What are the symptoms of feline diabetes?

Have you noticed any changes in your cat’s behavior lately? When it comes to feline diabetes, early detection is crucial. Diabetes in cats can lead to serious health complications if left untreated, so it’s important to be aware of the common symptoms that may indicate your cat has diabetes. Keep an eye out for increased thirst and urination, sudden weight loss, and changes in appetite. If you notice any of these signs in your feline friend, it’s important to schedule a visit to the veterinarian as soon as possible. Ignoring these symptoms can put your cat at risk for more serious health issues, so being proactive is key. In this blog post, we’ll explore the symptoms of feline diabetes in more detail, so you can be better equipped to care for your beloved pet.

Key Takeaways:

  • Polyphagia: Increased appetite is a common symptom of feline diabetes, as the body is not able to properly use glucose for energy.
  • Polyuria and polydipsia: Cats with diabetes may urinate and drink more frequently than usual, due to the body’s attempt to flush out excess glucose through urine.
  • Weight loss: Despite an increased appetite, cats with diabetes may experience weight loss as the body breaks down fat and muscle for energy.
  • Lethargy: A cat with diabetes may appear weak or less active than usual, as the body is unable to effectively use glucose for energy.
  • Vomiting and dehydration: Diabetic cats may experience vomiting and dehydration as a result of the body’s inability to regulate glucose levels.

Core Symptoms of Feline Diabetes

Some common symptoms of feline diabetes are increased thirst and urination, weight loss despite a normal or increased appetite, lethargy, and unkempt coat. If your cat is displaying any of these symptoms, it is important to consult a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Increased Thirst and Urination

If your cat is drinking and urinating more than usual, it could be a sign of feline diabetes. This is because the excessive glucose in your cat’s bloodstream leads to increased thirst, causing them to drink more water, and in turn, urinate more frequently. If you notice your cat is using the litter box more often or needing to be refilled more frequently, it’s time to consult your veterinarian.

Weight Loss Despite Normal or Increased Appetite

If your cat is losing weight despite having a normal or increased appetite, it could be a red flag for feline diabetes. This is due to the body’s inability to use glucose for energy, leading to the breakdown of fat and muscle tissue, resulting in weight loss. Although your cat may be eating more, the body is unable to utilize the nutrients, causing them to lose weight. If you notice your cat is becoming thinner despite their regular or increased food intake, it’s crucial to seek veterinary attention.

Secondary Symptoms and Complications

Assuming your cat is diagnosed with diabetes, it’s important to be aware of the secondary symptoms and potential complications that can arise if the condition is left untreated. These symptoms often develop gradually and may not be immediately obvious. Recognizing them early can help you provide the necessary care and treatment for your feline companion. For a more detailed list of symptoms, you can also refer to 5 Signs Your Cat Has Diabetes.

Neuropathy and Weakness

One of the secondary symptoms of feline diabetes is neuropathy, a condition that affects the nerves. This can cause weakness in your cat’s hind legs, making it difficult for them to jump or walk normally. You may notice your cat stumbling or walking on their hocks. If left untreated, neuropathy can progress to the point where your cat loses the ability to walk altogether. It’s important to monitor your cat’s mobility and seek veterinary care if you observe any signs of weakness.

Poor Coat Condition and Dandruff

Feline diabetes can also impact your cat’s skin and coat health. You may notice that your cat’s fur becomes dull, dry, or greasy. Additionally, dandruff may be present, and your cat may develop skin infections. These changes in your cat’s coat condition can be a result of the hormonal imbalances caused by diabetes. Proper management of the condition can help improve your cat’s coat and skin health over time.

Lethargy and Decreased Activity

Another secondary symptom of feline diabetes is lethargy and decreased activity. You may observe that your cat seems more tired than usual and lacks energy for play or exercise. This can be a result of high blood sugar levels affecting your cat’s overall well-being. It’s important to monitor your cat’s activity levels and seek veterinary advice if you notice a significant decrease in their energy.

