Cat Diabetes Diet

by Nancy

Reader Suggestion for Cat Diabetes Food and Diet

We have three cats, ranging in age from 15 to 10. We noticed a lump on the youngest cat's jaw, and took him to the vet to have it checked out. While investigating what turned out to be an abscess, the blood tests revealed that he was also diabetic.

He had been lethargic, and drinking/urinating a lot, but we didn't recognize it as a problem because it was an extremely hot dry summer, and all the cats were drinking a lot, as well as lounging in the coolest spots they could find. We were devastated at the diagnosis, as we could not afford the insulin regimen the vet recommended, and we were considering having him put to sleep, rather than suffer.

I started researching the most inexpensive ways to provide insulin, and read many articles about the benefits of feeding a high protein, low carb diet. Many recommended Fancy Feast canned food. I thought that at least we could make his remaining days more pleasant, as he has always loved canned food, but we had been feeding all the cats a low-fat dry food which was purchased from the vet because one of the other cats has a weight problem and arthritic knees - we didn't want to tempt him into eating any more than he should.

I didn't purchase Fancy Feast, just the inexpensive Paws and Claws brand, Mixed Grill variety, from our local Tractor Supply (after reading labels to find the one with least carbs and most meat). After a week, the diabetic
cat was better, and after two weeks, all symptoms of diabetes were gone. He has maintained that level for two months now. I am now feeding all three cats the same diet, two daily feedings of canned food, and free choice of 4Health dry food (no corn, wheat or soy), which they don't eat much of because they are satisfied with the canned food. Not only do they all seem VERY happy with the new diet, the overweight cat has lost more weight on this diet than he did in two years on the vet's diet. The new diet is only costing us a dollar or two more a month than the vet's diet, too.

Veterinarian Comment on Cat Diabetes Food and Diet

Hello Nancy,

You have touched upon an important trend in feline nutrition. Many cat enthusiasts and veterinarians now believe that feeding canned food of almost any type (assuming it provides complete and balanced nutrition) is one of the most important ways of keeping cats healthy and even reversing the course of some diseases, including diabetes mellitus and obesity. In part, the benefits of canned food stem from the fact that most are much lower in carbohydrates and higher in protein than are dry foods. This nutritional composition more closely matches the diets of the domestic cat’s ancestors. The higher water content of canned food also seems to be an important factor in its health benefits.

Some cats do very well on dry food, but others benefit from a canned-only or nearly canned-only diet. Thank you for putting the word out.

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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