The Best Food for Diabetic Cats: Dry and Canned Options

fat gray cat lying on the wooden floor

With diabetes and obesity closely linked, the right food should help your feline to slim down and come to a healthy weight. However, picking the right food for diabetic cats can be a challenge because some animal feed are labeled the “best” but do not deliver the anticipated results.

The best food for diabetic cats should have low carbohydrates to help keep blood sugar as low as possible while providing your feline with all the proteins, vitamins, fat, and other nutrients that it requires.

To help you easily pick the right option, we picked and reviewed the best diabetic cat food available on the market. Read on to know the best option for your cat and learn more about the condition.

This Tiki Cat Hookena Luau Cat Food is our top pick. The food is formulated with top quality ingredients to help keep blood sugar in your cat stable while supporting whole-body health.

The Best Food for Diabetic Cats Are …

ProductDetails
1. Tiki Cat Hookena Luau Cat Food

  • Proteins: 17% (maximum)
  • Fat: 3% (minimum)
  • Fiber: 0% (maximum)
  • Moisture: 78% (maximum)
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2. Hound & Gatos Canned Salmon Cat Food

  • Proteins: 10.5% (minimum)
  • Fat: 10.5% (minimum)
  • Fiber: 1% (maximum)
  • Moisture: 78% (maximum)
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3. Purina Fancy Flaked Fish & Shrimp Feast Canned Cat Food

  • Proteins: 17.5% (minimum)
  • Fat: 2% (minimum)
  • Moisture: 78% (maximum)
  • Fiber: 1.5% (minimum)
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4. Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Lamb Recipe Cat Food

  • Proteins: 35% (minimum)
  • Fat: 33% (minimum)
  • Fiber: 2% (maximum)
  • Moisture: 14% (maximum)
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5. Instinct Original Grain-Free Pate Real Lamb Recipe Canned Cat Food

  • Proteins: 10% (minimum)
  • Fat: 9% (minimum)
  • Fiber: 3% (maximum)
  • Moisture: 78% (maximum)
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6. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Glycobalance Morsels In Gravy Canned Cat Food

  • Proteins: 7.5% (minimum)
  • Fat: 1.5% (minimum)
  • Fiber: 2.4% (maximum)
  • Moisture: 84.5% (maximum)
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7. Wellness Signature Selects Natural Wet Cat Food

  • Proteins: 8% (minimum)
  • Fat: 2% (minimum)
  • Fiber: 1.5% (maximum)
  • Moisture: 85% (maximum)
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8. CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Dry Cat Food

  • Proteins: 40% (minimum)
  • Fat: 18% (minimum)
  • Fiber: 4% (maximum)
  • Moisture: 10% (maximum)
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9. Dr. Elsey’s Cleanprotein Chicken Formula

  • Proteins: 59% (minimum)
  • Fat: 18% (minimum0
  • Fiber: 4% (maximum)
  • Moisture: 12% (maximum)
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1.  Tiki Cat Hookena Luau Cat Food — Best Cat Food for Diabetic Cats

Coming on the first position is this Tiki Cat Hookena Luau Cat Food, a uniquely formulated meal to help address the problem of diabetes in your cat.

The most impressive thing about this food is that its ingredients are not just geared towards lowering the blood sugar in your cat, but also ensuring your cat enjoys whole-body health. This is why it has become one of the best wet food for diabetic cats and recommended by both nutritionists and animal vets.

The main ingredients center around meat and very low carbs of under 2%, implying that your cat gets all the amino acids it needs without risking raising blood sugar. Tiki Cat used meat from chicken and tuna to make the food natural, and give it a flavor that most cats love.

Because the food is made using real meat, your cat gets plenty of moisture to keep its digestive system in top condition and the whole body hydrated.

Furthermore, the food is enriched with vital minerals and vitamins, including Vitamin B1, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B2, and Folic acid that are necessary for healthy bones, spine, brain, and immune system.

