Stress Hyperglycemia in Cats

Is your cat suffering from constant high blood sugar but you can not figure out why? Is it showing signs of anxiety in its behavior? Well, then chances are that your cat has stress hyperglycemia. Stressful diabetic cats usually fall victim to hyperglycemia, and the amount of stress a cat takes is directly proportional to the rise in blood sugar. So what exactly is stress hyperglycemia in cats and is there a way to fix it?

In this article, we will discuss feline stress hyperglycemia and all the other important things you need to know about it to deal with your cat if it happens to suffer from it.

stress hyperglycemia in cats

Stress Hyperglycemia in cats

Stress hyperglycemia is basically the increase in the blood glucose level of your cat, because of stress. The name itself indicates that the reason for the rise of blood sugar is stress.

There are many symptoms that can give away that your cat has stress hypoglycemia, which we will discuss in detail below.

As you know, the normal glucose level in cats is 82-122 mg/dl but it can reach over 500 mg/dl in stress hyperglycemia.

This means that as soon as you figure out the symptoms of stress hyperglycemia, you need to give your cat medications and even medical attention if needed because the situation can get serious really quickly.

However, this is different from regular high glucose in the blood because if stress hyperglycemia occurs very often, then it can leave behind other diseases like kidney diseases, stomach problems, and many more.

So how do you know if your cat has stress hyperglycemia?

Symptoms of stress hyperglycemia in cats

Cats that have stress hyperglycemia show many symptoms and some of the symptoms are similar to just having regular high blood sugar so it can be tough to diagnose.

The most obvious symptoms your cat might show are as follows:

  • Severe thirst every few minutes
  • Peeing every few minutes
  • Laziness
  • Unusual smelling breath
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Appetite Loss

Besides these, your cat may also show a few signs of anxiety and stress, so you can expect a loss of appetite and even diarrhea in some cases.

Moreover, these symptoms may also be related to existing problems in your cat like obesity.

It is important to take these symptoms seriously because stress alone can cause heart problems especially if it is an older cat.

So what can you do to bring the blood glucose level back to normal if your cat has stress hyperglycemia?

How to bring blood sugar back to normal?

If you see the above symptoms in your cat, there are a couple of things you can do at home before you decide to take your cat to the vet.

The first thing you must do is to take a blood sample and check your cat’s blood sugar. If it’s showing the stress hyperglycemia symptoms, the blood glucose level must surely be high, maybe around 500 or more.

After this, if you see that your cat is dehydrated, give it water, but do not give it food right away as it could shoot its blood sugar back up.

The best option from here would be to contact your vet and let him know about your cat’s situation.

He will most likely prescribe your cat medications such as antibiotics, and insulin to counter the effect of high glucose levels. All this will depend on your cat’s age, health, and the situation at the given time.

Once the cat’s blood glucose level goes back to 82-122 mg/dl, it should be back to normal. But this does not mean you leave it unattended.

Diabetic cats’ blood glucose levels can fluctuate at any time, so you have to keep a check on their blood glucose levels daily.

What should you do if your cat has stress hyperglycemia?

If your cat has stress hypoglycemia, then the first step is not to worry. You need a clear head to think clearly in case your cat is part of an emergency.

It can be worrying to see your cat go through a roller coaster of emotions during stress hyperglycemia, but the best thing you can do is show it that everything is okay.

If your cat sees you panicking, it will lose hope and probably won’t fight to live long either. And you might need to euthanize your beloved feline friend.

However, it can specifically be more worrisome when you are not aware that your cat has diabetes, and now you find out that it is going through stress hyperglycemia as well.

The only viable solution is to give it the right dose of insulin so the blood sugar can return to normal (contact your vet for this), or give it medications if it has some other disease like kidney problems or stomach issues.


When you are checking your cat’s blood sugar, make sure you do so in the morning or evening so that the cat has not yet eaten. This gives a more accurate result as glucose levels rise after eating food.

Moreover, when you give the insulin to your cat, you must make sure that you give it just the right dosage. Any more can cause a critical condition in your cat and any less can cause the glucose level to rise back up in a while.

Make sure that if your cat has some other disease along with diabetes, then you have to double-check to ensure that they do not contribute to high blood sugar in your cat.

If your cat has been prescribed antibiotics, please ensure that you feed them to your cat at the prescribed timing to not prolong the procedure. If you find it difficult to give antibiotics to your feline then use homemade pill pockets after discussing it with your vet. It’s for your cat’s good.

Lastly, try to make your cat comfortable at home and avoid taking unnecessary stress because it can cause stress hyperglycemia and other adverse health effects.


In conclusion, stress hyperglycemia occurs in cats when their blood glucose level shoots up mainly because of stress.

This problem can cause a normal blood sugar level of 82 to 122 mg/dl to go up to or over 500 in cats.

Stress Hypoglycemia does not strike out of the blue, your cat will most likely show symptoms like breathing difficulties, dehydration, laziness, etc. so if you notice these symptoms, it is important to take action immediately.

Once you are aware of the situation, you should give your cat the proper dosage of insulin and even antibiotics if prescribed for underlying diseases.

Just make sure that the other medications do not hurt the blood glucose level of your cat.

If the situation is not handled well, it can be fatal for your cat so consider going to the vet as your priority.

Lastly, you want to stay calm. You are your cat’s biggest hope when going through a serious situation of stress hyperglycemia. An old cat is unlikely to survive a severe case, but hope can go a long way.

Stay healthy and safe!

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