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Natural Awakenings Indianapolis

Changes for Better Cat Health: Feeding and care for diabetic kitties

Feb 28, 2011 03:00AM ● By Beth Davis

Knowing the keys to the prevention and treatment of feline diabetes is one thing, but it’s not always easy to incorporate changes into a stubborn kitties lifestyle. Local veterinarian, Cynthia Baker of Bargersville Veterinary Hospital and Wellness Center says the key is to take it slow.

For cats, texture and consistency of the food is important, therefore, for those finicky cats that will only eat dry food, Baker suggests adding a little water to get the cat used to a change in texture. She says adding some tuna juice or a sprinkle of cinnamon may also help. Pet owners should also try various types of canned food mixed with the dry, gradually increasing the canned food over time.

“We cannot leave food down for three days and expect them to eventually eat it,” notes Baker. “Try new food for 12 hours or so, then give in with a small amount of the normal diet.”

Dr. Al Townshend, the staff veterinarian for WellPet®, the makers of healthy natural products for pets, says it’s important for owners to not get frustrated. “It is trial and error. The most important thing is that the cat be given the exact same diet everyday, at the same time, and in the same amount, in relation to when the insulin is given.”

For young kittens, Townshend says it’s best to introduce both dry and wet food, so the animal enjoys both. “Therefore, if there is ever a situation that the cat must stick with a strict diet of one for or the other, it will be used to it.”

Though exercise is also important for a diabetic feline, Dr. Baker says this can be tough for indoor cats. Some owners choose to walk cats on a leash with a harness. Kitty condos, with various levels to climb, also work well. Toys are usually the easiest solution, and she recommends using a feather on a stick or elastic string to play with the cat, allowing him to stalk and run and jump.

Townshend stresses the significance of proper nutrition, reduction of stress (which lowers the immune system and makes animals more vulnerable to potential health risks), annual checkups, and regular dental cleanings for the feline’s overall health and wellness.

For more information, call Dr. Cynthia Baker at 317-422-9536 or visit To contact Dr. Al Townshend, email [email protected] or visit


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