So, your cat has been diagnosed with diabetes? A consistent regimen and treatment schedule of a diabetic cat is a huge commitment, but life for diabetic cats can be made much easier with some very basic steps.
Early diagnosis of a diabetic cat is critical and necessary so you can put into place a preventative care plan. A diabetic cat’s symptoms are not much different from humans who have diabetes. The following indicators may suggest that your cat may have developed diabetes:
1. Drinking water more often than usual;
2. Large urine amounts when using the litter;
3. Going to the litter more often than normal;
4. Showing signs of being tired or not moving much;
5. Losing weight;
6. Eating more often and being hungry more often;
7. Being unbalanced or having difficulty jumping;
8. Shaking head and showing signs of dizziness;
9. Walking on their hocs; and
10. Sweet sugary smelling breath.
If several of the above symptoms are present you should go to your vet as soon as possible to avoid further medical issues. The earlier diabetes is detected, the better chance of diagnosing and implementing a strategy to help your cat.
I personally have Type 2 diabetes and noticed one of our felines displaying several of the symptoms above. I was convinced it was diabetes but we took her to a professional vet to confirm what she might have. She was confirmed to have diabetes so we are now researching and putting in to place a plan to help her deal with her diabetes and maintain a healthy alternative for her. Most cats when diagnosed have a very good chance at living a healthy life with diabetes. Having a cat with diabetes is not a death sentence but it does come with costs. Always consider the life of your cat and the valuation of that cat’s life. If you cannot handle the financial end do not get a pet because that pet will be with you for many years. It is important to realize at the beginning how much having a companion pet is going to cost you and to know your limitations.
We took the step to try to help our cat and we are very aware of the costs involved. We also have a cat that has hyperthyroid and the cost for that is much smaller because there are less medical needs required. She gets one dose every twelve hours of her medication. The cost of needles, medication, monitor, blood-glucose curve, 3-6 months checkups, and giving a cat needles is going to be stressful and requires tremendous dedication. In the end, it is up to you as a pet owner to realize your own limitations and make a good decision based on that. I really want to emphasize the dedication required to having a pet, and I mean any type of animal. If you don’t have the time, patience, ability, forethought, and dedication please do not get a pet.
A diagnosis of diabetes is made by a simple blood test that measures your cat’s blood sugar level. The sooner that you start treatment for your diabetic cat, the faster that diabetes will be controlled. Some cats are given a specific kind of insulin, and implementing a proper diet can sometimes facilitate going into remission. Cats left untreated for a longer period can develop complications to diabetes, some being life threatening such as the life-threatening condition called hepatic lipidosis.
Feed your diabetic cat the proper diet
One of the best things you can do for your cat’s health is to stop feeding dry food. Dry food is considered the equivalent to junk food for cats. Many of the degenerative diseases that we are currently seeing more often in cats, include:
• urinary tract disease,
• kidney disease, and
• inflammatory bowel disease, may be directly linked to these foods.
Feeding your diabetic cat a high protein, low carbohydrate diet will help control your cat’s blood sugar and help control diabetes sooner.
Canned wet food is the best solution to feeding your diabetic cat. In fact, I suggest if you have more than one cat, trying to convert them to a wet food only diet. There are several reasons for switching from dry food to wet food.
Some of the reasons for switching to a wet food beside the health risks mentioned are:
• Cats are carnivores and therefore cats need meat and water. This means they need meat to survive. Cats cannot get enough nutritional support from plan based proteins such as grains and vegetables. Cats are unlike humans and dogs because they lack the specific enzyme that processes plant-based proteins metabolically. Cats need few to no carbohydrates in their diet.
• Cats need water and moisture in their diets. Cats do not have a strong thirst drive when comparing with other animals. Because of this, complications and problems occur and this can lead to chronic low-level dehydration when the cat’s main diet is only a dry one.
• Even if your cat is drinking water, it won’t be enough if the main diet is dry food. A cat’s natural diet (prey) contains about 75% water. Dry food only contains 7-10%. Canned food contains somewhere around 75% (depending on the brand). A cat that is on a diet of only dry food will drink more water than a cat who is eating canned food. After adding up the water they drink and the water that occurs in their diet, the water intake still falls short for the cat on a dry food only diet.
• A main consideration is how common urinary tract and kidney problems are in cats, this should make a convincing argument against dry food.
• Free choice feeding of cats is one of the leading contributors to obesity in cats. Many pet owners feed only dry food because it can be left out for longer periods than opens more time away from home and the cat can be left alone longer. You can leave food out during the day without it spoiling, and can leave a cat at home alone without having to worry about feeding the cat. Cats, by nature, are hunters, and it doesn’t make any sense that they should need continual access to food 24 hours a day. Meal feeding twice a day mimics their natural hunting behavior much closer. When you use a controlled feeding and controlled portion size, twice a day instead of leaving dry food out, calorie intake, and weight, can be controlled much better. Make sure you feed your cat, healthy or with a health issue, within 24 hours. Never leave a cat without food for more than 24 hours as this can lead to health issues.
