Best Diabetic Cat Food

Did you know that cats can suffer from diabetes, just like humans? It’s true! Just as is the case with us humans, most cases of feline diabetes can be managed effectively. When your kitty’s diabetes is properly managed, your cat can live a normal and happy lifestyle.

Your kitty’s diet plays a crucial role in the overall management of feline diabetes and, in fact, with the correct medication it is highly likely that cats who have been newly diagnosed with diabetes will achieve diabetic remission; they will become non-diabetic and will no longer need insulin therapy. You also need the best diabetic cat food!

Diabetic Cat Food Comparison Table

NameMain IngredientsProteinFatFiberPricing
Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Wet Canned Cat FoodChicken, Chicken Broth, Turkey Broth, Chicken Liver, Turkey, Chicken Meal, Pea Protein11%4%2%Click Here
Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Cat FoodDeboned Turkey, Deboned Chicken, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Peas, Herring Meal, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols)45%18%3%Click Here
Instinct Original Grain Free Recipe Natural Wet Canned Cat FoodChicken, Turkey, Chicken Liver, Chicken Broth, Ground Flaxseed, Montmorillonite Clay, Eggs, Peas11%7.5%3%Click Here
BLUE Wilderness High Protein Grain Free Adult Dry Cat FoodDeboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Pea Protein, Tapioca Starch, Menhaden Fish Meal (source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Dried Egg40%18%4%Click Here
Merrick Before Grain MeatChicken Deboned, Chicken Meal, Potato Dehydrated, Turkey Meal, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), Sweet Potato Dehydrated36%18%3%Click Here
Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Wet Cat FoodChicken, Water, Powdered Cellulose, Shrimp, Vegetable Oil, Tricalcium Phosphate, Salt9%5%3.5%Click Here
Merrick Backcountry Real Rabbit Recipe Cuts Wet Cat FoodDeboned Rabbit, Lamb Broth, Beef Broth, Beef Liver, Deboned Lamb, Dried Egg Whites, Potato Starch9%3%1.2%Click Here

Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Wet Canned Food comes in five different flavours and is made in North America with only natural ingredients. It is very rich in nutrients, so it provides everything your kitty needs for overall good health. The food contains only premium all-natural ingredients, with no meat by-products, artificial favours, colors or preservatives. 

Again, this is a grain-free formula, so it is gluten free and there are no allergy risks present. It also has lower calories which helps indoor cats maintain their natural weight.

Pros

  • Naturally occurring microorganisms help maintain your kitty’s health.
  • It is formulated with salmon and flaxseed oil.
  • Available in five different formulas.

Cons

  • It is a paté, which some cats may not like.

Wellness Core Grain Free Original Cat Food is the dry version of their diabetic-friendly wet food. With complete and balanced everyday nutrition, Wellness CORE’s naturally grain free formula contains delicious premium proteins such as chicken, whitefish and herring, combined with real vegetables and essential vitamins.

It is all natural, containing only premium ingredients with no artificial colors, preservatives, wheat, corn or meat by-products.

Pros

  • Grain free means reduced carbohydrates.
  • Salmon and flaxseed oils maintain overall health.
  • It contains no meat by-products, only the good stuff.

Cons

  • It is a dry food, so supplement with a wet food for moisture.

Instinct Original Grain Free Natural Wet Canned Food by Nature’s Valley is formulated similarly to what ancient cats would have fed on: meat with a dash of veg and a little bit of fruit. It is balanced nutrition for cats of all ages, shapes and sizes.

This food is 95% chicken, turkey and chicken liver with the remaining 5% composed of fruit, vegetables and other wholesome ingredients. It is free from grain, corn, wheat, soy and artificial colours and preservatives, so it is very natural and there are no allergen concerns.

Packed full of animal protein with cage-free chicken as the primary ingredient, Nature’s Valley food is sure to provide all your cat’s dietary protein needs.

Pros

  • Naturally gluten-free due to the absence of grain.
  • Helps cats maintain their weight with proper feeding.
  • Filled with vitamins for better overall health.

Cons

  • Some cats can be fussy about the vegetables.

BLUE Wilderness High Protein Grain Free Adult Dry Cat Food is a made from delicious, protein-rich chicken and sweet potatoes which provides a small, healthy source of carbohydrates. It also has cranberries, blueberries and carrots which support antioxidant enrichment. There are absolutely no by-products included and it is grain and gluten-free.

In fact, this formula, according to the manufacturers, was inspired by a lynx’s diet, so it is rich in protein. It is a good idea to supplement this dry food with a wet food which is also diabetic-kitty friendly.

