Diabetes Cat Food

Last Updated on July 15, 2021 by Jenny

Diabetes cat food is becoming more and more common as more and more cats are diagnosed with diabetes. As a result, there seems to more and more education about what food to feed your diabetic cat and well as how to prevent diabetes in your cat or how to get your cat to a stable place where he or she can maintain their diabetes.

Diet is the cornerstone of health and that is true for cats with diabetes as well.

Believe it or not, dry food is one of the leading causes of diabetes in cats. Therefore, dry food cannot be considered a diabetes cat food.

Factors that May Cause Diabetes in Your Cat:

  • Dry Food
  • Food Being Left Out all Day
  • Canned Cat Food High in Carbohydrates

Dry food is one of the leasing causes of diabetes because of the following reasons:

  • High Carbohydrate Levels
  • Low Water Content
  • Plant-based Proteins rather than animal based proteins

Cats are carnivores and if they were to fend for themselves in the wild then they would be hunting mice, lizards and the like. When they eat those animals, they end up eating almost all parts of them including their muscle, organs and bones. So when a cat is given a dry food diet, the carbohydrate levels in the food are much higher than what their body needs.

If your diabetic kitty or borderline diabetic kitty is currently on dry food and you are thinking of switching she or he to wet food or a raw food diet, please know that it isn’t easy to switch your kitty to a wet food or a raw food diet.

Anytime you are changing your cat’s food, be sure to do it slowly. Be sure to mix 10% of the new food with 90% of their old food. Over a period of 2 weeks to 2 months, gradually change those percentages to 90% of the new food to 10% of the old food. You will know how quickly you can change your cat’s diet by how loose their stool is and how they are behaving. Probiotics are a good thing to sprinkle on the food while they are switching foods to ensure they don’t have diarrhea.

Also, you might try a can of Libby’s pumpkin to eliminate loose stools. Just mix in a small (1/4 to ½ teaspoon) amount of the canned pumpkin into the canned or raw food or let them eat it plain if they like it – the fiber will firm up their stool.

If your kitty is diabetic or border line diabetic, it is very important that you are working closely with your vet on his or her diet change. Your cat’s blood glucose levels need to be monitored on a daily basis because your cat will most likely need an immediate reduction in his insulin dosage. The change in their blood glucose levels when their diet has been changed to a lower carbohydrate diet can change in a matter of days.

If you end up overdosing your cat on insulin, your cat can die or have severe brain damage that is why this is so important.

Dr. Lisa Pierson, DVM, has a fantastic article on feline diabetes on her website. Be sure to check it out: Feline Diabetes.

Leaving food out for your cat all day long is another thing to consider when thinking about diabetes cat food. Some cats do just fine with food being left out for them all day long, however, others do not. If your kitty is diabetic or borderline diabetic, chances are, she or he needs to have scheduled feeding times and at those times she or he needs to be feed a healthy meal.

The best diabetes cat foods are either canned cat food or raw cat food. Some canned cat foods can have grains and/or by-products in them. Therefore, here are some of the best canned cat foods available on the market:

  • By Nature – 95% Meats
  • By Nature Organics (Available at Petsmart)
  • Blue Spa Wilderness line only (Available at PetsMart or PetCo)
  • Nature’s Variety Instinct (specialty store)
  • Wellness (PetCo)
  • Weruva (good too if your cat doesn’t like pate & will only eat chunky food)
  • Natural Balance
  • Canine Caviar (its for dogs & cats so works well if you want all pets eating the same food)

Here is a chart that shows you the nutritional value of many canned foods and whether or not they are good diabetes cat food.

Here are some companies that make pre-packaged raw food, which are good diabetes cat food.

  • Nature’s Variety (easiest to find)
  • Stella & Chewy’s (each batch tested for bacteria and salmonella)
  • Bravo (usually cheapest)
  • Primal (usually most expensive)
  • Rad Cat (Higher priced, use free range meat)

Be sure to check with your vet before you make any diabetes cat food changes for your kitty and also double check with how you should go about changing your cat’s food. That is, the length of time you should take for the switch. If your cat is diabetic or borderline diabetic, they are having health issues and do not need the extra stress of a quick food change to upset them more.

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3 thoughts on “Diabetes Cat Food

  1. Jason Fiore says:

    I have a diabetic cat. The information given is *mostly* correct. I partially disagree with some of the advise given.

    Dr Lisa Pierson, author of the catinfo.org site and an expert in feline diabetes says that Weruva is BAD. It is high carb and made with way too much water. (I don’t know whether the new Cats in the Kitchen canned food is appropriate; however, it has too much water.) She advises clients to use either a poultry or rabbit diet and use fish as an occasional supplement. Cats can become fixated on fish and Dr Pierson has legitimate safety concerns about fish. She advises clients to find (or make) a food that has less than 10% of the calories from carbs. She prefers to feed cats a homemade diet (and gives recipes), but understands that many people find that impractical. She also HIGHLY advises calling the company BEFORE feeding the food to your cat AND to ask for a Typical Nutrient Analysis, not the Guaranteed Analysis. Calculations based on the Guaranteed Analysis can be misleading, for good products (Wellness Chicken for example) can look bad and bad products (for example Weruva Cats In the Kitchen pouches) can look good. Some companies are very good about giving out this information; others are not so good. For example, Petcurian, the maker of Go! will gladly give the information out over the phone to pet guardians. Petcurian’s policy is that they WANT to speak to guardians of diabetic cats, because there’s been reports of diabetic cats on insulin getting hypoglycemia when switched to their low carb food. Petcurian strongly encourages guardians who use their products to touch base with the company every time the design of label changes or once a year (whichever comes first). On Dr Pierson’s web site, there is a .pdf file with information on lots of cat foods. She has spent hundreds of hours compiling the data, and it’s not complete. (For example, she does not have info on Petcurian.)

    Stella & Chewey’s and By Nature are not forthcoming about giving out typical analysis of their products to pet guardians. I know people who feed diabetic cats By Nature and control it using diet alone. However, the company has not been forthcoming about providing typical dietary analysis, the ratio of calories from protein/fats/carbs. My cat likes By Nature and I use it when I have problems getting food from a more forthcoming company.

    I would be cautious about Natural Balance. From Dr Pierson’s information, only a few of their products (none of the cans) are appropriate.

    Dr Pierson warns that a grain free cat food is not necessarily a low carb cat food. Do your homework.

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Jason,

      I appreciate the insight/information you have provided here. This page hasn’t been updated for a bit (lack of time/resources), so I like when readers comment to provide more insight.


  2. Gail Vettel says:

    I once knew a dog breeder who raised golden retrievers. She fed a loaf of bread a day, breaking it up and giving it as a extra treat between her 6 dogs. They all ended up with diabetes…!!! I work with alot of asian people and find a large amount of them also get diabetes.. GRAIN to me is the culprit. Too much corn ..too much white rice..too much wheat , I believe is the cause of diabetes in pets and humans.Also is a huge factor in alllergy issues.. I see natural balance food are now being developed with grain free recipes. I believe they must be on to this info too…Im glad to see there are more choices now…Gail Vettel

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