ginger and white adult cat eating from silver metal plate

12 Best Diabetic Cat Foods of 2021

So, your cat got diagnosed with feline diabetes? I know how horrifying it feels at first. But believe me, there is light at the end of the tunnel as this disease isn’t a life-limiting illness. All you need to do is give your furry feline healthy food, vet-prescribed medications, and allow closely monitored exercises. 

Fortunately, cat food specifically meant for your diabetic kitty is readily available in the market. You have to pick up one best suited for your cat’s needs. 

In this article, we will be discussing everything about diabetic cat foods- what is it, who should buy, and what things to consider while buying- along with a review of 12 best diabetic cat foods of 2021.

Who Should Buy Diabetic Cat Foods?

Diabetic cat foods aren’t just another option to buy from cat food shelves. Usually available as prescription food, you need to get it for your cat after she has been diagnosed with diabetes. 

It isn’t a luxury but a necessity for all furry felines diagnosed with this disease. This is because normal cat food is high in carbohydrates and low in protein which can cause energy spikes in blood sugar. Thus, being detrimental to your kitty’s health. 

Cat food prepared specifically for diabetic felines features high protein and low carbohydrate to maintain energy levels and muscle mass. Such cat food formula is also low in calories but high in nutrition to weight gain.

ROYAL CANIN Feline Glycobalance Morsels In Gravy

Our choice is the ROYAL CANIN Feline Glycobalance Morsels In Gravy, the best Diabetic Cat Food for your cat!

Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Thin Slices in Gravy Wet Kitten Food, 3 Ounce Can (12-Pack)

Things to Consider When Buying

There are a few important features you will need to consider while buying food for your diabetic kitty.

Wet vs. Dry

If you are buying food for your insulin challenged kitty, try getting the wet version. Dry food isn’t bad though but it does contain carbohydrate in the form of more starch and grain. While wet food is a better option as it will contain more moisture and protein than the drier versions. 

If your kitty isn’t inclined to drink water naturally, wet food is a must to ensure your fur baby isn’t dehydrated. But sometimes due to certain conditions you will need to get dry food. 

Make sure you get the diabetes-friendly version featuring zero grain and a lot lower carbohydrate levels.

silver adult cat lounging next to a bowl with dry cat food in and a green plant next to that

Protein content

It isn’t easy to compare protein content among wet and dry cat foods. As a thumb rule, try and remember to get wet food with a minimum of 10% protein content and dry food with at least 40% protein content.

The high-quality protein content is necessary to maintain uniform energy levels in your cat or else there will be spikes and crashes in the blood sugar level of your cat. Your fur baby also needs it to maintain muscle mass and a shiny healthy coat.

Carbohydrate content

Cat food contains carbohydrate in the form of starchy veggies, sugar, and glycogen etc. You won’t even find carbohydrate levels mentioned on the label of generic cat food packets. But here’s a cheat sheet for you. 

Add the percentages of moisture, fiber, ash, and protein. Subtract it from 100. The number you are left with is the percentage of carbohydrates in the cat food. Make sure the number is less than 10%. Though, ideally, I prefer to keep it lower than 5%.

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Calories

See, your kitty’s diagnosis doesn’t automatically mean she has to be put on a low-calorie diet. But picking food that contains monitored calorie helps because diabetic cats are often overweight. They might also get a ravenous appetite that can aggravate things further.

Putting an overweight diabetic cat on a weight loss regimen can help improve type 2 diabetes. So, try to keep a tab on your furry feline’s calorie intake.

Recipe

The flavour or the recipe of the cat food won’t make any difference to its effectiveness. Yet, flavours and textures are crucial because cats get attracted to the enticing smell and meaty taste. 

So, when you step out to buy food for your diabetic kitty, make sure you choose a recipe as per your cat’s likes and dislikes. Fussy eaters need to be won over rather than being ordered to just eat what you bought! Remember, they are headstrong CATS at the end of the day.

a ginger cat being tested for feline diabetes

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know my cat has diabetes?

Symptoms of feline diabetes vary from one cat to another. Some of the common signs of diabetes are increased hunger, urination and thirst, unexplained weight loss, weakness, lethargy, vomiting, and fatigue. Always consult your vet if you have any concern that your moggy is sick.

Can feline diabetes be controlled or reversed via diet?

