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Diabetes Mellitus In Cats

Education > Cat Health & Behaviour 11th April 2019

Diabetes mellitus is a disorder where blood glucose cannot be effectively utilised and regulated within the body. Glucose levels are controlled by insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas. Insulin facilitates movement of glucose from blood into cells to be stored or used.


  • Excessive drinking (polydipsia): also a sign of kidney disease
  • Excessive urination (polyuria): look out for larger clumps of urine in litter boxes or ‘accidents’ around the house, which could also be a sign of urinary tract disease or bladder stones
  • Increased appetite (polyphagia) but accompanied by weight loss

Effective blood glucose monitoring is essential for the management of cats with diabetes mellitus.

The patient stays in our clinic for a day to perform blood glucose curve and fructosamine test to ensure the diabetes is well managed. Blood glucose readings can be affected by stress, food consumption and exercise. It is important for the patient to be calm and relaxed to prevent an increase in blood glucose value due to stress.

Ideally, a diabetic patient should be fed the same type of food, same amount, at the same time each day. This minimises fluctuations in blood glucose so the amount of insulin to be injected remains the same. When diabetes mellitus is poorly controlled, the body starts to break down fats cells resulting in a serious complication known as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) which can lead to diabetic coma or death. Once the diabetes is properly regulated, the patient can live a long and happy life.

You can help to prevent diabetes in your cat by maintaining an ideal body condition, feeding an appropriate diet and scheduling regular blood and urine screening tests.