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Best Diabetic Cat Food (2024): 12 Wet and Dry Foods for Diabetic Cats

Posted in: Cat Food - Last Updated: January 8, 2024 - Author: Mayurii Rajvanshi
Posted in Cat Food 
Last Updated: May 27, 2023  
Author:  Mayurii Rajvanshi

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 doesn't have to be a life-limiting illness.

All you need to do is give your furry feline the correct healthy food, vet-prescribed medications, and monitor their condition.

best diabetic cat food

Fortunately, cat food specifically meant for your diabetic kitty is readily available. This guide will help you pick the best diabetic cat foods ideally suited for your cat’s needs.

Foods for diabetic cats need to be low in carbohydrates because that helps to control blood sugar, but they need to still have sufficient protein, fat and other nutrients to ensure your cat's health.

There are specific recipes from cat food brands that are designed to meet these needs, but they tend to be expensive. However there are 'standard' formulas that are very low carb and high in protein that are also effective as diabetic cat food.

In this article, we look at both specific diabetic formulas and general formulas that are also effective. We will also cover everything you need to know about diabetic cat foods - what is it, who should buy, and what things to consider while buying- along with a review of the best diabetic cat foods on the market. In our Buyers Guide section below, our vet also covers types of diabetes, treatments and how diabetes in cats can be reversed.

Best Diabetic Cat Food

Best Overall

Royal Canin Adult Glycobalance Thin Slices in Gravy Canned Cat Food 24/3 oz

ROYAL CANIN Feline Glycobalance Morsels In Gravy

Best Diabetic Cat Food

Best Overall Choice

Royal Canin Adult Glycobalance Thin Slices in Gravy Canned Cat Food 24/3 oz

ROYAL CANIN Feline Glycobalance Morsels In Gravy

Our overall best diabetic cat food is ROYAL CANIN Feline Glycobalance Morsels In Gravy, which has been designed specifically by the brand as a food to manage blood sugar in your cat as well as other feline diabetes symptoms.

It has a controlled carbohydrate content, high protein content, low glycemic index, balanced nutrition, and an appealing texture.

The controlled carbohydrates help manage blood sugar levels, while the high protein content supports overall health. 

The low glycemic index prevents spikes in blood glucose levels, promoting better glycemic control. The balanced nutrition ensures essential nutrients are provided, and the lovely tasting morsels in the gravy increase the chances of cats willingly consuming the food.

Which we all know can be a battle sometimes!

ginger cat eating best diabetic cat food

3 Top Diabetic Cat Food Picks – Best, Value & Premium

As we've just said, we all know that specialised foods can be harder to source, more expensive and our beloved kitties can be quite "selective" over the ones they decide to eat. Yes, we have all seen them go on hunger strikes!

We have a vast audience on our social media channels (over 1 million followers) so we regularly reach out to the diabetic cat owner community and get their valuable and real world experience input for our tests. After all, they certainly know best and diabetes is an important issue that needs owner opinion. 

So here are the top selections recommended by diabetic cat owners and our vet advisors, which covers a range of great tasting, budget-friendly, and premium diabetic cat foods.

Our Top 3 Choices

Best Overall

Royal Canin Adult Glycobalance Thin Slices in Gravy Canned Cat Food 24/3 oz

ROYAL CANIN Feline Glycobalance Morsels In Gravy

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

Best Value

Tiki Cat Luau Shredded Meat, Ahi Tuna & Chicken Recipe in Chicken Consumme, Grain-Free Balanced Nutrition Wet Canned Cat Food, For All Life Stages, 6 oz. Cans (Pack of 8)

Tiki Cat Luau Grain-Free, Low-Carbohydrate Wet Food

  • High-quality protein and low carb - ideal for diabetic cats
  • No grain, gluten, wheat, starch or flour
  • High moisture content from real chicken stock

Premium Choice

small human grade meat cat food

Smalls Human-Grade Fresh Cat Food

  • High moisture content prevents diabetic dehydration
  • Low carbohydrate to prevent spikes in blood sugar
  • High protein and zero fillers

So that’s the chart showing our top 3 best diabetic cat foods, but let’s take a deeper look at the best and a few more to really give you some options.

To start with, let’s look at the top 3 in a little more detail.

