Cat Diabetes Diet
"Cat diabetes diet can help get your cat's diabetes under control. Clinical studies show that a diet high in protein and low in carbohydrates can be beneficial. Besides weight loss and exercise, homeopathic remedies may also be of some benefit."
If your feline has been diagnosed with cat health diabetes, she may require a special cat diabetes diet. Unlike dogs where insulin in the issue, in cats, it is usually brought on due to your cat being overweight. In this case your cat is probably producing insulin, but not enough for the size of your cat's body.
General Advice for Cat Diabetes Diet
Weight: As mentioned, most cat's produce insulin to support a certain body size. A "fat cat" is too large for the internal support system.
Homeopathic Supplements: There are several herbal and mineral supplements that are associated with supporting the pancreas, the place where insulin is produced in the body. Natural remedies such as Vaccinium myrtillus (Bilberry) Chromium picolinate, Galega officinalis (Goat’s Rue) and Trigonella foenum-graecum (Fenugreek) are all associated with helping with diabetes. One product made specifically for this purpose that combines many of these ingredients is GlucoBalance . It is a good source for additional research on this topic.
Exercise: Insulin use goes down as your cat gets more active. With more natural insulin to go around, your cat doesn't need to produce as much. To improve exercise you can try walking your cat with a harness (many cats resist this), or buy a Kong Toy that has a reward such as a catnip pouch.
In general, if you can control your cat's weight, increase the amount of exercise.
Food for a Cat Diabetes DietIn general, two kinds of diets are considered helpful for cats with diabetes. While both can be helpful, the one with more protein and less carbohydrates appears to have the edge.
There are a number of commercial cat foods designed especially for diabetic cats. Wet food (canned) is better than dry, as it tends to contain more protein and fewer carbs. Most canned cat foods meet the requirements for a diabetic feline diet. Be sure to avoid foods containing corn starch and rice as these are known to raise blood glucose (sugar) levels. A good choice is Purina DM. As an alternative consider Fancy Feast.
An alternative approach is to try a diet high in fiber. Research (Bennet N., Greco DS, Peterson ME - Compare the effect of a high fiber vs low carbohydrate diet on glycemic control in diabetic cats) showed that while both the canned diet mentioned above and a high fiber diet had an effect, the canned diet with higher levels of protein helped a greater percentage of cats in the study. Fiber helps control the rate at which sugar enters the cells. By controlling this rate, your cat will have less of a problem. You can buy high fiber food made for cats with diabetes from your veterinarian such as Hill's Prescription Diet w/d.
When your cat first gets diabetes, she may not want to eat any new foods, if this is the case, stay with what your cat likes to eat.
Some people prefer to feed their pet a homemade cat diabetes diet. A homemade diet can be healthier than commercial diets because you can make sure it has the proper amounts of carbs and protein.
If you decide to feed your cat a homemade diet, make sure it consists primarily of protein. Use lean meats like chicken. You can add a little rice or other starch, but that should account for only a small percent of the meal.
Feeding Your Cat
When switching your cat to a cat diabetes diet, it is important to do so gradually. Mix a little of the new food with the old food and increase the amount of new food each day until your cat is eating only the new food.
Switching your cat’s food all at once can cause problems. Your cat’s insulin needs will likely change as you switch her to a low-carb diet. Therefore she will need to be monitored closely during this process. Ask your vet to show you how to test your cat’s blood sugar levels at home and adjust her insulin accordingly.
It is important to feed your cat the same amount every day. She should also be fed the cat diabetes diet at the same time every day. Otherwise blood glucose levels may fluctuate. Your vet can tell you how much your cat should be eating and help you work out a feeding schedule.
Management of Feline Diabetes Mellitus: Part 2. What Diet Should I Choose & How Do I Manage Problem Cats?
Centre for Companion Animal Health, School of Veterinary Science, The University of Queensland, Brisbane Australia.
Management of feline diabetes
Dr Andrew H Sparkes
BVetMed PhD DipECVIM MRCVS, Animal Health Trust, United Kingdom