Best Cat Food for Diabetic Cats
Diabetes mellitus is a condition that develops when your cat cannot use sugar adequately and control the sugar or glucose level in her blood. There are two types of feline diabetes, and while there is no cure, cats with either type can be successfully managed through nutrition, exercise, and if necessary, regular insulin medication. With the best cat food for diabetic cats and guidance from your veterinarian, your cat can enjoy a happy, healthy life.
Quick Links: Our Picks for The Best Cat Food Cats with Diabetes
- Best Wet Food – Purina Veterinary Diets DM Dietetic Management For Cats
- Best Dry Food – Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Dietetic Management Dry Food
- Best Grain Free – Wellness Complete Health Natural Grain Free Wet Cat Food
- Best for Skin and Coat – Solid Gold High Protein Dry Cat Food
- Best Weight Management – Hill’s Prescription Diet w/d Feline Low Fat
What to Feed your Diabetic Cat
Since the dietary requirements of diabetic cats depend upon numerous factors, discuss your cat’s diet with your veterinarian. Do not change your cat’s diet except under the direction of your veterinarian.
Wet food – You and your veterinarian should choose the type of food prior to the start of insulin regulation. Most wet brands contain insignificant amounts of carbohydrates. Wet cat foods are already high in protein and low in carbs. Many dry cat foods are made with starch, which makes them higher in carbohydrates.
Raw food – Raw food for cats will have zero or the least amount of carbohydrates compared to other types of cat foods. Many cat owners report their diabetic cats going in to complete remission after switching to a raw diet.
Essential fatty acids – Omega 3 fatty acids and GLA have been shown to both enhance glucose metabolism and protect against secondary cardiovascular problems in diabetics. While the diet should be lower in dietary fat overall, the supplementation of Essential Fatty Acids can often be beneficial. It is also useful in preventing diabetes.
Prebiotics – Prebiotics are fibers that promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut. These fibers, especially fresh greens from the soil for humans, are often soluble fibers. Prebiotics may increase survival of probiotics.
High fiber – High amounts of fiber in the diet can affect the absorption and metabolism of glucose and fat in the diet. The fiber will slow glucose absorption from the digestive tract so there is not a high peak in blood glucose level right after eating. High fiber diets also promote weight loss. To be most effective, diets with high fiber must also contain significant amounts of complex carbohydrates. These diets can decrease the need for insulin.
High protein/Low carbohydrate – The most recent studies have suggested that a diet high in protein and fat, and low in carbohydrates may be more beneficial for most cats than high fiber diets. High protein and fat levels are typically found in diets made specifically for diabetic cats. In comparing canned high fiber diets versus low carbohydrate diets, cats fed low carbohydrate diets were 10 times more likely to discontinue insulin injections.
Best Cat Food for Cats with Diabetes
Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets DM Dietetic Management Feline Formula offers a high protein/low carbohydrate formula with high levels of antioxidants. This texture has a palatability cats like and includes beneficial supplements such as biotin, folic acid, as well as vitamins A, B-12 and D-3. It is available by the case and specifically made for diabetic cats.
- High protein
- Contains omegas 3 & 6 for skin health
- Low carbohydrates
- Some cats won’t eat it
- Price on the high side
Here is another Purina Veterinary Diets DM (Dietetic Management) Feline Formula that is specifically formulated for diabetic cats. This is for cats who prefer kibble. It is nutritionally balanced to be a high protein, low fat food for your cat and optimized with ingredients which meet the special dietary needs of cats. This food can help reduce the fluctuation in your pet’s glucose levels. Taurine is a top ingredient as well as vitamins A, E and D-3. The bag comes in two sizes, 6 lbs or 10 lbs.
- High protein
- Helps with weight
- Great for free feedings
- Contains meal
Wellness Complete Health Natural Grain Free Wet Cat Food is an excellent sources of protein and essential fatty acids. They’re made with high quality proteins, are free of added growth hormones and steroids and also include other key ingredients like sweet potatoes and carrots, essential vitamins, minerals, and fresh, whole cranberries and blueberries which are added to help maintain proper urinary tract health. In addition, hydration is extremely important to your cat’s overall health, wet canned cat food recipes are a delicious and healthy way to increase your cat’s moisture intake. These pâtés are made with premium meat, fresh fruits and vegetables and come in a variety of flavors.
- Grain free
- High quality protein
- All natural
- Some complain texture too soupy
- Some cats refuse to eat
This high protein formula provides a combination of nutrient dense ingredients & healthy fats, all packed in a unique kibble. This recipe is crafted with 20 super-foods and packed with nutrient dense chicken & egg proteins. At 42% protein, this recipe is sure to provide the protein and energy your cat needs. This high protein, low carbohydrate recipe can also be beneficial for cats with diabetic health concerns when fed under veterinary supervision. Balanced Omega-6 and -3 Fatty Acids from natural sources like salmon oil and ocean fish support a soft and shiny coat and provide immune system support. Prebiotics and living probiotics ensure your cat has balanced levels of beneficial bacteria to support optimal gut health, healthy digestion and proper nutrient absorption.
- High Protein
- No fillers
- 100% grain free
- Contains meal
- Some cats refuse certain flavors
- Price on the high side
Hills Diet w/d Feline Low Fat-glucose management gastrointestinal canned cat food with chicken flavor is made to help your cat maintain its weight, once the ideal weight is achieved. In addition, Hills w/d feline cat food has the capability to increase energy and metabolism as well as help burn fat. The high levels of carnitine help increase lean muscle mass. This cat food is ideal for diabetic cats which will help them maintain an appropriate weight. With added antioxidants to support a healthy immune system, Hills w/d feline cat food will help keep your cat fit and healthy.
- High levels of carnitine
- Low in fat
- High fiber food
- Some cats refuse to eat
- Contains rice and corn
Diabetes in cats is believed to be caused by too many calories in the diet and too little activity. Sedentary and over weight cats develop Type 2 diabetes, which is the insulin-resistant type also seen in humans. Type I diabetes (insulin dependent diabetes mellitus) occurs when the body is completely unable to manufacture insulin but quite rare in cats. A diet with fewer calories per ounce, less fat, fewer carbohydrates and more protein, will help cats lose weight and regulate their blood sugar.
Diabetes is one of the most common feline endocrine diseases. Many diabetic cats cease needing insulin or have their insulin needs significantly decreased once their carbohydrate level is lowered. While some cats are more sensitive to carbohydrate rich diets, the bottom line is that, by nature, cats are not designed to consume a high carbohydrate diet or one that is water-depleted. Lack of exercise is also an issue and to prevent diabetes in your cat you should focus on keeping your kitty lean. Feed a portion-controlled, high moisture diet and make sure she gets some exercise daily.
A low carbohydrate/ high protein diet can help in controlling the blood glucose level in diabetic cats, and in reaching and maintaining ideal weight. A diet high in dietary fiber may serve as an alternative. Managing your cat’s diabetes requires diligence and communication between you and your veterinarian.
Amy is the founder of Cat Mania and a life long cat lover. She also writes for various other pet related websites. She is passionate about helping pet parents create a healthy and happy lifestyle for their fur-babies.