“I didn’t even know cats could have diabetes!” That’s usually the first thing pet parents say when their cats are diagnosed with diabetes. Yes, that’s one disease we thought was peculiar to the human race, but unfortunately, it’s not. Diabetes affects felines similarly to how it affects humans; their insulin levels either deplete or become less effective.
So, it’s natural to worry when a cat is diagnosed with diabetes, because just like humans, its diet has to change. Are you concerned about that fluffy feline’s health? Then getting their nutrition right will ensure he/she can still live a normal and balanced life. Below are some great cat foods that should help diabetic cats get the best nutrition for their condition.
Best Diabetic Cat Foods in 2021
1. Tiki Cat Hookena Luau Cat Food
The Tiki Cat Hookena Luau Cat Food promises a tasty tuna and chicken recipe that’s low in carbs and high in protein. The recipe highlights the meat and fish content, which means more proteins for your cat. The fish is wild-caught, and all ingredients in the mix are non-GMO. No doubt, it’s a natural and organic formula made to satisfy any felines biological needs.
However, what’s even more impressive is the low carbohydrate and calorie content; with less than 2% of carbs, that feline is sure to enjoy meal after meal of meaty goodness without compromising on health. The calorie count for each can of food is less than 30 calories per ounce, which is quite low for a flavor-packed cat food mix like this.
That’s precisely what diabetic cats need, a tasty formula that’s good for the health, but also great in the mouth as well. In addition, this moisture-full, flaky fish and chicken delight are free of grains and potatoes, with no gluten or carrageenan whatsoever.
– Chicken broth
– Sunflower oil
2. Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Lamb Recipe.
Not many dried foods can earn a spot on this table, but the Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Lamb Recipe is one of the few that actually stands out. There’s zero grain, rice, potatoes, sugars, fillers, or glycerin, and all the meats are ethically sourced. The formula has proven to be nutritious, delicious, and suitable for cats living with diabetes.
Thanks to the method of preparation, each ingredient retains its nutritional value, which makes it unnecessary to add extra carbohydrate variants. The first ingredients, which are lamb, muscle meats, and organ meats offer a good range of proteins and minerals, and that air-dried texture ensures the texture is superb and appealing to most felines.
However, what really stands out about this recipe is the surprisingly low carb level, which is unlikely for most dried foods. Carb levels stand at about 5%, which is great for cats who need to put off some weight and keep their blood sugar levels stable.
– Green-lipped mussels
– Lamb’s bone
– Organic kelp
– Organ meats.
3. Purina Pro Plan DM Dietetic Management Wet Cat Food
Looking for prescription food that is specifically formulated to manage diabetes in cats? Then the Purina Pro Plan DM Dietetic Management Wet Cat Food is certainly one to look at. It offers a high protein content and low carbs without compromising on great taste. Besides, it contains healthy anti-oxidants that could help alleviate infections and other health-related issues.
In addition, the ST/Ox Defense included in the formula helps to prevent urinary tract infections while strengthening immunity. Specialized diets like this help to promote digestive and organ health by creating an environment that is less prone to attacks.
The low-carb level also ensures that blood sugar levels stay safely balanced, and do not spike because of any inappropriate ingredients. With water as the second ingredient, you can be sure if offers the moist, tasty, and healthy goodness your cat can benefit from in the long run.
– Meat-by products
– Oat hulls
4. Purina Fancy Feast Grain Free Pate Cat Food
Fancy Feast Purina products always deliver wholesome tasty meals that do not just help overall health, but appeal to many felines taste buds. And this soft and smooth Purina Fancy Feast Natural Patte mix comes fortified with essential vitamins and minerals that should keep any diabetic cat strong and healthy.
With the exclusion of any by-products, soy, corn, or fillers, it is one of the best choices for pet parents who are trying to keep their cats’ blood sugar levels at a safe normal. All the ingredients are natural including the wild-caught Alaskan salmon that features as the first ingredient.
Plus, this Fancy Feast formula is enriched with proteins that help to keep felines active, healthy, and strong. It’s certainly one fine-dining dish many pet parents should try out, as it comes in multiple recipes and flavors to choose from.
– Fish broth
5. Nature’s Variety Original Grain-Free Real Lamb Recipe
Felines respond differently to diabetes, especially when they are other underlying conditions or causes. While some cats may be overweight, others may be quite under-weight. It is certainly hard watching your soft-pawed friend lose weight, appetite, and even their peace of mind. That’s why Nature’s Variety Original Grain-Free Recipe comes highly recommended for cats struggling with weight loss.
It is a protein-packed recipe for underweight cats that features tasty and nutritious ingredients like real chicken, lamb, turkey, and more. This high-protein recipe is balanced with a low carb content that ensures those felines stay in a safe place when it comes to their blood sugar levels.
Be informed that this recipe comes with a substantial amount of animal-sourced fat, which means it may not be the best choice for already big cats. However, the calorie count per ounce still lies at 37 calories per ounce, which is still quite low compared to many options on the market.
– Real lamb
– Ground flaxseed
Diabetic Cat Foods Buying Guide
Prevention is better than cure, they say, and that may be very true for many things. However, once your cat is diagnosed with diabetes, and continues to eat an inappropriate diet, it is possible to run out of options to prevent a life-long supplementation of insulin. The earlier you take control of the situation, the more likely it is for that disease to go into remission, but that would mean changing their diet.
Here’s the truth, you cannot use a human diet for cats, they are not just biologically ‘tuned’ to consume the regular human diets. So, while most cat food brands already formulate high-protein and low-carb diets, there are still some ingredients that could spike glucose levels like grains or gluten.
