Cat Diabetes: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Cats don’t differ dramatically from humans when it comes to diabetes, it is to do with the hormone insulin which helps to remove sugar from the bloodstream into the cells.

Cat type 2 diabetes can be caused by a number of factors, including cats being overweight. There has been a sharp rise in obesity levels amongst pets which goes some way to explaining the sharp increase is cat diabetes in recent times*. There are also a few additional factors that can make cats more prone to developing diabetes. Older cats are more vulnerable, whilst diseases like chronic pancreatitis and hyperthyroidism as well as medications such as corticosteroids may also make cats more prone.


Some of the signs are easier to spot than others, however if you are aware what to look for – spotting the condition isn’t too difficult. One of the most obvious symptoms is an increase in thirst and urination. The high levels of sugar in the bloodstream are filtered out by the kidneys and transferred into the bladder. However, glucose carries water with it, meaning the cat is losing more water through urine than usual and is forced to compensate by drinking more.

As with many illnesses, it is also important to keep an eye on your cat’s weight and appetite, if they are feeling unwell due to diabetes – they may be put off their food. You may also notice that their activity levels have declined and in severe cases they may be vomiting.


If the cat in question is in fact over-weight, losing weight is certainly a healthy course of action. By dieting, the cat will gradually lose weight which will help the body use insulin, which lowers blood sugar.

Otherwise the key treatment is insulin therapy. Work closely with a veterinarian to establish the correct dosages, and it is important to inject the insulin exactly as the veterinarian instructs. There are also some medications that can be taken orally, however they are not without side effects and are usually only employed when the cat is unable to receive insulin shots for whatever reason.

Regular blood tests are also required with a veterinarian to keep an eye on blood sugar levels and ensure the insulin intake is at a good level. Some pet owners can be nervous about giving their cat the insulin shots, however once they have been taught how to do it, it’s something people find quite easy.

Cat diabetes isn’t a condition that cab be ‘cured’ as such, however with correct diet and insulin treatment the condition can go into remission, or partial remission. In these instances the illness can be absent for months, or even years, although this is rare. Cats with well-adjusted Diabetes have a good quality of life over many years.


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Caring for Mature Cats

The lifespan of cats can be quite varied, their average life expectancy is 15 years, although in rarer cases they may even survive into their twenties. Recognising that your cat is moving into their final years is important, so that you know when to start catering for their changing needs.

The most obvious sign that you can look out for is that your cat will move considerably less. Their mobility will decrease, meaning that access to areas they may have previously favoured, e.g. on top of a cupboard or on the window sill, will no longer be possible. You may also find that your cat sleeps a lot more than they once did. As a result of these two symptoms of ageing, you may notice your cat start to gain weight.

A further result of maturing is the slowing down of the digestive system. It is important to alter what they’re eating to ensure they’re comfortably getting everything they need from their diet. The quality of the food being fed to pet cats is important throughout their lives, but in their more senior years when their digestive system is slowing down it is even more so than usual. High quality, easily digestible meat content is essential, without any waste ingredients.

As well as a high quality diet, additional vitamin intake is advisable to help with their slow-moving digestion. The vitamin intake can also help support the immune system which can decline in older cats.

The coat of elderly cats can become dull and dry. The AniForte Omega-3 Salmon Oil provides a number of health benefits for animals, it promotes strong bones and good constitution and can even prevent loss of fur. A healthy nutritious diet should show itself in your cat’s fur.  Salmon Oil promotes a glossy coat, which can help improve the appearance of ageing cats.

Ageing can take its toll on the teeth and gums of our feline companions. Inflammation can occur and will need dealing with before the problem worsens. Look out for mouth odour and redness or bleeding in the gums, in more severe cases cats may even suffer from a loss of appetite

If any of the above symptoms are recognisable in your pet, it means that their age is starting to show and their joints may well be suffering as a result. Just like humans, old cats can suffer from joint wear and tear and arthritis and should be treated accordingly. It is best to do so with natural remedies, the AniForte Joint Perfect Devils’ Claw consists of 100% natural African devil’s claw. It supports the metabolism in ligaments, tendons and joints, improving the overall joint mobility and movement.

As well as the above, there are a number of conditions that your cat may encounter as they get older. Most notably blood sugar disorders and issues with the thyroid. As a general rule, it is key to pay attention to whether your cat’s water intake has increased, if their eating habits have changed and whether they are suffering from diarrhoea or vomiting. By being observant and spotting any issues early on, you can give cats the best chance of living out their later years in comfort.

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What to do with cat flu

Just like humans, our feline friends can be susceptible to catching the flu, and can be made to feel extremely poorly because of it. Cat flu is very similar to human flu and so needs to be treated/prevented accordingly.

Recognising cat flu

The symptoms will be familiar to most as they are very comparable to what human’s experience. Sneezing, coughing, and a raised temperature are the main signs to look out for as well as a loss of appetite. Pay particular attention to the nose area, it will be running and the cat will struggle to breathe through it. Ulcerations can also appear on the tongue and around the eyes.

Cat flu is often rife in shelters and catteries as well as in stray animals and young, unvaccinated kittens.

Healthy kitten – used for illustration purposes only


Cat flu is extremely contagious and can be transmitted via pathogens and viruses directly from cat to cat, for example via sneezing or coughing. It can also be passed on indirectly, by shared food bowls or toys, or even via human clothes if they have handled an infected cat.

Some cats may be carriers of the virus that causes cat flu, without suffering from it themselves. However be mindful that even healthy cats can spread the virus and infect other cats.

Long term impact

Following infection, many cats will continue to carry the virus in question and will therefore be infectious to other cats, whilst not actually suffering from cat flu at the time.

Cat flu is not usually a serious illness amongst adult cats, although they can get quite ill. Kittens suffering from cat flu however are in much more danger, and it can be fatal for them in some serious cases. Cats with an existing illness or underlying health issue are also more vulnerable to the illness.

Eye ulcers can occur as a result of cat flu, and can be a long-term concern, even in comparably mild cases of cat flu. Kittens are again particularly vulnerable and permanent damage to the eye can be a result. In the most extreme cases, kittens can lose their eye completely.

Thermometer used for illustration purposes only.


The cat must defend themselves against the cat flu virus, again similar to how a human would. However antibiotics are necessary to treat any secondary bacterial infection. The delicate lining of the nose and airways are often damaged by the virus and provide a pathway for bacterial infections to enter.

It is advisable to take care of an infected cat by making them feel as comfortable as possible in a dry and warm place. They may also require help cleaning their eyes, nose and mouth to avoid crusts and secretions. If they have lost their appetite, they may need as little more incentive to tuck in to their meals, you can try pureeing their meals and warming them up if necessary to strengthen the smell and wet their appetite!

There is also a preventive vaccination against cat flu that is advisable, especially if your cat has other existing health problems.

Cat flu in a fully grown, otherwise healthy cat should not be a cause for concern, but it is worth keeping an eye on them and making them feel comfortable whilst they ride the virus out!

About the author:

Philip Schledorn studied Veterinary medicine in 2006 and qualified as a Vet in 2012. Since then he has worked in three different animal hospitals and has gained experience in treating animals for a whole array of illnesses. He continues to learn through seeing around 25 patients on a daily basis. Dr Philip works with and prescribes the range of natural products to his patients. The quality diets and supplements for dogs, cats and horses are completely free from additives, chemicals and artificial flavourings.

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