Diabetic Cat Care

Event Date:

As an open-admission facility, HSTC takes in animals from our community from all walks of life. We take pride in the care we’re able to provide for our animals, including advanced medical care for those with chronic conditions.

One condition we see regularly is feline diabetes. While it has been estimated that only 1 percent of cats are diagnosed with diabetes, this diagnosis is becoming more and more common as cats are living longer, and as they are increasingly suffering from obesity.

Diabetes mellitus in cats is most commonly Type II. Just like in humans with Type II Diabetes, the body cannot properly produce or respond to the hormone insulin, which results in elevated levels of the sugar glucose in the blood. This can be managed under the supervision of a veterinarian utilizing a low-carb diet and insulin injections. Although there is no cure for diabetes, a good quality of life can easily be maintained with treatment, generally with a normal life span, and some cats may even go into remission with early diagnosis and treatment.

Unfortunately for diabetic cats, people can really be scared off by this diagnosis, condition, and treatment. Owners may be unable or unwilling to care for their cat once they have received a diabetes diagnosis, and that’s when many of these cats end up in shelters like HSTC. And, once here, these cats tend to wait longer to find their forever homes, as adopters are often intimidated by taking in a pet with a chronic health issue.

The good news is, diabetic cats are just like all the other cats! Wonderful, cute, loving individuals who just need someone to appreciate who they are, and be able to provide them the care they need.

Grandma Pippin and Wonder are two perfect diabetic kitties at HSTC who would love for adopters to look past their diagnosis and give them a chance at a forever home!

Grandma Pippin arrived at HSTC in October of 2020 after being found as a stray. Affectionately called “Gram Gram” by staff, this girl gave staff a run for her money when she first arrived! Gram Gram was scared to be at the shelter, and was sassy with staff for the first few days. When she was able to have her initial exam, staff tested her blood glucose because her haircoat was a bit unkempt, and she appeared to not be feeling too well. Her values came back very low, and additional testing indicated that she did indeed have diabetes. We began her low-carb diet and introduced insulin to her treatment plan when we were sure she was eating well and her blood glucose wasn’t dipping too low any longer. She’s now happy, bold, and a staff and volunteer favorite. She’s adorable, and she’s so fun to spend time with. At only 9 years old, this lady has lots of life left to give to her lucky new family!

Wonder was originally adopted from HSTC as a kitten, way back in 2007, and came back to HSTC in January of 2021 at the age of 13. Her owner could no longer care for her and felt her only option for Wonder was euthanasia. After determining that Wonder’s health issues were stemming from diabetes, we took Wonder in to provide her with the medical care that she had been missing out on. After starting on a proper diet and insulin injections, Wonder is doing so much better and is patiently waiting for her forever home. She is sweet, gentle, and quiet, and will be a wonderful addition to a loving family.

If you’re interested in learning more about or adopting Wonder or Grandma Pippin, please email us at catfoster@hstc1.org or call us at 772-223-8822.

Common symptoms associated with diabetes:
  • change in appetite
  • decreasing weight despite increased appetite
  • increased thirst
  • increased urination
  • urinating outside the litter box
  • unkempt appearance/not grooming well
  • plantigrade stance (walking or standing on hocks instead of feet)

If you’re noticing any of these symptoms in your own pet, please reach out to your veterinarian!