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Feeding schedule for diabetic cats

Effective glycemic control is dependent upon a controlled and consistent dietary intake. It’s important to achieve and then maintain a normal body weight, because this is a strong indicator of good diabetes control.

Body weight is a major factor in diet selection. Obese cats require reduced caloric intake, either through feeding a calorie-restricted diet or a reduced quantity of the normal diet. Increasing physical activity will also benefit obese cats. In contrast, underweight cats may require calorie-rich diets such as pediatric or convalescent foods.

Another important consideration is the presence of concurrent disease, for example, renal failure or pancreatitis. In some cases, dietary management for associated problems is more critical than a specific diabetic diet. Also, any concurrent infection, inflammation, or hormonal or neoplastic disorder can interfere with insulin therapy.

Dietary treatment of diabetic cats6

Control weight

  • Average daily caloric intake for a geriatric pet should be 30–50 kcal/kg.
  • Adjust daily caloric intake on an individual basis.
  • If required, eliminate obesity by decreasing calories and feeding diets designed for weight loss.

Feeding recommendations

  • Cats are obligate carnivores and naturally require a high-protein diet.
  • Though diet needs to be tailored to a cat’s individual needs, high-protein, low-carbohydrate foods are ideal for many diabetic cats.
  • Feed canned or dry foods (but canned foods are preferred because they tend to be lower in carbohydrates).

Timing of meals

For twice-daily Vetsulin® (porcine insulin zinc suspension) dosing of cats:

  • Keep caloric content of meals consistent.
  • Maintain consistent timing of feed schedule.
  • Feed one-half of the total daily food intake either concurrently with or right after Vetsulin administration (at 12-hour intervals).
  • Cats accustomed to ad libitum feeding may continue to graze throughout the day and night.
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