The Guide to Caring for Your Aunt’s Diabetic Cat


It’s that time of year again, when your aunt leaves for her annual quilting conference in Orlando, and she’s asked you once again to watch over her beloved cat who happens to also have diabetes.

Don’t worry — lots of people face this. We know, because they’ve told us. We’ve compiled the most challenging scenarios you’ll face in diabetes management and the painless solutions that will keep your aunt’s cat happy and safe.

Managing blood sugars

How to tell when your diabetic cat is low?

It might walk into the wall or fall off the back of the sofa. If you hear a thud, most likely it was caused by a low. It might give a deep grave meow in the hallway, you know, the creepy bellow meow. Checking blood sugar is a must, three to five times a day, to be sure.

When your cat refuses to eat and has a low

Try tempting it with some Swedish fish.

  • 10 Swedish fishies = 16 grams of carbs

How to tell when your diabetic cat is high?

It will most likely be found napping in the sun, perhaps beneath a chair, drooling. Be sure to check its blood sugar, with a quick prick to the paw. Ear scratches may be helpful to distract it.

When your cat has a stubborn high

Try tempting it with a toy mouse, feather or bit of string. If it is bored by these gestures, put a leash on the cat and take it for a walk around the block. If it refuses, you may have to induce activity with a pinch of catnip beneath the nose. (Excessive drooling totally normal with cat nip consumption.)

When your cat is hungry but has a high BS

Try feeding it a low-carb snack like a mouse from the kitchen or hemp milk in lieu of regular.

  • 1 mouse (with or without fur) = 0 grams of carbs
  • 10 ounces of hemp milk = 2.5 grams of carbs

Other care

Checking for ketones

If your cat vomits, it may have eaten too much of its own fur, or it could be experiencing ketones. Place ketone strips in favorite spots around the house and allow the cat to urinate on just about anything. If a ketone strip is targeted, read it for ketone levels.

Administering insulin

Depending on what management plan your feline friend is on, insulin may be given orally or with injection. If orally, wrap insulin in soft cheese — cats love cheese. We think. If injected, soothe cat with massage to relax and distract. Ideally, your cat will be on an insulin pump instead of MDIs for both its convenience and yours.

Nighttime rituals

Be sure to give a “night snack” before bed to help keep blood sugars stable in your feline friend. Voted Favorite Night Snack for Cats with Diabetes in 2016 by Cats Have It Too Magazine:

  • 22 Gold Fish crackers = 10 grams of carbs

Select the cheddar (orange colored Gold Fish), as cats can’t register the full rainbow spectrum and it is wasted on them. And always keep it fish-shaped. Cats love fish.

Dealing with kitty diabetic technology

Noisy CGM resolution

If CGM beeping is unnerving the feline, set it to purrr mode, where every blood sugar notification will insight calm and pleasure.

How to change a kitty’s CGM

  • Shave a patch of fur
  • Insert site
  • Insert CGM
  • Apply adhesive
  • This process gets easier with practice

Facing freakouts

When your cat has run up a tree and chucked its CGM in the bush

This is more common than you think — in fact, most people have a story about their aunt’s diabetic cat who has done just this. The resolution is rather complicated, so it is best to prepare yourself ahead of time for this type of event.

If strolling in parks or outdoor areas with said kitty, stuff your pockets with jingle bells rolled in cat nip flowers. Jingle the tiny bells and cat will come down within hour, enticed by the tinny noise and intoxicating aroma of the plant.

CGM, however, will most likely be lost. Explain to insurance company that it was caused by a scardey cat and you will most likely receive a replacement within a week. Like I said, this happens all the time.

Diabetic cat, diabetic cat, how much insulin are you taking?

Diabetic cat, diabetic cat, It’s not your fault.

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WRITTEN BY Sensor Girl, POSTED 03/31/17, UPDATED 12/18/20

Sensor Girl is a staff writer at Chicken Soup for the Soul, but her real passion lies in composing haikus that are meant to confuse and intimidate. When she's not writing, she's trolling Reddit for inspiration or competing in the most intense, death-defying hot air balloon races across the globe that sometimes involve squirt gun fights. Last year she took home a cloud as a consolation prize.