What should I feed my Diabetic Cat?

1 in every 230 cats have feline diabetes. Does yours? You may be asking yourself what exactly is diabetes and how can the right diabetic cat food benefit my furriend? Read on to find out what is the best treatment including advice about the best diabetic cat food available for you.

domestic shorthair cat

What is Feline Diabetes?

There are two main types of feline diabetes; Type 1 and Type 2

Diabetes Type 1 is caused by not enough insulin being produced by the pancreas meaning your cuddly companion will have high levels of sugar in their blood. Type 1 diabetes is less common, typically diagnosed only in kittens where studies suggest that this disease is an auto-immune disease. There are no links between age or weight of the cat.

Diabetes Type 2 also means your kitty will have high blood sugar but the difference is that cells give up responding trying to balance the sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes accounts for over 80% of all feline diabetes cases in cats. This is the type that is linked with your cat carrying a few extra pounds and the age of your furfriend. There is good news, type 2 diabetes can be treated with the right plan and education! Better yet, if your cat has not been diagnosed with this disease, it can be easily preventable too.

Basics of diabetes 

The pancreas produces insulin depending on how much sugar is in the blood, the insulin and blood glucose equal each other out. The issue with feline diabetes is that the pancreas stops producing insulin which results in an unbalanced level of blood glucose. This can be dangerous and lead to dehydration, depression and even death if left untreated.

Why do cats get diabetes?

The main reason that 1 in every 230 cats suffer from type 2 diabetes is due to a lack of exercise mixed with a combination of a poor diet. Certain breeds are predisposed to developing diabetes such as Burmese cats, and your kitty is more at risk as they get older but thankfully the other risk factors are within our control. These include:

  • Poor diet
  • Obesity
  • Neutering 
  • Medical treatment

Diabetes type 2 is one of the biggest comorbidity that come with a cat being overweight. Obesity is not genetic, meaning that you, the owner can take control of the environmental factors of which your cat is exposed to. With play activity and feeding the right diet that’s tailored to your cats you can keep weight in check. For inspiration on playtime, check out our blog on the importance of environmental enrichment for house cats. The main factor that has a direct impact on your furfriend’s weight is their diet. So what should you be feeding your cat?

Nutritional needs for a healthy cat

Typically cat food consists of three main macronutrients. These are: protein, fat and carbohydrates.


Good for building and maintaining muscle. Your cat is an obligate carnivore meaning they need meat (or specifically animal protein) in their diet. Essential amino acids are the building blocks of protein and cats can only get ALL essential amino acids from meat. If your cat is on a poor or low animal protein diet, this can be extremely detrimental to your cat’s overall health. 


A friend not a foe when it comes to cats. Highly digestible and providing a good souce of energy, cats can tolerate high amounts of fat and can metabolise this nutrient well. You will normally find that the more fat in a cat food, the lower the carbohydrate. This is beneficial for cats that are in need of diabetic cat food. Similarly, to animal protein, your furfriend can’t synthesise fatty acids themselves and need this supplied via their diet. Omega 6 fatty acids are essential for minimising inflammation and protecting your cat from invasive viral and bacterial infections. 


Often mistaken as simply starch, carbohydrates is the term for a group of macronutrients covering fibre, sugars and starches. As obligate carnivores, cats do not have a big need for carbohydrates but dietary fibre provides a wealth of health benefits including promoting a leaner, healthier weight it also helps their digestive health. The main contributor to weight gain with cats is too much carbohydrates in their diet. Diabetic cat food will have a lower amount of carbohydrate ingredients, higher protein levels and higher fat levels. 

Management of feline diabetes

After your cat is diagnosed with diabetes, your vet will often recommend a health programme to follow. This will include ways to help lower your furfriend’s weight including getting your cat to exercise more, put on medication but most importantly your vet will advise you to control your cat’s diet by introducing diabetic cat food. Here are some helpful tips you can do to actively work on lowering your cat’s weight and ensure you keep their diabetes in check:

Feed the right diet

A cat food with a high level of meat and animal protein content plus low level of carbohydrates is perfect for diabetic cats. Carbohydrates still play an important role for our cats wellbeing. Giving a cat too little can also adversely impact their health as this can cause them to go into a state of hypo. This means that their sugar levels are too low and risk seizures and loss of consciousness.

Scrumbles cat food recipes are designed for digestive health and have a high meat content and low level of carbohydrates. Scrumbles Dry Cat Food has a high meat content 75% and our wet cat food is 70%, crucial for your cat to stay happy and healthy! If your cat has been diagnosed with diabetes or any other health condition, always consult your vet to determine what's the appropriate actions to take including the best food for your cat's diabetes requirements. 

Control your cat’s portion size

Stick to feeding guidelines to keep your cat at a healthy weight. One that note, take care to make sure they are not eating anywhere other than the food you give your cat. No dinner scraps!

Dedicated playtime sessions

Regular play sessions with your cat is not only great for bonding but will encourage a healthier lifestyle. Add some new playful, engaging toys to your home to keep your cat active inside.

Consistency is key

Make sure you feed your cat the right amount of food for their needs. Stick to the same food regiment every day and foods with a similar nutritional makeup e.g. carbohydrate levels. Allow daily feeding times to also remain the same.

Minimise treats

If you are guilty of giving one too many treats to your cat because you keep getting a “meow” or a nudge on the leg as if to say “I know you will give in!” try to distract your cat away from being food driven and play with them in an engaging way and they’ll soon forget about food. 

If you still feel inclined to give your cat, let your furfriend indulge in a healthy cat treat that’s high in meat, low in carbs and has no added nonsense like sugar like our Gnashers Dental Bites that consist of 50% protein and will provide a stress free method of maintaining dental health at the same time!

Limit the amount to 10% of their overall diet to stay within the healthy guidelines. 

Diabetes type 2 is a serious feline disease as is with humans. However, with the correct management, diabetic cat food and starting on a gentle exercise routine will go a long way. Before your cat will be on track to the healthy life your furfriend deserves! 

In many cases, positively altering your cat’s diet can be an effective measure to combat diabetes. After switching to a diet which contains a lower amount of carbohydrates, medication may not be needed.

Looking for Diabetic Cat Food?

If you are looking for diabetic cat food, we may be able to help. At Scrumbles, Our range of cat food is designed to keep your cat happy and healthy and promote gut health, with a high level of animal protein and digestive health ingredients like Slippery Elm and added probiotics. If you’d like to know more and understand if we’re suitable for your cat or have any other questions, drop us a line at hello@scrumbles.co.uk

Complete Cat Food

Whilst you're here, why not read: 

  1. The truth about high protein cat food
  2. Is Hypoallergenic Cat Food BS?
  3. Cat Poop Chart

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