8 Signs Your Cat Has Diabetes

cat veterniary

Diabetes affects many cats, and it can cause major health complications.

When you know which signs to look for, you can get your pet the treatment it needs.

Type I and II Diabetes

Cats can have either type I or type II diabetes, just like people. With Type I, the cat has a problem with producing enough insulin. With Type II, the cat has issues with how its body responds to insulin. A vast majority of feline diabetes is classified Type II.

1. Increased Urination

One of the most common signs of diabetes is frequent urination. If your cat is going to the bathroom more than usual, this could be the reason. This is typically accompanied by increased thirst. If this is the case, you have probably noticed your cat going through its water faster than usual.

This is a result of your cat losing more water than usual when it urinates. It drinks more water to make up for this. A lot of cats with this problem end up trying to drink out of the toilet because their thirst is so intense.

cat eating pill

2. Appetite Changes

It’s also fairly common for cats with diabetes to exhibit a change in their appetite. Some cats eat more than normal, while others almost stop eating entirely. 

This is always a cause for concern, so you should take your cat to the veterinarian right away. There are many reasons that this could be happening, but it’s always good to play it safe and get an official diagnosis.

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3. Weakness

Does your cat appear to be weak and/or sluggish? A significant decrease in activity can mean that they have diabetes.

If your cat is usually bouncing around but doesn’t seem to have any energy, there is most likely a problem that needs to be addressed. You should also watch out for excessive sleepiness.

Some cats with diabetes also hide from their owners more than usual. This comes from a natural instinct to isolate themselves due to illness.

Weakness due to diabetes can also manifest as a change in your cat’s gait. You might notice that they are sort of dragging their back legs a little bit. This is because of the muscle weakness, which will only worsen as the condition progresses without treatment.

It is also fairly common for cats to trip as they are walking because of the increased muscle weakness. If your feline friend is clearly having problems getting around, you need to take action immediately.

4. Vomiting

Vomiting is definitely one of the more obvious signs is sick, and it could very well be diabetes. This usually only happens when the illness has progressed to a pretty severe point due to lack of treatment.

If your cat is that this stage in their diabetes, they are going to require intense treatment right away. You’ll want to take them to see the vet immediately, even if you have to find one that offers emergency services. Putting it off could end up costing your pet its life.

5. Changes in Weight

There are some cats that gain a significant amount of weight quickly, while others lose a lot of weight. These changes in the animal’s weight occur very rapidly, so you should take notice. This is a direct result of your pet eating either more or less than it normally does.

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The more overweight your cat becomes, the more likely they are to exhibit other diabetes symptoms. This is why it is so important that you ensure they get enough physical exercise on a daily basis. The more of an effort you make to do this, the easier it will be to manage their condition effectively.

cat outside

6. Lack of Interest in Normal Activities

Cats that have diabetes often become uninterested in playing like they normally would. It is important that you pay close attention to a change in their routine. If they are no longer doing what they normally do, there is probably a reason for it.

It is a lot easier to notice this particular sign if your cat is usually very active and jumps all over furniture. The fatigue that these animals experience from having diabetes is ultimately what causes this to happen.

7. Not Using the Litter Box

If your cat is urinating or defecating outside of the litter box, it could be because they are having problems getting to it. This could be due to their general fatigue and lethargy, or a result of significant muscle weakness. Either way, it is definitely behavior that shouldn’t be ignored.

8. Treating Feline Diabetes

The most common treatment for feline diabetes is insulin injections. You will most likely be required to give your cat these injections on a daily basis. This will effectively control the illness and serve to minimize their symptoms.

It is also important that you keep your cat on a strict diet to prevent excessive weight gain. Your veterinarian will be able to give you recommendations for this. The diet that your cat is on will be a major factor in healthy they are on a daily basis.

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If your diabetic cat is underweight, your vet will probably instruct you to feed it multiple times each day. The right diet serves to keep glucose levels stable, which is essential in treating diabetes.


  • There are two types of diabetes that cats can have, but the second type is most common.
  • A lot of cats with diabetes drink a lot more water than normal, and therefore urinate more frequently.
  • Changes in appetite are also very common with diabetic cats.
  • Some cats with diabetes gain weight, while others lost weight. These changes tend to happen rapidly.
  • If your cat’s diabetes has progressed far enough, they could start vomiting on a regular basis.
  • A lack of interest in normal everyday activities is a sign of feline diabetes.
  • Cats that are diabetic often have problems walking properly due to muscle weakness.
  • If you notice any of these signs in your cat, it is important to make an appointment with the vet right away.