When your cat gets diagnosed with diabetes, it can feel devastating, but diabetes isn’t a life-limiting illness if it’s properly managed. A huge part of this management is feeding your cat an appropriate diet. Fortunately, there are many options for diabetic cat food in Canada. These reviews will give you an overview of the best ones available and help you find the best one for your cat.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023
|Best Overall||Royal Canin Feline Glycobalance||
|Best Value||Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Mackerel and Lamb||
|Premium Choice||Friskies Classic Pate Classic Country Dinner||
|Hill’s Prescription Diet M/D Glucosupport||
|Vet’s Choice||Purina Veterinary Diets DM Dietetic Management||
The 10 Best Diabetic Cat Foods in Canada
1. Royal Canin Feline Glycobalance — Best Overall
Chicken by-product meal, barley, wheat gluten, corn gluten meal
Royal Canin Feline Glycobalance is our recommendation for the best overall diabetic cat food in Canada. Royal Canin is known for its veterinary foods, so it’s no surprise that it has one specifically formulated to prevent blood sugar spikes in diabetic felines. This food combines fiber and prebiotics to support glucose levels and prevent fluctuations. It has reduced starch levels and low levels of carbohydrates, making it safe to feed your diabetic cat. It is also high in protein to support the maintenance of muscle mass and is loaded with antioxidants to support your cat’s immune system.
The biggest downside of feeding a veterinary food is the cost, as specialty foods can be expensive. However, it may be worth it to keep your cat healthy and active. Some cats have sensitive stomachs that make changing diets difficult. On occasion, this food can cause upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea.
2. Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Mackerel and Lamb — Best Value
|Main ingredients||Mackerel, lamb, lamb heart, lamb tripe|
We’ve chosen Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Mackerel and Lamb as the best diabetic cat food in Canada for the money. This kibble is air-dried from raw ingredients to preserve all the original nutrition while preventing pathogenic bacteria. Its high-protein and low-carbohydrate content make it perfectly formulated to meet the needs of your diabetic cat.
Approximately 96% of the ingredients in this cat food are meat, bone, organs, and fish to ensure that your cat’s overall health is maintained while managing their diabetes. It’s also free of any hormones, antibiotics, or added carbs that would make it difficult to maintain healthy blood glucose levels.
As with any new food, this one isn’t tolerated by all cats. Since fish is the primary protein in the Ziwi Peak recipe, the food does have a strong odor. While this makes it appealing to your carnivorous feline, it may not be so appealing to you. There are other protein options that are less smelly if you find the odor too offensive.
3. Friskies Classic Pate Classic Country Dinner — Premium Choice
|Main ingredients||Meat by-products, water, chicken, poultry by-products, rice|
Our premium option for diabetic cat food in Canada is Friskies Classic Pate. Wet food does tend to be more expensive to feed than dry food, but it is also more palatable for picky cats. If you have a cat that turns up their nose at low-carb kibble, the Classic Country Dinner flavor from Friskies is a great option. While Friskies offers wet food in many different flavors, most of them are too high in carbohydrates for cats with diabetes. The Classic Country Dinner is just right, with only 10% carbs. It offers complete nutrition, so you can feed it exclusively or use it as a topper to make other food more appealing.
While Friskies wet food is appropriate to feed cats with diabetes, it does still have more carbs than prescription diabetic foods, so you’ll need to adjust your cat’s medication or insulin accordingly.
4. Hill’s Prescription Diet M/D Glucosupport
|Main ingredients||Chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, chicken, chicken fat|
Hill’s Prescription Diet MD Glucosupport offers a diabetic cat food designed to maintain lean muscle mass and counteract weight loss from diabetes. This food incorporates carnitine to improve your cat’s glucose utilization and stabilize their blood sugar levels. This particular food also aims to prevent fat from accumulating in the liver and causing your cat more health problems than they already have.
Many diabetic cat parents have reported that this food helped their cats come off insulin entirely, but this varies between individuals. It’s important to note that while this food is fantastic for managing diabetes and keeping your cat healthy, you’ll need to give your cat time to adjust to eating it. It’s not particularly appealing to most cats, and they have to slowly develop a taste for it. So, make sure to introduce this food gradually.
