A diagnosis of being diabetic can seem like a life sentence. However, this disorder can often be treated using a mixture of lifestyle changes and medications. Diet can often play an essential part in this. After all, diabetes is a disease characterized by a cat’s difficulty controlling its blood sugar. Diet plays a direct role in your cat’s blood sugar. When choosing food for a diabetic cat you need to look for formulas that are low in carbohydrates; many diabetic cat cases remit after a change on diet. However, you must keep in mind that if your cat is currently on insulin treatment you will need to monitor the blood glucose and make insulin dosage adjustments accordingly.
Not all diabetic cat foods are made equal, though. Some are better for particular cats, while others are better for other cats. In this article, we’ll help you find the perfect cat food for your feline. Our reviews will help you narrow down the best diabetic cat foods on the market, while our buyer’s guide will help you decide which one is the best option for your feline.
A Quick Glance at Our 2023 Favorites
|Best Overall||Farmina Low-Grain Dry Cat Food||
|Best Value||Tiki Cat Ahi Tuna Cat Food||
|Premium Choice||Royal Canin Glycobalance Cat Food||
|Royal Canin Diet Cat Food||
|Purina Pro Plan DM Cat Food||
9 Best Diabetic Cat Foods
1. Farmina Natural & Delicious Low-Grain Formula Dry Cat Food – Best Overall
While this cat food isn’t specifically designed for diabetes, Farmina Natural & Delicious Low-Grain Formula Dry Cat Food is suitable for many cats with diabetes due to the low carbohydrate content. It is made with plenty of protein and fats but very little carbohydrates. 60% of the formula is made of animal products. Only 20% is grains, while the last 20% is veggies, fruits, and vitamins. There are many quality protein sources included.
Boneless chicken is included as the first ingredient, with dehydrated chicken as the second. Much of this food is chicken, which is a high-quality option for most felines. Chicken fat and whole eggs are included as well, which also improves the overall formula. 94% of the protein in this food is from an animal source. The low glycemic formula doesn’t spike blood sugar.
The GMO-free formula also doesn’t contain any peas, lentils, chickpeas, or plant oils. It only uses natural omega fatty acids, which can improve your cat’s skin and coat health.
All in all, we think this is the best cat food for diabetic cats available this year.
- High in protein
- Includes high-quality meat products
- GMO-free formula
- Free from chickpeas, lentils, peas, and oils
- Omega fatty acids included
- Not designed for diabetes
2. Tiki Cat Ahi Tuna Consomme Grain-Free Canned Cat Food – Best Value
If you’re looking for something extremely inexpensive, the Tiki Cat Ahi Tuna Consomme Grain-Free Canned Cat Food is suitable for some cats with diabetes, though it is much cheaper than some other options. The first ingredient is tuna, and the second ingredient is tuna broth. Prawns are included as well. Sunflower seed oil is included for healthy fats. This is a slightly lower quality source of fat, as it is a plant source.
The protein is quite high, especially for wet food. This is largely because of the high amount of tuna and other animal sources, which are high in protein. This food is rich in omega fatty acids. These are important for skin and coat health. It provides a complete diet of amino acids, minerals, and vitamins.
Because this includes tuna broth, it does include more nutrients than other options that are made with water. Due to all these factors, this is considered the best diabetic cat food for the money and the best wet food for diabetic cats.
- Tuna as the first ingredient
- Includes tuna broth
- High in protein
- Complete diet
- Not for picky cats
3. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Glycobalance Dry Cat Food – Premium Choice
For cats with serious diabetes, you may need something like Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Glycobalance Dry Cat Food. This food is specifically made for cats with diabetes. This diet is formulated with help from veterinarians and other professionals. It is designed to control your cat’s blood sugar and keep it in an appropriate range all day long. It is high in protein to encourage muscle building and stabilize blood sugar.
