I would like to know why my cat died of diabetes

by Theresa Roy
(Saint John, N.B. Canada)

My cat was an indoor cat. She had all needles (injections) required. She was taken to vet almost yearly. She had her in for a normal routine check up the year before (2009).

I felt a lump on her right side. She was drinking more than usual and was vomiting up her food. She had the same food for years, Whiskas dry with no problems.

The vet told me she was fine and only had a heart murmur which she said was normal because her cat had one too.

She was 11 and a half yrs old. I took her back to the same vet in 2010 but a different veterinarian there told me a murmur was NOT normal.

She stayed at the vet overnight to take blood and urine tests and was called back the next day to tell me my beautiful cat had severe diabetes and would need special food and medicine with two insulin shots a day.

The vet advised me if it were her cat she would have it put down and was I able to handle all the work involved?

But I am sick myself and also had another younger cat at home and the vet said I shouldn’t feel guilty about putting her to sleep.

So my whole family went the same day to say goodbye to her. We all cried but it was the best thing for her to not suffer anymore. I’ve had cats all my life and they were always looked after very well. I am 68 yrs old and couldn’t handle this and I’ve never owned a cat that turned out to have this disease.

I keep a picture of her at my bedside. She died on Sept. 14th last year.

What did I do wrong if anything? Why didn’t the vet who worked at the same veterinary hospital find the problem the year before? I believe she could have been saved. I am still very disappointed that I can’t get information on what causes this disease.

Could you somehow help me find out why this happened to my cat. I would appreciate any help to be informed. I can be reached at theresaroy@rogers.com.

Thank you for any help,

Sincerely Theresa Roy

Hi Teresa.. thanks for sharing and I am sorry to hear about the upset that you have gone through.

You did not do anything wrong. Many vets recommend dry food for cats on a full-time basis although it seems that there is a gradual awakening to the fact that the high carbohydrate content of dry cat food (kibble) either contributes to or causes feline diabetes. Elisabeth Hodgkins DVM as you know in her book, Your Cat, is strongly against dry cat food and blames it for the increase in feline diabetes.

Feline diabetes is a commonly diagnosed disease in cats. 1 in 400 cats develop it1.

Feline diabetes is caused by the inadequate production of insulin resulting in the body being unable to use glucose. This leads to elevated sugar levels. Excess glucose is eliminated in urine resulting in increased drinking.

Dry food apart, feline pancreatitis, feline hyperthyroidism, some medications (megestrol acetate – Megac) and some corticosteroids “have the potential to cause of mimic diabetes in a cat”1. If your vet did not specify the cause, or there was no specific cause that for me would point to diet being a factor.

Dietary management is recommended and that means a high protein low carbohydrate diet (e.g. Science Diet m/d).

Some vets advise adding meat to the cat’s diet and some advise to “avoid dry foods”. Dietary management alone can cure diabetes1.

Well there you are Theresa. A vet could have advised dietary management it appears but it may been too advanced. I don’t know.

I also don’t know if diet was the cause. Obesity is a contributing factor.

A balanced diet is best: a mixture of some dry for grazing, wet food and some treats including perhaps some raw food (more care required to avoid bacterial contamination).

Hope this helps and please don’t beat yourself up. Best of luck.

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1. Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook

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I would like to know why my cat died of diabetes

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Jul 07, 2011 The loss of my diabetic cat
by: Cyle

Theresa- I’m so sorry for your loss. My baby died of complications of diabeties March 2010. He was only 4 years old when diagnosed and I gave him 2 insulin injections per day. He lived 9 years. I learned that diabeties is quite common in cats and is not a death sentence. Shame on your vet. Feline diabeties can actually be reversed, unlike humans. I researched foods and put him on a raw diet. I thought I did everything right. When a sudden turn for the worse came he was in ICU for 3 days and I couldn’t let him go. I question my decision of doing that everyday and live with the unbearable guilt. This poem gives me comfort and I hope this brings some to you as well:)

Rainbow Bridge

Just a side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.

There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.

There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All of the animals who have been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.

The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing;they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carring him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The

happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together…..

Author unknow….

Apr 15, 2011 Dry food is not at all good for cats
by: sharmistha dutta

Dear Theresa,

I am sorry that u lost your cat. Out pets become so much part of our lives that losing them can be extremely traumatic. I hope he’s in peace wherever he is.

Micheal is absolutely right when he said diabetes can be caused by the intake of dry commercial food. I have a cat and I know for a fact that DRY FOOD is not the right kind of food as it contains carbohydrates. It probably does not have any protein content. Cats are carnivorous animals and they need meat (poultry, chicken ) in their diet. Whether it is home made food containing raw/ boiled chicken or commercial wet food.

I always thought one could trust the food that is available in the market. but sadly that’s not true. Whiskas Dry food is specially not good. I learnt it the hard way when my cat started falling sick and would throw up constantly. He would drink up loads of water in a day, which i thought was unusual for a cat.

But thanx to so much information about the ‘goodness of chicken and wet food’ provided by cat owners and good vets on the net, i have been able to gather some very important tips on what to feed my cat. His health is also much better now.

I hope this little info is of some help to you Theresa. God bless

Mar 04, 2011 To Theresa
by: Ruth

You shouldn’t be feeling guilty at all and it’s sad that people like you do feel that way because your vet let you down.

The vet who told you the heart murmur was nothing to worry about should have looked for the reason for it at your cat’s age and given you advice about her diet, but on the other hand the diabetes could have come on in the year between seeing the vets and you took her back there as soon as you noticed she wasn’t well, so you did everything right.

Sometimes cats develop diabetes, just like people do, for no reason other than fate.

It is a lot to take on giving a cat injections and a special diet, especially as you aren’t well yourself. There is no cure at present for diabetes and she may have got worse with complications.

Try to think to yourself she is now at peace but you are suffering needlessly. You did what was right for her and for you.

Think of the happy times you had with her.

You never get over losing a much loved pet but with time you get used to them not being around.

Be kind to yourself and enjoy your time with your younger cat.


(Retired vet nurse)

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

1 thought on “I would like to know why my cat died of diabetes”

  1. I want to recommend a book called “The Natural Cat, the Comprehensive Guide to Optimum Care” printed in 2008, by Anitra Frazier. In this book, and others, I’ve read that “free feeding” (dry food) causes all kinds of problems. Hopefully most of us cat guardians are learning that dry food is not a healthy way to go. A cat can be transitioned to a good quality wet food by topping it with the dry that they are “addicted” to.

    They’re addicted because of the “animal digest” sprayed on, like sugar on dry cereal.

    A cat who has food available all the time can’t help but develop all kinds of problems: obesity, FUS, diabetes, and many others.

    We are so worried that our cats will go hungry that we shorten their lives with too much food!

    This is not meant as blame; I’ve done the same things, not knowing any better. Education is the key. Love means Learning…..


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