An Appropriate Diet for a Diabetic Cat - Feline Nutrition
There is another diet for diabetic cats but it is not as popular as the high protein/low carb diet. This is a . Cat foods that have lots of fiber can slow the absorption and metabolizing of glucose and fat in the cat’s body. The glucose in the food won’t be absorbed as fast from the digestive track. This means that the cat doesn’t experience a glycemic high in his blood glucose level soon after eating. This diet can also help an overweight or obese cat lose weight. Unlike some of the high protein/low carb diets that are high in fat, high fiber diets are lower in fat and the fiber is filling. The cat feels full without eating as many calories. It is important for a high fiber diet to contain large amounts of complex carbs. Complex carbs break down slowly – again avoiding a spike in the blood sugar – but they continue to help the cat remain full and satisfied. A high fiber diet can help decrease a diabetic cat’s insulin requirements. However, there are some drawbacks with these diets. Since they contain so much fiber, they tend to produce flatulence. They also tend to increase the amount of stool the cat produces, as well as the number of bowel movements. Finally, a high fiber diet is sometimes not as palatable to a cat as a high protein diet. But they are another option to consider, especially if your cat has other health problems that might preclude being able to eat a high protein/low carb diet for some reason.
Not all carbohydrates are created equal, but it is safe to say that obligate carnivores – especially diabetic ones – do not benefit from carbs at a level above what would be in their natural diet regardless of the type. But that said, carbohydrates are characterized by their Glycemic Index (GI) and their Glycemic Load (GL) which are measurements that reflect how high and how rapidly a specific carb causes a rise in blood glucose when ingested and the overall impact that particular carb has on the diabetic state. The higher the GI/GL of a carbohydrate, the worse the result will be for a diabetic patient although GI/GL of various ingredients has not been studied in cats like it has been in humans.
II. Proper insulin
Protamine zinc insulin is, by far, the most effective form of insulin available for use in the diabetic cat today. Beef and pork insulin molecules (beef is closer than pork) more closely resemble natural feline insulin and give the greatest response for the lowest dosages in the vast majority of feline diabetics. It can be dosed at 6-12 hour intervals and, because many canned or pouched cat foods are supportive of low blood glucose from diet, PZI allows good control of the diabetic cat, far superior to that from NPH, Humulin insulin or the newer human products called Lantus (glargine) or Levemir.
Although one small study has shown that Lantus (glargine) can be used to create remission in new diabetics on low-carb (wet only) cat foods, this study does not really prove that Lantus is superior to PZI as the method of use of the PZI in the study was not optimal and considering that brand new diabetics will readily go into remission regardless of the insulin used as long as low-carbohydrate wet foods are fed to these cats. In my experience with this human insulin, the effects of Lantus in the cat are far more unpredictable than that of PZI, making regulation and remission more difficult to achieve. Further, Lantus is a human insulin product and at least theoretically more antigenic (allergy producing) in the cat than the bovine-origin PZI insulins. Bovine insulin has a much closer amino acid structure to the cat’s own insulin than does human insulin, a likely explanation for it superior results in managing feline diabetics.Many cats also become obese from such a terrible diet, but obesity does not cause diabetes, as some experts would have cat owners think. Rather, obesity and diabetes simply have the same cause, non-nutritious, high carbohydrate commercial cat food. To prevent both obesity and diabetes, we need only avoid such junk food when we feed our cats. Instead, we must feed the cat what it evolved to eat: meat. Fortunately, there are many canned and pouched cat foods, as well as many recipes for raw meat diets, that provide good quality nutrition of the obligatory carnivore that is the cat.Q: Is a diabetic cat doomed to a poor quality of life?
Not at all. Remarkably, because this is a “man-made” disease, caused by the wrong food for the life of the cat, it can almost always be reversed by removing the offending dry diet and aggressive management. See “Protocol.” While many cats recover from their diabetes quickly, as Maggie, Goldstein and Punkin did, some are much slower to become normal. Unfortunately, cats that have been diabetic for a long time seem to take longer to improve. Many of these will still go off insulin eventually, but the longer a cat is diabetic before its diet is changed to low-sugar foods, the harder the process of recovery: