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Diabetes in cats: symptoms
Diabetes in cats: symptoms

A fair number of cats tend to develop diabetes mellitus, which is the inability to produce enough insulin to balance the glucose levels in the blood. If left untreated, diabetes can even lead to the death of the animal. But What are the symptoms of diabetes in cats?

  • Polyuria: tendency to urinate more than usual;
  • Polyphagia: tendency to eat more than usual, because the body is unable to use the energy supply provided by food;
  • Weight loss;
  • Polydipsia: tendency to drink a lot and consequently greater ingestion of liquids;
  • Dull and dry coat, possibly with dandruff;
  • Effort when urinating, sometimes even presence of blood in the urine: it is generally caused by a urinary tract infection that is often accompanied by diabetes;
  • Hepatomegaly: increase in the size of the liver;
  • "Diabetic foot": reduced mobility of the legs, caused by a peripheral neuropathy which also determines a gait different from normal;
  • Eye problems such as cataracts and retinal abnormalities, which can lead to blindness in the long run

At the most advanced stage of untreated diabetes, there is a risk ketoacidosis, manifested by depression, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, dehydration, collapse and coma.



Obese or elderly cats are particularly susceptible to the onset of diabetes, but this is a condition that can also be observed in adults of normal weight. As we have just mentioned, it causes the animal to be unable to produce enough insulin compared to the amount of glucose present in the body: consequently glucose remains in the blood rather than passing to the cells and being transformed into energy.

In particular, in the case of type 2 diabetes (the most common in cats) it is one resistance to insulin by the cells, which in the long run can still lead to insufficient production of the hormone.

cat with syringe
cat with syringe


If you suspect that your cat has diabetes do not hesitate to take him to the vet before the situation worsens: although the symptoms are quite recognizable, it will be a blood and urine test to ascertain the glucose levels present and arrive at an accurate diagnosis and exclude other diseases that have similar clinical signs.

Diabetes is a chronic but treatable disease, and the most effective therapy is regular administration of insulin by subcutaneous injection once or twice a day. Consult your veterinarian to understand which type of insulin is best suited to your cat and for precise instructions on how and when to proceed with the administration.

In parallel with this type of therapy, it is also important to eliminate or reduce as much as possible the factors that caused the onset of diabetes: make sure your cat is doing the right physical activity and follow one well balanced diet.