Diabetes in Cats

What is it?

Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes Mellitus occurs when a cat’s body produces too little insulin, stops producing completely, or can’t utilize it properly. The condition affects the concentration of glucose, or sugar, in the cat’s blood.

When your cat eats, carbohydrates are converted into several types of simple sugars, including glucose. Glucose is absorbed from the intestines into the blood, where it travels to cells throughout the body. Inside cells, insulin helps turn glucose into fuel. If there’s too little insulin available, glucose can’t enter cells and can build up to a high concentration in the bloodstream. As a result, a cat with diabetes may want to eat constantly, but will appear malnourished because its cells can’t absorb glucose.

Is diabetes in my cat the same as diabetes in people?

Diabetes in cats does resemble diabetes in humans. In fact, your veterinarian will be using medication, equipment, and monitoring systems for your pet that are similar to those used for people with diabetes.

How common is diabetes in dogs and cats?

1 in 300 adult dogs and 1 in 230 cats in the US have diabetes1,2

Can diabetes lead to other health problems?

Yes. Cats with diabetes can develop other health problems.

Weakness of the hind legs is a common complication for cats. Persistently high blood glucose levels may also damage nerves, causing weakness and muscle wasting.

Controlling high blood glucose levels can lead to healthier outcomes for your cat. This is why early diagnosis of diabetes is important.

Have Questions?

Frequently Asked Questions

Pet Diabetes Risk Quiz

Is Your Pet at Risk?

Does your pet have signs of diabetes? Take the quiz and work with your vet for any next steps.



PetCare Alliance Partners

The American Animal Hospital Association is a proud supporter of Pet Diabetes Month.