The Benefits of a Raw Food Diet for Cats with Feline Diabetes
Diabetes is a complicated disease that has become one of the most common illnesses from which cats suffer. Although the exact causes of diabetes in cats remain unclear, it has been proven that a diet high in carbohydrates (read: high in grains) and low in water (read: dry food only) can contribute dramatically to the disease.
In fact, often times, changing your diabetic cat's diet and exercise program will not only improve their overall quality of life, itwill reduce the amount of insulin they need to take! Here are some ways that a raw food diet can prevent or reduce the effects of diabetes in your cat.
Diabetes and Nutrition
By nature, cats are carnivorous animals and do not require high-carb foods. Unlike humans that depend on carbs for energy, cats cannot process them as well as protein. This causes many health-related problems for them, including diabetes.
Unfortunately, to cut back on the costs of the products, most dry cat foods contain a lot of carbohydrates which are cheaper than proteins. They're purchased out of convenience and used by cat owners everywhere who don't realize the negative impact they can have.
By switching your cat to a raw food diet, you can help her maintain a strong immune system that will guard against diseases such as diabetes. However, it is extremely important to remember that lowering the amount of carbohydrates for a cat that already has diabetes will require a drop in the insulin they are receiving as well. ( "Bummer!" right? ;) )
In other words, if you change to a raw food diet, expect a lower need for insulin and talk about the diet change with your vet, Too much insulin can cause serious illness or even death.
The positive effects of a low carbohydrate diet are immediate, and you absolutely need to check with your veterinarian to lower and adjust the insulin doses accordingly.
Healthy Weight Loss
An obese cat is FOUR TIMES more likely to suffer from diabetes than one that is a healthy weight! Dry cat food is dense and palatable, which may encourage cats to eat it without water. Since the food is dry to begin with, extra emphasis should be placed on hydration with the meal. Without water, a cat's intestinal tract won't function optimally and the high caloric content of many dry foods leads to weight gain.
If a cat is overweight, there are larger numbers of fat cells in their body. These cells influence the resistance of insulin that develops in diabetic cats. Prevention could be as simple as making sure that their diet consists primarily of meat, with the addition of bones for calcium.
Some people mistakenly think that a high carbohydrate diet will give their cat more energy and they will exercise more, but this is not the case. Cats generate their energy from protein and fats, not carbohydrates. Losing the right amount of fat through a raw food diet will make sure that protein levels are correct and muscle mass is not lost in the process.
As explained above, it's imperative that you lower the insulin doses for your cat if you plan on transitioning them to a raw food diet. Make sure that the transition itself is slow and gradual, and be aware of the changes their body will undergo. Specifically, lowering carbohydrates decreases the need for insulin, which is why a lower dose is necessary.
Similarly to how humans test their glucose levels, you should do the same for a diabetic cat. There are several convenient pen-shaped monitors that can be used to safely extract blood from the ear of a cat. When transferring them to a new diet, monitor their glucose levels frequently to make sure they are not being given too much insulin. Again, an overdose in insulin can be fatal to a cat and needs to be taken seriously.
Take your time with both the diet change and the glucose testing. At first, click the testing pen around your cat's ear so they will be accustomed to the sound. Do this for a few days without completing the test, and give them a treat. It will take time and patience, but you will find that eventually it will get easier for you and your cat and they will be much healthier. Always consult a veterinarian before starting any new diet.