Feeding Diabetic Cats

The aim of dietary change is to improve blood glucose control. Post prandial hyperglycaemia is far less marked in cats than in dogs. The need to time meals around insulin treatment and for high fibre diets to delay post prandial peaks is far less.

Type of Diet

It has been shown cats with diabetes mellitus respond best to a low-carbohydrate high-protein diet (this may not be appropriate for those with renal insufficiency).

Commercial, ‘prescription’ diets designed for diabetic cats are available and are typically low-carbohydrate high-protein diets. Diabetic cats can also be stabilised on their usual diet (preferably exactly the same type and amount of food every day) if need be.

Number of meals

Many cats prefer to browse, eating many small “snacks” (somewhere in the range of 5-11) every day rather than being fed distinct meals. In cats, there also appears to be far less of a connection between feeding and hyperglycaemia, possibly due to the frequent, small ”meals”. Thus, Ideally, the usual feeding routine (e.g. food always available (ad libitum), meals/fresh food given twice or three times daily) should be kept when starting to stabilise a diabetic cat.

The exception is cats that are obese. These cats should be given a diet designed for weight management and fed according to a strict regime until they reach their ideal/target body weight. In some cats, weight loss may dramatically reduce or even eliminate the need for insulin treatment.(“clinical diabetic remission”).

feeding cats with diabetes