Treating a diabetic cat



Left untreated, Feline Diabetes is life-threatening….. but it is more than possible to treat your cat.

With your vet’s help, and with the right low-carbohydrate food coupled with the right dosing protocol your cat can live a long and happy life….

…….and may well even go into a diet-controlled remission where insulin is no longer necessary.

The right diet and insulin are the two cornerstones of Feline Diabetes Treatment.


The right diet for a diabetic cat is one that is 100% low carbohydrate wet food.

In many cases, it is the on-going high carbohydrate diet (dry catfood above all) that has been the leading cause of the diabetes occuring to begin with.

A cat’s “normal” diet – what it has evolved to thrive on – is around 3-5% carbohydrates on a dry matter basis. In order to follow the Tight Regulation protocol your cat needs to be on a diet that is 10% carbohydrates maximum.

Most vet diabetic foods are higher than that:   the only vet foods that fall under 10% are:

  • In most countries:  Purina DM canned food (it must be the original recipe, Savoury Selects is too high in carbohydrates)
  • In addition, in Europe:  Animonda Integra Protect Diabetes has 7.2% carbohydrates

Carbohydrates on a dry matter basis are not listed on pet food labels (carbohydrates are not listed at all!).  It is necessary to do a bit of maths to find out first of all the carbohydrates, and then what they are on a dry matter basis.  Full information regarding the calculation and a Carbohydrate Calculator that does the calculation for you may be found on the DCI Forum.

Although in most cases insulin is needed, some cats will even go directly into a diet-controlled remission with the change from high to low carbohydrate food, and may not even require insulin.

Important note: the change from high to low carbohydrate food can make the blood glucose levels drop substantially.  If your cat is already on insulin, the dose of insulin you are giving may be way too high once you do the transition.  Do NOT change food without joining the DCI Forum and getting more help and specific information to help your cat make the transition safely and to protect them from a clinical hypo.

For more information on food read our articles on:


While a lucky few will go into a diet-controlled remission with a change from high to low-carbohydrate food, the majority of cats will need insulin support – even if that may be for only for a short period.

Depending where you live, different insulins will be the “norm”.  Each insulin is different and has its own properties – how cats tend to react to it, how long it lasts, etc.

The initial choice of insulin will depend above all on what your vet is used to using.  Depending on how your cat does react to that insulin and if results are not optimal, other choices are possible in all countries.  In some, you need to “prove” first that the normal vet insulin simply is not working for your cat.

Three important points to keep in mind regarding insulin:

  • It may seem terrifying to you to even think of injecting something into your cat…. it actually is quite simple to inject insulin.  Your vet will show you how to do that and give you help.
  • The insulin that you are giving is necessary to save your cat’s life – you are helping, not hurting!
  • The Tight Regulation Protocol (TR), if initially developed using US Bovine PZI insulin, has been adapted to help with all insulins used today:  cats have gone into a diabetic-controlled remission on all insulin types using TR.

… a Final point about oral medications for Feline Diabetes

Oral medications such as glipizide do exist.  Unfortunately cats simply do not respond well to them.  They are not a treatment that works – if your cat is diabetic it does need insulin.

Please do read the other articles on the site for more information about diet and insulins…. and join the DCI Forum for more detailed information about diet and insulin for your country and help with your specific situation.


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