Pros

  • Made from fine ingredients and contains no poultry by-products.
  • A practical alternative to a natural raw diet.
  • It is easily digestible.

Cons

  • Dry foods should be supplemented with wet food.

Merrick Before Grain Meat is a terrific product with 0% grain content and only 9% fat, leaving the remainder to be made up with protein. This dry food’s ultra-high protein numbers make it a brilliant food for diabetic cats; chicken is the #1 ingredient and it also contains taurine.

Pros

  • Its primary ingredient is meat, and only meat.
  • It has small kibble sizes; so all cats can eat it with ease.
  • It is packed with vitamins, which look after overall health.

Cons

  • Again, it is a dry food, so supplement with wet food for moisture.

Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Wet Cat Food Food comes in lots of different flavours, including chicken & salmon, ocean fish & chicken, tuna, chicken & shrimp and, of course, just plain, classic chicken. This natural wet cat food is made with 100% real meat or fish, which is the primary ingredient. It also contains added vitamins and minerals to bolster overall health.

There are no artificial colors, flavours or preservatives and it is grain free with no meat by-products or fillers.

Pros

  • A gourmet experience: Rachael Ray is one of today’s best chefs.
  • No fillers or nasty unnatural additives.
  • Fresh, natural meat and fish is the main ingredient.

Cons

  • Some of the more complex flavours may be off-putting.

Merrick Backcounty Real Rabbit Recipe Cuts Wet Cat Food includes chunks of real meat coated in a savoury gravy. The meat is real rabbit, lamb and beef liver which is extra moist to ensure that your kitty is getting enough water. Super high in protein and low in fats and carbohydrates, this is one of the best diabetic cat foods you can get.

This grain-free recipe has real, protein-rich rabbit which is packed with all the nutrients your kitty needs to fuel his daily adventures. It is also blended with other proteins such as lamb, which is similar to a wild feline diet. The excess moisture promotes good urinary health, and there are zero additives, so the most sensitive of kitties will have no trouble diving right in and cleaning their bowls out.

Pros

  • Packed with protein-rich rabbit.
  • Similar to a cat’s natural diet, which shouldn’t cause transition problems.
  • There is extra moisture, which promotes urinary health.

Cons

  • Some cats may not like the gravy.

Do I Need a Prescription Cat Diet?

Veterinarians commonly recommend prescription diabetic foods and, although most cats will do very well on these foods, some have more than 10% of carbohydrates in them and are not ideal for all cats.

Prescription diets are not necessary to successfully manage a diabetic cat’s diet. Many commercial cat foods are appropriate for diabetic management as they contain less than 10% carbohydrates in them. It is important to find the best diabetic cat food you can.

In many cases of feline diabetes, diet alone can be an effective way to manage it and trigger remission, with many cats not requiring medication after switching to a low-carb diet.

A diet high in carbohydrates increases blood glucose and insulin, which results in diabetes and obesity if not properly managed. So, with that in mind, here are our picks for the best diabetic cat food you can buy today.

Feline Diabetes

Cats truly are a handful, that’s for sure, but we love them anyway. Unfortunately, some owners find out that their kitty has developed feline diabetes and have to take extra measures to make sure their cat remains fit and healthy.

Feline diabetes is similar to human type-2 diabetes; insulin resistance with a lower insulin production rate. It typically effects middle-aged and elderly cats and is more common in male cats than female. It is also more likely to develop in cats who are overweight or live a less active lifestyle.

The signs of feline diabetes, just like human diabetes, are caused by having blood glucose levels which are too high. If your kitty is urinating a lot, it could be a sign of diabetes as the kidneys will be working harder to remove glucose from the blood. If your cat displays abnormal eating or peeing a lot, or any odd behaviour in general, it is always best to take a trip to the vet.

Can Feline Diabetes Be Cured?

This depends entirely on your individual cat. IF you start treating your cat’s diabetes early and get their blood sugar under control through a reasonable, tailored diet, and get their body in a better condition – such as helping your kitty lose weight – then diabetes can sometimes go into remission.

However, diabetes is controlled and is not usually cured. Your kitty can go into remission and remain in such a state for many months or even years. For the most part, though, your kitty’s diabetes will simply be in a controlled state and could come back if your cat gets back onto a bad diet or if bad habits make a return.

Will Diabetes Shorten My Cat’s Life?

It can, especially if it is left untreated and uncontrolled. Diabetes can be associated with infections and other problems. If diabetes is poorly controlled, your kitty can develop some pretty nasty health complications.