1. ROYAL CANIN Feline Glycobalance Morsels In Gravy - Best Overall

Royal Canin Adult Glycobalance Thin Slices in Gravy Canned Cat Food 24/3 oz

Royal Canin’s Feline Glycobalance Morsels in Gravy comes in as our best overall diabetic cat food becuase it's the wet cat food that your vet is likely to recommend.

But, in addition, the owners we've canvassed who have fed it to their diabetic cats are very positive about how their cats take to it and the positive effect it has on their health.

They talk about how it improves their cat's condition, how much their cats like it and how relieved they are to know they are giving their cat a food designed to directly help with their condition.

Other health issues, such as bladder complaints, are also greatly assisted by this food.

We also regularly hear that senior cats are particularly fond of this food so that's a winner too. Our senior citizen felines need to intake as much high quality nutrition as possible! And, sadly diabetes and older age can often be related.

It is expensive, but it does what it is supposed to do because this formula specifically focuses on balancing blood sugar in diabetic cats. 

Unlike regular cat food, it 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, but it still has high protein content. 

Another thing we like about this cat food is the focus on providing the right amount of 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, so maintaining protein levels in a diabetes food is important.

The cat parents in our surveys have praised Royal Canin for coming out with this diabetic-friendly cat food.

The only downsides are the price and that you will need a veterinary authorization to buy it. Chewy.com, in particular, make handling this very easy as they check with your vet for you after you order (and it works really well).

This really is the best diabetic cat food you can get and it deserves our vote and you taking the time to get your vet to recommend it. Your diabetic cat deserves it!


  • 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


  • Requires vet authorization
  • Some cat parents wished Royal Canin offered more flavours for this variant
  • Some cats might not like the taste

2. Tiki Cat Luau Grain-Free, Low-Carbohydrate Wet Food - Best Value 

Tiki Cat Luau Shredded Meat, Ahi Tuna & Chicken Recipe in Chicken Consumme, Grain-Free Balanced Nutrition Wet Canned Cat Food, For All Life Stages, 6 oz. Cans (Pack of 8)

This Tiki Cat food is not a specific diabetic cat food, but it has a formula that provides most of the elements that a cat food for diabetic cats needs to have. And, many owners of cats with diabetes choose to feed this, with the backing of their cat's vet.

The reasons it's a good choice as a diabetic cat food is that it's very low in carbohydrate, but still high in protein. Importantly, it's a wet cat food that is very high in mositure and that helps hugely as diabetic cats need to be well hydrated. That moisture comes from the use of real chicken stock, so it's nutrient dense as well.

This formula has both tuna and chicken as the high quality animal protein in the recipe. This is made into a consomme and our community reported that the mixture of the two flavors and the moistness made this super popular with their cats (they dig the flavour!).

Another thing that helps with cats that have diabetes is that this recipe has no grains, gluten, starches or flours, which is why it's low carb. That lack of grains is also a big plus as it prevents spikes in glucose that grains can cause.

Although it is nutrient dense and free from fillers, it manages not to be calorie dense. That means your cat will get all the protein and nutrition they need, but won't be as likely to gain weight, which often goes hand in hand with diabetes.

Critically this recipe is so much less expensive than the so-called 'prescription' diet diabetic foods, but it's as low in price as we'd go when feeding a diabetic cat.

So, although it isn't sold as a diabetic cat food, it has most of the properties of those specific formulas, but at much less cost.

Our vets are happy to recommend this as a cheap diabetic cat food on that basis. If you try this food you also won't need your cat's vet to sign off and it is widely available.


  • High-quality protein and low carb - ideal for diabetic cats
  • No grain, wheat, gluten, starch or flour
  • High levels of nutrient dense moisture
  • Low fat content


  • Still not especially cheap

3. Smalls Human-Grade Fresh Cat Food - Premium Choice

small human grade meat cat food

The main treatment for diabetic cats, other than insulin (which your vet may very well prescribe) is to manage their weight and diet. The aim is to give them as close to what they have naturally evolved to eat as possible - and that means giving them a very high protein and very low carbohydrate diet.

If that diet is made from high quality animal proteins and is as natural as possible and also high in moisture content, then you're giving your cat the best food possible, and that will naturally help with diabetes (and prevent them gaining weight).

