Is my cat at risk of diabetes?
Although diabetes is diagnosed in all ages, genders and breeds of cats and dogs, certain pets are at greater risk.
In cats, the risk can increase with:
- Age (older cats are more susceptible)
- Neutered males
- Certain breeds
- Other insulin-resistant disorders or diseases, such as chronic pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) or hyperthyroidism (overproduction of thyroid hormones)
- Physical inactivity
- Indoor lifestyle
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Diabetes can cause visible changes to your cat’s behaviour. It is important that your cat is thoroughly examined by a vet at least once a year, and for cats at a higher risk, more frequent visits are advised.
Knowing the signs of diabetes is the first step in protecting your cat's health. Below are some examples to keep an eye on. You can also watch a video here.
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If any of these signs apply to your pet, take your cat to your vet for a check-up.
You may notice your cat drinking more or from more varied water sources than usual.
Your pet may produce more urine per day or have “accidents” outside the litterbox. This can result in a heavier litter tray or one that needs more frequent emptying.
Thinning, dry and dull fur
You may see a change in your cat’s coat, either fur falling out more regularly or the coat becoming very dry. Your cat may also stop grooming and pay little to no attention to his or her coat.
Excessive hunger while losing weight
Your cat may be very hungry and may beg for food more than usual. However, despite this, he is likely to be losing weight despite regular meals.
Lethargy (less active/sleeps more)
A lot of cats are pretty inactive for much of the day but if yours is less active or energetic than usual it may be a sign of diabetes.
Is diabetes in my cat the same as diabetes in people?
Diabetes in cats can resemble diabetes in humans. However, your vet will be using medication, equipment, and monitoring systems that are designed specifically with diabetic pets in mind.
Can diabetes lead to other health problems?
Yes. Cats with diabetes can develop other health problems.
Weakness of the hind legs is a common complication for cats. Relating to nerve damage due to persistently high levels of glucose in the blood. Controlling high blood glucose levels can lead to healthier outcomes for your cat. This is why early diagnosis of diabetes is important.
Will diabetes affect my cat’s life expectancy?
Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment helps pets with diabetes maintain a good quality of life and with good control, many treated diabetic cats go on to live healthy lives.
If your cat shows signs of diabetes, your vet will ask about them, and check your cat's general health to rule out the possibility of other conditions or infections.
Your vet may check your cats urine and run a panel of blood tests. These will include analysis for glucose (blood sugar). If glucose is present in urine or the level in the blood is found to be high, then a second blood marker called fructosamine is also likely to be checked to help confirm the diagnosis.
Watch the video Sugar and Spike visiting the vet.
Click here to learn more about diagnosis of cat diabetes.