Monitoring Blood Glucose Levels in Cats

There are up to a quarter of a million cat guardians in the USA who monitor their cat’s blood glucose levels because their cat has type I or II diabetes. One in 400 American cats have diabetes. The cat fails to produce enough insulin resulting in elevated blood sugar levels. Obesity predisposes that cat to the condition. Burmese cats are predisposed to it. Males are twice as likely as females to get it. Males over 10-years-of-age and over 15 pounds in weight are the major risk group.

A vet will provide all the instruction and advice needed to manage type II diabetes, the most common form. This page is a taster and refers to monitoring glucose levels. There is more than one way of doing this. Purina make a cat litter which changes color if there is glucose in the urine. It is called: Purina Glucotest Feline Urinary Glucose Detection System.

Many owners of diabetic cats do home glucose monitoring using ear pricks (for blood) followed by testing using home glucose monitors designed for people. Many others use special test strips to check their cat’s urine glucose levels. Not all type II diabetic cats require insulin injections. One vet/author recommends “animal sourced insulin called PZI” (USA). She also recommends wet cat food as a dietary treatment for type II diabetes.

The videos below show how to monitor glucose in urine using test strips.

How to collect urine:

How to test for glucose:

How to administer an insulin injection:

Ketones are created in the diabetic cat because the cat cannot metabolise glucose. High levels leads to ‘ketoacidosis’. The symptoms are breath that smells like nail polish remover, labored, rapid breathing.

Some cats show high levels of glucose because of stress. Defective kidney function can also cause high glucose levels in urine and blood.

There are a number of pages on PoC on diabetic cats. Bob Tucker provides first hand information about caring for a diabetic cat in this article. Pages on feline diabetes.

Theresa’s cat died of diabetes.

16 thoughts on “Monitoring Blood Glucose Levels in Cats”

  1. Most diabetic cats are Fat, but it’s interesting to hear that Walter wasn’t fat, and he ate high quality foods, although the diet details aren’t given here.

    FAT cats aren’t born fat, no more than FAT humans are. There are many articles about what contributes to FAT cats. With humans, FAT happens with diet, drugs, and metabolism or disease.

    We are in charge of what we eat, and what our indoor cats eat. Do outdoor cats get fat? We owe it to ourselves to be informed of the factors in health debilitating weight gain for our cats and ourselves.

    Blaming the food industry doesn’t really help us; we have to take responsibility or suffer the consequences of not.

    Glad Walter went into remission after spending a lot of money, and going through much stress. I wish we knew what all was done for Walter. Details are so important to the rest of us.

  2. I am so thrilled about Walter, Ruth. That is fascinating. I never heard of a cat going into remission from Diabetes. I will have to share that with my veterinarian. I can’t wait to hear what she has to say.

    Again, so happy about Walter.

    Preventing obesity in cats is crucial to avoid kitties from becoming diabetic. I just wish that “fat cats” weren’t the brunt of the humor to which they are prone. People must learn the truth and that it is not at all funny- not in the least bit.

    Scritches to Walter from the boyz.

  3. It’s very interesting that while people and dogs can’t go into remission, cats can! Walter was diagnosed just before Christmas and is now in remission! We’ve lived through 12 very stressful and expensive weeks and even our vet was shocked at how quickly this has happened.

      • He wasn’t overweight and it wasn’t his diet, we were devastated and blaming ourselves of course, but our vet said sometimes it just happens, some cats are prone to it. We caught it very early and she thought he had a good chance of remission, yes we are very pleased and very grateful for the support we’ve had, especially from Dee, it’s been hell for him, for us and also for our finances.

          • No neither of those Michael. But diabetes can be brought on by anxiety and as he has always been an anxious sort of cat as he had such a bad start in life, then we were hit by bereavements, we think that may be the cause.
            We bought the new Pet Remedy diffuser which our vet recommended, last time we were there. It’s made of natural ingredients including Valerian, we didn’t have much hope as Feliway never helped but this has really calmed him down.

            • Excellent. I am glad you mentioned this product. I have not heard of it until now. Looks useful. You believe this product has caused him to go into remission or at least is part of the reason?

              • No he’d gone into remission because of the insulin and high protein low fat diet. The Pet Remedy is to calm his anxiety and encourage him to eat.

  4. I am a type 1 diabetic, so I am very interested in learning about diabetes in cats, as I have eight little babies.

    • Wow, I had no idea. I guess you manage it okay. Type I diabetes takes a lot of careful management, as I understand it. If diabetics get slack and don’t keep an eye on their health and signs of problems from the diabetes they can suffer real health problems I am told.


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