It is made of reduced levels of starch with a moderate fat content. This makes it better for diabetic cats and can help protect your urinary tract. This carefully formulated diet provides all the nutrition with your cat needs without all the carbohydrates that may harm your cat. This food includes probiotics, as well as plenty of fiber. This added fiber helps keep your cat’s blood sugar stable.
This food does not appear to be suitable for weight loss, though. If your cat is overweight, you may need to choose a different food.
But when it comes to premium options, we still think this is the best cat food for diabetic cats out there.
- High in fiber and probiotics
- Reduced starch levels
- Designed specifically for cat diabetes
- Chicken by-products as the first ingredient
- Not suitable for weight loss
4. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Morsels in Gravy Canned Cat Food
The Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Morsels in Gravy Canned Cat Food is quite high-quality. This food includes plenty of added prebiotics, which also slow digestion and keep the blood sugar low. The wet food also includes a high amount of moisture, which may be helpful for many cats. It isn’t odd for cats to have a hard time staying hydrated.
This diabetic cat food is very high in protein (though not as high as other formulas) but low in starch. The first ingredient is water, but the next few ingredients are all high protein amounts. The second ingredient is chicken liver, followed by chicken, pork liver, and pork. This formula can prevent stones from forming in the bladder as well.
There are no fillers in this cat food for diabetic cats, including peas. This also helps make it low-glycemic, as many fillers are high in carbohydrates.
This food is a bit messy. It is very watery, which makes it spread out quite a bit as your cat licks it.
- High in protein
- Includes chicken liver and other high levels of protein
- High amount of moisture
- Somewhat expensive
5. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets DM Formula Canned Cat Food
Purina is known for their inexpensive yet quite high-quality. Their Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets DM Formula Canned Cat Food is quite similar. However, some of the ingredients included are quite low-quality in this particular recipe. Meat by-products are included as the first ingredient, which is very low-quality. The by-products themselves aren’t terrible, as this is simply the usually “inedible” parts of the prey that have been ground up. Our cats would naturally eat by-products like fur and cartilage in the wild.
However, this by-product’s source hasn’t been named. It could literally be from anything. In other words, it’s “mystery meat.”
This food is higher in protein than most, with a low amount of fat and carbohydrates. This makes it suitable for diabetic cats. It is formulated specifically for cats with diabetes. This food can also prevent bladder stones. It also includes a high level of antioxidants, which can help cats with many different diseases.
- Made for cats with diabetes, specifically
- Full of antioxidants
- Prevents bladder stones
- Low-quality meat products included
6. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets DM Formula Dry Cat Food
The Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets DM Formula Dry Cat Food is specifically formulated for diabetic cats. This formula is low-glycemic and high in protein. It is relatively low in both fat and carbohydrates. While it does include quite a bit of animal products, they are generally low-quality. Poultry by-product meal is the first ingredient. This isn’t as low-quality as meat by-product, but you still don’t know what poultry this food is from. It also isn’t as high-quality as meat meal or whole meat.
This food is extremely high in protein. In fact, it is one of the highest in protein we’ve reviewed when it comes to dry food. However, much of this protein comes from soy protein isolate, which is a lower-quality option than meat. Cats don’t digest plant products well and do best on meat.
This formula is specifically formulated for diabetic cats. It does require a prescription from a vet, but this usually works out pretty easily. It is also defensive against bladder stones if your cat has that problem. This food supports urinary health, which is perfect for older cats.
- High in protein
- Defensive against bladder stones
- Low in fat and starch
- Low-quality ingredients
7. Diamond Care Weight Management Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
If your cat is overweight and diabetic, then you may want to choose the Diamond Care Weight Management Grain-Free Dry Cat Food. This is a high-protein food that contains quite a bit of chicken. It supports lean muscles while helping your feline lose weight. It contains cellulose, which is a natural fiber from plants that can help your cat stay full. It also includes a variety of nutrients that may support your cat’s metabolism as well. It includes a variety of products for digestive health, including high amounts of fiber.