Cats with diabetes need insulin shots. Whether it is type 1 diabetes or type 2, a specially formulated diet is necessary to keep things from deteriorating further. However, in case your kitty has the common type 2 diabetes, it can be monitored and controlled through the right diet.

Will my cat live long despite having diabetes?

Of course! Diabetes isn’t a full stop. You need to take good care of your cat, follow the vet’s recommendations, and feed her diabetic-friendly food. This is enough to make your kitty reach her full life expectancy.

How many times do I need to feed my diabetic cat?

If your cat is on insulin shots, feed her meals two to three times a day. You can give her low-carb snacks in between. But do try to control free feeding as it will cause unnecessary spikes in her blood sugar levels. This is for cats on short-acting insulin shots. 

In case your cat isn’t getting insulin shots or is on long-acting ones, stick to whatever schedule you both are comfortable with.

aerial view of a tabby adult cat eating form a bowl with kibble in

Best Diabetic Cat Food

1. ROYAL CANIN Feline Glycobalance Morsels In Gravy

If you are searching for great overall cat food, you might actually like Royal Canin’s Feline Glycobalance Morsels in Gravy. The formula specifically focuses on balancing blood in diabetic cats. 

Unlike regular cat food, this one has a reduced level of starch and moderate calories. The key is to prevent excess weight gain which often leads to diabetes and aggravates the condition. 

If your kitty has a ravenous diet, which is often common in cats with diabetes, this cat food would be a good option. It is not calorie-dense, so you don’t need to worry about weight gain. There is high protein content. 

The best thing I like about this cat food is the focus on providing protein to maintain the muscle mass in overweight diabetic cats. Loss of muscle mass is one of the most common problems associated with feline diabetes. 

Cat parents have praised Royal Canin for coming out with diabetic-friendly cat food. Some have expressed concerns for picky cats who might not find the taste great.

Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Thin Slices in Gravy Wet Kitten Food, 3 Ounce Can (12-Pack)

Pros:

  • Contains high protein content to prevent muscle mass loss in diabetic cats
  • Low calorie-density to prevent weight gain
  • Helps regulate blood sugar levels
  • Reduced starch levels

Cons:

  • Some cat parents find it on the expensive side
  • Some cat parents wished Royal Canin offered more flavours for this variant
  • Some cats might not like the taste

2. CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Wet Cat Food

If you are looking for a diabetic-friendly wet cat food option, CRAVE has something your cat would love. Their Grain Free High Protein cat food has real chicken as the first ingredient. And this definitely makes me happy. For me, this is one of the best cat food options in the wet variant. 

This cat food contains 12% high-quality protein, which is essential for diabetic cats to maintain muscle mass. There is no grain, artificial flavours, preservatives, wheat or soy. This means even sensitive kitties can enjoy the food. 

Another good thing about this cat food is it has added vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. In short, it does meet all the nutritional requirements of a cat while also making sure the starch level is low. 

And you will love the fact that they offer both the pate version and cuts in gravy. The wide range of flavours from Chicken and Salmon to Turkey and Duck will entice even picky eaters.

Crave Grain Free High Protein Wet Cat Food Trays, 24 Pack

Pros:

  • High-quality protein and low starch- ideal for diabetic cats
  • No grain, wheat, soy, or artificial flavours and preservatives
  • Available in various flavours and textures
  • Contains added vitamins and minerals

Cons:

  • Some cat parents wish the packaging was more environment-friendly

3. ROYAL CANIN Feline Glycobalance Dry

Honestly, I have always tried to stay away from putting my kitties on an only dry food diet. The regular dry food you get in the market isn’t usually enough and is known to increase the risk of bladder obstruction in cats

Another reason diabetic cats are usually not put on dry food is that it contains a higher amount of carbohydrates. But it seems like Royal Canin was lending a patient ear to all cat parents facing these troubles. 

Their Feline Glycobalance dry cat food is a great choice if you are searching for the best dry food for diabetic cats. It has low carbohydrate content and high protein to release energy slowly. It regulates blood glucose levels and prevents spikes and crashes after eating. 

If you want a hassle-free dining time for your fur baby, this one can certainly make a place on your shelf. Since it is a specially formulated diet, make sure to check with your cat’s vet after six months.

