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Feeding cats with diabetes is a lot like feeding a cat without diabetes. You’ll want to provide them with low carbohydrates that help keep their blood sugar in check while still giving them the essential vitamins and nutrients they need to thrive.
I’ve found the top 10 best cat foods for diabetic cats on the market that are safe for your feline to eat while still meeting all of their nutritional needs so you can make the best choice for your cat.
best Products discussed in the article:
There are a few cat foods that stand out from the crowd. These are Tiki Cat Grill Grain-Free Low-Carbohydrate Wet Food, Hills Prescription Diet m/d Glucose/Weight Management Dry Cat Food, and Purina Beyond Grain Free Natural Pate Wet Cat Food.
#1: Best Low Calorie Diabetic Cat Food
#2: Best for Weight Management
Hill’s Prescription Diet m/d Glucose/Weight Management Dry Cat Food
Vitamin A and Zinc
#3: Best for Digestion
Purina Beyond Grain Free Natural Pate Wet Cat Food
Natural Prebiotic Fiber
High in protein
They’re the best cat food for diabetic cats because they’re low-calorie, low in carbohydrates, and contain a high protein blend of high-quality ingredients.
Review of Diabetic Cat Foods
Tiki Cat Grill Grain Free, Low-Carbohydrate Wet Food
Option 1: Low Calorie
Twelve cans of soft grain-free canned cat food come in various flavors that cats love, including ahi tuna and crab, sardine cutlets, and mackerel and sardines. The seafood blend has different broths that make it soft, delicious, and low in carbohydrates, so it’s perfect for diabetic cats. This wet cat food also boasts the lowest calorie count in the lineup at 700-900kcal/kg, which is great for cats on a diet.
The grain-free cat food formula provides lower carb content essential when shopping for diabetic cat food. A higher carbohydrate count can cause any cat to gain more weight. If your cat is overeating and isn’t getting enough exercise, you could put them at risk for diabetes. Higher carbohydrate food can also exacerbate an already diabetic cat’s symptoms.
High moisture levels in this wet cat food help your cat reach their water intake more efficiently. Hydration is an essential aspect of a cat’s overall health. Wet cat food has a higher water content than dry food. So if your cat struggles to drink enough water, this can be an excellent way to supplement its hydration levels.
It’s not uncommon to find a bone inside a can of this wet cat food every once in a while. It’s a good idea to break up the food in a dish before giving it to your cat if any bones are present. You can pick them out and reduce any choking hazard by doing that.
With such low calories, I think this is a great cat food if your cat needs to lose weight or for cats with diabetes. Like humans, the standard calories in/calories out practice is best for losing weight. Regardless, if your cat eats low-calorie food and gets plenty of playtime, they should healthily lose weight quickly.
Hill’s Prescription Diet m/d Glucose/Weight Management Dry Cat Food
Option 2: Best for Weight Management
This dry cat food efficiently manages blood sugar levels and weight with its diabetic-friendly formula. It can help cats lose weight, maintain a healthy weight, and supports lean muscle mass. Diabetic cats need to maintain a healthy weight as being overweight makes a cat predisposed to feline diabetes.
The blend of ingredients in this dry cat food includes immune boosters like vitamin A and zinc. A boost to the immune system is never a bad thing, especially when your cat already has a disease that affects the immune system, like feline diabetes. It’s also grain-free and made with real chicken making this cat food both healthy and tasty.
Vet recommended, loved by cats, and approved by owners. This is great dry cat food for diabetic cats. Because it’s high in protein and has a low glycemic index, it’s safe for cats with diabetes to eat without spiking blood sugar levels and provides a complete and balanced meal in every portion.
The dry cat food bag securely zips closed to create an airtight seal that keeps food fresh and animals out. If your cat is prone to getting into the cat food bag, this could be a good choice and may keep them out better than bag clips or rolling the top down.
This diabetic cat food is a little more expensive than other dry or canned cat foods available on the market. If you have multiple cats in the house and only one that’s diabetic, it could be challenging to moderate food and make sure other cats aren’t eating it. Ultimately, it can lead to a higher cat food budget for multiple cat households if you’re unable to keep the non-diabetic cats from eating it.
