Diabetes has become a widespread condition, not only among humans but also among cats. In the greater majority of cases, when a cat suffers from diabetes, the condition is quite similar to Type 2 diabetes in people. With that in mind, in order to better control the condition, and prevent it from evolving, it is mandatory to get the best cat food for diabetic cats. Weight management and diet are essential when it comes to diabetes.
You might actually wonder what makes the best diabetic cat food. And this is a good starting point. We will actually present to you some key elements that will make the shopping process easier, alongside our recommendations of diabetic cat food. Let’s proceed with my cat food for diabetic cats reviews;
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Glycobalance S/O Index Dry Cat Food
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Hill’s Prescription Diet m/d Glucose/Weight Management Canned Cat Food
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Farmina Natural & Delicious Grain-Free Formula Dry Cat Food
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Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets DM Dietetic Management Formula Dry Cat Food
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Tiki Cat Succulent Chicken Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
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Best Cat Food for Diabetic Cats Reviews (Updated List)
1 Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Glycobalance S/O Index Dry Cat Food
The formula Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Glycobalance S/O Index Dry Cat Food is specifically created to address the individual needs of a diabetic cat. To that end, the ingredient blend aims at regulating and maintaining healthy blood glucose levels. Aside from this, the formula addresses the concerns associated with the well-functioning of the urinary tract system, thus safeguarding its health.
Considering that the intake of carbohydrates is a concern for diabetic cats, you should know that the carbohydrate percentage is 25.2%. This is higher than the recommended percentage, which is roughly 10 percent. To that end, you might want to discuss with your veterinarian before purchasing this food for your feline. Or, you might consider combining it with canned or raw food, to ensure that your cat still gets enough moisture out of its food.
As pointed out by other cat owners, most cats really love this food and it is highly recommended by many vets. So, perhaps this dry cat food might work for you as well.
- Chicken recipe
- Formulated specifically for minimizing fluctuations in blood glucose levels in diabetic adult cats.
- An ideal combination of soluble and insoluble fibers for optimizing gut function.
- Prevents the formation of urinary crystals.
2 Hill’s Prescription Diet m/d Glucose/Weight Management Canned Cat Food
Statistically speaking, roughly 50% of the pet population is overweight. This applies especially to pets that live indoors and don’t get to do a lot of exercise. The thing with being overweight is that it can be a common cause of many problems. For instance, in the case of cats, being overweight affects playtime, impacting your cat’s mobility as well as its overall wellbeing.
As many commercial foods contain a lot of artificial components, this may also be a major contributor to your cat being overweight. This is where Hill’s comes in – its team of experts aimed at addressing this issue by coming up with a formula that will help a cat reach its ideal weight. This is crucial, especially for the diabetic, overweight cat.
The high level of protein and the low level of carbohydrates (16.4%) are ideal for a cat with diabetes. In addition to that, the recipe aims at helping your cat burn more calories while maintaining lean muscle. Furthermore, arginine is added to the formula, as it supports insulin secretion. As for the inclusion of antioxidants, they support the well-functioning of a healthy immune system.
- Pork recipe.
- Low carbohydrates and high protein.
- Manages weight and blood glucose levels.
- Arginine for insulin secretion.
- Antioxidants for cell oxidation and a healthy immune system.
3 Farmina Natural & Delicious Grain-Free Formula Dry Cat Food
Farmina Natural & Delicious Grain-Free Formula Dry Cat Food is another cat food targeted for diabetic cats. The prominent ingredient in the formula is, of course, protein, which is mostly derived from animal sources. This explains the low ash content. Aside from this, in order to safeguard the nutritional value of the compounds, the ingredients aren’t frozen – according to the manufacturer.
In addition to that, the recipe includes key fatty acids – these ensure the health of the skin and coat. Plus, there are many antioxidants added, to ensure that your cat’s immunity is strengthened through its diet.
The formula is also free from lentils, peas, chickpeas, pea protein or added plant oils.
- Fish & orange recipe.
- 70% of animal ingredients (pre-cooking weight) and 30% vegetables, fruits, vitamins, and minerals.
- High protein, limited carbohydrate, and low fiber.
