Feline diabetes

Your cat has diabetes mellitus. You're not alone, an estimated 1 in 500 cats develops diabetes.

Normal glucose metabolism in cats

During digestion food is broken down into components that can be used by the body. Carbohydrates (starches) are converted into various sugars, including glucose. Glucose absorbed from the intestines into the bloodstream provides the body cells with energy.

Glucose can only enter most cells if the hormone insulin is present. Insulin is produced by specific cells in the pancreas, a gland situated near the intestines.

What is feline diabetes?

Feline diabetes, diabetes mellitus or “sugar diabetes” is caused by a lack of available insulin.

Feline diabetes is caused by:

  • Insufficient insulin production by the pancreas
  • Failure of the body cells to respond to insulin

The results are:

  • The cells cannot absorb enough glucose
  • Blood glucose levels are too high

Are all cats susceptible to feline diabetes?

Feline diabetes has been diagnosed in cats of all ages, sexes and breeds.

Diabetes most typically occurs in older cats. Castrated male cats are most commonly affected.

There is no breed predisposition amongst cats. A higher incidence of feline diabetes in Burmese cats has been reported in Australia and the UK.