Feline Diabetes: My Advice for Diabetic Cats

  • upto 84% of remissions within six months of diagnosis using Lantus/Levemir and home monitoring (injections do not have to be for life)
  • Lantus/Levemir are far superior to Caninsulin/Prozinc
  • home monitoring makes a huge difference in quality of regulation and reduction of risks, as well as chances of remission
  • a diabetic cat can be well-regulated and lead a normal life
  • FreeStyle Libre continuous glucose monitors can be used successfully on cats
  • a normal human glucose meter can be used for monitoring, pet meters to not add significant value to the monitoring
  • diabetic ketoacidosis kills more cats than hypoglycemia — at a bare minimum have urine dipsticks to monitor ketones in urine
  • inject twice a day at regular times, and prefer syringes over pens (you can draw insulin from the pen with the syringe)
  • inject a constant dose of insulin (no fiddling with the dose at each injection), and adjust the dose progressively according to the lowest glucose value reached with the previous dose
  • a decently regulated diabetic cat can miss a dose of insulin now and again if necessary
  • a diabetic cat can be fed wet, dry, raw, whatever you want; less carbs and more protein is good, therapeutic “vet” diets are fine; free-feeding dry therapeutic food has huge advantages with Lantus/Levemir
  • never change a cat’s diet without close monitoring if it is under insulin
  • In the French group we do not insist on feeding a wet food diet even if tight glycemic control is desired, our experience being that it is perfectly possible on dry food, and we have a good opinion of therapeutic (ie, “diabetic/veterinary”) diets over commercial ones.
  • We recommend starting insulin first, and worrying about diet later, rather than postponing the start of insulin therapy to put in place a diet change.
  • When glucose values are high we increase insulin at an accelerated rate, depending on how much monitoring the caregiver can provide (in line with discussions I have had on the German forum).
  • We encourage the use of FreeStyle Libre continuous glucose monitors whenever possible, as they offer less stressful monitoring for owners. The continuous monitoring allows for more assertive dosing decisions as there is no uncertainty regarding past glucose values.
  • Our management of low glycemic values (50 mg/dl and below on a human meter) is slightly more relaxed than on the FDMB, more in line with the German site. Same for dose reductions, as long as there is sufficient monitoring and owner experience.
  • We don’t give a lot of importance to removing food 2 hours prior to pre-shot glucose tests, and are OK with free feeding.
  1. do it progressively, over a week
  2. monitor blood glucose levels closely, as they might drop and you might have to reduce the insulin dose
  • Prozinc and Caninsulin allow flexibility in injection times, up to a few hours, as long as blood glucose is high enough at injection time
  • A well-regulated cat can skip and injection now and then
  • With Lantus or Levemir, if you can’t inject at the normal time, injecting approximately 6 hours after what would have been injection time (give or take a few hours) and skipping the next injection mitigates the “damage” due to the skipped injection
  • It is possible to find (or train) pet-sitters to give injections
  • Some diabetic cat owners take their cat with them on holiday
  • Some places will board diabetic cats
  • If you are not there to monitor blood glucose (the person replacing you will do injections but not monitor glucose) consider putting a FreeStyle Libre continuous blood glucose monitor on your cat.



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Stephanie Booth

Stephanie Booth

Anglo-Swiss. Digital communications and strategy. Lausanne. Feline Diabetes. Other random stuff.