ROYAL CANIN Feline Glycobalance Dry (4.4 lb) Cat Food

Pros:

  • Contains low carbohydrate content
  • High protein content to prevent spikes and crashes in blood sugar
  • Contains L-carnitine to help maintain muscle mass

Cons:

  • Not as good as the wet variant from the same brand
  • Cats with sensitive tummy might not be too keen on this one

4. Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Wet Cat Food

It can be quite a task to find the right type of wet food for diabetic cats with sensitive tummies. They need a formula that prevents spikes in blood sugar as well as has limited ingredients to prevent flare-ups of allergies. 

Instinct does step ahead to take matters in their own hands and offer you one of the best limited-ingredient wet foods for your furry feline. There is just one meat sourced protein and one vegetable to keep things simple and healthy. 

You can choose the meat source as per your kitty’s liking. There are duck, rabbit, turkey, and salmon variants. I like the fact that they specifically mention there is no grain, chicken, fillers, eggs, beef, wheat, soy, corn, fish, artificial flavours, and preservatives. 

The formula is raw inspired and great for cats with allergies. High protein content makes sure energy is released slowly and there is no spike and crashes in blood sugar. Many cat parents expressed their satisfaction with this product.

Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Real Rabbit Recipe Natural Wet Canned Cat Food by Nature's Variety, 5.5 Oz (Pack of 12)

Pros:

  • Great for cats with sensitivity issues
  • Cage-free turkeys and ducks. Farm-raised rabbit
  • No fillers, preservatives, and artificial flavours
  • High-quality protein content

Cons:

  • Picky eaters might make a fuss initially
  • Concerns about the presence of pea protein. Some cats are allergic to this
  • Concerns about finding large bone fragments

5. Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Recipe Natural Cat Food & Toppers

If you have a picky eater averse to the idea of dining on kibble, Instincts has a solution for you. The brand claims this one to be the first raw coated kibble. Each kibble piece is coated in freeze-dried raw to ensure your furry feline is enticed into devouring the food. 

There is no grain, eggs, wheat, soy, chicken, beef, dairy, chickpea, corn, potato, fillers, preservatives, and artificial flavours. In short, you can add this one to your cat’s regular diet and ensure her sensitive tummy is safe from flare-ups. 

I like the fact that the brand specifically mentions that turkeys are cage-free and salmon caught from the wild. Rabbits have been farm-raised. You can choose anyone from these flavours and set your picky eater up for a treat she will relish. 

Many cat parents have expressed their satisfaction with the value for money for this cat food and topper.

Instinct Limited Ingredient Cat Food, Limited Ingredient Diet Real Rabbit Recipe Natural Grain Free Dry Cat Food, 4.5 lb. Bag

Pros:

  • Contains high-quality protein from cage-free turkey, wild salmons, and farm-raised rabbit
  • Contains only one protein and one veggie to ensure cats with sensitivities are comfortable
  • Picky eaters love it because of the raw coated kibble

Cons:

  • Concerns over the new formula as it contains synthetic vitamin K. Some cats are allergic to it
  • Many cat parents complained that the stool was extremely foul-smelling
  • Contains pea. Some cats are allergic to it

6. CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Dry Cat Food

Let me start with what I liked the best. I’ll be honest, I simply loved this one because of how affordable CRAVE has made it to put your cat on a high-quality high protein diet. Whenever I think about high protein cat foods, the biggest deterrent has been the hole they would burn in my pocket. 

But with CRAVE’s Grain Free High Protein Dry Cat Food, price won’t be a headache. Now coming to the protein part, it is great there is no filler, by-products, grain, wheat, corn, and soy. This means cats with sensitive digestive systems can try it. 

The texture is good and many cat parents have expressed their delight as their picky eaters liked it. Since there is a good amount of high-quality protein, the energy from the food will get released slowly into your cat’s system preventing spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels. 

The nutritional profile of this cat food makes it a great choice if you want to put your fur baby on a high-protein diet that also boosts its immunity, aids in muscle development, and digestion.

