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Signs Of Diabetes In Cats
November 15, 2023

November is Pet Diabetes Month. Diabetes isn’t exactly the most common issue we see in kitties: it only affects about one percent of our feline friends. Then again, there are roughly 58 million pet cats here in the US, according to the Zebra research site. That translates into 580,000 diabetic kitties. That’s actually quite a lot of furballs! As with any other medical condition, diabetes is best treated when it’s caught early. A Bellaire, TX vet lists some common warning signs to look for in this article.

Excessive Thirst

Pay attention to how much water Fluffy is drinking. A sudden intake in water consumption is often a sign of diabetes. You may find it easier to track your kitty’s intake if you refill her bowl at the same time or times every day, though this can get a bit trickier if you have multiple pets.

Increased Urination

If Fluffy is drinking more water, she’ll also end up urinating more. You may notice that suddenly her litterbox is getting soiled more quickly. She may also start having accidents outside the box.

Increased Appetite

To be fair, some of our feline friends are, well, a bit gluttonous, and will basically melt down when they spot the bottom of their food bowls. However, if Fluffy is suddenly eating more than she did, and/or is continuously begging for food, even after she’s just had her third breakfast, there could be a medical issue to blame.

Weight Loss

Diabetes affects Fluffy’s ability to turn glucose (sugar) into fuel. Because her body isn’t metabolizing food properly, she may burn fat and protein instead. That can translate into weight loss. Keep in mind that kitties usually aren’t very big to begin with. Even a loss of a few pounds can be quite significant for them.

Tips

Other signs of diabetes in cats include unkempt fur, lethargy, and unusual behavior. Contact your vet immediately if you spot any of the listed red flags, or anything else that seems off. A diabetes diagnosis isn’t the end of the road for Fluffy. Cats live about three years, on average, after being diagnosed. That may sound grim, but keep in mind that diabetes typically affects senior cats, who are nearing the end of their natural lifespans anyway. It’s also important to note that any of these signs can be associated with other medical issues. 

Our Advice on Signs Of Diabetes In Cats in 2024

What is the prevalence of diabetes in pet cats in the United States?

In the United States, diabetes affects approximately one percent of the pet cat population. With an estimated 58 million pet cats across the country, as reported by the Zebra research site, this translates to around 580,000 cats living with diabetes. This significant number underscores the importance of awareness and early detection among cat owners to manage and treat this condition effectively, ensuring the health and well-being of their feline companions.

What are the common warning signs of diabetes in cats?

Common warning signs of diabetes in cats include excessive thirst and increased water consumption, frequent urination, and a noticeable increase in appetite. Despite this increased food intake, affected cats may experience weight loss because their bodies cannot efficiently convert glucose into energy. Other signs to watch for are unkempt fur, lethargy, and unusual behavior changes. Recognizing these symptoms early is crucial for timely veterinary intervention and managing the condition, enhancing the quality of life for diabetic cats.

What does increased urination indicate about a cat’s health?

Increased urination in cats can indicate underlying health issues, including diabetes mellitus, kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, or urinary tract infections. This symptom, often accompanied by increased thirst, suggests that the cat’s body attempts to eliminate excess glucose or is responding to other metabolic disturbances. Cat owners must observe this behavior change and seek veterinary evaluation, as early diagnosis and treatment can significantly improve the cat’s prognosis and overall quality of life.

How does diabetes affect a cat’s weight?

Diabetes affects a cat’s weight by impairing the body’s ability to convert glucose into energy effectively. As a result, despite an increase in appetite and food intake, diabetic cats often experience weight loss because their bodies begin to break down fat and muscle for energy instead. This metabolic dysfunction leads to a significant reduction in body weight and muscle mass, making weight management an essential aspect of caring for a cat with diabetes. Monitoring weight changes is crucial for managing the disease and maintaining the cat’s health.

What is the life expectancy of a cat after being diagnosed with diabetes?

After being diagnosed with diabetes, cats can live a quality life for several years with proper management and care. The life expectancy varies depending on factors such as the cat’s overall health, age at diagnosis, and how well the diabetes is managed through diet, exercise, and insulin therapy if required. On average, with diligent care, diabetic cats can live as long as non-diabetic cats. However, they typically require more frequent veterinary check-ups to monitor their condition and adjust treatment as necessary. Early detection and consistent management are crucial to maximizing their lifespan.

Please contact us, your Bellaire, TX pet hospital, with any questions or concerns about cat care. We’re here to help!