Diabetic Cat Won’t Eat

Diabetes Mellitus can have many side-effects on your cat, of which, one of the most common ones is that your cat won’t eat. It is important to look into your cat’s appetite as soon as possible, especially if it has gone long periods of time without eating. If not, diabetic cats can have low blood sugar, causing further complications and even death (worst case scenario).

So in this article, we have put together various reasons why your diabetic cat won’t eat, and what you can do to fix it’s appetite so it stays healthy and active.

diabetic cat wont eat

Why is your diabetic cat not eating?

Before we dive into the reasons why your cat is not eating, let’s look at diabetes in a little more detail.

Diabetes occurs when your cats’ pancreas can not produce enough insulin to digest the glucose in the body.

Because of this, the glucose is not able to break down and transport to the cells for energy.

So to bring the body procedures back to normal, the vet may prescribe your cat insulin shots on a regular basis.

Insulin shots have to be taken at their prescribed time religiously, because if they are not, it can mess up the eating schedule of your cat.

Diabetes can change your cat’s mood, and if insulin is not given to your cat, then there is a great chance that it loses its appetite and faces other problems in its daily life as well.

But it can’t be said that not taking insulin is the only reason for your diabetic cat not eating (though it is an important one!). There are other reasons which contribute to the problem.

Reasons why your diabetic cat won’t eat

While some of the reasons discussed below are directly related to diabetes in cats, some of the reasons mentioned are other side-effects your cat could face as a result of its diabetes.

High Blood Glucose level

As mentioned before, if insulin isn’t being produced in the body, it has to be injected, and if it isn’t injected either, then your cat will most likely have high blood sugar.

This isn’t a matter to be taken lightly, because if the blood sugar remains high for prolonged periods of time, then your cat may almost completely lose its appetite.

Your cat will become weak and lose all its energy in a matter of a few days. If this situation continues, it might not live very long.


Ketoacidosis is caused by an insulin deficiency in the cat’s body.

When your cat has ketoacidosis, you will notice any symptoms such as laziness, being inactive, little to no appetite, lack of water in the body, and even constant nausea.

You should try feeding your cat different types of foods to see if it eats anything. If not, the best option, in this case, is to go to the vet.

It is recommended to give cats a low-carb diet if they have diabetes ketoacidosis.


Hypoglycemia occurs when instead of a shortage of insulin in the cat’s body, there is an excess.

The pancreas produces a lot of insulin which starts to break down fat instead of glucose at a high pace in an attempt to generate energy.

This process is so rigorous as compared to what is normal, and can make your cat feel sick and nauseous.

The breakdown of fat causes a chemical called ketone released into the cat’s body, instead of glucose to energy. Due to this, you may notice increased lethargy and weakness in your cat.

As a result, it may avoid eating food or nibble on small bites and then abandon the food completely.

Other Medical disorders

Now, even though you may assume that the reason your diabetic cat is not eating food regularly is because of diabetes itself, in most cases, other factors are contributing to this problem as well.

Some other diseases that may cause a loss of appetite in your cat could be:

  • Pancreatitis
  • Kidney Issues
  • Urinal infections
  • Liver problems

It may not be easy to spot these diseases in your cat, so if you notice that your diabetic cat is not eating, you should take it to the vet for examination first to diagnose what the actual problem is. If your cat is suffering  from any of the aforementioned problems like Kidney issues you might have to use kidney food alternatives or in case of Pancreatitis after discussion with your vet, special attention for your feline would be required

Many times, it may not be a disease or problem at all. Your cat might just need a readjusted insulin dosage, and this could be causing the loss of appetite in the first place.

So do not neglect your diabetic cat’s loss of appetite at any cost.

How to get your diabetic cat to eat again

Even though we recommend getting professional help if your diabetic cat won’t eat, there are still a few things you can try before turning to the last resort.

Warm up the food

If your diabetic cat is not eating the food all of a sudden, you can try getting the food to room temperature or heating it in the microwave. Make sure you check the package of the cat food you use before doing this.

Cats usually don’t care about cold or warm food, but it could make a difference if your cat has not eaten anything for a long while.

Use its favorite treats

Treats are not the best for your cat, and surely, you know that too. But in serious cases like your diabetic cat not being ready to touch its food, it’s acceptable, right?

Of course, feed your cat a small number of treats just to get accustomed to eating its usual food again. Hopefully, this will work, but make sure you use treats that are meant specifically for diabetic cats.

Another tip that is known to work well for diabetic cats is to put some meat as a disguise on its actual food or just mix it up well.

This can be fish or small pieces of chicken. Cats love this stuff, so they should naturally approach the food and eat it without noticing.

Make it easier to eat for the cat

If you can mash up the food or somehow make it more digestible for the cat so it doesn’t have to use energy chewing it up, then your cat might be more tempted to eat it.

If you put down a large piece of fish or chicken in your cats’ food bowl, then chances are your cat would probably not eat it.

Switch between dry and canned and see if your cat eats it

Have you thought about what your cat likes and dislikes to eat? If not, it’s time to think about it while keeping the nutritional values in mind.

If you feed your cat canned food, there is a possibility that your cat is tired of the food texture and wants a change. To cater to its need, you can try using dry food to regain your diabetic cat’s appetite.

You can also try switching between certain brands, and then settle with the ones your cat likes the most.

Ask your vet for advice

Lastly, if you’ve tried all of these tricks to get your diabetic cat to eat and it still won’t, then you should seek your vet’s help.

Depending on the situation, he might prescribe your cat medications until it is back to its normal appetite again.

Type of foods you should feed your diabetic cat to make sure it eats

Low carb foods

Experts suggest that cat food should be low in carbohydrates because the more carbs, the harmful it is for your diabetic cat.

Depending on the type of food you feed your cat (wet or dry), you should always check the ingredients for low carbohydrates, because otherwise, your cats’ blood sugar could be high if it eats food.

If this happens, there is a great chance that your cat will not eat the same food again because it knows that it got sick from it last time.

Contain a good amount of fiber

Fiber is an important constituent of a cat’s diet and helps with many problems in the body, including blood sugar regulation in diabetic cats.

Obesity can affect insulin production in the cat’s body, so the healthier your cat can eat, the better it is for its lifestyle. Hence, cat food should contain a good amount of fiber.

Good source of protein

Cats are not vegetarians and you should not force them to be either. Feed your cat fishes like tuna and salmon, and even boiled chicken works well.

Choose a wet or dry food based on your cats’ preference, but make sure it has the right amount of protein. If your feline lacks protein you might find it in cobwebs for fulfilling its protein requirements.

The presence of all these elements makes a balanced diet and will help your diabetic cat stay healthy and also avoid facing low appetite problems in the future.


In conclusion, if your diabetic cat won’t eat, you should not take the situation lightly.

A diabetic cat losing its appetite could mean a lot of things, it could be because of diabetic reasons, or other underlying conditions your cat could have due to diabetes.

There are several subtle tricks you can try to feed your cat through, such as disguising in treats or its favorite meat, heating food, or breaking it down to smaller pieces for easier chewing.

Moreover, there are certain types of foods you should focus on to avoid your diabetic cat not eating again in the future, as mentioned above.

Finally, if all these tips don’t work, you should not put your diabetic cat’s life at risk and take it to the vet for a checkup immediately.

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