That's why we rate Smalls so highly for any cat and why it makes a great choice (if you have the budget) as the main food for your diabetic cat.

Smalls offers two types of cat food on their subscription plans. Among the two options, Smalls' Human-Grade Fresh Cat Food stands out as the best choice for diabetic cats. It has a low-carbohydrate formula, ensuring minimal impact on blood sugar levels and better glycemic control. The human-grade animal proteins provide diabetic cats with the necessary nutrients while minimizing carbohydrate intake.

This 'wet' recipe also has a high moisture content, and this helps promote hydration and support urinary tract health, both of which combat the possible dehydration issues that diabetic cats can suffer.

Smalls' Human-Grade Fresh is also high in digestibility because of the quality of the ingredients. Easily digestible meals make for higher levels of nutrient absorption and minimize digestive issues for your cat.

The Freeze-dried Raw formula still has all the nutritional content a diabetic cat needs, but the low hydration makes it less suitable - although, of course, you can ensure hydration by also having a fresh supply of water, such as from a cat water fountain.

Because Smalls focus on low carbohydrates, high-quality protein sources, optimal moisture content, and digestibility, both formulas (but especially the Human-Grade Fresh) are a high quality tailored solution for diabetic cats. Your diabetic cats will get a nutritionally balanced diet, that effectively manages their condition and promotes overall well-being.

If it's within your budget, Smalls has our highest recommendation as a great choice of food for diabetic cats, especially as they offer a money back guarantee if your cats don't like it.


  • Highest quality human-grade protein
  • Low carbohydrate prevents blood sugar spikes
  • High mositure content for good hydration
  • Subscription plan tailored to YOUR cat's needs


  • Cancelling your subscription must be done before next shipment
  • Expensive, especially for multiple cats

4. ROYAL CANIN Feline Glycobalance Dry - Best Dry Diabetic Cat Food

ROYAL CANIN Feline Glycobalance Dry (4.4 lb) Cat Food

When speaking with our diabetic cat owners we did notice a trend that when their cats were FIRST diagnosed with diabetes ROYAL CANIN Feline Glycobalance Dry was a common first food that owners would feed their newly diagnosed kitty. 

Many said that their diabetic cats were pretty sick at this point, but they dove right in and ate the food straight away, and more importantly, consistently. They didn't stop eating it after a few days. Which can be a common hurdle to overcome.

Ultimately it also helped with their diabetic condition.

In all honesty, we've always tried to stay away from putting our kitties on an only dry food diet. The regular dry food you get in the market isn’t usually enough on its own and many vets and nutritionists believe it can contribute to a cat developing diabetes (although there are no studies that confirm this - yet).

Another reason diabetic cats are usually not put on dry food is that it contains a higher amount of carbohydrates, and, obviously, less moisture. The former causes blood sugar issues and the latter can cause dehydration.

But it seems like Royal Canin was lending a patient ear to all cat parents facing these troubles, because this formula is a dry diabetic cat food that seeks to address those exact issues.

It makes their Feline Glycobalance dry cat food a great choice if you're 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. It also has prebiotics and both soluble and insoluble fibers that further help minimize glucose fluctuations.

You will still need to adress the lack of mositure as you would with any dry food but the speficic formula makes this a key option when it comes to a dry cat food that is actually a good choice for diabetic cats.

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.

Yes it is expensive but unfortunately these foods to treat diabetes generally are. 


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


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

5. Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Wet Cat Food

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

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 high quality 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.

We like the fact that they specifically mention there is no grain, chicken, fillers, eggs, beef, wheat, soy, corn, fish, artificial flavours, and preservatives. These are all tick boxes when it comes to recipes that won't cause issues in your diabetic cat.

The formula is raw inspired and great for cats with food allergies. High protein content makes sure energy is released slowly and there is no spike and crashes in blood sugar.

Many cat parents with diabetic cats expressed their satisfaction with this product.


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


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

6. Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Natural Dry Cat Food

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

If you have a diabetic cat who is a picky eater averse to the idea of dining on kibble, but you want to try a dry food, Instincts has a solution for you.

The brand claims this to be the first raw coated kibble. Each kibble piece is coated in freeze-dried raw ingredients  to add addtional quality nutrients but also to ensure your furry feline is enticed into devouring the food by the taste and texture.

