The causes and symptoms of cat diabetes
The causes and symptoms of cat diabetes are much the same as those affecting humans. There is either a lack of sufficient insulin or else the body tissues become resistant to the effects of insulin.
The former condition is due to inadequate production of insulin by the Beta cells in the pancreas, whilst the latter seems to develop gradually as a result of over stimulation of the insulin mechanism repeatedly over a period of time.
The over stimulation comes as a result of consuming too much carbohydrate which is constantly tending to push up blood sugar levels necessitating insulin to be provided to remove the excess from the blood.
Eventually the insulin mechanism just can’t keep up with the demand. The signs of consuming excess carbohydrate are of course that you, or your cat, become overweight.
Humans are more physiologically capable of handling carbohydrate than cats, which in their natural environment would be eating only meat or fish. The best food for your cat is in fact a diet of mice but this is hardly practical for most cat owners in present society.
The symptoms of diabetes arise from the fact that blood sugar tends to rise above acceptable levels, and the body tries desperately to rid itself of the excess sugar which would normally be removed by the insulin mechanism and used for energy or stored as fat.
When this is not possible the body attempts to remove excess sugar through the urine which puts an extra load on the kidneys which in time may fail if the situation continues without abatement.
The increased function of the kidneys leads to increased need for water, and hence increased thirst, and this is often the first major sign that a pet owner might notice.
A cat (or dog) drinking more than 1-2 pints a day is likely to have a problem and should be checked. This is easy to do by means of glucose testing on a strip or using a more accurate blood test which a vet can do.
The other symptom of primary, or type 1 diabetes, due to a lack of insulin, is gradual loss of weight and muscle wasting because the body can’t use the nutrition from food properly.
Often in cats you see a loss of fur gloss and an accumulation of flaky skin giving the coat a dingy appearance. Along with all the symptoms mentioned there is a general fatigue and lack of energy which may be noticeable in a young cat which would normally be full of energy and quite playful.
In the older cat, diabetes type 2 can occur, especially if the animal is overweight. The symptoms are much the same as in type 1 but may appear more gradually so you are less likely to notice them.
If your cat is getting on in years and a bit overweight you should certainly be on the look-out for any signs of diabetes and have the animal seen at the vet if in doubt.
The ideal is, of course, to prevent your cat from getting too fat and overweight in the first place and this means restricting carbohydrates in the diet. Cats should be eating fresh meat or fresh fish ideally but moist cat food is the nearest one can probably get.
It is reckoned by some experts that tinned fishy cat foods may contain rancid oils and can undermine the immune system, so meat is probably preferable. Certainly you should restrict the amounts of cat biscuits you provide since these are virtually just carbohydrate that will make pussy fat.
The causes and symptoms of cat diabetes are easy to understand. To reduce the chances of your cat becoming diabetic, fist of all take a look at what you are feeding it.