If such ingredients are avoided on time, your cat may get healthy enough to live without insulin injections altogether. There’s more good news; usually, diabetic cats develop piqued appetites, which means they would be willing to try new recipes and flavors just to deal with those annoying hunger pangs.
Yes, this may all sound very positive, yet the real question remains; what ingredients do you look out for when buying food for diabetic cats and which ones do you avoid? First of all, when choosing a suitable diet for your cat, it is best to stick with wet foods that come in portable pouches or cans.
The reasons are simple, wet foods contain more moistures, which any diabetic cat would need more of, plus they are usually lower in carbs than dry foods. Besides, cats do not drink enough water on their own, it just does not come to them naturally. So, feeding them wet foods could improve hydration, as well as alleviate urinary tract infections.
On that note, here are some important ingredients any pet parent with a diabetic cat should consider when buying wet cat food.
Ingredients to Look Out for When Buying Food for Diabetic Cats
Look out for;
– High protein foods:
Cats biologically require proteins to live healthy lives, they cannot really survive on anything else. Their digestive systems are not used to digesting plant proteins, so it is basically impossible for them to survive on a vegetarian or vegan diet. That would certainly be an option for humans who are diagnosed with diabetes, but cats simply need more proteins.
A high protein provides them with almost all the basic nutrients they need to retain their energy levels; plus, since proteins are bodybuilding foods, they will equally help promote healthy bones and muscles. Besides, if you are going to time their feedings and serve fewer meals because of their condition or maybe obesity, then proteins will help make them feel fuller for longer.
That’s why it is important to check the ingredient list or nutritional information on any cat food you are considering. Recipes that list proteins like meat, chicken, duck. Lamb, quail, turkey, salmon, mackerel, and other highly nutritious proteins as the first five ingredients are better.
– Vitamins and minerals:
Supplements such as taurine, Iron, calcium, potassium, zinc, and the likes are beneficial to overall cat health. Taurine should also boost immunity and help maintain good vision in cats.
Healthy fats should also be included in your cats’ diet, but this should only be restricted to animal-based fats. At least 20-40% of the recipe should come from a healthy plant and animal fats. Check the nutritional information to ensure that the protein and fat contents are adequate before purchasing a pouch or can.
– Low carbohydrate:
Look out for recipes that boldly include a low-carb label on the pouch. A low-carb diet would ensure there are no dangerous spikes in blood glucose. This may mean reducing the number of treats you offer to the barest minimum. If any treats are offered, they should be high-protein snacks like freeze or air-dried chicken.
Cat kibble has really minimal amounts of water, plus they are relatively higher in carbohydrates than wet cat food. Wet cat food has more moisture which could help cats that are not used to taking water on their own. Increased moisture content could also help to keep ailments like urinary tract infections at bay.
Watch out for;
Sugar is one of the main culprits that either disguises itself in other ingredients like cereals or gravy or is plainly included to improve the taste. The disadvantage with this is its contribution to spiked glucose levels, besides sugar can very addicting.
Grains, potatoes, green peas, and the likes may not be beneficial to your cat at this time. Check the ingredient list to ensure that none of these ingredients are included.
it is very important to check the calories each cat food option delivers, that way, you can monitor your cat’s intake.
Cat foods that feature liver or tuna as their first ingredient may not be the best for a diabetic cat. It can be consumed in small quantities, but taking too much tuna or liver could cause some problems.
– Gravy and sauces:
Gravy and sauces make cat food extra tasty, but they do not come without consequences. One important thing to note is that most gravies are made with sugar, which may be very counter-productive when reducing portions and choosing low-carb/calorie diets.
Besides, gravies require thickeners that include starch or corn starch, both of which you do not want your feline friend to consume. So, when buying wet cat food, ensure that gravies or heavy sauces are not used.
Diabetic Cat Foods FAQs
How to Manage Feline Diabetes?
The first thing to do when you notice any feline diabetes symptoms is to get that cat properly diagnosed. Once the vet confirms the cat has diabetes, it is time to get insulin and work on a food plan.
The food plan should include specified times the cat eats every day, and the plan should be followed strictly. It is important to plan their meal around the insulin shots; most of them are given twice a day, so try to give them food just before they take their shots. Visit the vet regularly to check your cat’s glucose levels, and to adjust their feeding plan if there are any challenges.
Are diabetic cats always hungry?
A lack of insulin or too much insulin could make any cat extra hungry; when insulin is low, the body is not receiving enough energy, which could make any cat hungrier. On the other hand, if your cat is receiving regular insulin, but not eating at the right times, this could make them feel hungry all the time.
How to know if your cat is diabetic?
Diabetic symptoms in cats may differ, it all depends on their body type. You may notice increased thirst or general weakness or lack of enthusiasm. Most of these symptoms are relatively subtle, and may not be noticeable until diabetes becomes more serious. Cats may also urinate more frequently and they may also seem hungrier because of decreased levels of insulin.
Some cats start to gain weight, while others lose weight. You may also notice that your cat seems more depressed and less enthusiastic about things. The best way to ensure that these symptoms are a result of diabetes is to visit a vet. Some blood sugar tests will be run to ensure it’s feline diabetes that’s causing any of the symptoms named above. Remember, the longer diabetes is left untreated, the more fatal it could become.
Are Veterinary Diets Good for Diabetic Cats?
Prescription diets may sound like the best bet for your cat, however, it is not the only option. First off, prescription diets may be more expensive, and many commercial recipes provide the adequate amount of protein and low-carb balance they need to leave healthier lives. So, there is really no need to stress about prescription diets, simply lookout for a suitable recipe that is high in proteins, low in carbs, contains healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals like taurine, and does not contain sugar, wheat, grains, or starch.