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How To Treat Cat Diabetes At Home with These Top 5 Holistic Options.

By Dr. Andrew Jones

Cat diabetes is increasingly being diagnosed, and currently it affects more than 1 in 400 cats. Diabetes is very treatable, and does not need to shorten your cat’s life span. This article will go over the signs of diabetes in cats, along with the various suspected causes. I will review the most common solutions, focusing on the lesser know natural solutions that you can use to treat your cat for diabetes at home.

Most pet owner’s first suspect that their cat has diabetes as their cat is drinking and urinating much more than normal. This may be accompanied by increased appetite, but also weight loss. Occasional there is noticeable leg weakness, or dropping down on the rear legs. Some people notice a sweet smell to the breath. If not noticed early, your cat may become very ill with a condition called Ketoacidosis. This requires immediate veterinary treatment.

Diabetes is a result of the pancreas not producing enough insulin to allow the body to utilize blood glucose (sugar). This results in high blood sugar levels causing increased drinking and urination. Some cats are genetically at risk of developing diabetes. Cats that are obese typically are on a high carbohydrate dry cat food, are at higher risk.

If you suspect your pet is diabetic, have this confirmed by your veterinarian. Most cats begin with insulin, but with some diet alterations may come off insulin therapy. Ask your veterinarian about Glargine (brand name Lantus) Insulin – it is longer acting and better at regulating difficult to better at regulating difficult to regulate diabetic cats. The insulin injections can be given at home, and at the same time each day. Your veterinarian will show you how to give injections – they are not painful and usually not even noticed. The proper type of insulin, dose, and frequency of administration needs to be determined by your veterinarian.

If your cat is to have low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), you’ll need to be able to recognize it, and respond quickly. This usually happens within an hour of giving the insulin injection. Your cat will be weak, trembling, dazed and may begin to shake or seizure. If you suspect this, immediately give a sugar boost. Have corn or maple syrup on hand and give 1-2 tablespoons. Rub it on the gums if he cannot swallow, then take him to your veterinarian immediately.

Recent studies have shown that cats benefit greatly from higher protein, lower carbohydrate diets. These resemble diets that they would eat in the wild. Changing to a less than 5% carbohydrate, high protein canned food is the single most important change to make. Eliminate the dry kibble, and only feed canned. Some commercial diets in this category include: Wellness Chicken or Turkey; Fancy Feast Chunky Chicken or Chunky Turkey; Nature’s Variety Organic, and raw, frozen diets. This gives your cat the greatest chance to come off of Insulin Therapy. I am finding that we can control diabetes in about 50% of diabetic cats by only feeding a higher protein canned food. One big additional point is that a change to a high protein canned food often means you’ll need to lower insulin doses to avoid hypoglycemia ( low blood sugar). Discuss this with your veterinarian.

Chromium is a supplement that makes the cells more receptive to taking up blood glucose (sugar). It may help to lower the dose of insulin. The dose is 25 mg per 10 lbs of body weight daily.

Diabetes affects the other cells in the body, damaging tissue and organ cells. Antioxidants limit this damage. Vitamin E (100 IU per 10 lbs twice daily) and Vitamin C (100 mg per 10 lbs twice daily) are two common antioxidants I would suggest.

One increasingly effective supplement helpful in treating cat diabetes is fish oil. It is a source of omega 3 fatty acids, and fish oil may increase insulin sensitivity. A feline dose is one regular strength capsule per 10 lbs of body weight given once daily. This equates to 1000mg of fish oil daily.

Cinnamon is a tasty spice has been shown to help regulate blood sugar- it is also a potent antioxidant. The active ingredient is called MHCP which mimics insulin to improve blood sugar regulation. The dose is ¼ of a teaspoon per 10 lbs daily.

You should now be able to recognize the signs of cat diabetes, and know what to do if your cat is showing these symptoms. You’ll now have an understanding of what causes diabetes in cats, and be able to take some proactive steps in preventing it in your cat. Most importantly you can now use a few of the holistic solutions to decrease and potential stop your cat from needing daily injections of insulin.


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Topics: Cat Care, Cat Health, Pet Care, Pet health | 10 Comments »

10 Responses to “How To Treat Cat Diabetes At Home with These Top 5 Holistic Options.”

  1. Avatar AJ Says:
    January 23rd, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    So glad to see more and more veterinarians are up to date on the newer and more effective treatment for diabetes. Previously most cats were maintained as diabetics but with newer treatments many are able to come off insulin completely but one must adhere to the dietary changes only low carbohydrate canned foods. Even if your cat is not able to come off insulin entirely they still will be much healthier and happier on a species appropriate diet. Cats eat meat not corn and grains!

