Cat Diabetes: A Growing Problem To Watch For
One of the most severe and fatal diseases all cat owners must look out for is cat diabetes. It may not be a disease you have heard of, or even read about before. But studies are now showing that cat diabetes is a rising problem worth paying attention to, affecting 1 in 230 cats around the world (and growing).
Feline diabetes is life-threatening and can strike at any time. The good news is there are many signs to look out for to catch it early, and with the right management, you can help prevent it and give your cat the best chance at a long and happy life.
Here are the facts about cat diabetes you need to know, as well as tips to look after your cat so the disease never becomes a problem.
What is Cat Diabetes?
Diabetes in cats is very similar to Type 2 diabetes for humans. Just like with us, a cat’s pancreas normally does the job of creating insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. Cat diabetes occurs when this natural process starts breaking down, the cat’s blood sugar levels rise too high as a result.
The disease is most likely to happen in middle-aged, overweight cats who spend a lot of time indoors without too much exercise. This isn’t always the case, however. Cat diabetes can strike at any age or weight. It can also be caused naturally by genetics or even a diet that’s extremely high in carbohydrates or the wrong cat food. Usually, it’s not one of these factors that causes diabetes in cats, but a combination of a few.
It diabetes isn’t treated in cats early, they develop a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis. This causes vomiting, loss of energy, extreme loss of fluids as well as cat depression. It can become fatal quickly (even during treatment) which makes it even more important to make sure you check the signs early to avoid heartache later.
Signs of Cat Diabetes
Cat diabetes can be life-threatening, but thankfully there are some signs to look out for to tell if it may be present:
- Excess litter tray use: The easiest sign of early diabetes is increased trips to the bathroom or litter tray. Due to higher levels of glucose in the bloodstream, diabetic cats will urinate a lot more than usual to get rid of the excess fluids.
- Drinking more: you might not see your cat drinking all that often, but an always empty water bowl can point to problems. Because a diabetic cat loses more fluid than normal because of the glucose, they will try to slurp up more water to replace it.
- Large appetite: Diabetic cats always feel like they are hungry. The cells in their body aren’t receiving the glucose they need properly so their appetite is always active. If they don’t get the insulin they need, eating more won’t solve the problem – but they will keep trying anyway.
- Increased weight loss: It might seem strange that diabetic cats shed the kilos fast given they are eating so much, but it’s true. Since they can’t use glucose for that much-needed energy source, the body’s fat stores break down. This makes them thinner and slowly degrades their muscles.
- Smells different: cats with diabetes start to dehydrate very quickly, which changes their natural odour. Some say it smells like nail polish remover. These are the ‘ketones’ as a result of low fluid levels.
If you notice any of these signs, take them straight away to your local emergency veterinarian. A quick diagnosis and urgent treatment can stop cat diabetes from taking over. Even if it’s a false alarm, cat diabetes is not worth the risk of leaving it alone.
How to Prevent Cat Diabetes
There are several ways you can protect your cat from diabetes to avoid the pain and suffering it can cause.
Firstly, ensure your cat’s diet and weight are managed properly so they don’t develop obesity. This is one of the largest factors for the disease but it’s one that can be easily stopped. If your feline friend is overweight, ask your local vet for assistance.
If your cat is an indoor animal make sure they get enough exercise. This can be done with cat toys, a designated area or gym for them to play on, and by playing games with them regularly to get their feet running. The more they move, the better chance they have at a long and enjoyable life.
By looking after the weight and lifestyle of your family pet, you will be able to avoid not just cat diabetes, but a range of other diseases too. Take them in for regular check-ups with your local vet and don’t be afraid to ask questions about anything you have noticed out of the ordinary. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. After all, a healthy cat is a happy cat!
For further about cats and diabetes, Happy Cat’s suggests that you visit: https://www.catsanddiabetes.com/