Specs

  • Proteins: 17% (maximum)
  • Fat: 3% (minimum)
  • Fiber: 0% (maximum)
  • Moisture: 78% (maximum)

Pros

  • Prepared with wild-caught tuna and shredded chicken as the main sources of proteins
  • Enriched with taurine that helps to promote healthy eyesight
  • Contains high protein content that supports the development of strong muscles
  • High moisture content
  • Good for whole-body health

Cons

  • Expensive

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2. Hound & Gatos Canned Salmon Cat Food — Best for Paté Lovers

Taking the runner up position in our list is this highly revered Best for Paté Lovers: Hound & Gatos Canned Salmon Cat Food. From the ingredients used on the food to nutritional balance, everything about this food ticks right.

The food is prepared using 98% salmon and fish broth which are low in carbs, making it one of the top options for diabetic cats.

For Hound and Gatos, the key to helping your diabetic cat is ensuring it gets more proteins and fat so that it can also derive energy from them. This principle is applied here by using fish and fish broth as the primary ingredient to help your cat easily cut weight and quench its craving for real meat.

You will also like the enrichments with different minerals that help to keep your carnivore’s bones, teeth, and immunity strong.

In addition to working perfectly for diabetic cats, this food is also rich in moisture, which helps in three ways: keeping the cat hydrated, reducing the risk of kidney disease, and promoting efficient digestion. Our cats loved every feeding moment with this food.

Specs

  • Proteins: 10.5% (minimum)
  • Fat: 10.5% (minimum)
  • Fiber: 1% (maximum)
  • Moisture: 78% (maximum)

Pros

  • The food is rich in proteins and low in carbs
  • Great for cats with digestive issues
  • Good for cats that do not like taking water
  • Free from chemical preservatives and colors

Cons

  • Some cats get bored with fish pretty fast

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3. Purina Fancy Flaked Fish & Shrimp Feast Canned Cat Food

If you are shopping for diabetic cat food on a budget, look no further than this Purina Fancy Flaked Fish & Shrimp Feast Canned Cat Food.

Even with it’s low price, Fancy Feast certainly is one of the best canned cat food for diabetic cats, It has made a name for being highly palatable, exceptionally low in carbs, and affordable, a case which is evident in this food.

You will be surprised to realize that even though the food contains high-quality ingredients that would qualify it for a higher price tag, it is priced affordably.

The meal is prepared with protein-rich ocean fish, fish broth, and shrimp that make it a feast, and your cat will find it hard to resist. The proteins and fat act as the main source of calories for your cat, keeping it energized without worsening the problem of diabetes.

Fancy Feast knew that part of supporting cats with diabetes is strengthening their body systems. This is why they enriched the food with essential vitamins and minerals that your feline requires for whole-body health.

Particularly, you will like the enrichment with taurine that helps to strengthen cats’ eyesight, heart, and brain.

Specs

  • Proteins: 17.5% (minimum)
  • Fat: 2% (minimum)
  • Moisture: 78% (maximum)
  • Fiber: 1.5% (minimum)

Pros

  • The food is prepared with real animal meat for your feline
  • It is enriched with minerals for stronger bones, eyesight and teeth
  • Rich in essential vitamins that your cat requires for stronger immunity
  • A great option for keeping your cat hydrated
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Contains vegetable oil

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4. Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Lamb Recipe Cat Food — Best Dry Cat Food for Diabetic Cats

Few dry foods out there have what it takes to support a diabetic cat, but this Air-Dried Lamb Recipe Cat Food from Ziwi Peak does. In every food which is prepared by Ziwi Peak, the focus is ensuring your cat, as an obligate feline, gets the chance to feel natural. Our cats loved the natural taste of dried lamb.

The food is 100% single-sourced from free-range lamb, which helps to provide your cat with all amino acids needed for healthy growth. The protein works with animal fat to supply balanced energy that your cat needs to remain active the whole day without worsening the problem of diabetes.

