Choosing the right food for your diabetic cat can be a very involved process. There are many cat food brands that claim to be designed for cats with diabetic problems, but which one will be the most beneficial for your cat? Is it possible to choose a cat food that will help maintain a diabetic cat's health, while also providing the proper nutritional requirements?
Most veterinarians will recommend that a diabetic cat's diet contain foods that are low in carbohydrates, while high in digestible protein. However, this is a general guideline, as cats that have been diagnosed with diabetes often may have a corresponding contributing condition that also needs to be taken into consideration. If this is the case, you need to take both the diabetes and the contributing condition into account when choosing the right cat food for your diabetic cat.
- KIDNEY PROBLEMS
If your diabetic cat is also experiencing problems involving the kidneys, it may be necessary to lower the protein content of their food. Even though protein is a basic requirement for all cats, a cat with kidney disease will respond favorably to a diet that is lower in protein.
Obesity is a common cause of diabetes in humans, and can cause feline diabetes as well. When managing the diet of an obese cat, it's recommended to limit your cat's intake of carbohydrates and sugars. When you have strict control over your cat's carbohydrate intake, it's much easier to manage their blood glucose levels as well.
Pancreatitis is a condition in which the digestive enzymes of the pancreas are over-stimulated, usually by the excess consumption of fats. These digestive enzymes may begin to “digest” the pancreas and surrounding organs. If your cat has pancreatitis as well as diabetes, you will need to maintain a low-fat diet for your cat in order to control this condition.
CHOOSING A DIABETIC CAT FOOD
When caring for a diabetic cat, it becomes all the more important to read the ingredient label of your cat's food! Depending on if you are caring for a cat with one of the other health conditions listed above, you may have to be very selective when finding the best type of food for your cat.
Generally, it's recommended to feed a diabetic cat a high-protein, low-carb canned cat food. There are also a few companies that now manufacture low-carb dry cat food, which also has an extremely low carbohydrate content. Cats are obligatory carnivores, which means that they will do best when fed a diet high in meat-based proteins. In preliminary clinical trials, cats that are fed a low carbohydrate, high protein diet have improved blood glucose levels, as well as a reduced need for supplementary insulin.
Depending on your cat's specific condition, a diet that is only 5-10% carbohydrates is usually best for your diabetic cat. Try to avoid any cat foods that contain grain-based meals or flours in their top ingredients, as this means that the main ingredients of the food are carbohydrate-based.