How Long Can a Cat Live With Diabetes Without Insulin?

Many diabetic cats can live long and healthy lives with proper treatment, typically consisting of twice-daily slow-acting doses of insulin injections and a diet low in carbohydrates.

Untreated diabetes can lead to weakness, dehydration, ketoacidosis and even death; however, early diagnosis and beginning treatment can prevent many complications.

Life Expectancy

Diabetes mellitus in cats can rapidly progress into ketoacidosis and organ failure without proper management, but longevity of a diabetic cat depends more on its management than how quickly its disease progresses. Proper care ensures they can live as long as healthy non-diabetic cats with regular veterinary visits and follow treatment plans such as insulin, diet, exercise or weight loss programs.

If your cat needs insulin injections, a vet will give instructions for administering them on a set schedule to ensure they receive their correct dosage. They’ll test blood sugar several times each day until determining an ideal insulin dose for your feline companion.

Insulin can help control blood sugar levels in cats, administered through two daily subdermal injections. For optimal results, clean up the injection area beforehand, use an alcohol wipe to clear away air bubbles in the needle and use an air gauge as necessary when administering this medicine.

Once insulin has been given, its effects will continue for 12-24 hours – making it important to never miss an injection and keep your cat hydrated throughout this period. Failing to give their cat enough insulin can result in diabetic ketoacidosis which could prove fatal.

Diabetic remission in cats, in which their glucose concentration returns to normal without needing insulin or oral glucose-regulating medications, is possible but rare. Remission rates depend on severity of disease severity, quick establishment of insulin therapy post-diagnosis and strict compliance with low carbohydrate diet with frequent monitoring and adjustment of dosage of insulin therapy.

If your cat has been drinking more water than usual or seems grumpy for no apparent reason, call your veterinarian immediately. He or she will conduct a blood workup to diagnose diabetes and see if their condition has settled into remission; otherwise they’ll monitor and adjust insulin dosage as necessary.


Though there is no cure for diabetes in cats, most can live long lives with effective treatment and close monitoring. Insulin injections should be given twice a day at various locations on their bodies; your veterinarian will decide the exact schedule. In addition to injections, cats with diabetes need a low carbohydrate diet as well as close monitoring of weight, blood glucose levels and water intake – anything left undone could lead to complications that shorten their lives significantly.

Studies have revealed that 17-67% of diabetic cats go into remission; it’s important to remember, though, that even though your cat may no longer need insulin injections for several years if their condition returns quickly.

Insulin injections for cats tend to be relatively painless. Administered subcutaneously using very fine needles, insulin can be administered easily. Over time most cats adapt to the procedure without even realizing it; its administration should no longer cause them any distress. As owners can monitor for signs of high sugar such as excessive urination or blood in their urine (especially at-home urine testing kits can help owners monitor this), insulin levels in your cat should also be regularly checked by you or someone else at home.

Early diagnosis is crucial in order to provide the most aggressive treatment. Obesity, exposure to certain drugs, genetic predisposition and pancreatic inflammation all increase risk for diabetes in cats; eliminating any predisposing factors may lead to remission and weight loss can often alleviate symptoms in overweight cats.

Once a cat enters remission, they must continue close monitoring of blood glucose and eating habits. Insulin therapy may need to resume if too much weight is lost due to illness or injury, which requires regular evaluation and possible adjustments as needed.

At its core, however, cats with diabetes can live long and healthy lives if treated correctly with diet and insulin injections. If these care options are neglected however, their diabetes could become unmanageable within 2-14 days and lead to their death.


Diabetes in cats may remit over time, or at least the signs associated with it – such as excessive thirst and urination – no longer manifest themselves, though this does not guarantee that diabetes has been completely alleviated; insulin treatment may still be required or it could recur later in life, making it essential to monitor cats closely for signs of hyperglycemia (high blood glucose level).

Insulin is a hormone which allows sugar from food sources to enter cells and be utilized as energy sources, without which, cells would starve of fuel and our engine would shut down completely. Early diagnosis and treatment by a veterinarian can help minimize symptoms of diabetes as well as lead to its remission, so the cat can live their daily life normally without needing insulin injections anymore.

Treatment for diabetic cats usually entails administering daily or twice-daily insulin injections; in certain instances it can also be managed through low carbohydrate diets or oral medications that stimulate pancreas production of insulin; although these methods may not always prove successful.

Remission of diabetes is an exciting milestone for both kitty and owner. While the journey may be long and uncertain, remission may eventually occur over weeks or months depending on treatment regiment compliance; its probability increases with animals who do not use drugs that contribute to diabetes; have reached healthy weight; and follow an unvarying eating routine.

An animal that has gone into remission should be monitored closely for any indications that its disease has returned, such as hyperglycemia or excess water consumption. Furthermore, weight management plays a huge role in how much insulin needs to be administered for optimal care; consequently remission cats should continue with low-carbohydrate diets to stay in remission.


If a diabetic cat suddenly stops using insulin, their blood sugar levels will rapidly increase and they’ll quickly become dehydrated. Without treatment they could enter diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which can cause them to stop eating or drinking altogether and starve themselves to death within days or weeks – leading to starvation, starvation comas, and ultimately their own death.

Insulin can help cats with blood sugar issues to stabilize and alleviate symptoms by stimulating glucose to be stored as fuel by cells and inhibiting its release from livers; ultimately preventing rises in their blood sugar. Insulin works to manage this balancing act effectively to control levels and keep symptoms under control.

Treatment generally entails giving insulin injections twice daily and following a diet low in carbohydrates. Insulin injections tend to be more effective than oral medications for treating feline diabetes, plus most cats don’t mind receiving injections as part of treatment.

Many overweight cats with diabetes can achieve remission by following a low-carbohydrate, species-appropriate diet that limits carb intake. This may reduce or even eliminate their need for insulin injections; some cats require them even when their body condition scores are healthy without other diseases that interfere with treatment.

An essential aspect of caring for a cat with diabetes is maintaining communication with their veterinarian. A veterinarian can offer education about the condition and help ensure good health by making sure no complications develop. They can also show owners how to monitor blood sugar and urine and record results; regular testing helps prevent complications while informing owners when to come see their vet for checkups.

Cats living with diabetes can have long lives when treated appropriately. A well-controlled diabetes can be managed using insulin injections, low-carbohydrate diet and regular checkups; upon diagnosis it is imperative to begin treatment immediately to avoid severe complications; while it is impossible to completely avoid diabetes from happening altogether it can be reduced risk by restricting fat consumption, encouraging exercise and feeding high-protein, low-carbohydrate canned diets.

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