5. Purina Veterinary Diets DM Dietetic Management — Vet’s Choice
Poultry by-product meal, soy protein isolate, corn gluten meal, soy flour
Our vet’s choice of cat food for diabetes is Purina Veterinary Diets DM Dietetic Management. This food is in pellet form rather than large kibble, which is easier for cats to eat. It meets all the low-carb requirements of diabetic cat food while offering high protein levels for your cat’s overall health. Purina Veterinary Diets also supports urinary health and prevents your cat from developing urinary crystals while on high-protein food. Antioxidants balance out the nutritional profile and support your cat’s immune system function.
One thing that this food has going for it that others on this list don’t is the ability to feed it to kittens. Most foods that are appropriate for feline diabetes are designed only for adults. While it isn’t common for a kitten to have a diagnosis of diabetes, it can happen, so it’s good that there is a diabetic food that will also promote their growth and development.
Since this is a veterinary diet, it requires a vet’s prescription to purchase. This also makes the food more expensive. This food has large quantities of soy, and while there aren’t any health concerns with feeding soy to cats, some owners prefer to stay away from soy products due to the natural hormones contained in the plant.
6. Purina Fancy Feast Gourmet Naturals
|Main ingredients||Fish broth, trout, wheat gluten, turkey|
Fancy Feast Gourmet Naturals offers a wet food option for diabetic cats, with fish as the first ingredient. This food is extremely affordable compared to other wet foods, and it offers complete nutrition, so you can feed it exclusively. The carbohydrate content in this food is 9%, so it’s safe for maintaining healthy blood glucose levels.
The downside of Fancy Feast Gourmet Naturals food is that it has a higher fat content than most other options. You’ll have to compensate for this by carefully monitoring your cat’s daily intake. That said, many diabetic cats are underweight, so the higher calories and fat may be just what you need to help your kitty maintain a healthy body mass.
7. Farmina Natural Chicken and Ancestral Low-Grain Formula
|Main ingredients||Boneless chicken, dehydrated chicken, whole spelt, whole oats|
Farmina Natural Chicken and Ancestral Low-Grain Formula is diabetic cat-friendly food that contains 94% protein from animal sources. This will appeal to your little carnivore’s taste buds and help them maintain their overall health. If your cat is overweight, this food offers a chance for them to shed the extra pounds while maintaining their lean muscle mass.
Instead of over-processing the kibble, Farmina makes its cat food using cold infusion technology. Similar to the process of freeze-drying, this maintains the original nutrient profile of the ingredients. This recipe is a low-glycemic recipe. It’s not grain free but low grain, which keeps the carbohydrate content down and avoids spikes in blood sugar shortly after eating.
The appeal of this food seems to be sketchy with picky felines. Like many other low-carb options, cats need a while to acclimate to the taste of the food. The kibble also has a greasy texture, which may be part of the reason that cats get turned off by it.
8. Orijen Original Cat
|Main ingredients||Chicken, turkey, whole mackerel, turkey giblets|
Orijen Original Cat Food will satisfy your cat’s desire for meat while avoiding large fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Meat makes up 90% of the protein in this food and is obtained from sustainable sources. The high levels of fish have omega fatty acids to promote skin and coat health, and the added taurine promotes heart health. As a bonus, Orijen food is appropriate for all ages, so you can feed it to kittens, adults, and senior cats.
The cost of Orijen Original is a huge downside. This food is priced comparably to premium prescription foods, but it’s not a special diet food. The other downside is that it contains large kibbles. For small kitties or senior cats with dental issues, this can make chewing difficult.
9. Instinct Original Canned Cat Food
|Main ingredients||Chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, egg product|
Instinct Original Canned Cat Food gets 95% of its protein sources from real meat to help your cat maintain lean body mass and satisfy their carnivorous instincts. This recipe contains only 4% carbohydrates, so it’s safe to feed diabetic cats. Since it’s wet food, it also helps keep your kitty hydrated.
At 37 calories per ounce, this food is best fed to underweight cats that need to add healthy muscle mass. It’s not great for overweight cats. Since it’s a pâté-textured food, there are often inconsistencies in the texture between cans, which can be frustrating if you have a picky cat.
10. Nulo Freestyle Wet Cat Food
|Main ingredients||Turkey, turkey broth, duck broth, turkey liver|
A wet food option for cats with diabetes is Nulo Freestyle Wet Cat Food. This food is packed with turkey and duck protein to promote lean muscle mass. It contains 82% moisture to help your cat stay hydrated, and less than 5% of the calories in Nulo food are carbohydrate based. Nulo Freestyle is low on the glycemic index and contains added probiotics to support your cat’s digestive system.
