If you like to cook, ask your vet about special recipes if your cat is diagnosed with diabetes or inflammatory bowel disease. If you wish you could just open a can of food for Kitty like you do for yourself, don't worry. Proper commercial and prescription diets abound.
Feline Diabetes Mellitus
Cats diagnosed with feline diabetes mellitus, popularly called "sugar diabetes," have trouble regulating insulin in their bodies. Symptoms include frequent drinking and urination, weight loss, constant hunger and a general unkempt appearance. Your vet makes a diagnosis via a urinalysis, looking for glucose in the urine. If the level is high, she'll take a blood sample to check glucose levels. Too much glucose in the blood means that Kitty's pancreas, which produces insulin, either isn't making a sufficient amount or not producing it at all. If it's the latter, you'll have to give Kitty once or twice daily insulin injections.
Your vet might recommend a special prescription diet for diabetic cats. You might also feed Kitty wet, not dry, food consisting of muscle meats without any grain components. Diabetic cats need to be fed on a specific schedule, which correlates with insulin shots. You should also monitor Kitty's weight -- obesity is never a good thing in felines, especially diabetic cats.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Although inflammatory bowel disease actually consists of several gastrointestinal ailments affecting cats, symptoms are pretty much the same: diarrhea, vomiting and weight loss. If your Kitty has IBD, he might lose his appetite or appear ravenous. Diagnosis is often by process of elimination -- tests to rule out certain causes, such as feline leukemia, kidney disease, cancer, hyperthyroidism, parasites or infections. Kitty may need to undergo a gastric biopsy to identify the cause of his problem. Even once the definite diagnosis is made, successful treatment might proceed by trial and error.
Your vet might put Kitty on a hypoallergenic diet to see if symptoms ease. That means only the prescribed food -- no treats, table scraps or samples from any other pets' food. If that doesn't work, your vet might suggest a low-fat, high-fiber diet. Another possibility is the high-protein, low carbohydrate diet, perhaps most similar to what cats eat in nature. If your cat also suffers from diabetes, the high-protein, low carb diet is the way to go. Switching diets doesn't mean overnight results. It might take weeks for Kitty's gastrointestinal tract to adjust. In the meantime, your vet might also prescribe steroids, antibiotics or other medications to help Kitty.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
- VetInfo: Managing Feline Diabetes with a Low Carbohydrate Diet Read more: Managing Feline Diabetes with a Low Carbohydrate Diet
- VCA Animal Hospitals: What is Feline Diabetes?
- VetInfo: Diet for Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Cats
- Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- MedicineNet: Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Cats
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.