One of the things you should avoid when feeding diabetic cat is feeding it with Harmful contents. However, you do not have to worry about it because this food is prepared with no preservatives, food colors, or gluten. Also the animals are grass-fed, the food is also free from GMO and antibiotics.

Specs

  • Proteins: 35% (minimum)
  • Fat: 33% (minimum)
  • Fiber: 2% (maximum)
  • Moisture: 14% (maximum)

Pros

  • The food is 100% single-sourced from lamb
  • Prepared using twin-stage air drying that helps to eliminate all pathogens
  • Contains high protein content and is low on carbs
  • Completely balanced with vitamins, and minerals that are needed for a healthy cat
  • Free from grain, soy, potato, wheat, or glycerin
  • A great option for whole-body health

Cons

  • One of the most expensive foods in the market

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5. Instinct Original Grain-Free Pate Real Lamb Recipe Canned Cat Food

Mention the brand Instinct, and most pet owners and vets will tell you one thing; “it is simply the best.”

Their work in crafting quality pet food has won them praise far and wide, and this Instinct by Nature’s Variety Original Grain-Free Real Lamb Recipe Canned Cat Food is a testimony to that. However, this is unique in that it is meant to help your cat increase weight.

Although many diabetic cats are indeed obese, some of them tend to become underweight over time. This is where you need carefully formulated food such as the Instinct by Nature’s Variety Original Grain-Free Real Lamb Recipe Canned Cat Food to help them get back to the right weight.

The food is prepared with low carb content that contains high-quality proteins as well as animal-sourced fat. The protein is sourced from turkey, lamb and liver, allowing you to offer your cat the right nutrition with the best flavor.

Specs

  • Proteins: 10% (minimum)
  • Fat: 9% (minimum)
  • Fiber: 3% (maximum)
  • Moisture: 78% (maximum)

Pros

  • Contains high-quality carbs meant to help your cat gain weight without worsening the problem of diabetes
  • The main ingredient used on the food is grass-fed lamb, which is packed with essential amino acids
  • Balanced well with vitamins for whole-body health
  • Enriched with essential minerals that help to strengthen the bones, teeth, muscles, and ligaments
  • Contains Omega acids that help to promote healthy skin and stronger immune system

Cons

  • Expensive

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6. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Glycobalance Morsels In Gravy Canned Cat Food

Is the problem of diabetes advanced, and you need the right food that can help to restore the happy days of your cat. This Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Glycobalance Morsels in Gravy Canned Cat Food will do the trick.

The food is prepared with moderate levels of calories which will help your cat to rapidly cut weight, and ultimately reverse the problem of diabetes.

The food is formulated through the work of pet nutritionists and vets who wanted to make it the best, and they did not disappoint.

The main ingredients used to prepare this cat food are chicken, pork liver, and chicken liver, which are rich in high-quality proteins. The proteins are processed to provide amino acids while fat gives calories that power your cat’s active daily activities..

As a veterinary diet, you will realize that it is loaded with all the essential vitamins and minerals that your cat requires not just to wrestle down diabetes, but enjoy whole-body health.

While these enrichments are fantastic, we were really impressed by the inclusion of prebiotics and fiber that promote better health of the gut system. However, you need to be prepared to pay more because vet foods do not come cheap!

Specs

  • Proteins: 7.5% (minimum)
  • Fat: 1.5% (minimum)
  • Fiber: 2.4% (maximum)
  • Moisture: 84.5% (maximum)

Pros

  • Formulated to help keep your cat’s glucose levels low
  • Uses a combination of insoluble fibers and prebiotics to help stabilize blood glucose in cats
  • Prepared with-quality protein content to make your cat feel natural
  • Enriched with essential minerals for whole-body health

Cons

  • Expensive
  • You need prescription of a vet

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7. Wellness Signature Selects Natural Wet Cat Food

Next on our list is this Wellness Signature Selects Natural Wet Cat Food, a feast that is formulated to help your cat tackle diabetes, meet all nutritional needs, and keep your feline feeling natural. Its chicken flavor is also awesome, and your cats will always look forward to the next mealtime.

