Many are aware of diabetes in humans, but few know the number of cats suffering from this disease. Diabetes mellitus, or producing an insufficient amount of insulin to balance glucose levels, affects roughly 2 percent of all cats. Certain factors, such as obesity, certain medications, and pancreatitis can cause diabetes to develop over time in felines. For parents of these fuzzy pets, there are several healthy lifestyle changes that go a long way in preventing diabetes or managing diabetes in cats:
1. Clean up your cat’s diet
A healthy, balanced diet is a very necessary component for combating feline diabetes mellitus. While some breeds are predisposed to the disease, obesity is a large contributing factor to developing type 2 diabetes, which is most common among feline patients. Changing your cat’s diet to high protein meals while lowering carbohydrates will help stabilize blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates, found mostly in dry cat food, are responsible for the blood-level spikes and increase diabetes diagnosis probability. Canned foods, both store bought and over-the-counter, usually have lower carbohydrate levels and also help with portion control. Feeding consistency is also important for regulating blood sugar levels. Feeding cats on set schedule, especially if on insulin, will guarantee better results.
Insulin therapy is another important treatment. Your feline’s veterinarian can implement a series of tests and decide the best course of insulin treatment. It is highly recommended to meet with your veterinarian seasonally for necessary insulin adjustments once your cat begins to adjust to their treatments. Blood tests are administered in an office, however owners give insulin shots to their cat. It may seem intimidating, however insulin shot lessons are demonstrated by the veterinarian first so that owners know how to safely and effectively administer them to their pet.
3. Regular exercise
Exercise also plays a major role in controlling feline diabetes. Regular eating paired with inactivity is bad for felines because they are natural hunters and constant movement is instinctual. For cats that suffer from type 2 diabetes, moderate amounts of exercise will enable weight loss, which helps to prevent metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Keep your cat active by placing food in various places so they have to work for their meal, or use items like toys or even a laser pointer to get the cat to chase the items and (hopefully) lose weight. Diet and exercise used in conjunction minimizes the chances of obesity, which is a major component of a diabetes diagnosis.
4. Check in regularly with a veterinarian
Paying attention to the symptoms of this disease are important for the health of your cat. In addition to lack of exercise and proper diet, there are various diseases that not only plague felines, but also play a huge part in a diabetes diagnosis if left unchecked. Schedule regular visits with your cat’s veterinarian and get your cat tested for this disease if you suspect it may be an issue. While irregular glucose levels negatively impact your cat, they also make pets prone to infections and nerve disorders. If your cat is diagnosed with diabetes, be sure to keep up with treatments and regular vet checkups. Once blood sugar is under control, treatments are relatively inexpensive and will help your cat function at a healthy level.