- Gluten-free & grain-free.
- A low glycemic formula for not spiking blood sugar.
- GMO-free formula.
- Natural omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat.
- Antioxidants like pomegranate and berries for fighting free radicals.
4 Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets DM Dietetic Management Formula Dry Cat Food
Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets DM Dietetic Management Formula Dry Cat Food is another good alternative of cat dry food targeted for diabetic cats. Although it is a dry formula, it is worth considering if your cat likes kibble and isn’t a big fan of raw or canned food – as it is the case with many cats.
However, when you feed your cat a diet consisting of only dry food, it’s critical to ensure that it gets hydrated. Therefore, offer it a source of freshwater that entices it to drink.
Once again, the formula is rich in protein and low in carbs, as experts recommend for diabetic cats. As for the levels of antioxidants, they are also quite high, promoting healthy and strong immunity.
Moving on to the actual carbohydrate intake of the food, it is 15.69%. This is quite decent, considering that we’re talking about a dry food formula that requires more carbs in order to tie the ingredients together.
As with any other formula, make sure you still consult with a veterinarian before choosing it.
- Chicken recipe.
- For cats with diabetes, enteritis, persistent hyperglycemia, or chronic loose stools.
- Rich in protein, low in carbohydrates.
- High levels of antioxidants.
5 Tiki Cat Succulent Chicken Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
Tiki Cat Succulent Chicken Grain-Free Canned Cat Food is ideal for sensitive, diabetic cats. Not only is it easy on digestion, but it aims at supporting a cat’s overall health and wellbeing. The base ingredient is shredded chicken breast, which is combined with delicious chicken broth – thus making it very appealing to your feline.
Considering that actual broth is a dominant ingredient, your cat will actually get the moisture it needs for a balanced diet. Getting sufficient moisture is critical for the health of the urinary and digestive systems.
That is not all, your cat will also get all the vitamins it needs to thrive. Other key ingredients are taurine, amino acids, and fatty acids. Moreover, it contains no grains, no gluten, no starches, no carbohydrates, and no flours.
You should also note that the cans are free from BPA – so there’s nothing to worry about in this respect either. The phosphorus content of the recipe is also small, namely 1.07 percent on a dry matter basis, whereas on a fed basis the percentage is of 0.23 percent.
- Chicken recipe.
- Grain-free &gluten-free.
- Hormone and antibiotic-free shredded chicken.
- High protein for healthy muscles.
- Sunflower oil for healthy skin and coat.
- Zero carbohydrates, starches, or flours.
What Are the Causes of Feline Diabetes?
When it comes to feline diabetes, the most common form is Type 2 diabetes, as we already mentioned. This condition usually occurs when the body doesn’t manage to regulate its insulin levels accordingly.
Diet and activity level are, supposedly, the factors that basically determine the condition. Aside from this, as experts put it, there are also genetic and environmental elements that could have a say.
For example, it appears that Burmese casts are the ones that are more predisposed to this condition. When it comes to potential environmental factors, we would like to outline the following:
- Old age
- Being a male
- Physical inactivity
- Being neutered
- Living in an indoor environment
- Undergoing specific drug treatments
The bad news is that there has been an increase in the incidence of Type 2 diabetes in cats – just as is the case with humans.
As for Type 1 diabetes, which is also referred to as juvenile diabetes, it usually happens when the pancreas doesn’t produce sufficient insulin. With that in mind, Type 1 diabetes happens due to an autoimmune disease.
When it comes to both forms of diabetes, due to the body’s incapability of producing sufficient insulin, dangerously high blood sugar and blood glucose levels are prone to happen.
What Are the Symptoms of Diabetes in Cats?
Although your cat can’t speak, by analyzing its behavior, you can tell a lot about its health status and general wellbeing. That being said, there are a bunch of symptoms that indicate if your cat has diabetes or not. We will enumerate the most common ones.
Increased Thirst & Urination
This is, perhaps, the first sign noticed by most pet owners. Diabetes prevents glucose from entering the blood cells. As a result, blood glucose levels increase. The kidneys have to filter all the extra glucose, which also carries a lot of water. This will evidently make your cat lose more water during the urination process.