The main ingredient used to prepare this food is chicken, and chicken liver which are rich in all essential amino acids that your cat needs. However, it is the low carb levels and high crude fiber that makes it a perfect pick if your cat is suffering from diabetes.

Wellness went a step ahead and included all essential minerals that your cat needs for a healthy heart, stronger bones, effective blood development, and good eyesight.

Specs

  • Proteins: 8% (minimum)
  • Fat: 2% (minimum)
  • Fiber: 1.5% (maximum)
  • Moisture: 85% (maximum)

Pros

  • Prepared with real meat from chicken to help your cat feel natural and develop lean muscles
  • Contains low-carb levels and ample quantity of fibers to help stability blood sugar
  • Loaded with essential minerals and vitamins for whole-body health of your cat
  • Contains high moisture content to keep your cat hydrated
  • Rich in Omega acid fatty acids for healthy skin and fuller fur

Cons

  • Contains potato starch

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8. CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Dry Cat Food

Is your kitty suffering from diabetes? In addition to seeking the expert help, you should also consider using this CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Dry Cat Food, which is formulated to reduce carb intake and help keep your feline’s blood sugar stable.

The food is prepared with real meat from chicken that helps your cat to feel like a real wild cat. It is also enriched with fish meal, pea protein, and split peas to help your feline get more amino acids that it needs for healthy cell development.

Another notable thing about the food is that it is pretty rich in vitamins, which are derived from healthy vegetables. Every kibble supplies your cat with minerals and Vitamin C, Vitamin B and Folic acid that help to keep the immune system strong, promote faster blood development, quality bone marrow development, and strong heart.

Specs

  • Proteins: 40% (minimum)
  • Fat: 18% (minimum)
  • Fiber: 4% (maximum)
  • Moisture: 10% (maximum)

Pros

  • Prepared using chicken as the first ingredients to help supply quality proteins
  • Enriched with all essential minerals and vitamins needed for better cat heath
  • Contains taurine that helps to promote stronger eyesight and healthy brain cells development
  • Does not contain soy, wheat or corn

Cons

  • Contains pea proteins

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9. Dr. Elsey’s Cleanprotein Chicken Formula

The last cat food to make our list is Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein Chicken Formula, which is ALSO a common recommendation for cats suffering from diabetes.

Particularly, we found the food very effective for cats that do not fancy taking wet food. Its chicken flavor is also awesome and will make even your picky cats develop an appetite for food.

The most notable thing about the food is that its protein is 90% animal-based, ensuring your cat enjoys a healthy supply of amino acids that are needed to build lean muscles. The protein works with fat of 18% in the food, and the high fiber content of 4% to stabilize blood sugar so that you can have back the jovial feline you are used to.

Like most foods from Dr. Esley’s, this one is also enriched with all vitamins that your cat needs for a stronger immune system, healthier digestive system, and good eyesight. Even if your cat is a senior, and the problem of diabetes is accompanied by joint issues, this food has the minerals to strengthen them.

Specs

  • Proteins: 59% (minimum)
  • Fat: 18% (minimum0
  • Fiber: 4% (maximum)
  • Moisture: 12% (maximum)

Pros

  • Formulated with high protein content for whole-body health
  • Low glycemic formula which means fewer calories
  • 100% free from grain or gluten
  • Enriched with essential vitamins for whole-body health

Cons

  • May result in smelly poop

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Basics Of Diabetes In Cats

After reading our reviews of the best food for diabetic cats, you are now only a step away from pinpointing the ideal one for your kitty. To be able to select the perfect food for your cat, it is also crucial to have some understanding of diabetes.

To be able to establish how cat food plays a role in diabetes management, let us take a closer look to determine how blood sugar, food, and insulin (hormone) are related.