  2. Avatar Nancy Says:
    February 2nd, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    Thanks – I have been feeding my diabetic cat the right foods but didn’t know these supplements worked for cats too, nor did I know the correct dosage. Thank you!

  3. Avatar Dianne Says:
    February 10th, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    I have dogs…not cats, and feed a raw prey model diet, I will however send this info to my sister who has a diabetic cat on insulin. Thanks so much for the information!

  4. Avatar Cherryl Says:
    June 1st, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    Some veterinarians need to learn about Lantus and how it works as a cumulative insulin. They need to learn that you do not start any kitty on a high dose. They need to learn starting at .25 or .5 and go up. from there, by .25 or .5 at a time and over a weeks time. A veterinarian started my kitty off with 2u of Lantus, twice daily, upon diagnosis, with a reading of 463. A week later, he took it up to 3u, twice daily, with a reading of 371.

    In my searching for information, I learned this is incorrect and could have killed my kitty. I bought my own meter, of which the vet said I do not need. I have watched, as the cumulative action of the 2u and 3u have done what they do, over a week. If I would have continued this vet’s process, my kitty would be dead, already.

    My kitty is now currently on 1u, twice daily, and to be determined, whether to go up or down. Either way, it will be done by .25 or .5 at a time. Not done by any full units at a time.

    Now that I am, apparently, more informed than some vets are, with Lantus, no other vet will be able to have me do any insane dosing. I know now, to just look them in the eye, mutter under my breath what an idiot they are, nod, leave and do what I know to do. Just because they have the title of veterinarian, does not mean they know everything and they would do much better to get off of their ego trips and simply admit, they do not know everything and they still have a lot to learn, I dont care how many years of college or veterinarian experience they have had. The life of the animals are far more important than these ego trips are.

  5. Avatar joy Says:
    March 1st, 2018 at 9:31 am

    2 15 yr.old cats,on a raw food diet all their life.8 months ago both started scratching their ears vet checked them & didn’t find anything.Blood work showed High Liver enzymes.I gave Milk thistle & they came way down.Neither will eat the raw meat now.I cook it a bit but they are barely eating.January had blood work again. Now the male cats’ Glucose is over 500 They said he has diabetes.He’s not overweight how did he get diabetes? His Glucose is between 250 to 350 on 1/2 unit of Lantus 2 X a day.The female cat is still shaking her head sometimes off balance & barely eating.They both have dripping nose,no temp no sneezing or coughing What could this be?Should I be giving more insulin? It’s been 4 weeks how long does it take to see if he’ll go into remission?

  6. Avatar joy Says:
    March 9th, 2018 at 11:38 am

    Cherryl, I agree with what you said about veterinarians.Many of them are in it for the PROFIT. Of course they don’t like informed pet owners.Sadly my vet of a Long time retired.Now I haven’t found anyone i can trust. I’m doing my best to handle thing with mostly Natural meds i find online (after extensive research)
    P.S. That goes for Human Doctors also!

  7. Avatar joy Says:
    March 13th, 2018 at 6:43 pm

    Get the add off!

  8. Avatar Marilyn Says:
    March 21st, 2019 at 4:42 pm

    The dosage of chromium published here isn’t (can’t be)correct. The daily dosage of chromium for a human(GTF chromium polynicotinate), as Nature’s Way states on the bottle, is one capsule, equalling 200 mcg. 25 mg for a human, much less a cat, as is quoted in this article, is too high a dosage!

  9. Avatar Annie Says:
    May 3rd, 2019 at 4:43 pm

    Having older animals, now I see how they usually become dehydrated. This leads to loss of appetite, BECAUSE, they are not feeling well. Eventually this leads to death if not caught. I took my diabetic cat in the other day to the vet because she had stopped eating. Sure enough dehydrated and her count was 555. After hydrating over night intravenous her count was 365. I will now buy the equipment to hydrate her bi-weekly at home. So I think we just need to hydrate our oldsters.

  10. Avatar Debra Cartrette Says:
    April 20th, 2020 at 7:16 pm

    I need to know if Lorazepam, Apoquel or gabapentin can make my cat’s blood sugar go up?
    Thank you, Debra


Dr. Andrew Jones, DVM