Consequently, your cat will experience an increase in thirst, which means that it will drink more water than normal. With that in mind, if you do realize that you have to refill the water bowl of your cat more frequently than usual, or you see that your cat is looking for alternative sources of water, then it might have developed diabetes.
Sudden Change in Appetite
As it is the case with humans, when one is sick, a change in appetite is pretty much imminent. This is why you should pay attention to this factor as well. In some instances, your cat might develop an increased appetite, being hungry all the time. That’s because the hypothalamus lets your cat know that it is hungry and it needs food.
On the other hand, your cat might also eat less than usual, which is also odd. Regardless of the type of change, one thing is sure: you should look into this issue and possibly discuss it with a specialist.
When a cat has diabetes, this also means an increase in thirst and urination. And considering that your cat is going to the bathroom more than usual, this might increase the incidence of small accidents of inappropriate elimination. In addition to that, cats that suffer from diabetes are also more prone to urinary tract infections, which are also linked to inappropriate elimination.
If you notice stools outside of the litter box, then this isn’t normal. Particularly since cats are really clean and hygienic creatures. You may also want to check cat food for urinary crystals as struvite crystals may be another reason for improper elimination.
Diminished Activity & Weakness
Considering that your cat won’t be able to break down the calories it consumes, the levels of energy will effectively be influenced. Therefore, your cat will have lower levels of energy. The consequence might be that your cat will also lose muscle mass. This will make it be lethargic and disinterested in the activities that would appeal to it beforehand.
With that in mind, if you notice that your feline companion seems to be sleeping more than usual, it’s reluctant to playing, going outside, or anything that would trigger its interest in the past, this should raise some question marks. You should definitely address your concerns to a veterinarian, especially if you notice the prominence of other symptoms or signs.
If you realize that your cat suddenly started to lose weight, this may also be a sign of diabetes. This usually happens because the cat’s body is no longer capable of using calories in the form of energy. To that end, the body will start to break down body fat instead.
Evidently, each cat copes with weight fluctuations that can be the cause of several elements. But when the discrepancy is quite severe, especially if your cat is overweight, then dramatic weight loss should concern you. That is to say, you should look into it and talk to a specialist. Another possibility is that you may end up having to feed your cat food for weight gain.
Cat Food for Diabetic Cats Buying Guide
Considering that your cat has diabetes, you should choose its food based on very specific factors. And while we couldn’t say that one specific type of cat food is best for all cats, there are some guidelines that apply in most cases.
High Protein Intake/Low Carbohydrate Intake
This is, basically, the ground rule when it comes to the best diabetic cat food. If a diabetic cat eats a diet rich in carbohydrates, then it will imminently boost its blood sugar levels and will also increase its need for insulin. In other words, this is the last thing your cat needs when it has diabetes. Therefore, you need to make sure that the food you are purchasing is low in carbohydrates.
On the other hand, you have proteins. Cats are carnivores – you already know this by now. Therefore, your cat should get its protein from an animal source; this is even more important if it has diabetes. You should think of the way in which wild cats would eat. Essentially, cats live on meat, for the most part, which supplies a mix of amino acids, minerals, and vitamins that are critical for their health and wellbeing.
Note that cats actually have a psychological anti-carbohydrate basis. In comparison with omnivorous animals, cats don’t have salivary amylase. Salivary amylase stands for carbohydrate-digesting enzymes, which are normally present in the saliva. Therefore, your cat has a lower activity of digestive enzymes, which effectively breaks down the intake of carbohydrates in the small intestine.
As a rule of thumb, a diabetic cat should have a diet consisting of less than 10 percent carbohydrates. You are bound to observe the beneficial results of switching to a diet low on carbs right away.
Another thing you should bear in mind is that diabetic cats need taurine – an important amino acid. In fact, this is a must for both healthy and diabetic cats. Experts suppose that it might enhance the symptoms linked with diabetes, potentially the way in which it supports cellular functions.
High Moisture Level
An essential ground rule when browsing for the best diabetic cat food is choosing high-moisture food. This is primarily why most experts recommend feeding diabetic cats with wet or canned food, as opposed to dry cat food. That being said, the food should contain roughly 70% water by weight.
