Unfortunately, diabetes in cats is becoming one of the most common ailments our felines face today. It’s becoming an epidemic. Studies show that the major culprit behind the growing population of diabetic cats is diet. So let’s briefly discuss what we should feed a cat with diabetes.
Diabetes is most often diagnosed in overweight kitties because obesity makes the feline body less sensitive to the effects of insulin. Just like in humans, starches convert to sugar in our kitties’ bodies, consequently making blood sugars rise. Since an estimated 96% of cat parents feed their kitties a high carbohydrate diet it’s no wonder obesity and diabetes are on the rise.
What Should We Feed A Cat With Diabetes?
Cats with diabetes should not be fed a dry kibble diet. All kibble, regardless of quality of ingredients, is high in carbohydrates. You want to feed a cat with diabetes a low carb, low fat, high protein diet. The caloric density in dry food causes insulin resistance and results in a bigger problem.
Now, I realize that many veterinarians will prescribe your cat a dry food diet once they’ve been diagnosed with diabetes. This is when it’s best to do your own research. Feeding a high carb diet to a cat with diabetes is like feeding Cheetos to an overweight child and acting like you don’t know why he can’t lose weight.
Start by transitioning your cat from a kibble to a canned food (make sure the wet food has less than 10% carbohydrates and not a lot of fat either). Portion controlled and scheduled meals is important during the process. Some cats are easy to transition while others can take weeks or even months to get them off of dry food. Be patient. From there you can slowly transition your diabetic cat to a raw or gently cooked diet.
Be sure to monitor glucose levels very closely through the transition.
Switching your diabetic cat from kibble to a more species appropriate diet can take time, but it will be well worth it. With this one simple switch, many cat parents have seen their cats go into remission from diabetes and live longer and healthier lives.