Diabetes is becoming more common among domestic cats. 1 to 1.5 percent of domestic cats suffer from diabetes. A high percentage, which unfortunately continues to rise. What can you do to prevent diabetes in your cat? And how to help your four-legged friend with diabetes? We explain it to you!
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition in which too little insulin is produced and/or the insulin does not produce its effects in the body, with the effect of a decrease in glucose (sugar) in the cells, as a result of which the cells lose their most important source of energy and for which glucose remains in the blood. The liver responds to this insulin deficiency with excessive glucose production, resulting in a sharp increase in blood glucose. This phenomenon is called diabetes or diabetes mellitus.
How do I know if my cat has diabetes?
The symptoms of diabetes in cats are: peeing and drinking more frequently, weight loss while appetite is present, and (very evident) weakness in the hind legs when the catwalks. Just as in humans, different types of diabetes are distinguished in cats. Symptoms (and treatments) differ from one type to another.
The various types of diabetes in cats
Cats can suffer from type 1, 2, and 3 diabetes.
- Type 1: in this type of diabetes, the cells that produce insulin are damaged due to a disturbance in the immune system. This type is rare in cats, while more than half of dogs with diabetes suffer from this type! The cat with this type of diabetes can be treated, but it will never recover.
- Type 2: this type of diabetes is caused by being overweight and lacking exercise. In both cases, it may happen that despite the production of insulin, the body cells do not react or do not react sufficiently to insulin. No less than 70 percent of sick cats suffer from this type of diabetes. The good news is that the cat can heal by changing his lifestyle.
- Type 3: this type of diabetes is caused by the (prolonged) use of drugs or by a disturbance in the body: for some reason, the body has a reduced sensitivity to insulin. If the disorder can be detected, this type of diabetes can be treated in cats. The dogs, however, can not recover from this type of diabetes.
Prevention of diabetes in cats
Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes in cats. To prevent it, it is important to give your cat a healthy diet and offer him enough opportunities to exercise and let off steam. There is a special diet for cats with diabetes. A healthy diet contains few carbohydrates while it has a relatively high protein content; carbohydrates require a high release of insulin. In addition to the right diet, the cat must be encouraged to move, for example through a food distributor ball or by playing or walking regularly with the cat. Provide places to sleep high or store food in a high place so that your cat has to make some effort to reach it. And now and then reward him with healthy snacks.
Consult the vet
Do you think your cat has diabetes? Always consult the vet. The vet can check if your cat has diabetes, what it is, and how to treat your pet.