• The common myth that dry food helps clean a cats’ teeth is one of the most persistent and incorrect beliefs when it comes to pet food. Most cats do not chew their dry food kibble long enough, if at all. There is no actual scraping action that is the common theory behind this myth. What little dry food that they do chew, breaks into small pieces. Some pet food manufacturers will offer a “dental diet” made up of larger than normal sized dry food kibble. This is done to encourage a cat to chew longer. Many cats will swallow these larger pieces while and the actual dry food leaves a carbohydrate residue which leaves and encourages plaque, and tartar build up on their teeth., but many cats swallow even those larger size pieces whole. If you believe this myth then you should think of it like this; if it was true that dry kibble cleans teeth, wouldn’t human dentists recommend that we eat dry cereal to keep our teeth clean?
• You may find that some cats are very difficult to wean off dry food. They are literally addicted to the carbs and additives used in these diets. During the manufacturing process, substances called “digests” (fermented by-products of meat processing with no nutritional value) are sprayed on the outside of the kibble to make it more palatable to the cat. Most cats wouldn’t touch dry food if it wasn’t for these flavor enhancers.
• If you have a picky cat, and we have one, try to entice the cat by sprinkling freeze-dried chicken or beef such as the brand Pure Bites. The different flavors are beef, chicken, shrimp, and liver. The following specs show the product details:
1. Crude Protein 74%
2. minCrude Fat 3%
3. minCrude Fiber 1%
4. maxMoisture 5%
5. maxCALORIE CONTENT
6. (Calculated)Metabolizable Energy3709 kcal/kg
The product details:
• Made with only 1 ingredient; 100% Pure USDA Inspected Raw Chicken Breast.
• Proudly Sourced and Made in the USA.
• 100% natural, pure and easy to digest without any added preservatives.
• On average 2 calories per treat and high in protein.
• Ideal for cats with health issues or pets that are overweight, diabetic, have allergies, gastrointestinal disorders, or are on a restricted diet.
• Made using a delicate freeze-drying process that preserves the nutritional integrity of RAW fresh whole food. Only water is removed, preserving all the characteristics and natural nutrition of fresh Raw Chicken Breast.
The product Guarantee:
• Questions? Comments? Call us at 1-888-388-PURE (7873). If you are not completely satisfied with this product, simply save the unused portion, together with the proof of purchase and call us. We will gladly replace the product or refund your money.
Website: Website: http://www.purebites.com/
Another strategy is to cook up some chicken or meat and put small pieces in with the wet food to entice the cat. Make sure you don’ season the meat because this is not a good dietary idea for feeding cats. Eventually you can change to a grain free diet and implement grain free wet food.
What I look for in a good wet canned cat food
o Protein is listed as the first ingredient on the label, and the meat/poultry used is fit for human consumption.
o The food is grain-free, no rice, barley, or any other grains. Even though these are considered healthy in human nutrition, cats’ digestive tracts are not designed to digest the unnecessary carbs.
o The food does not contain by-products, corn, especially soy, or any other fillers. Sometimes you cannot find wet food that has by-product but make sure that the first ingredients are meats such as chicken, beef, liver, fish etc. The cost of grain free wet food is much higher than buying from a local grocery store such as Safeway.
Avoid giving your cat too much wet foods that are fish based foods only. If you want to feed your cat fish food, do it sparingly because of contamination issues such as metals or toxins. It is the same when you are buying fish for your consumption; you need to be careful of having too much. Fish used in pet food manufacturing often contains whole fish, guts and bones, which can increase phosphorus levels of the food. This can be a real problem for cats that have kidney disease.
As well, some cats are very sensitive to fish-based diets and develop urinary tract problems that are resolved when the fish diet is removed. One important note about fish based foods centers on the fact that they may contain menadione, a synthetic form of vitamin K, which has been banned by the FDA for use in human supplements.
With a little bit of research, and the vast amount of information that is available from your vet or the internet, you can usually find a good source of wet food for your cat. You should always educate yourself about the best way of giving your cat an increased change to live longer, healthier and happy lives, even with diabetes.
Always consult your vet if you are not sure of any information you read or view and they will give you a professional viewpoint.
NOTE: There are some vets that recommend dry food because they have an agreement with the pet food manufacturers that make the dry food that is sold in their clinics; you must always be discerning in your research and provide the best alternative available. Getting a second opinion from another vet is always an option if you are unsure or have questions that have not been answered.
What do I need to look for when buying wet cat food?
There are several wet canned foods available that you can purchase which fulfill the required necessities to feed your diabetic cat. We have bought the fancy feast pate and Whiskas perfect portions because they have a good percentage when looking at what ingredients are needed. The least amount of carbs and grains is optimal for feeding your cat wet food but if you are on a fixed budget any over the counter wet food is a much better choice than dry food.
Make sure that the percentage of water, protein, fat, taurine and ash are within the required amounts. The following chart shows the best amounts you should consider.
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