What Causes Feline Diabetes?
In a nutshell, your kitty’s blood sugar levels are too high.
The food your cats eats contains proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. The carbs in his food are broken down into glucose during the process of digestion. Glucose is a simple sugar his body uses for energy. It’s absorbed into your cat’s bloodstream when it passes through the walls of his intestines.
Your kitty’s pancreas produces insulin, which is a hormone that regulates the blood sugar levels. Sometimes the pancreas just stops producing insulin. This causes type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is caused when your cat’s body isn’t able to use the insulin, for whatever reason. The end result is the same, whether your cat has type 1 or type 2 diabetes – the glucose levels in his blood will get too high.
High blood sugar levels are a problem. They can cause liver and kidney disease, gastrointestinal problems, and nerve damage, along with decreased resistance to infections. And if his blood sugar levels get too high, he can go into a coma and die.
Symptoms of Feline Diabetes
Often the first symptom a cat owner notices is weakness in the cat’s legs. This is called diabetic neuropathy.
You may notice your cat walking on his “wrists” on his front legs, or on his “elbows,” or his hocks, on his back legs. During a short walk, he may need to stop and rest several times. If the condition is bad enough, his back legs may not support him at all. Diabetic neuropathy is due to nerve damage caused by his high blood sugar levels.
Your cat may be ravenously hungry while losing weight at the same time. This is because he can’t get nutrition from the food he’s eating, so his body is breaking down the protein in his muscles for energy.
Extreme thirst is a classic diabetic symptom, whether you’re a cat or a human. Your cat’s body is trying to flush the extra sugar out of his blood by making your cat feel thirsty so he’ll drink more. This does work, up to a point, but it causes high sugar levels in your cat’s urine. The excess water consumption leads to very frequent urination, another symptom of diabetes.
Your formerly energetic friend may lose interest in things he used to enjoy. He may be lethargic and depressed.
Is There A Cure For Diabetes In Cats?
There is no cure, but there are many treatment options. Your vet will be the best source of information, so the ability to work together is very important. Clear communication between your vet and you is essential, so you’ll need to be able to ask questions and get answers you can understand.
Older male cats who are carrying too much weight are prone to developing this disease. This is because fat cells produce a substance that causes the body’s cells to stop using the insulin produced by his body. This condition is called insulin resistance. Feeding your kitty a high-quality canned food and helping him to lose weight can help to prevent feline diabetes, and will help to control it if he already has it.
A great natural remedy for balancing your cat’s blood sugar levels is GlucoEnsure, from PetAlive. Many cat owners have used this remedy with great success. But remember, always check with your vet before you make any changes in your cat’s treatment or diet.
Should I Have My Older Cat Put To Sleep?
This is a decision only you can make. It really depends on how healthy he is, how committed you are to caring for him, and how much you can afford. Feline diabetes can be an expensive disease to treat, and sometimes treatment can be complicated. But remember that once you are past the initial treatment, you and your cat may have many healthy happy years ahead of you.
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