This is an excellent choice for a single cat household where the single cat is diabetic. However, if you have more than one cat and have difficulty keeping the diabetic cat food separate from other cats, it could be best to go with more cost-friendly cat food that’s still safe for the diabetic cat to eat. This way, if the non-diabetic cat gets to it, it won’t cost you as much to keep replacing it. Vice versa, the diabetic cat won’t be at risk if they eat out of the other cat’s food dish.
Purina Beyond Grain Free Natural Pate Wet Cat Food
Option 3: Best for Digestion
An ample supply of 25 cans will feed your cat for almost an entire month. This is great for someone who appreciates a good bulk buy. Also, if you don’t want to make frequent trips to the store or place orders more than once a month, this could be precisely what you’re looking for in diabetic cat food.
Wet food typically supplies extra hydration compared to dry food. It is also easier for diabetic cats to process, especially those with additional digestive health concerns. Fortunately, this wet cat food also contains natural prebiotic fibers that aid in digestion which is excellent for cats with sensitive stomachs.
Made without wheat, grains, soy, by-product meals, artificial flavors, or dyes. You can rest assured that your cat is only getting the best in this wet cat food. This food is high in protein to meet your cat’s nutritional requirements as an obligate carnivore.
The downside to this excellent bulk buy is that picky eaters may not enjoy it. So despite how good it is for them and the stand-out ingredient list, if your cat is already particular about their food, it may be challenging to switch them to this one.
As long as your cat typically has a healthy appetite and isn’t afraid to try new foods, this should be an excellent fit for a diabetic cat. Because of the ingredients packed into this can of wet cat food, it’s an ideal choice for diabetic cat food and will serve their blood sugar levels well if they can eat it.
Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets DM Dietetic Management Dry Cat Food
Option 4: Vet Recommended
High in protein and low in carbohydrates, this diabetic cat food meets the dietary restrictions that diabetic cats have. Diabetic cats must eat a high protein, low carbohydrate diet so their bodies can better moderate their blood sugar levels. This dry cat food provides what cats with diabetes need to thrive without being at risk for a diabetic flare-up. A lower carbohydrate food also helps cats maintain a healthy weight which can help them if they’re struggling with weight loss.
This diabetic cat food boosts urinary health and reduces the risk of cats having struvite and calcium oxalate crystals showing up to bother them. In addition, ingredients like vitamin B complex and folic acid help support their digestive system, bladder, and kidney health.
With a formula rich in antioxidants and a full robust flavor that cats love, this is great for picky eaters. It keeps them healthy while keeping their taste buds happy. This dry cat food gets its full flavor from the chicken used to make it.
Because this is a dry kibble food, it may be too crunchy for older cats or cats with dental problems to eat comfortably. You can soften this food with water to be more gentle on their teeth and gums. Be careful not to soften it with homemade gravy or another liquid besides water, as this can add to the calorie count or carbohydrate levels and send your diabetic cat into a blood sugar crisis. The calorie amount of this food is over 4,000kcal/kg, which can be a little higher than other diabetic-friendly cat foods available. This may not be the best choice if low-calorie food is vital for your cat.
I would recommend this for anyone with a cat teetering on the line of being diabetic or could quickly go into remission with proper care and diet. However, it may not be the best choice for cats with type 1 diabetes or for cats that are severely overweight but can help manage things when they’re at a manageable level.
This dry cat food features an all-natural ingredient list that’s also grain-free and made without by-product meals, corn, soy, or wheat. The list of healthy ingredients includes chicken, vitamin B12, and vitamin E to create a blend that makes nutritious and delicious dry cat food.
High protein works well for diabetic cats. This is because cats, in general, are obligate carnivores, and the majority of their diet in the wild would be protein bases. When a cat is diabetic, having a protein-rich diet is essential because an obligate carnivore gets its glucose from a protein source rather than breaking down carbohydrates. Therefore, your cat must eat a high protein diet to maintain healthy glucose levels.
The high-quality, natural, and nutritious ingredients make this a great-tasting food. This dry kibble food has the bold flavors of chicken and fish that cats love. A combination of chicken, chicken, and fish meal gives it the meaty flavor cats want to eat.
Kibble size is more significant than some other dry kibble food on the market. In addition, it may be difficult for kittens or cats with sensitive stomachs or teeth as they could have difficulty processing the food.
I think this is an excellent choice for those with an allergy-sensitive cat. If your cat is diabetic along with a few food allergies, this is your best bet at finding a food that doesn’t contain those common allergens. Common allergens like wheat or dairy can cause an upset stomach or digestive issues.
