Diabetes in Cats

What are the common signs to watch for?

Diabetes is a common disease seen more frequently in middle-aged to senior cats and more common in males than females. In short, diabetes is a disease where the organ responsible for regulating blood sugar (the pancreas) is not doing its job properly.

In cats, it is closely related to obesity. Overweight cats are more predisposed to diabetes mellitus type 2, where tissues in the cat’s body will become insulin-resistant.

The clinical signs are related to the elevated concentrations of blood glucose and the inability of the body to use glucose as an energy source. For example, even though there is a lot of available sugar circulating in the blood, the cells can’t use any of that without proper levels of insulin. Your cat will always feel hungry, eat a lot, but still, lose weight.

The four main signs to watch for are:

  • Increased thirst: sometimes you will notice empty water dishes or your cat wanting to drink water from different sources it never tried before (licking the bathtub, licking faucets or even drinking from the toilet!)
  • Increased urination: you may notice that you have to clean the litter box more often
  • Increased appetite: that crazy meowing near the food dish or in the kitchen
  • Weight loss: this is tricky to notice at home because a lot of cats are a little overweight, to begin with. It is okay to call your clinic and just ask to bring the cat for a weigh-in if you are suspecting weight loss.

If you are worried your cat might have diabetes, make an appointment with your veterinarian.

If you have any questions, give us a call at 204.269.8162.

Written by: Natalia Cardoso, DVM