Diabetic cat food may help you better manage your cat's diabetes.
Diabetic Cat Food
All cat foods are not created equal, but choosing a diabetic cat food that works well for your cat can play an important role in controlling his diabetes. While there are a number of diabetic foods on the market for felines, not all of them will be right for your cat. Before you change your cat's diet, you should consult your veterinarian. If you have a particular cat food you want to try, talk to your vet first. In many cases, not only do doctors look at a cat's diabetic condition, but they also consider how the new diet might affect any other medical conditions your cat may have.
Often. a cat that suffers from diabetes also has other conditions that may be related and/or cause additional problems. In this case, both the diabetes and the other conditions must be addressed. Common conditions that are often related to diabetes include the following:
- Obesity: People who suffer from diabetes often have to manage their weight gain. They typically limit excess carbohydrates and, of course, sugars. The same can be true for cats. Limiting a cat's carb intake will make it easier to control his blood glucose.
- Kidney problems: While many cats benefit from a high protein diet, those with kidney disease may need lower amounts of protein.
- Pancreas problems: Conditions of the pancreas, such as pancreatitis, may be controlled by a low-fat diet, and this in turn may improve a cat's diabetes symptoms.
In the majority of cases involving cats with diabetes, owners are advised to feed their cats a low-carbohydrate/high-protein diet. Because a cat is considered a carnivore, its body is designed for high protein foods. Deciding whether to purchase canned or dry cat food is often a matter of preference and economics. Most canned cat food has low carb levels, and you can actually purchase low-carbohydrate dry diabetic cat food as well, although it may still be higher in carbs than canned.
Some cats also have difficulty digesting any foods that contain wheat gluten because it can be a highly allergenic food item. Unfortunately, the first new food you introduce to your cat may not be to his liking. You can make the trasition smoother by gradually adding a little of the new food to the old and increasing the ratio of the new food until you are no longer feeding any of the previous brand. Give your cat a few weeks to adjust, and if he just won't eat the new diet, you'll have to try another diabetic formula. In general, you'll want foods that are high in protein while low in carbs. You'll need to examine the label, and check the ingredients used in the flavoring as well. Flavor additives may be high in sugar.
What to Buy
Veterinarians often recommend a particular prescription diet in these situations. However, expensive cat foods can strain a household budget. Some people have found a less expensive alternative in the Fancy Feast brand. Some of the flavors that are available do not contain wheat gluten and contain 10 percent or less carbohydrates. These generally include the following:
- Tender Beef Feast (brown label color)
- Tender Beef & Liver Feast (magenta)
- Tender Beef & Chicken Feast (red)
- Gourmet Chicken Feast (dark pink)
- Turkey & Giblets Feast (olive green)
- Tuna and Oceanfish Feast in Aspic (teal label)
- Savory Salmon Feast (orange)
- Tender Liver & Chicken Feast (orange)
- Flaked Fish & Shrimp Feast (true blue)
Remember to check the ingredients label each time you make a purchase. Companies do change ingredients without warning, so you can never be too careful.
Starting your cat on a special food may be all you need to do in order to bring his diabetes under control. However, other options can include putting your cat on a weight loss diet and exercise program. A weight loss plan can simply involve portion control. An exercise program may be as easy as playing with your cat to encourage him to move around more or providing him with a cat tree to climb.
Remember, before starting your cat on any program or changing his food, consult your veterinarian.