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

But, this low carbohydrate and high protein approach is aslo what is needed to ensure blood sugar control and weight maintence for diabetic cats. So this recipe works for a cat with diabetes combined with other food sensitivities.

We like the fact that the brand specifically mentions that turkeys are cage-free and salmon caught from the wild and that rabbits have been farm-raised. This all speaks of their commitment to high-quality protein sources. You can choose any one 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 dry diabetic cat food, which can also be used in combination with a wet food as a topper.

The one regularly mentioned downside is that owners say this makes for pretty stink cat poo!


  • 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


  • Many cat parents complained that the stool was extremely foul-smelling
  • Contains pea. Some cats are allergic to it

7. CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Dry Cat Food

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

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's great that there is no filler, by-products, grain, wheat, corn, and soy.

This means cats with sensitive digestive systems can try it and also means that low carbohydrate formula helps with blood sugar control. 

This recipe is made from real single protein sources (in this case, Salmon) and Crave like to try to match the natural ingredients that your cat would have got in a natural pre-domestication diet. Their formula therefore has all the nutrients your cat needs for developing muscle, aiding digestion, providing energy, and supporting a healthy immune system

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.


  • 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


  • Some cats turn their noses up despite the high quality ingredients
  • A small number of cats suffered from diarrhea when trying this recipe
  • Picky eaters might need to be accustomed to the taste first.

8. ZIWI Peak Canned Wet Cat Food – All Natural with Superfoods

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

We made a different formula canned cat food from Ziwi Peak our overall best wet cat food some time ago and have kept it there ever since. We very highly rate all the recipes of cat food that this New Zealand pet food specialist makes.

We're impressed by the several boxes ZIWI strikes off from our list of good diabetic-friendly cat food in this formula. This chicken recipe is high-protein without any added filler by-products, artificial flavours, preservatives, BPA, sugars, and glycerin. The same applies to the range of other recipes that you can choose including beef, lamb, venison, mackerel and various other combined protein sources.

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 - there are none! This recipe is completely grain free, with no fillers and is low carb.  

And there's another thing that we loved about this wet cat food. All variants of ZIWI Peak Wet Cat Food contain 7% Tripe along with 3% New Zealand Green Mussels (and other superfood ingredients). Both those ingredients are natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin to support your kitty’s bone and joint health. 

Since the protein component is high and the carb content is low, 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 combination of the ingredients and flavor and the chunky loaf style texture that manages to win every kitty’s heart!


  • 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


  • Some buyers have expressed concerns over the presence of tetrasodium pyrophosphate
  • Contains chickpea

9. Purina Veterinary Diets DM Dietetic Management

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

Well, this cat food has dual benefits to offer. As the name suggests, it is indeed a tailored feline diabetes specific recipe meant to manage weight and help diabetic cats  get their diet back on 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 and thereby helps prevent the formation of urinary crsytals and stones.

We're looking at the wet vartiant here (as wet food is generally preferable for diabtetic cats), but both wet and dry variants contain antioxidants.

However, we were slightly disappointed by their ingredient list. Poultry by-products and meat by-products are listed as the second and third ingredient.

This needn't be a deal breaker as this terminology can cover a wide range of protein sources and we trust that Purina are using high enough quality ingredients in such a disease specific formula.

This one is also a special diet available only on a vet’s recommendation (although that's rarely an issue when ordering online these days).


  • Contains high protein and low carbohydrate
  • Specific recipe for diabetic cats
  • Helps with urinary stone issues
  • Contains antioxidants


  • 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

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

If you're still looking through this group test, you'll get the idea by now that a good food for a diabetic cat will be high in protein, low in carbs and free from grain and other fillers. That all helps control blood sugar and weight. If the food is a wet cat food then that's another bonus as it means your cat's hydration is being taken care of as well.

That's why this Rachael Ray variety pack is a diabetic wet cat food that you should definitely consider trying.

It meets all of those needs, and it's not too expensive, plus it gives you the chance to try out three different recipes to see which flavor your cat likes the most.

The variety of flavours Rachael Ray brings into this cat food variant is amazing and that's a help if your cat is like mine and gets bored easily.

