Diabetes in cats, like humans, if left untreated causes abnormally high blood sugar levels which can lead to damage to various body organs so it is essential to get the level of sugar in the blood within normal limits and to keep that way throughout life.
Proper control depends on regular testing, especially when the animal is young and growing, since the demands it makes on its nutrient supply will be ever changing.
Urine testing is adequate to show that a cat is diabetic but may not be accurate enough to enable proper control of blood sugar, so blood testing may be necessary.
The conventional means of treating a cat with diabetes will involve administering regular doses of insulin by injection and adjusting the diet to minimize the challenges to the blood sugar control mechanism, which in general means establishing a low carbohydrate diet.
In general, once an animal is diagnosed with diabetes it is best to start with low doses of insulin and gradually increase as necessary as shown by constant testing until one reaches a level that seems about right. Giving too much insulin too soon can reduce blood sugar way too low with potentially serious adverse effects, such as shakiness, nervousness, and confusion, turning to sleepiness.
It may be wise to get a tube of glucose paste from the vet for quick administration of glucose in the event that your cat became suddenly hypoglycaemic. Some cat owners may be nervous about injecting their pet but it is a simple skill soon learned and the animal doesn’t usually seem to mind at all.
The best way is often to inject the animal whilst it’s feeding so that it is distracted, and to do it by simply pinching a fold of skin between the shoulders and injecting just under the skin, not at right angles but almost parallel to the line of the back of the animal. Probably your vet would show you how to do this if necessary.
Treatment of a cat with diabetes may also involve an analysis of their present diet and changes as appropriate, mainly aimed at cutting back on carbohydrate intake wherever possible. You need to properly assess the whole situation and make any changes to insulin injections or diet gradually, and certainly not at the same time.
The key to successful management of diabetes is control of sugar levels in the blood which means establishing the correct amount of circulating insulin, and this usually can only be established given time and by trial and error, but trying to avoid too much error.
Once you cat has reached maturity it should be easier to establish a regimen that suits, and although the condition is not curable, sometimes the pancreatic cells will rejuvenate spontaneously and begin to function, but otherwise the cat can live a good life provided reasonable care is taken with regard to its particular needs.