Feline Diabetes

by Margaret Schill

Diabetes is a disorder affecting the processing of glucose (blood sugar) in the body, in which a body either doesn't produce or doesn't properly use the hormone insulin. Cats can develop diabetes, just as humans can. And like humans, cats can be treated for diabetes, living a normal, happy, healthy life.

Diabetes can affect any cat, but it most often occurs inolder, obese cats. When insulin is deficient or ineffective, the cat's body starts breaking down fat and protein stores to use as alternative energy sources. As a result, the cat eats more yet loses weight. Additionally, the cat develops high levels of sugar in the bloodstream, which is eliminated in the urine. In turn, sugar in the urine leads to excessive urination and thirst. The common signs of diabetes are:

  • Ravenous appetite
  • weight loss
  • increased urination
  • increased water consumption

Diabetes is diagnosed based on the cat's signs, physical examination findings, laboratory test results, and the persistent presence of abnormally high levels of sugar in the blood and urine. Once diabetes has been diagnosed, immediate treatment is necessary. Left untreated, diabetes will shorten a cat's lifespan. A dangerous, sometimes fatal condition called ketoacidosis may develop, indicated by loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, weakness, dehydration, and breathing abnormalities. Additionally, diabetes can lead to an unhealthy skin and coat, liver disease, and secondary bacterial infections.

Some cats can be treated with oral medications, while others require insulin injections. The injections can be given at home, which most cats don't even notice. The needles are super-small, with the injection given under the skin.

Information about Feline Diabetes:


Living with a Diabetic Cat http://www.cathealth.com/LivewithDiabetes.htm





Giving Your Cat Insulin Injections (with photographs and a video demonstrating the procedure: http://www.cathealth.com/InsulinInjectionProced.htm

How to Test your Cat's Blood Glucose at Home: http://www.sugarcats.net/sites/harry/bgtest.htm




Free Style Flash Glucose Meter

OneTouch Ultra Blood Glucose Monitoring System

ONE TOUCH Ultra requires only a tiny blood sample so you can use a shallow stick and extra fine ONE TOUCH® UltraSoft lancets. Accurate results in just 5 seconds.

Diabetic Neuropathy (decrease in nerve function often affecting the lower limbs in people and animals with diabetes)

In cats, signs of Diabetic Neuropathy are:

  • Weak hind legs
  • Feet slipping out from under him/her on the floor
  • Walking down on the hocks in back and/or on the wrists in front
  • Lying down more frequently, especially after short walks

METHYLCOBALAMIN, which is a form of vitamin B12, has shown great benefit to cats (and people) with diabetic neuropathy and other neuromuscular diseases. It is sometimes referred to as Methyl-B12.  Methylcobalamin is not the same vitamin B12 sold in drug stores and supermarkets. Not all vets are aware that Methylcobalamin can help cats with diabetic neuropathy, but it does.  Cats can take 1.5 to 5 milligrams per day.  Read Jasper's Story for more detailed information on using Methyl-B12 for cats with diabetic neuropathy.

Jasper's Story- "Just 2 days after starting the methylcobalamin, Jasper stood up on his own. This was amazing, considering that he was unable to move at all before starting the vitamin."http://www.laurieulrich.com/jasper

Posts from a W. V. Cats forum user whose cat was walking on his hocks due to Diabetic Neuropathy:

"Margaret had told me about a vitamin to give FB when his diabetic neuropathy got so bad. It is a B12, but not the kind you buy in the drug store. She would have to refresh my memory on the certain kind because FB no longer needs it and I stopped giving it to him a few months ago. When I told the vet about this B12, he was very skeptical but said it can't hurt because it is a natural vitamin. But oh boy did this help!!! He now walks on his toes again and if he gets bad again with the neuropathy, I will get more and give it to him. The vet had told me that nothing could really help the neuropathy, but he was wrong and he told me after he saw how it helped FB."

"Margaret, even the vet could not believe what a difference that the B12 made in FB. I gave it to him for about 2 months day and night and the difference was amazing!! When I told the vet about it....I even printed out your post and research on it...he tried his best to be gentle with me. He said not to believe everything I read on the internet, the the neuropathy wasn't going to go away because it is nerve DAMAGE. He asked me to email him several times a week with a report on how FB was doing. He still didn't believe me until I took him in for a check-up and he saw for himself. He was amazed. He did say it could return because FB is still diabetic, but admitted that the B12 did the trick. You will never know how grateful I am that you can do searches like that."


More information on feline diabetic neuropathy:



Neuro B-12, Methylcobalamin 1mg Sublingual Tablet (1 mg, 60 small sublingual tablets)

The sublingual form dissolves under the tongue. However, cats might not cooperate with that and probably need it administered as with any pill.  This product has no salicylates, yeast, dairy, corn, soy, wheat, starch, salt, or artificial preservatives.

Source Naturals - Methylcobalamin, 1 mg, 120 tablets
Sublinual. Cherry flavor. Does Not Contain: Yeast, dairy, egg, gluten, soy, wheat, salt, preservatives or artificial color, flavor, or fragrance.


The Veterinarians' Guide to Your Cat's Symptoms

by Michael S. Dvm Garvey, Anne E. Dvm Hohenhaus, John E. Dvm Pinckney, Katherine A. Dvm Houpt, Melissa S. Wallace D.V.M., Elizabeth Randolph

Includesflow charts of 200 of the most common feline symptoms.

Pets at Risk: From Allergies to Cancer, Remedies for an Unsuspected Epidemicalt

Veterinarians are seeing an increase of health problems in cats, dogs, and horses — chronic diseases, immunological illnesses, cancer, and more. Conditions thought to affect only one breed are showing up in others. This illustrated book explores the causes and treatments.

Helpful Products

Pill Pockets for Cats

Pill Pockets take the hassle out of medicating your cat, while providing a healthy treat. These are dough pockets, which are especially great for pinching off some to coat the bitter side of pills lacking the flavored coating, due to being split.

Made from all human-grade meats. Salmon or Chicken flavor.

cat themed

Pill Dispenser and Pill Cutter Set