The biggest downside to Nulo Freestyle is that it’s expensive. Wet food is less cost-effective than kibble to begin with, and this one is at the higher end of the price range.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Diabetic Cat Food in Canada
If your cat has recently been diagnosed with diabetes, there’s a good chance that you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed regarding how to manage it. With proper nutrition, your cat can live a long, healthy life. Finding the right cat food is the first step in that process. You must then be consistent in feeding them the same food in the same amounts at the same time each day. Here are a few things to consider when purchasing a food for your cat.
The subject of whether wet or dry food is better for cats is constantly up for debate. For diabetic cats, wet foods are often recommended because they are typically lower in carbohydrates, are well-liked by picky cats, and are easy to portion control. Since wet food usually contains 75% or more water, it also helps your cat stay hydrated.
The problem with feeding wet food exclusively is that it’s often cost prohibitive. Wet food is more expensive than kibble, so this isn’t an option for many people. Mixing the two is fine, as long as your cat’s overall intake remains consistent. There are also plenty of low-carbohydrate dry foods to choose from.
Cats need meat to survive because they are obligate carnivores. Any food that you feed your cat should have meat as the number-one ingredient, with the majority of protein derived from meat sources.
Low Carbohydrate Content
Diabetes causes your cat to have issues regulating their blood sugar. Carbohydrates in food naturally spike blood sugar levels, so high-carbohydrate foods lead to your cat requiring more insulin. Ultimately, you want your cat to need as little insulin as possible to maintain their blood sugar, so you also want to feed them low-carbohydrate food.
The calorie count in your cat’s food is important with regard to their weight status. Many diabetic cats are underweight or have difficulty maintaining their weight, so diabetic cat foods are often high in calories. If your cat is overweight, you’ll need to carefully monitor their calorie intake to help them lose weight gradually.
Things to Watch For in Diabetic Cat Food
Gravy and Sauces
While many cat foods contain gravy and sauce to make them more palatable, these ingredients are a good indicator that starch has been used in the recipe. Starch is high in carbohydrates.
Some vets recommend that diabetic cats are only fed prescription foods, and there are definitely options that are appropriate. However, if your cat doesn’t tolerate these foods or won’t eat them, they won’t do much good. There are plenty of options for commercial cat foods with an appropriate carbohydrate-and-protein balance for diabetic cats.
Transitioning to a New Food
If your cat hasn’t been started on insulin, you can gradually switch their cat food over several days. Once your cat has switched foods, you’ll need to know if it has impacted their blood sugar levels and adjust any medications accordingly.
If your cat is already on insulin, talk to your vet about how to incorporate glucose testing at home. Since diabetic cats are at risk for hypoglycemia and other side effects, it’s best to discuss switching their food with your vet, along with how to adjust their medication as you make the switch.
Hopefully, these reviews have helped you learn what is available for cat food for diabetic cats in Canada. To recap, the best overall food is Royal Canin Feline Glycobalance. This prescription food is made specifically for managing feline diabetes and has all the qualities that you need to manage your cat’s illness. The best cat food for cats with diabetes for the money is Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Mackerel and Lamb. This wet food is tasty, has a low level of carbohydrates, and is the most cost-effective wet food available.
Our premium recommendation is Friskies Classic Pate Classic Country Dinner. This tasty option is easy to find and helps manage blood sugar levels on a daily basis. We also recommend Hill’s Prescription Diet M/D Glucosupport as a dry kibble option. This is another prescription food option designed to maintain blood sugar levels, and many owners have stated that they were able to get their cats off insulin completely with this food. Our vet’s choice is Purina Veterinary Diets DM Dietetic Management. It’s a safe option to feed diabetic cats at all life stages and is easy to chew for cats that struggle with large kibble.
Featured Image Credit: Krakenimages.com, Shutterstock
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023
- The 10 Best Diabetic Cat Foods in Canada
- 1. Royal Canin Feline Glycobalance — Best Overall
- 2. Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Mackerel and Lamb — Best Value
- 3. Friskies Classic Pate Classic Country Dinner — Premium Choice
- 4. Hill’s Prescription Diet M/D Glucosupport
- 5. Purina Veterinary Diets DM Dietetic Management — Vet’s Choice
- 6. Purina Fancy Feast Gourmet Naturals
- 7. Farmina Natural Chicken and Ancestral Low-Grain Formula
- 8. Orijen Original Cat
- 9. Instinct Original Canned Cat Food
- 10. Nulo Freestyle Wet Cat Food
- Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Diabetic Cat Food in Canada