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Pet Care. Pet Training. Pet Stories.
Pet Care. Pet Training. Pet Stories.

Common Illness in Cats: Diabetes

09/27/2017 by Colleen Williams
September 27th, 2017 by Colleen Williams

It may surprise you to know, but cats can have diabetes mellitus just like humans! This is a serious condition that can be easily managed if you recognize the symptoms.

What is diabetes?

The disease is caused by an insulin deficiency in the pancreas. Without insulin, the animal can’t create its main source of energy, glucose. This leads to complications like lethargy, obesity, and even coma. There are several things than can cause a cat to be predisposed to developing diabetes:

  • Breed – Burmese cats have a genetic predisposition
  • Gender – males are twice as likely to develop diabetes as female cats
  • Age – cats over ten have a higher chance of contracting the disease
  • Other diseases – pancreatitis, hyperthyroidism, and Cushing’s disease all increase the risk

If your cat is male, older, or genetically inclined towards acquiring diabetes, ask your vet during your regular checkup.

Symptoms of Diabetes

The signs of diabetes may also be indicators of other conditions. If your cat is displaying two or more of these for an extended period of time, schedule an appointment with your vet.

  • Obesity
  • Excessive thirst and urination
  • Muscle atrophy and weakness
  • Poor appetite and weight loss
  • Oily, dandruffy coat
  • Lethargy

Treatment of Diabetes

The medical care of your cat’s condition will be evaluated by your vet and tailored to fit your pet’s needs. Generally diabetes treatment encompasses daily insulin therapy, with the amounts calculated by a veterinarian to match your cat’s weight, age, and gender.

Diabetes also requires some lifestyle changes for your cat. Obese cats need daily exercise – but not too strenuous. Most likely your cat’s diet will change; talk to your vet about how often and what types of food you should give your pet. You will also need to administer insulin shots and possibly monitor your cat’s daily glucose levels.