My cat has diabetes

My cat has been listless and not interested in anything for a while now. He drinks large amounts of water. We took him to the vet today, who told us that he has diabetes. We’ll have to give him a couple of injections a day, put him on a special diet, and monitor his blood sugar levels. The vet’s going give us more details tomorrow after the blood test comes back.

Has anyone had a cat with diabetes? What should I look out for for?

Good luck with your kitty cat, and I’m sorry about the stress that this is causing you.

That said, a friend of mine has maintained her cat for a number of years with twice-daily insulin and an extra-big water bowl. Her cat is still motoring around and enjoying life, and doesn’t even mind the shots very much.

Has any bloodwork come back yet on your cat? Excessive drinking and urinating is also a sign of kidney disease, which has a somewhat poorer prognosis than diabetes but which can also often be managed for months or years.

The bloods won’t be back till tomorrow. The vet has mentioned the possibility of kidney problems, but he won’t know till he gets the results.

The older of my two kittehs was diagnosed back in December.

At the time, the vet made dire predictions and insisted on insulin. I pushed back and insisted on trying alternative treatment options to get her blood sugar under control to see whether we could have some success there. As I suspected, she’s been doing exceedingly well on a special diabetic kibble (we take her in for blood testing every few months to see how it’s going).

Here’s the thread I posted back then. I got plenty of great advice from Dopers in a similar situation.

Best of luck to you.

My post is in Mahna Mahna’s thread, as well.

Diabetes can be managed - just takes a bit of time and patience (and research helps tremendously).

Thanks for the link to the other thread.

My cat is also diabetic. After a few weeks of insulin injections (which wasn’t as horrible an experience as I feared), apperently his pancreas started working again. He’s been fine ever since as long as we feed him the prescription Kitty Atkins Diet (special prescription diabetic cat food).

If your cat doesn’t like one brand, try another one…he was awfully spoiled at first and would only eat the canned stuff, which was kind of a pain, because it goes bad quickly, so we couldn’t really leave out enough at a time for him to snack on for more than a couple of hours, which was a pain, because then he would wake us up every 2 - 3 hours whining for more food. But then I tried a different brand of dry food, and he seems to like it much better - and I certainly like being able to sleep more than 2 - 3 hours at a time.

Eva Luna: thank you too for the link to your thread.

One thing I was wondering: we have two cats, both aged 13, only one who is diabetic. We’ve been fairly casual about their food. We just leave it out, they have some as needed, and we top it up. (It’s dried food).

I believe Caspar (the diabetic one) will need a special diet. Does it have to be given to him at specific times? And any ideas on how we can keep the non-diabetic cat away from the diabetic food, and vice versa.

They live in one room in our house (open plan kitchen/dining/living) with a cat flap to the garden. They use the garden, not a litter tray. (If any of that is relevant.)

Basically, I put Lady (my diabetic cat) on canned food - so I did the same for the other cats in our household. Everyone got fed at the same times every day.

This was many years ago, though, so the thought process for diabetic cats was “dry food = bad!” and “canned food = better!”.

One website that saved my life (and quite literally saved Lady’s life, too) was the Feline Diabetes Message Board (FDMB) I learned more about feline diabetes than I ever thought I could with the help of some fabulous people there.

My cat Lucia became diabetic a year ago after she had pancreatitis that nearly killed her. She seems to be doing very well now. Her condition is improving; she had to have 3 units of insulin twice a day when she first came home from the vet’s last August, and is now down to a 1/2 unit in the morning (we tried take her off insulin entirely in May and manage her with a strict, special diet, but her blood glucose numbers began to climb again after a couple of weeks).

If you aren’t squeamish about needles, injections, and stabbing the poor kitty in the ears to check her blood glucose, it really isn’t so bad. The worst part for me was the scheduling. You have to be very regular with your feedings and insulin shots, and so I always have to be up at 6 am even on weekends and, when Lucia was getting two shots a day, had to be home for her 6 pm feeding and shot, which put a bit of a cramp in going out anywhere in the early evening.

She eats M/D, which is a vet prescribed food that comes both canned and as dry kibble. She can occasionally eat other foods, like treats or other wet food, but this has to be the bulk of her diet.

Free feeding will probably have to become a thing of the past, unfortunately. Your vet will be able to give you more details in terms of how strictly you’ll need to stick to a schedule… it’s my understanding that the timing is a bit more crucial when there’s insulin involved, as the cat should be injected right after a meal.

However, on the bright side, you definitely can feed the special kibble to a non-diabetic cat, since it’s pretty much the same as the regular stuff but in a low-carb, high-protein combination.

We didn’t have a concern with this, thankfully. Diabetic cats can be prone to overeating, which was definitely the case with Ariel… if I was to fill her bowl with a full day’s worth of food, it would be gone in a matter of minutes. As a result, she’s always been fed a small meal twice a day for almost as long as I’ve had her, and the cats are fed in separate bowls to ensure that Morgan gets her share.