Cats and kittens can be a handful. They stand on our laptops while we are trying to work, and wake us up by tickling us with their tails, but they constantly claim our hearts with their fluffiness.
Unfortunately, some owners find out that their cat has developed feline diabetes, and have to make extra sure that their pets are fit and healthy.
The earlier the condition is spotted, the better. Do you know how to tell if your cat is running high blood sugar levels?
What is feline diabetes?
According to icatcare.org, feline diabetes tends to be similar to human type 2 diabetes; insulin resistance, possibly coupled with a lower insulin production rate in the pancreas. It is rarer for cats to have type 1 diabetes, the autoimmune condition.
Which cats are at risk?
Middle-aged cats, or those becoming elderly, are most likely to develop type 2 diabetes. It is also more common in male cats than female cats.
Just like with humans, the disease is more likely to develop in those that lead a more sedentary lifestyle, or are overweight. This makes indoor cats in particular a cause for caution. If your cat doesn’t get out and about by themselves, try and keep him or her exercised in the home.
Short periods of play, even 10-15 minute intervals, several times a day will go a long way to help keep your cat active and fit. Keeping them interested may be difficult, however, so make sure you have a number of different kinds of toys to use.
The signs of feline diabetes
As with human diabetes, the initial symptoms and majority of complications are caused by having too high blood glucose levels.
If your cat is urinating a lot, it could be a sign that their kidneys are working overtime to try and remove glucose from their blood. They might also have a greater level of thirst.
If your cat is displaying any abnormal eating behaviours, or any odd behaviours in general, it is best to take them to the vets for a check-up.
Managing a cat’s diabetes
Diabetes is not an easy condition to manage in humans, let alone in cats. But it is manageable.
One of the major things to consider is that blood sugar levels can sometimes be upset by certain medications. Does your feline friend require any medicine for something? Your vet will be able to sort out what your cat takes, and know whether it will be related. If the drug is related, they may need to have their dosage reduced.
If your cat is overweight, then it is time for them to go on a diet. Gradually reducing the amount of food that they eat per day, by weighing out their food precisely, is one way to go about this. Repeat visits to the veterinary nurse may be necessary to ensure accurate weighing and to chart how much weight your furry friend is losing.
In more extreme cases, insulin may have to be administered or injected into the cat at certain times every day. If this is the case, your vet will be able to let you know what to do, when to do it, and how.