The first and second ingredients are chicken and chicken meal. Turkey meal is also included high on the ingredient list. Chickpeas, lentils, and peas are also included. They are in lower amounts than other formulas and are not as high as other options out there. Chicken fat is also included to increase the fat levels of this food.
This food is not specifically designed for diabetes, though. The carbohydrates are at 39%, which is a bit higher than you want a diabetic cat on.
- High-quality meats
- Natural fibers to maintain fullness
- High-protein foods included
- High in carbohydrates
- Not designed for diabetic cats
8. Hill’s Prescription Diet m/d GlucoSupport Stew Canned Cat Food
The Hill’s Prescription Diet m/d GlucoSupport Stew Canned Cat Food requires a prescription from your vet. It also helps your feline maintain a healthy weight, which is important for combating diabetes. Therapeutic levels of L-carnitine are included to support a functioning immune system – an essential vitamin when you’re trying to help your cat lose weight.
It is formulated by vets and nutritionists. The first ingredient is water. This is important for felines that have trouble staying hydrated, which can put them at risk for serious health conditions. The second and third ingredients are chicken and pork liver. These are high-quality protein ingredients that are perfect for cats, including those trying to lose weight.
It is somewhat low in protein as well, which is a bit of a disappointment. It may not be completely suitable for cats with diabetes for this reason. You should speak with your vet to ensure that it is appropriate.
- High in moisture
- Includes a variety of meat products
- Designed for diabetes and weight management
- Low in protein
9. Ketogenic Pet Foods K-K8 Keto-Kibble
Ketogenic cat food may be recommended for cats with diabetes. However, it isn’t the best choice for most felines. It includes a very high level of protein and very few carbohydrates. This makes it good for cats with diabetes, as it won’t spike their blood sugar significantly at all. This formula is grain-free and doesn’t contain any starches. This also keeps it from spiking their blood sugar.
It is meat-based and includes many different chicken products as the first few ingredients. It includes meat protein isolate, which is a high-quality option for improving the protein content of the food.
However, this food is not particularly high-quality. It is not specifically designed for cats with diabetes. It is also a mystery of who formulated it. We don’t know if there were any vets involved in the creation of this food or anything of that sort.
There are also a few somewhat low-quality sources, like various vegetable oils.
- High in protein
- No starches
- Vegetable oils included
- Not designed for cats with diabetes
Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best Diabetic Cat Food
There are many things you should keep in mind when choosing the best food for diabetic cats. While the food needs to be high-quality, it also needs to be appropriate for a cat with diabetes. This is a lot of boxes to check, which can make finding food difficult.
It is essential to select a food that is appropriate for your diabetic cat, as diet is essential for controlling this disease. In this section, we’ll take a look at some of the things you should be looking at when choosing diabetic cat food, as well as several decisions you may need to make about your cat’s food.
Diabetic Diet Guidelines for Cats
Cats with diabetes need to start a special, species-appropriate diet. Diabetes affects a cat’s ability to control carbohydrates in their bloodstream, as their cells become resistant to insulin. For this reason, their blood glucose (which is a gauge of how many carbs are in their bloodstream) will continue to rise. This can cause all sorts of problems, including organ damage.
A diabetic cat should be consuming a diet that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates. Carbohydrates will raise your cat’s blood sugar, as they can no longer remove it from their system in a timely manner. Protein and fats will not cause their blood sugar to rise, so they should be receiving most of their calories from them.
You’ll also need to keep an eye on your cat’s weight. Some cats are obese at the time of their diagnosis and may need to lose weight to decrease the effect of diabetes. In fact, some obese cats can practically be “cured” if they lose weight.
However, other cats may be underweight. This is especially true if they were eating a high-carb diet before their diagnosis or went years before being diagnosed. If a cat has diabetes, they will be unable to use the carbohydrates they consume. They quickly lose their muscle mass and body fat to use as energy sources. If your cat is consuming mostly carbohydrates, they may be running at a deficiency.