This particular pack is all fish based, so there's a tuna formula, a white fish one and another that is shrimp and chicken. If your cat is a chicken lover then there's an alternative chicken variety pack.

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 some cat parents did comment they found a few small bones in the product.


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


  • Some reports of a few small bones
  • Few cat parents felt that this food made their kitty sick

10. Nulo Adult & Kitten Grain Free Wet Food

Nulo Freestyle Cat and Kitten Minced Wet Canned Food, Premium All Natural Grain-Free Wet Cat Food, Protein-Rich with Omega 6 and 3 Fatty Acids to Support Skin Health and Soft Fur, 3 Ounce (Pack of 24)

This high meat content low carb wet food recipe by Nulo is suitable for cats that need to be put on a weight management program, and especially if that is part of feline diabetes management.

It has the high protein low carb formulation that helps control diabetes and a key selling point for cat owners is that there are very few cats that don't like it. So, if your cat is one of those that won't eat our Tiki Cat Lau budget pick, then this Nulo wet food is a great alternative for picky eaters. It's also in the same cheaper price bracket.

The Nulo wet food is all natural 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, or carrageenan - not even white potatoes.

The blend contains five animal protein sources reinforced with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to boost immunity and overall health

Our pick here is the Turkey and Duck minced wet cat food as this was the recipe that most owners found was the one all cats would eat. But there are a range of flavors and you can opt for minced, shredded, or pate versions as per your cat’s liking.

Cat parents we surveyed have also expressed satisfaction over the value for money Nulo offers with this variant.


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


  • 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

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

We've already discussed what could be the best diabetic dry cat food from Royal Canin (but it needs vet approval) and we've covered great alternatives from Instinct and Crave.

We've also mentioned how dry might not be best for diabetic cats because they need their hydration to be well monitored.

But, if you have a cat that likes dry and you know gets enough water, then another dry food option is this one from Nulo, which comes with additional benefits.

My cat has digestive issues and I'm always on the lookout for probiotic enriched foods because they can help keep that under control.

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.

For easy gigestion, the kibble is in the shape of discs that look like small morsels which are easy to chew and swallow. 

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 a high 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.


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


  • Some cat parents complained it made their cat sick
  • 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

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

We get to the end of our recommendations with a vet recommended dry diabetic cat food. You shouldn't think it's any less good than all the other options in the test just because it comes at the end.

In fact, this is a serious contender for the best diabetic dry food because of its specific formula.

Simply put, our community of testers siad that if they were going for a cat food that required vet approval, then they had a slight preference for the Royal Canin, but this was usually because their cats seemed to eat it more readily and so prefer it.

On the other hand, many said that, in their particular case, this Hills GlycoSupport formula had been recommended to them instead and they had found it instrumental in helping with their feeding and weight management of their cat with deline diabetes.

In short, it's a great dry otpion, and if your vet suggests it, you should at least give it a try.

Hills is a brand known for its science-based proprietary blends and they have again done a good job with this diabetic cat food which controls blood sugar and promotes weight loss. The brand also claims this cat food helps maintain lean muscle mass despite that weight loss or if your cat is losing weight because of their diabetes. 

There is carnitine to increase glucose utilization in diabetic cats. Carnitine does this by improving energy metabolism. Hills says that this variant will 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. As we've noted, 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.


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


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

Diabetic Cat Food Buyer's Guide

Diabetic cat foods aren’t just another option that you can buy from cat food shelves. Specific and clinically formulated diabetic cat foods are usually available as prescription food recommended by your cat's vet, and you will need to get it for your cat after she has been diagnosed with diabetes. 

In order to be able to buy a vet prescribed diabetic cat food your retailer will need to check with your vet that the prescription has been given.

Whilst this sounds like a pain, it really isn't, and you shouldn't let it prevent you from buying that correct food for your cat's condition.

Online retailers like Amazon and Chewy will let you order and their system will take your vet's details and check for the prescription before despatching. For most cat owners this works seamlessly and once it's set up repeat orders are simple.

If prescribed for your cat, a vet recommended diabetic cat food isn’t a luxury, but a necessity, for all furry felines diagnosed with this disease. This is because normal cat food (especially budget 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 prevent feline weight gain.

