Diabetic Cat Food? Or How to Save Your Cat's Life

Diabetic cat food, what you need to know to do the best for your cat

Being overweight and lack of exercise seem to be common among people suffering from diabetes. Our cats are no different. Well, maybe just a bit!

A cat doesn't have to be overweight to be diabetic. On the other hand, most cats who are diabetic have this in common: they have been fed a diet of dry cat food, even if it's high-quality dry food. Cats on wet food or a raw diet don't seem to get diabetes.

But isn't it the same as wet food - only dry?

No, and this is an important point. Dry foods need large amounts of carbohydrates to stick together into those ball or fish shapes. Yet cats are traditionally meat eaters, and their bodies over thousands of years have become excellent meat processing machines. When they eat a dry diet, their organs have to get rid of those extra carbs in the food. The carbs are broken down into sugars, and cats don't do a very good job of excreting these sugars, because the body was not designed to do it. The sugars build up as the liver and pancreas try and cope to control all these sugars. Over time these organs becomes unable to cope with a system always awash with sugars and they stop working, the sugars in the blood become unstable and the cat starts getting very ill.

Some cats seem to cope better and for longer than others but any cat thats system is under relentless pressure from sugars (broken down carbs) is heading for life threatening trouble.

If you cat grazes (and it should leave grazing to cows and horses) on dry food during the day then you're not being kind you are in fact making even more problems for your cat. He will eat more than he should and get fat, and will be eating in a way that is not in keeping with his wild genes. Mice don't roll over and say "Eat me anytime you're hungry," do they? Cats in the wild are often near starvation by the time they catch a mouse. This is a typical scenario for all meat eaters and their body is built to cope with 'starve and gorge'. If you allow your cat to eat through the day, his body will get no respite from all the carb-induced sugar, and his health will be endangered.

So please, at the very least feed your cat quality tinned wet food - or even better, feed it homemade cat food if you possibly can.

Has your cat been diagnosed with diabetes?

If your cat is on insulin and you'd like to try another form of healing, you might consider the nutrition route.

One expert who believes you can manage cat diabetes through nutrition is Elizabeth M Hodgkins D.V.M., author of Your Cat: Simple New Secrets to a Longer, Stronger Life. She provides easy-to-follow plans for reducing insulin injections. She suggests feeding your cat a wet tinned or raw meat diet, and avoiding the special diabetic dried foods on the market. Feeding just meat (plus the bones, organs and other nutrients) and ideally raw she considers the best diabetic cat food

Note: If you are already giving insulin to your cat, you must have the cat examined by your vet while you change from a dry diet to a meat or wet diet. You don't want to be giving insulin to a cat that no longer needs it because it is very dangerous!

Cats might refuse a raw diet at first so you will have to introduce it slowly. No cat should be without food for long because it is refusing the new diet and this is especially important for the diabetic cat. For tips in getting your cat onto raw diets www.catnutrition.org has tips and forum suggestions to get your cat onto a healthy diet as quick as possible.

What about prescription dry diabetic cat food?

Those who are most successful in either curing or at least stabilizing diabetes do it by feeding wet tinned meat or making a balanced homemade raw cat food. It might be hard to turn down food that is marketed as diabetic cat food do your own research. Have a look at Cat Nutrition website and get your own copy of Elizabeth Hodgkins' excellent cat care book.

If you're worried your cat might be diabetic, run to the vet - especially if any of the following symptoms are visible:

  • Your cat looks and acts ill
  • Your cat appears to be very tired (this is not always easy to diagnose)
  • Your cat drinks a lot, or simply spends time just being close to the water bowl
  • Your cat uses its tray many times during the day and floods it - this is not normal so take your cat to the vet quickly
  • Your cat is either putting on weight or losing it. Often it is eating heaps but loosing weight.
  • Your cat's coat isn't glossy or smooth
  • Your cat is either hungry all the time or off its food

Any of these symptoms are a sign that something is wrong. And if your cat is diagnosed with diabetes, treatments like insulin may be needed. Don't delay, the cat needs to see the vet as soon as possible.

When it comes to diabetic cat food, what your Siamese cat or house cat really needs is a meat diet. So ditch those carbs (cereal fillers, and avoid vegetables and fruits!) Beware I saw one organic cat food with added organic honey! Don't fall into the organic cat food trap. Organic cat food might still not be the best food you can give your cat.


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