With appropriate management, a cat can live a long and normal lifestyle, even with diabetes. Having a diabetic cat does require a lifelong and daily commitment from you though, as your cat cannot manage his or her diabetes alone; it is all part of being a loving and doting kitty owner.

What Type of Food Would You Recommend?

As you may be aware, cats are obligate carnivores. This means that your kitty needs meat, it is not an option, and they have a high dietary protein requirement. In fact, you could opt to feed your kitty completely on protein without any carbohydrates at all.

A cat’s digestive system is designed for foods which are high in protein, moderate in fat and low in carbohydrates. An ideal feline diet looks like this –

  • 50% or more calories from protein
  • 20-40% of calories from fat
  • 1% of calories from carbohydrates
  • Moisture-rich

So, if you’ve got a diabetic cat, it is crucial that you hit the nail on the head with these dietary requirements and invest the best diabetic cat food.

This composition of protein, fat, carbohydrates and water will only be found in wet, canned food. Most dry foods are high in carbohydrates and do not have a high enough protein level to satisfy a cat’s protein requirements. So, dry foods are generally not recommended for diabetic cats.

It is widely known that an ideal diet for a diabetic feline – especially to achieve remission – is high-protein, low-carbohydrate, canned wet food.

When faced with a diabetic kitty, the two most important goals for you are –

  • Get your cat on a low carb diet as soon as possible; and
  • Learn how to home-test your cat’s blood sugar levels.

If you change your diabetic kitty’s diet to one with less carbohydrates (i.e. immediately swap out dry food for wet food) your cat will probably require an immediate reduction in his or her insulin dosage.

A diet which is low in carbohydrates provides under 10% of your kitty’s total calories as carbohydrates. Generally speaking, the less carbohydrates the better feline diabetes is managed.

Transitioning Between Food

This is the most difficult aspect of helping a kitty with diabetes. The cat must find his or her new food palatable in-order for it to be successful, and it is hugely important that a diabetic cat does not miss meals; a diabetic cat must consistently eat the same type and amount of food each day to regulate diabetes.

If your kitty does not like his or her new food, you will need to get something else. It’s irritating, but it must be done. If your cat has always eaten dry food and not eaten much wet food, this can be even more challenging. To switch your cat from dry to wet food, try following some of these tips –

1) Stop ‘free feeding’ your cat and establish meal times. Cats who are used to having dry food available all day may be unwilling to try new food because they are usually not hungry when they graze on dry food all day.

2) At meal times, offer canned food in addition to dry food and leave it there for only 30 minutes, then remove the uneaten food.

3) If your kitty is still refusing dry food, gradually decrease the amount of dry food and offer wet food in its place. Natural hunger will soon take over and your kitty will eat it.

There are lots of ways you can make your kitty’s wet food more appealing, too –

  • Mix a little wet food and dry food together for a gradual transition.
  • Try different brands and flavours until your cat accepts one.
  • Attempt to hand-feed the canned food.
  • Exercise your cat prior to eating or pet your cat at the food bowl.
  • Try putting meat or fish on top of the food to entice your cat more.

If you still struggle to move your cat onto a wet canned food diet, don’t fret; there are plenty of dry foods specially formulated for diabetic cats.

The Round Up

Diabetes is quite rare in cats, with around 2% of the American feline population suffering from it. If you do get the unfortunate news that your kitty has developed a case of feline diabetes, do not be too alarmed – it is completely manageable with a good diet and proper routine, and many cats go into remission after proper treatment. It cannot be cured, however, and owning a diabetic kitty is a lifelong commitment.

There are plenty of brilliant non-prescription foods on the market which are high in protein and low in carbohydrates, which is exactly the kind of diet a diabetic cat should be on in-order for the best chances of remission.

Rebecca Welters
 

Yes, I am that weird cat lady with 200 cats and live in the darkest corner of the city where no one dares to go! Joking! But I am a cat lover and have 2 Ragdoll cats called Toby, he's 3 years old and Dory, she's 8 years old. I'm 36 years old and live in the quiet town of Washington. PawsomeKitty.com does not intend to provide veterinary advice. We go to great lengths to help users better understand their cats; however, the content on this blog is not a substitute for veterinary guidance. Always consult a vet.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 2 comments
JoDell Stansel - January 31, 2018

Have you ever looked at Young Again Pet Food for cats? I have turned two diabetic cats completely around with their 0 carb dry food because I had a diabetic cat that would not eat wet food. You may want to look at this?

Reply
    Rebecca Welters - January 31, 2018

    Interesting! We will definitely have a look into it 🙂

    Reply

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