This dry cat food is high in protein and great for adult cats in relatively good health besides having diabetes. If the cat has a healthy weight, strong teeth, and no digestive issues, this food does the trick.
Added fiber in the formula aids indigestion, and a boost in minerals helps adult cats keep strong, healthy teeth. Additional vitamins and nutrients like vitamin A and E contribute to a healthy, soft, shiny coat. The benefits from the ingredient list create a complete and balanced meal for cats.
This dry cat food may still be too heavy for cat’s on a diet that needs to lose weight. While it doesn’t have as many calories as other cat foods on the market, the calorie count still falls at 3,865kcal/kg, which can be too high for cats with type 1 diabetes or who are already overweight. In addition, this cat food would be less ideal for a fat cat with a sedentary lifestyle.
I think as long as your adult cat is in reasonably good health with pretty solid teeth and a manageable weight, this food should work for them. It’s easy to find in almost any pet store or grocery store aisle, which is a perk for those who typically pick up their food along with their shopping. The higher calorie count doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker. If your cat is playful and gets plenty of exercise, this should work just fine.
Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets DM Dietetic Management Canned Cat Food
Option 7: Best Canned Cat Food
Canned cat food high in protein and has a low carbohydrate formula makes it ideal for diabetic cats. This type of blend is great because it fulfills their obligate carnivore needs while helping them maintain a healthy weight.
Vitamins and nutrients in canned cat food like folic acid and vitamin B12 reduce the risk of a cat getting struvite and calcium oxalate crystals. This can be beneficial if your cat typically has bladder and kidney issues on top of being diabetic.
Made specifically with diabetic cats in mind, this low-fat food only contains 1,048kcal/kg. This is an average amount for canned wet food and is lower than you would typically find in dry kibble cat food. Generally, moist cat food will contain fewer calories than dry cat food.
It can take some time to ease cats into a new diet, and you don’t want to upset their stomachs. This is true for switching between any cat foods. So go slow and introduce the canned cat food into their diet gradually.
If you know for sure that canned cat food is both your and your cat’s preference, this is the canned cat food to get. It’s made especially for diabetic cats and features the key things they need; low calories, low carbohydrates, and high protein.
The blend of ingredients is high in protein and made up of 95% lamb, turkey, and liver, and 5% vegetables, fruits, and other components that boost a cat’s health. For example, protein, fruits, and vegetables create healthy muscle mass and a healthy immune system in a cat.
This complete and balanced canned cat food is grain-free but still includes plenty of vegetables to keep your cat’s diet nourishing and balanced. Ingredients like peas and carrots fill their vegetable needs and boost their immune system.
Made without harsh preservatives, food dyes, or artificial flavors, this is an excellent natural canned cat food that doubles as both diabetic safe and allergy safe. It contains 1,322kcal/kg, which is an average amount compared to other dry cat foods available.
This may not be enjoyed by picky eaters or cats who don’t eat wet food. Also, there is quite a bit of broth in this canned wet cat food making it less chunky or textured which some cats won’t prefer. Finally, incredibly soft food is excellent for older cats or those with dental problems but may not be enjoyed by all.
If your cat is already accustomed to a wet cat food diet, this should be an easy food to switch them to. However, if they’re strictly a dry food kitty, changing them to wet canned cat food could be difficult. Therefore, if you must switch them to this food, it’s best to ease them into it over a long period to adjust to having less dry food in their diet.
Made with diabetic cats in mind, this dry cat food is made with a blend of protein-rich, low-starch ingredients. Specially designed to help moderate blood sugar levels, which is beneficial for cats diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
Vitamins B12 and D3 help sustain healthy energy levels in cats of any age, size, or breed. In addition, vitamin E helps support healthy skin and fur, while added calcium helps make for healthy, strong teeth.
This dry cat food contains 3,519kcal/kg, which is higher than other cat foods available. However, it also contains corn and soy, which some cats may be allergic to or have trouble digesting correctly.
Because it features such a wide array of added vitamins, it’s an excellent choice for cats that may be a little malnourished or need a boost to their vitamin levels. The calorie count is a little higher, though, and may not be a good match if your cat is overweight or trying to lose weight. This may hinder their weight loss progress.