CRAVE Grain Free Adult High Protein Natural Dry Cat Food with Protein from Salmon & Ocean Fish, 10 lb. Bag

Pros:

  • High protein content with no fillers and by-products
  • Cats with a sensitive digestive system might adapt to it easily
  • Texture attracts cats
  • Contains nutrients to boost immunity and aid in muscle development
  • Regulates blood sugar level by preventing energy spikes

Cons:

  • Some cat parents have expressed doubts whether it is truly grain-free as their furry felines had an allergic reaction
  • Some cats puked and had diarrhoea
  • Picky eaters might need to be accustomed to the taste first.

7. ZIWI Peak Wet Cat Food

I am impressed by the several boxes ZIWI strikes off from my list of good diabetic-friendly cat food. It is high-protein without any added filler by-products, artificial flavours, preservatives, BPA, sugars, and glycerin. 

Meat is ethically sourced from New Zealand’s free-range farms and waters. Your worries about added hormones, antibiotics, and growth promoters have been put to rest by ZIWI. 

And you know what I loved the best about this wet cat food? All variants of ZIWI Peak Wet Cat Food contain 7%Tripe along with 3% New Zealand Green Mussels. Both these ingredients are natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin to support your kitty’s bone and joint health. 

Since the protein component is high, energy is released slowly, thus, preventing peaks in blood sugar. Cats with sensitive tummies can chomp on this without their human parents stressing over allergy flare-ups. 

Many cat parents have expressed delight in how their fur baby has developed a liking for the product. Maybe that’s because of the chunky loaf style texture that manages to win every kitty’s heart.

ZIWI Peak Canned Wet Cat Food – All Natural, High Protein, Grain Free, Limited Ingredient, with Superfoods (Chicken, Case of 24, 3oz Cans)

Pros:

  • Suitable for diabetic cats. No sugar, glycerin, and unnecessary carbohydrates
  • Loaf style texture makes it palatable even for the pickiest eaters
  • Good for bone and joint health
  • High-quality protein and no fillers
  • Moisture-rich and BPA-free

Cons:

  • Some buyers have expressed concerns over the presence of tetrasodium pyrophosphate
  • Concerns over the latest recipe change
  • Contains chickpea

8. Purina Veterinary Diets DM Dietetic Management

Well, this cat food has dual benefits to offer. As the name suggests, it is indeed a tailored recipe meant to manage weight and help diabetic cats back on the track. 

There is the right balance of high protein and low carbohydrates to help your diabetic cat get proper nutrition without causing spikes in the blood sugar. 

There is another benefit that could make Purina your go-to option- relief from urinary stones. The brand claims that this particular cat food creates an unfavourable urinary environment for calcium oxalate crystal and struvite. 

Both wet and dry variants contain antioxidants. However, I am slightly disappointed by their ingredient list. Poultry by-products and meat by-products are right there listed as the second and third ingredient. 

This one is a special diet available on a vet’s recommendation.

Purina Veterinary Diets DM Dietetic Management For Cats 24/5.5oz cans

Pros:

  • Contains high protein and low carbohydrate
  • Helps with urinary stone issues
  • Contains antioxidants

Cons:

  • Contains poultry by-products and meat by-products
  • Picky eaters might not like the taste
  • Customers have expressed that the value for money isn’t satisfactory. Several felt this one is overpriced.

9. Rachael Ray Nutrish Wet Cat Food Grain Free

The variety of flavours Rachael Ray brings into this cat food variant is amazing. If your cat is like mine and gets bored easily, you can stock up on all flavours from Rachael Ray Nutrish Wet Cat Food Grain Free

There is Lip Smackin’ Sardine ‘N Mackarel, Ocean Fish and Catchiatore, Surf ‘N Turf Variety Pack, and many more such flavours to keep our picky eater interested in food. All variants are real recipes by Rachael and contain high-quality protein to help diabetic cats maintain energy levels. 

There is no ground corn, soy, wheat, poultry, and meat by-products. I like it that they have kept this cat food free from fillers and instead focuses more on vitamins, minerals, and taurine. And if reports from my kitty are to be believed, the Ocean Fish-A-Licious variant is pure love. 

Several cat parents are amazed at how much cats love this wet food. The downside is many cat parents did comment they found bones in the product.

Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Wet Cat Food, Ocean Lovers Variety Pack, 2.8 Ounce Cup (Pack of 12), Grain Free

Pros:

  • A wide range of flavours to entice picky eaters
  • Contains taurine, vitamins, and minerals
  • High-quality protein to maintain energy levels in diabetic cats

Cons:

  • Cat parents have found bones in this wet cat food
  • Sensitive cats might get allergic reactions
  • Few cat parents felt that this food made their kitty sick

10. Nulo Adult & Kitten Grain Free Wet Food

This high meat low carb recipe by Nulo is directed at cats in need to be put on a weight management program. The product is au naturel as it doesn’t contain grains like wheat, corn, and soy

If your kitty is prone to allergies, this one might suite well as there is no artificial flavouring, preservatives, carrageenan- not even white potatoes. The blend contains five animal protein sources reinforced with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to boost immunity and overall health

Opt for minced, shredded, or pate versions as per your cat’s liking. Cat parents have expressed satisfaction over the value for money Nulo offers with this variant.

Nulo Adult & Kitten Grain Free Canned Wet Cat Food (Turkey & Duck Recipe, 3 Oz, Case of 24)

Pros:

  • High-quality protein
  • Might suit cats with allergy issues
  • Cat parents found their picky eaters enjoying this food
  • Available in various textures

Cons:

  • Some cat parents felt their kitties got bored with the food
  • Some buyers expressed concerns about recent recipe change

11. Nulo Adult & Kitten Grain-Free Dry Cat Food with BC30 Probiotic

I’ll start with what I liked best about this product. 

My cat has digestive issues and I am always on the lookout for probiotic enriched foods. Nulo appears to be acing the race in my opinion because they have managed to bring the best of both the worlds in one food- diabetic health support and digestive aid

This dry cat food contains patented BC30 probiotic to boost healthy gut flora. If your cat has digestive issues, try this variant for its metabolism-boosting properties as well. The kibble is in the shape of discs that look like small morsels. 

The brand claims the texture is palatable for even picky eaters and aids in removing plaque buildup in teeth. The high meat and low carb proprietary formula have 83% animal protein. 

Ingredients used are low on the glycemic index to prevent spikes in blood sugar levels. Since it is grain-free and has no fillers and by-products, sensitive cats can try this product to see if this suits them.

Nulo Adult & Kitten Grain Free Dry Cat Food With Bc30 Probiotic (Chicken, 5Lb Bag)

Pros:

  • High protein- low carb formula to help with diabetes
  • Suitable for sensitive cats
  • Contains special probiotics to aid digestion

Cons:

  • Some cat parents complained it made their cat sick
  • You might need to start with a trial size packet first as picky eaters may not be too keen on this
  • Some cat parents expressed concerns over the possibility of choking hazard due to the kibble size

12. Hills M/D Weight Loss Diabetic Cat Food

Hills is a brand known for its science-based proprietary blends and looks like they have again done a good job with this diabetic cat food. The brand claims this cat food helps maintain lean muscle mass despite weight loss caused by diabetes. 

There is carnitine to increase glucose utilization in diabetic cats. Carnitine does this by improving energy metabolism. Hills says that this variant would also prevent the accumulation of fat in the liver. 

Many cat parents have expressed their happiness over how this cat food helped their cat come off insulin and maintain muscle mass despite losing weight. One thing cat parents might want to note is you might have to be patient with your cat to develop taste for this cat food. 

Instead of replacing regular kibble with this one, try substituting a part of it. Your kitty might take some time to warm up to this vet recommended food.

Hill's Prescription Diet m/d GlucoSupport Chicken Flavor Dry Cat Food, Veterinary Diet, 4 lb bag

Pros:

  • Good for diabetic cats
  • Helps maintain muscle mass
  • Maintains energy levels

Cons:

  • Is towards the expensive side
  • Picky eaters might take time to get used to this prescription cat food

My Pick for the Best Diabetic Cat Foods of 2020

I reviewed 12 best diabetic cat foods of 2020 and every one of them had some unique winning features. However, ROYAL CANIN Feline Glycobalance Morsels In Gravy stood out for me as I find it good for the diabetic cat, as well as, it is not exorbitantly high like most prescription cat foods.  

Since the ingredients have a low glycemic index, you won’t need to worry about spikes and crashes in the blood sugar level of your furry feline. The high-protein and low-carb balance in this blend is just the right. Even several buyers have said that this gluco-modulation product is just right for diabetic cats. 

So, go for it. Your kitty deserves more pampering- not your worries and stress! Make her purrrrr!

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