Diabetes in cats - what is diabetes mellitus in cats?

It is estimated that approximately 1 in 500 cats develops diabetes. So you're not alone if you have a diabetic cat.

Glucose metabolism in non-diabetic cats

Food is broken down into components that can be used by the body. Conversion of carbohydrates (starches) produces sugars, including glucose. Once absorbed from the intestines, glucose goes into the blood and provides energy to the cells of the body.

The intake of glucose into most cells is dependent upon the presence of the hormone insulin. Insulin is produced by a special gland situated near the intestines called the pancreas.

Diabetes mellitus - What is it??

A lack of available insulin can result in diabetes mellitus or “sugar diabetes”.

Causes of diabetes in cats:

  • The pancreas of diabetic cats producing insufficient insulin
  • Failure of the body cells to respond to insulin

Results of diabetes in cats:

  • An inability of the cells to absorb enough glucose
  • Overly high glucose levels in the blood

Diabetes mellitus - are all cats susceptible to it?

Cats of all ages, sexes and breeds are susceptible to cat diabetes mellitus.

Older cats are more prone to develop cat diabetes. Most commonly affected are castrated male cats.

In the UK and Australia, burmese cats have been reported to have a higher incidence of diabetes mellitus.

diabetes mellitus in cats