Diabetes in a Cat

When to Feed, What type of Insulin


My 14 year old cat has just been diagnosed with diabetes. She is getting 2 units of insulin once a day in the morning. Everything I read on the internet says it should be given after she eats. She nibbles her dry food all day and gets canned food at night. She does not like any change in her routine. If I feed her the can in the morning, she will expect another at night, and she is already overweight. If I don’t give it to her, she will be spiteful, and urinate on the rug or break things. Is it really that important to give the insulin in the morning?


Dr. Nichol:

Managing a diabetic’s diet and dosage can be tricky. Cats like yours, who won’t eat on a specific schedule, can be free fed. Hills prescription diet m/d is formulated for diabetic cats. It should help your girl lose weight, which, over the long term, may reduce or even eliminate her need for insulin.


Among the many types of insulin, glargine, which works fine in the evening, may be best for your cat because it’s long acting and maintains a consistent blood sugar level. For those who eat two meals daily we recommend offering food first so the insulin can be skipped if the cat doesn’t eat.


There are some mildly affected kitties whose blood sugar is controllable with an oral medication called glipizide. Generally, diabetic cats need less medication as they lose weight. Your girl should have frequent blood sugar checks for a while.


We’re seeing a lot more diabetic cats than we used to. Add freely available dry food to a couch potato life style and you get a cat with diabetes who resembles a baked potato on tooth picks. Untreated cats ultimately lose weight and literally starve as they eat massive amounts. They get pretty grumpy if dinner is late.