Moderate Amounts of Fat
Furthermore, it is just as important to monitor the level of fat your cat gets through its diet. When a cat has diabetes, you should regulate its weight, and this also means getting food that is low on fat. The ideal percentage of fat the best diabetic cat food should contain ranges from 20 to 45 percent. Of course, it is a good idea to consider your veterinarian’s recommendation on the topic.
Vitamins & Minerals
Moving on, we’d like to outline some key components that the best diabetic cat food should contain:
- niacin (a type of vitamin B),
- arginine, which is an important amino acid,
- the active form of vitamin A, which is known as retinol,
- linoleic acid, which is a fatty acid.
As for the things you should avoid, it is quite evident: stay away from artificial preservatives and additives. If these are harmful to the healthy cat – and they are – they are even more dangerous for the cat suffering from diabetes.
Feeding Your Cat a Low-Carb Diet: Is This Necessary?
In the past, veterinarians would recommend cat food rich in fiber to pets suffering from diabetes. There are many high fiber cat food options on the market. Nevertheless, this is no longer the norm. As we outlined above, nowadays, most experts advise pet owners to opt for a diet that is high in protein and low on carbs.
Maybe, until now, you fed your cat dry food – whether it’s because that’s what your cat prefers or because it is more convenient to you. However, you might have to change this. That’s because, usually, dry cat food has a higher intake of carbohydrates than wet cat food.
Some even consider a raw diet, as it is the closest to what a cat gets in the wild. Evidently, the levels of carbs in the case of a raw diet are smaller than in the case of feeding your pet kibble.
This doesn’t mean that you should go for a raw diet for your cat all the way. A diet consisting of canned food might work as well. All you have to do is check with the nutritional analysis, to make sure that your cat gets all the nutrients it needs.
It would be safe to say that kibble can be quite problematic for cats that have diabetes. But what do you do in the case in which your cat refuses to eat anything else but kibble? In this situation, it would be a good idea to mix the two, so that you could add more moisture to the cat’s diet.
The thing with feeding a diabetic cat a diet low in carbs is that this will reduce the need for insulin in controlling its blood sugar levels. That is to say, your cat won’t have sugar spikes after each meal.
When Should I Feed a Diabetic Cat?
Aside from purchasing the best diabetic cat food, another important guideline would be to choose the right timing. Maybe, until now, you didn’t care much for this aspect and you simply let your cat eat when it pleases. Still, this is bound to change when you discover its illnesses.
Why is that? As experts put it, it is critical to coordinate your cat’s meal with the dosage of insulin. This is fundamental as the body will absorb the calories especially when the peak insulin takes place. In this way, the risk for your cat to become hypoglycemic will be lower. Hypoglycemia entails having low blood sugar.
Generally speaking, pet owners feed their cats twice a day. If you do this as well, then you should administer your cat a dosage of insulin after each meal. In case your cat isn’t too fond of the new diet that is high in protein, then you might consider going back to its former routine for a while or try to combine different food assortments. This applies especially if your cat refuses to eat altogether.
Do I Have to Monitor My Cat’s Health?
This goes without saying: having a diabetic cat is a huge responsibility and it’s up to you to ensure that you keep an eye on its health and the way in which the condition is evolving. In other words, you should know how to take care of a diabetic cat. In addition to that, you should note that diabetes in cats can have serious repercussions, which further outlines your responsibility as an owner.
With that in mind, make sure you regulate your cat’s blood sugar levels every time it’s necessary. You can start doing this at home or take your cat to the vet. Aside from this, you should also keep an eye out for things such as appetite, weight, water and food consumption.
It’s also advisable to check the litter box, to ensure that your cat urinates enough. If you notice any small changes in its regular routine, you should consult with your vet right away.
Are Prescription Diets Mandatory?
There are some veterinarians that advise pet owners to consider prescribed diabetic foods. But is this absolutely necessary for each case or not? In general, most cats will respond well to these foods. On the other hand, you should know that some of them might contain over 10 percent carbohydrates. This means that they aren’t necessarily ideal for all scenarios.