Vomiting and Changes in Gastrointestinal Health

Feline diabetes can lead to changes in your cat’s gastrointestinal health, including vomiting and diarrhea. These symptoms can be a sign of diabetic ketoacidosis, a potentially life-threatening complication of uncontrolled diabetes. If you notice vomiting or diarrhea in your diabetic cat, it’s crucial to seek immediate veterinary care to prevent further complications.

Diagnosis and Monitoring

Unlike humans, your feline friend cannot tell you when they are feeling unwell. This makes it essential for you to keep a close eye on their health and consult your veterinarian if you suspect they may have diabetes. Early diagnosis and proper monitoring are crucial for managing feline diabetes effectively.

Veterinary Diagnostic Tests for Diabetes

When you take your cat to the veterinarian, they will conduct various tests to diagnose diabetes. These may include blood tests to measure glucose levels, as well as other tests to assess kidney and liver function. They may also analyze the urine for the presence of glucose and ketones, which can indicate uncontrolled diabetes. These tests are important for confirming the presence of diabetes and determining the best course of treatment for your cat.

The Role of Home Monitoring: Urine and Blood Glucose Testing

Once your cat has been diagnosed with diabetes, your veterinarian may recommend home monitoring. This involves regularly testing your cat’s urine and/or blood glucose levels to ensure they are within the target range. Monitoring your cat’s glucose levels at home is important for adjusting their insulin dosage and ensuring their diabetes is well-controlled. It also allows you to quickly identify and address any dangerous fluctuations in their blood sugar levels.

Managing Diabetes in Cats

After being diagnosed with diabetes, it is important to know that your cat’s condition can be managed effectively with the right treatment and lifestyle adjustments. Managing diabetes in cats involves a combination of insulin therapy, dietary management, and exercise to keep your feline companion healthy and happy.

Insulin Therapy and Its Administration

Insulin therapy is a crucial component of managing diabetes in cats. Your veterinarian will prescribe the appropriate type and dosage of insulin for your cat based on their individual needs. It is important to follow your vet’s instructions carefully and administer insulin as directed. This may involve giving your cat insulin injections at home, which requires careful monitoring and proper technique. Your vet will teach you how to properly administer insulin to ensure the best results for your cat.

Dietary Management and Exercise

Feeding your diabetic cat a consistent and balanced diet is essential for managing their condition. Your vet may recommend a specific prescription diet that is low in carbohydrates and high in protein to help regulate your cat’s blood sugar levels. Portion control and regular feeding times are also important to maintain stable blood glucose levels. In addition to dietary management, regular exercise can help improve insulin sensitivity in your cat and contribute to better diabetes management. Engage your cat in daily play and physical activity to help keep them healthy and maintain a healthy weight.


So now that you are aware of the symptoms of feline diabetes, it is important to keep an eye on your cat for any of these signs. Remember that early detection and treatment are crucial in managing the condition and improving your cat’s quality of life. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to consult your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment options. By staying informed and proactive, you can help your feline companion live a happy and healthy life despite this diagnosis.


Q: What are the symptoms of feline diabetes?

A: The symptoms of feline diabetes include excessive thirst and urination, sudden weight loss, increased appetite, lethargy, poor coat condition, and a sweet-smelling breath. Cats may also experience urinary tract infections, vomiting, and muscle weakness.

Q: How is feline diabetes diagnosed?

A: Feline diabetes is diagnosed through a combination of clinical signs, blood and urine tests, and sometimes additional diagnostic imaging. Blood tests can measure glucose levels and may also include tests for other conditions commonly seen in diabetic cats. Urinalysis can help assess kidney function and detect the presence of glucose and ketones.

Q: How is feline diabetes treated?

A: Feline diabetes is typically managed through insulin therapy, dietary changes, weight management, and regular monitoring. Insulin injections are commonly used to regulate blood sugar levels. Prescription diets that are high in protein and low in carbohydrates can help control blood sugar. Weight management is important as obesity can exacerbate diabetes. Monitoring blood glucose levels at home using a glucometer and regular veterinary check-ups are essential for managing the disease.

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