However, if your vet does not prescribe a sepcific prescription only cat food for dianbetets, then look for one that is high protein, low carb and free from all grains and fillers, as we have covered in our guide.

These non-prescription foods will nonethless prevent blood sugar spikes and ensure a healthy diet that aids in diabetes control because of that formulation.

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 cat food isn’t as bad as many would have you think, but it does contain more carbohydrate in the form of more starch and grain. While wet cat food is a better option as it will contain more moisture, less carbs and, usually, higher amounts of 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 (and can make sure your cat is getting enough fresh water to compensate).

Make sure you get the diabetes-friendly version of any food (whether dry or wet) 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 rule of thumb, 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 which is down to high protein as well.

Carbohydrate content

Cat food contains carbohydrate in the form of starchy veggies, sugar, and glycogen and other fillers. You won’t even find carbohydrate levels mentioned on the label of many 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 roughly 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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Your kitty’s diagnosis doesn’t automatically mean she has to be put on a low-calorie diet. Some cats have feline diabetes without being noticeably over weight.

But, picking food that contains monitored calorie levels helps because most are, and even if they aren't overweight, you don't want them to gain weight as that will likely make their diabetic condition worse. They might also get a ravenous appetite brought on by diabetes 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.


The flavor 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
Cristina Vulpe PhD

Best Diabetic Cat Food: 

Our Vet's Advice

Cristina Vulpe, PhD, Certified Veterinarian

Different Types of Diabetes Call for Different Actions

Like in people, cats can suffer from two main kinds of diabetes - type I or type II. Type I is rarely diagnosed in this species, but that should be a relief for most pet owners, as that would mean that they’d have to administer insulin to them for the remainder of their lives. 

Type II diabetes is the most common form prevalent in domestic felines. It resembles the clinical picture in humans, which means that it can be acquired due to obesity and a generally unhealthy lifestyle. 

Dietary manipulation is critical when it comes to type II diabetes. While insulin administration may be recommended at the beginning of the treatment, if the prognosis is positive and the cat is otherwise healthy, many regain their pancreatic function as they lose weight. 

How your cat’s condition progresses depends on how quickly they receive treatment for diabetes and their health status. Seniors have a higher risk of developing diabetes, and they often have additional chronic diseases, which can make diabetes management even more challenging. 

Diabetes in Cats - Treatment Options

Changing your cat’s diet and opting for one of the best foods for diabetic cats out there is the first step to properly managing this condition. All vets will tell you that diet is the number one factor that influences pancreas activity in this (and other) species. 

Giving your pet canned food instead of dry kibble may be another option, especially since it allows them to properly hydrate. Always change your cat’s diet under the guidance of a veterinarian, especially if the specialist you have consulted has also recommended the administration of insulin. 

Oral medications such as glipizide can lower blood sugar if your cat doesn't require insulin. Along with diet changes, this strategy can prove to be successful, particularly in cats whose diabetes was caused by obesity. 

On the other hand, if your cat’s blood sugar levels threaten their life, you will most likely have to give them insulin shots. Your vet will tell you if this is supposed to happen twice a day, once a day, or even once every two days as the blood sugar levels improve. 

Since some pets have concurrent diseases such as hepatic lipidosis or urinary tract infections, they may also need to receive treatment for these. 

You may have to monitor your cat’s blood sugar by using a blood glucose monitoring system. Most models are very easy to use and only require a very small blood sample. When you pick your glucose meter, focus on the amount of blood required, the design of the lancing device, how fast it can offer you results, and how cheap (or expensive) the strips are. 

Reversal of diabetes in overweight cats

As previously mentioned, diet management is by far the best way to improve your cat’s diabetes. Even though the condition can rarely be cured (despite it being type II, not type I), you can make a positive difference in your pet’s health if you decide to take the right measures now. 

With overweight or obese cats, time is of the essence. Aggressive diet changes are a must, and although it can be heartbreaking to see your pet ask you for food time and again and know that they’re going hungry, they must lose between 1% and 2% of their body weight per week. 

Along with getting your cat to lose weight with food, you must institute a regime where you play with them as often as possible. It doesn’t need to be strenuous exercise, especially if your pet doesn’t have any physical resistance. However, you should attempt any tools you have at your disposal so that you get them moving -- including switching out their old toys with new ones once every two to three weeks. 

