Best Cat Food for a Diabetic Cat
Diabetic cat food can get very expensive, and it's important you make the best choice for your cat. Wet cat food tends to be easier for cats to digest, but what other factors make one diabetic cat food better than another?
Taking care of a diabetic cat can be worrisome and costly. However, if the correct treatment is maintained after diagnosis, cats can experience a diabetes "remission" where symptoms are no longer present. Since diabetes is caused by an imbalance of glucose (sugar in the body) and the insulin that breaks the glucose down, one of the most important components of managing the disease is diet.
Wet vs. Dry
Since they are obligate carnivores, cats do not have digestive systems equipped to handle the cereal ingredients of dry foods, and it is important to feed them wet food. This is particularly necessary for diabetic cats.
High Protein/Low Carb
Diabetic cats should be fed high-protein foods that have 10 percent or less calories from carbohydrates. Almost all labels by the Authority, Evo, Sophisticat and Precise Pet brands meet this requirement while Blue Buffalo, Friskies, 9-lives, Innova, Special Kitty, Fancy Feast, Wellness, Merrick, Wellness and Whiskas offer some labels that do and some that don't. See the Resources below for an analysis of the labels. None of the canned foods by Science Diet, Eukanuba or Iams meet the low-carb limit.
Individual diabetic cats respond differently to changes in diet. Because fiber slows glucose absorption, a cat that does not improve on a high-protein diet might benefit from a high-fiber diet. However, high-fiber diets come with some issues including increased gas, increased stool and lack of taste.
In addition to insulin, cats suffering from diabetes need carefully managed diets and should never be fed table scraps.
A cat with diabetes should be fed food in a ratio that corresponds to the insulin that she is getting. This is just one of the reasons it is crucial to consult with the cat's vet about setting up a diet for managing diabetes.
When feeding a diabetic cat, half of the food should be given at the same time as its insulin injection. The other half should be given during the time of day when the cat is most active.