Aside from this, abiding by a prescription diet entails a lot of costs, and many pet owners simply can’t afford this.
However, the good thing is that your cat doesn’t need a prescription diet, even if it suffers from this condition. What it needs is a customized diet, which addresses its individual needs.
There are actually many alternatives to cat food products that address the specifics of the condition without costing a lot of money. Of course, you should always consult with your vet to determine the best solution for your feline companion.
Diabetic Remission & Weight Loss
As we have already mentioned, when it comes to diabetic management, regulating your cat’s calorie intake should be a priority. Obesity is considered one of the main risk factors that lead to diabetes. You have to determine the ideal body weight considering your cat’s age, breed, and other health indicators – and your vet should assist you in this direction.
That is to say, your cat should lose weight slowly and steadily – considering that it is overweight or obese.
It’s worth noting that cats may revert to a healthy state after suffering from diabetes. This is what makes it primordial for you to check your cat’s overall health and wellbeing. If you aren’t consistent with monitoring your cat’s urine glucose levels or blood levels, you might fail to realize that your cat is better. By continuing the treatment regardless of that, hypoglycemia is likely to occur.
Can a Cat Survive with Diabetes?
If you’ve just found out that your cat has diabetes, you might be overwhelmed with concern and stress. And it is just normal to feel this way. Finding out that your furry companion is sick is sad news. You might have a lot of questions, such as whether your cat can survive in spite of the condition or not.
Your cat can continue pretty much a normal life in spite of the condition, at least for a period. Aside from this, there are cases in which the cat goes into remission or partial remission. This means that you shouldn’t lose your hope.
However, keep in mind that diabetes is the kind of condition you have to learn to control. So, the likelihood of curing diabetes is quite slim and you should have realistic expectations.
Unfortunately, diabetes might effectively shorten the lifespan of your furry companion. This is the case particularly if your cat ends up suffering from peripheral nerve disorders, infections, alongside other health conditions. At the same time, if you don’t control it accordingly, then you might end up dealing with a bunch of emergency situations. So, be prepared to put more time and effort into taking care of your pet.
But with regular monitoring and the best diabetic cat food, many cats live for years, and some even get into their late teens. It requires commitment but it is achievable.
How to Give Insulin to a Cat?
How Can I Treat My Cat’s Diabetes Naturally?
You might be wondering whether there is a natural way of treating diabetes or not. Can you forgo the usual insulin or not? According to most veterinarians, natural and alternative treatments aren’t as efficient in battling diabetes as actual treatment options. With that in mind, there is a limited chance to escape giving your cat insulin shots.
This has to do with the fact that there’s no such thing as a natural replacement for insulin. Keep in mind that insulin is a naturally occurring hormone. So, when you provide your pet with insulin, you are simply giving it what the body needs for balance.
As for the greater majority of supplements created for cats with diabetes, they are targeted for supporting the overall health and wellbeing of your feline. Hence, they can’t necessarily be used for healing the disease.
Moving on to potential ways of coping with diabetes, the one thing worth noting is your approach to your cat’s diet and overall lifestyle. So, you should feed it cat food that is low on carbs and grains. You can opt for a grain-free cat food option. Aside from a change in diet, which is mandatory, another efficient natural approach would be providing a cranberry-based urinary supplement.
That’s because diabetic cats are more likely to have urinary infections than healthy cats.
We should also mention homeopathy, which is an alternative type of medicine. Some people have gone down this path for treating their cats with this condition. If you want to try this approach as well, look for a certified homeopathic practitioner that will assist you. There is also the option of traditional Chinese medicine, which isn’t that commonly met but it could work.
Hopefully, thanks to our cat food guide, you have discovered what makes the best cat food for diabetic cats. Among other things, when browsing for the best food, you should also consider the triggering factors of diabetes. As we pointed out, carbohydrate metabolism is one of the main causes that lead to this widespread condition. This is why introducing a diet low on carbs makes sense for the cat suffering from diabetes.
By adjusting your cat’s diet and constantly monitoring its health and regulating its blood sugar levels, you can ensure that it will have a happy life, regardless of the condition. You should also increase your feline’s activity level, as this can be helpful in the case of diabetes.