Cats are notorious for getting bored easily, whether of food or accessories. If your vet allows you to, try to switch between three to four diabetic food types, especially if your cat accepts them easily. 

Why diabetes is bad for a cat’s health

Diabetes itself has a number of negative consequences on a cat’s general health, mainly increasing the risk of ketoacidosis, which makes your pet’s blood acidic. The damage that the condition causes to the animal’s system is extreme, and very few cats recover from ketoacidosis. 

In fact, most will lose their life after exhibiting symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and severe dehydration, followed by going into shock or coma. 

On top of everything, diabetes is widely known for being associated with other conditions, such as:

  • Skin and coat problems
  • Kidney disease
  • Eye injuries and loss of vision
  • Nerve damages
  • Blood coagulation issues

So, if you want to enjoy your cat’s company for as long as possible, initiating treatment through diet or medications prescribed by your vet should be done as early as possible.  


Diabetes Classification in Cats, Merck Animal Health https://www.merck-animal-health-usa.com/vetsulin/cats/classification

Diabetic Remission in Cats, 2018, American Animal Hospital Association https://www.aaha.org/globalassets/02-guidelines/diabetes/diabetes_remission_final.pdf

Managing feline diabetes: current perspectives, Susan Gottlieb, Jacquie Rand, 2018:



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, if your kitty has the common type 2 diabetes, it can be monitored and controlled through the right diet, and it can even be reversed.

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 and that your vet has suggested.

Is tuna OK for diabetic cats?

As an ingredient in cat food, tuna isn’t detrimental to your cat’s health. However, due to the risk of heavy metal exposure, it is probably best avoided for the sake of your pet’s kidney health. Avoid canned tuna at all costs, especially the cheap varieties, as they often contain sugar and salt, both of which aren’t fit for diabetic cats. 

Is cheese OK for diabetic cats?

No. Cheese is extremely high in salt and calories, so it is not a food that diabetic cats should ever have. Although it contains some protein, alternatives such as plain cooked chicken breast are much better by comparison. 

Is salmon good for cats with diabetes?

Despite being somewhat fatty compared to other fish species, salmon can make a good option for diabetic cats. So long as you choose cuts that aren’t fat-rich and you cook them in a steamer or bake them without any seasonings or spices, you can give your diabetic cat salmon every now and then. 

Why do so many cats get diabetes?

Physical inactivity and free feeding are the two main reasons why diabetes has become so common in cats. As pets age, their metabolism slows down, much as it does in older humans. This calls for adjustments to their diet and the addition of exercise. Most pet owners allow their cats to eat dry food while they’re away from home. If you’d like to control your cat’s portions, invest in an automatic timed feeder. 

Is homemade diabetic cat food an option?

You do have the option of making homemade diabetic cat food under the guidance of a veterinarian. Cats need specific ingredients, such as antioxidants, taurine, and essential fatty acids, that are already added to the many commercial diabetic cat food varieties out there. 

So, our recommendation to you is to cook a set of meals and keep them in the freezer but give your pet a commercial option, as well, for when you don’t have the time. Always consult your vet or a pet nutritionist if you want to make your diabetic cat’s food at home.

aerial view of a tabby adult cat eating form a bowl with dry diabetic cat food

Best Diabetic Cat Foods: The Verdict

We reviewed twelve of the best diabetic cat foods and every one of them had some unique winning features. However, ROYAL CANIN Feline Glycobalance Morsels In Gravy stood out for us as we and our survey responders felt it covered the key factors the best. Its vet specific formula means that you can trust it is doing the job of blood sugar control, then it seems to be liked by cats as to taste and texture and it can be bough at a fairly reasonable price.

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.

The gluco-modulation is just right for diabetic cats and if your vet prescribes it, this is undoybtedly the one to go for.

If your vet says a non-prescription food is fine for your cat then our budget and premium picks are where it's at for diabetic cats!

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About the author

Mayurii Rajvanshi takes pride in being a content ninja, who is an avid animal lover. She has fostered numerous cats and developed in-depth knowledge of feline facts so she can write about cat health and cat care to help dispel myths with authentic information. Her aim is to encourage responsible pet parenting and cat adoption.