no choice but to take him to the vet and discovered that he did in fact have type II diabetes, meaning that his pancreas could no longer produce insulin and that if we didn’t find a way to get things under control that he’d get far sicker. Eventually, a lot of felines with diabetes will then experience a sudden lack of appetite and severe weight loss, which can damage their kidneys if you’re not careful. If it looks like your cat is heading for a crash, get them help immediately.
The solution is thankfully not overly complex. As with most diabetic plans, the goal is to change your diet and to stimulate exercise. Actually, getting a cat to exercise is fairly difficult, changing their diet to a diabetic-specific food mix is incredibly simple. Most big brands of cat food offer diabetic formulas, such as Purina, though if you want the best for your specific cat it’s good to ask your vet as they’ll probably have bags of it for sale in their waiting room.
The other part, the insulin part, is a whole lot less complicated than you may think, at least with my cat it wasn’t. You’ll need to start buying insulin and needles for your kitty to use, then be sure to give them an insulin shot twice a day or however often your vet suggests. Doing it as incredibly easy, too as all you have to do is find the scruff on the back of their neck, pull it up, find a good area in the scruff, and stick in the needle. In all the years we’ve had my cat he’s never once objected or shown discomfort at this. Most of the times he comes right up and starts purring as he seems to know that what we’re doing is making him feel better.
Many cats are able to shrug off diabetes after a few months of an improved diet, but not in all cases. Be careful that your kitty’s diet is solid enough to live off of and do what you can to find ways to get them active, be it a mouse toy here or a shiny ribbon there. Just pay attention to their needs and don’t let them get too fat! Fat cats in cartoons are all well and good but in real life it leads to diabetes, and no one wants that!
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