Hill’s Prescription Diet m/d Glucose/Weight Management Cat Food
Option 10: Great Flavor
This canned wet cat food helps support healthy blood sugar levels in diabetic cats. In addition, the formula is designed for weight loss and weight management and supports a healthy weight in cats that struggle with feline obesity.
This cat food boasts a formula high in protein and low in carbohydrates which is ideal for diabetic cats. It supports their special dietary needs while providing them with everything cats need to live healthy lives.
Zinc, biotin, and vitamin d3 help contribute to a healthy immune system, healthy skin, and fur and boost energy levels. The added boost to energy can benefit overweight cats as it could stimulate their desire to move, play, and exercise.
The food blend does include some preservatives, starch, and soy which some cats may have to avoid entirely in food. This is something to watch out for. If you have a cat sensitive to those ingredients, this isn’t the best choice for your cat.
Assuming your cat has no other allergies or food sensitivities, this is a great choice. However, if you have concerns about preservatives, starch, or soy in your cat’s diet, you may want to consider a more natural option like Crave Grain Free Adult High Protein Natural Dry Cat Food listed above.
Diabetic Cat Food Buying Guide
What is Feline Diabetes?
Feline diabetes is a disorder that makes a cat have difficulty producing enough insulin. It can also cause a cat to have trouble using insulin naturally to moderate its blood sugar levels.
Cats diagnosed with diabetes can still live long, happy lives when cared for properly. However, the sooner you have a diagnosis and can start making changes to your cat’s diet and lifestyle, the better it will be for them in the long run.
Type of Diabetes
There are two types of diabetes that are most likely to occur in cats. These are type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is less common than type 2 diabetes. When type 1 is present, it’s considered an autoimmune disorder and hinders your cat from producing insulin the way it should. The pancreas produces insulin, and when a cat has type 1 diabetes, the pancreas doesn’t produce insulin at all or has a hard time making enough. As a result, when insulin levels are low, blood sugar levels are typically high.
Type 2 is more common and easily kept under control with proper observation, a good diet, and regular exercise. You may need some blood sugar monitoring or medication, but it depends on each unique cat and body.
Symptoms of Feline Diabetes
A few symptoms that show up when a cat has diabetes are:
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Weight Loss
- Change in appetite
How to Manage Feline Diabetes
Managing diabetes in cats is relatively easy once you know what to watch out for in your cat and what to watch for on the nutritional facts label. Paying attention to the number of carbohydrates in your cat’s food is a vital thing to do. When diabetes is present in your cat, it can be difficult for them to process carbohydrates properly, so feeding them a low in carbohydrates food will be beneficial for them.
When it comes to medications or treatments, it is likely you may have to do some insulin treatments, keep an eye on their blood sugar levels, and monitor their eating habits closely. However, it is possible to treat diabetes in cats with proper care and attention if the type of diabetes is not too severe.
Frequently asked questions
How Does a Cat Get Diabetes?
Cats can develop diabetes for several reasons, but a significant reason is that they’re overweight. Cats can quickly become overweight through overfeeding, a lack of play and exercise, or a side effect of another disease or medication.
High carbohydrate cat foods are typically the culprit for your cat gaining weight. Notice your cat is becoming too large. It could be an excellent idea to preventively switch them to a weight management food like Hills Prescription Diet m/d Glucose/Weight Management Dry Cat Food above to ensure they maintain a healthy weight. Helping your cat maintain a healthy weight is the best way you can help them avoid a diabetes diagnosis.
How do I Switch My Cat to a Diabetic Food?
Switching your cat to a diabetic food is much like switching your cat to any other food. Slowly and in incremental portions. Changing from wet to dry cat food is the same process the other way around.
You’ll want to start by adding ¼ of the new food into the remaining ¾ portion size of your cat’s regular food. After feeding them that ratio of food for a week, you can do a ½ and ½ split for a week before moving to a ¾ to ¼ blend of new food to old food. If your cat seems to be adjusting well to the fresh food, you can feed them a whole serving of the new food the following week. This is the easiest way to switch your cat’s food without risking a stomach ache on their part.
When you first diagnose that your cat is diabetic, it can feel a little scary. We all care deeply about our pets and want the best for them. However, that diagnosis doesn’t have to be bad news, and having a diabetic cat is challenging. With proper food, medication, and care, your cat can still live a long and happy life. How lucky they are to have such a great pet parent invested in their health and wellness!