13 Year Old Cat Has Diabetes


I came across a post where a man states that his wife’s 13 year old cat has diabetes. The Vet has told his wife that insulin and/or a special diet will help but the cat will continue to deteriorate. This news has devastated his wife and she hates the possibility of having to put the cat to sleep.

Well unless there are complications there is no reason why the cat cannot continue to live a normal life as possible, after all most human diabetics do. So the comments made by the Vet are, in my mind a bit ridiculous. However maybe the treatment this Vet offers does make diabetic cats go downhill!

Diet is the most important driver in reversing cat diabetes and the correct insulin does is necessary to handle the current situation. A high protein diet as close as possible as to what a cat would eat in nature is required. And the only way to ensure the correct insulin dose is being administered is to check blood glucose levels at home.

Let’s see what some of the replies were to the post:-

“While I don’t have any cats, my dog, Jett, got was diagnosed with diabetes when he was 10 and lived just fine for about 5 more years. We were pretty careful with his diet and he got 2 insulin shots a day for that entire period. The shots were really pretty easy, and the amount you have to inject for a small dog or cat is tiny. The syringes have only a 28 or 29 gauge needle and, in our case anyway, the pet did not seem to be adverse to the injections or cause any kind of fuss.

I’m not sure if it is the same for cats, but a few years ago the main supplier of “pet” insulin (“Vetsulin”) stopped production and most owners of diabetic pets had to switch over to “human” insulin, which is generally much more concentrated. The good news is that the insulin is cheaper, and you can get it at any pharmacy.

We switched to “Humulin N” (I think by Eli Lilly”). Syringes were cheaper, too. Curiously, the insulin is available over-the-counter while the syringes are by prescription. Your vet can just call into the pharmacy for the syringe prescription. The ones we used were something like ten bucks for a box of 100 (even cheaper if you can get them online but sometimes getting the prescription to the online source is a pain).

We did take Jett in every few months to get a 12 hour glucose curve test and had to adjust our insulin accordingly, typically by tiny amounts. We found that when we switched his diet to mostly raw-frozen and freeze-dried (low carb) we were able to cut way back on the amount of insulin we needed. Every pet will be different.”

Ok, there is some useful information but this was not a specialist cat bulletin board. Basically the process is the same unless there are complications. So if a 13 year old cat has diabetes, or no matter what the age, you need to change diet, monitor blood glucose for correct insulin and give plenty of exercise. You should see the need for insulin decrease and with a bit of luck the diabetes go into remission and disappear.


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