With these steps, your cat can live a full and happy life. Many cats with diabetes can become healthy and sprightly again with the correct diet and insulin regimen.
How Many Times a Day Do You Feed a Diabetic Cat?
Most people will need to change up their cat’s feeding schedule after their diagnosis. This is large because the food needs to be consumed alongside the insulin dosages. Otherwise, your cat will be unable to properly use the calories that they consume, which can lead to health problems.
This eliminates the possibility of simply leaving your cat’s food out, as you won’t be able to provide them with the appropriate insulin when they eat. You simply don’t know when they are eating! You’ll likely need to feed your cat twice a day and provide them with a specific amount of insulin at this time as well. This will prevent their blood sugar from spiking and allow them to properly utilize the carbs in their food.
But your specific cat may need to be fed more or less than that. If your cat is working to lose weight, more meals may help them feel fuller. Generally, you will never feed your cat only once. This would result in far too many carbs entering their bloodstream at the same time, and it would require a very large dose of insulin.
Small snacks are usually better for cats with diabetes. But we understand that most owners only have enough time to feed their cats two or three times a day.
Can You Control Cat Diabetes with Diet?
Cats on a very particular diet may never need to take insulin. They may not eat enough carbs to require it, and their bodies will handle the small number of carbs they do eat. However, cats that eat many carbs will need insulin. Even if a feline’s diabetes is mostly controlled, a heavy-carb snack will make them need the extra insulin.
You will always have to monitor your cat’s blood sugar and adjust the insulin dosage appropriately. . Your cat will always have diabetes, as there is no cure for it. However, their disease may be entirely or primarily controllable with the right diet, which significantly reduces the amount of care they need to receive.
What is the Life Expectancy of a Cat with Diabetes?
This depends on how controlled the cat’s diet is. Untreated diabetes can lead to death fairly quickly. High blood sugar can significantly injure organs, and your cat may be unable to get enough energy from their food. However, if you feed your feline a proper diet and regularly monitor their blood glucose and make insulin dosages adjustments, they can theoretically live just as long as they would without diabetes. If properly treated, a cat can experience everyday life expectancy.
This is why diet is so important. It can add or subtract years to a diabetic cat’s life. If your cat isn’t severely reliant on insulin, it makes their condition easier to manage. Plus, if they don’t need much insulin, their blood sugar will not vary quite as much, which is also helpful.
Want to see more cat food reviews? Check out our review page here!
If you’re looking for the best diabetic cat food, we recommend looking at Farmina Natural & Delicious Low-Grain Formula Dry Cat Food. This food includes high-quality ingredients, including lots of meat and protein. For this reason, it works quite well for many felines with diabetes.
For a budget option, Tiki Cat Ahi Tuna Consomme Grain-Free Canned Cat Food. This food is not designed for diabetes in particular. However, it is very high in protein and animal products. This is precisely what most felines need when they’re diabetic.
We hope this article helped you select the best food for your diabetic cat. Of course, you should listen to your doctor as well. Not all foods are best for every cat. It really depends on your specific feline.
Featured image credit: Tetiana Liubarska, Shutterstock
- A Quick Glance at Our 2023 Favorites
- 9 Best Diabetic Cat Foods
- 1. Farmina Natural & Delicious Low-Grain Formula Dry Cat Food – Best Overall
- 2. Tiki Cat Ahi Tuna Consomme Grain-Free Canned Cat Food – Best Value
- 3. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Glycobalance Dry Cat Food – Premium Choice
- 4. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Morsels in Gravy Canned Cat Food
- 5. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets DM Formula Canned Cat Food
- 6. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets DM Formula Dry Cat Food
- 7. Diamond Care Weight Management Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
- 8. Hill’s Prescription Diet m/d GlucoSupport Stew Canned Cat Food
- 9. Ketogenic Pet Foods K-K8 Keto-Kibble
- Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best Diabetic Cat Food