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Caring for Your Diabetic Cat Part 4 - Nutritional Therapy

the treatment goal for diabetes is to

maintain your cat's blood glucose

concentration within an appropriate

range throughout the day

insulin is only part of the treatment

plan nutrition also plays an important

role we will review three concepts

important to dietary management

maintaining a consistent diet and

feeding schedule feeding to maintain a

healthy lean body weight and selecting

an appropriate type of cat food for

diabetes diabetic cats need a consistent

diet and feeding schedule changing the

type of food and amount of food offered

from meal to meal can lead to harmful

fluctuations in your cats blood glucose

concentration to avoid this feed your

cat the same amount at regular intervals

each day your veterinarian will help you

work out what type of food to feed how

much and when to feed many cats

diagnosed with diabetes are overweight

obesity is not only a risk factor for

the development of diabetes it can also

make managing a diabetic cat more

difficult

research shows that obesity leads to

inadequate or insensitive insulin

receptors preventing cells from getting

the glucose they need for energy

reducing obesity helps to reverse this

process improving the response to

insulin therapy in fact correcting

obesity can sometimes eliminate a cat's

need for insulin injections altogether

however since cats are notoriously

inactive getting an overweight cat to

lose weight can be challenging feeding a

controlled amount of a specially

formulated diet which is low in calories

can help if your cat is overweight your

veterinarian should recommend a

prescription diet plan that allows for

safe and controlled weight loss you will

need to weigh your cat often to monitor

progress but the health benefits are

worth the time and effort there are many

different kinds of commercial cat foods

for diabetic cats many of these are

available by prescription from your

veterinarian

some of these foods are high in fiber

fiber promotes weight loss by providing

bulk without calories other foods are

high in protein and low in carbohydrates

to understand how these diets help

diabetic cats let's look at what happens

to food after your cat eats during

digestion food particles are broken down

in the stomach and intestine and

absorbed into the bloodstream

high-protein foods undergo complex

metabolic processes in the liver as they

are slowly converted into glucose for

energy in contrast high carbohydrate

foods are more rapidly converted into

glucose leading to larger increases in

blood glucose concentrations after a

meal this increase in glucose can cause

problems for diabetic cats they don't

have enough insulin and insulin

receptors to handle the extra sugars

some new prescription diets formulated

specifically for diabetic cats take a

high protein low carbohydrate approach

research suggests that these diets may

slow glucose production helping diabetic

cats maintain a more optimal blood

glucose concentration following meals

once you and your veterinarian have

selected a diet appropriate for your

diabetic cat introduce the new diet

slowly over a period of two weeks

not only are cats more likely to accept

a new food when introduced gradually but

the diet change is also less likely to

cause vomiting or diarrhea

don't let your diabetic cat skip meals

if your cat doesn't like the new diet

work with your veterinarian to find a

food your cat does like giving an

insulin injection to a cat that hasn't

eaten can lead to insulin shock

food treats and table scraps are best

avoided they can raise your cat's

glucose level causing poor diabetic

control feeding a prescription diet and

following a careful feeding schedule

requires some extra time and attention

however the benefits to your cat's

health will make it well worth the

effort