In a cat’s body, insulin is generated in specialized pancreatic cells and released into the bloodstream when sugar levels go up. Insulin helps to facilitate the entry of sugar into the body cells to drive different biological processes.

If the sugar is excess of what the body needs for operations, it is converted into other formats, such as fat, and stored in different parts of the body.

If your cats’ cells develop resistance to insulin, it implies that they no longer take blood sugar and its levels in the blood increases. The result is type 2 diabetes.

In such situations, the pancreas responds by increasing insulin output, wearing itself out. When diabetes reaches this point, you have to artificially provide insulin to the cat through injection.

Common signs of diabetes in cats:

  • Excess urination and getting thirsty
  • Loss of weight and appetite
  • Loss of interest, being less playful, and inability to jump
  • Changes in gait
  • Vomiting lethargy

Obesity And Diabetes: How Are They Related?

One of the common factors that cause diabetes in most cats is obesity. Obesity is a condition where the fat cells release hormones which make the cat’s body cells less responsive to insulin. Notably, the more fat cells that a cat has in the body, the higher the levels of hormones are produced.

Today, most of the cases of cat diabetes could have been avoided if the pet owners did not overfeed them or helped them to remain slim.

Note that weight loss can result in the reversal of diabetes in cats if noted and treatment commenced early. What we mean by this is that a diabetic cat might finally get weaned off insulin injections with sufficient weight loss. It is because of this that you should only go for the best cat food to address diabetes.

How To Feed Diabetic Cats

Now that you have understood what diabetes is and the importance of using the right food, “How do you feed your cat?” If your cat is on insulin, it is prudent to ensure the feline takes the same amount of food at specific times every day.

In most cases, cats on insulin receive two injections that are 12-hour apart. The feeding schedule should follow the same routine, giving your cat food before administering the next dose of insulin. If you are unsure of the feeding schedule to follow, consider talking to our vet.

When offering treats to a diabetic cat, make sure to limit them to 10% of the kitty’s diet and offer them at the same time every day. Some great treats include salmon, tuna, chicken and liver, which are high in proteins and low in carbs.

If you note that the treats are interfering with your feline’s appetite during regular meals, consider doing away with them altogether.

Buying Guide: Things To Consider When Selecting Food For Diabetic Cat

Dry Versus Wet Food

Wet food is better for diabetic cats compared to dry food because it comes with less grains & starches, implying that the protein content is higher and carbs lower when compared to dry food. In addition, the high moisture content works well, especially if you have cats that do not like taking a lot of water.

However, there are specific dry foods that are formulated for diabetic cats. For example, some dry food for diabetic cats requires you to add some warm water before offering them to your feline.

No matter the nature of food, whether dry or wet, it is important always to ensure that your cat has an ample supply of clean water for drinking.

Protein Content

This is another crucial component that you must consider carefully before selecting a specific food for your diabetic cat.

The goal is to select the cat food prepared with high-quality proteins from sources such as fish, lamb, duck, chicken, turkey, or beef.

If you prefer to go for dry food, the protein content should be at least 35%. However, the protein content for wet food should be at least 10%.

Carbohydrate Content

Notably, most companies do not list carbohydrates on the packaging, but it is possible to get an estimate using the formula: add up the percentage of proteins, fiber, moisture, and ash, and then subtract what you get from 100.

The answer that you get should be the percentage of carbs. Because we are dealing with a diabetic cat, the carbs should be no more than 10%

Calories

Notably, there is no specific level of calories recommended for a diabetic cat. However, since most diabetic cats are also obese, and weight loss is one of the methods that can help to get down diabetes, we recommend that you also ho for the food that is low in calories.

Brand

As more brands join the market, concerns have emerged about the quality of some diabetic foods on sale. One of the methods you can use to identify the best food to offer your diabetic cat is sticking to the top-rated manufacturers.

These are the companies that have been in the market for some time, and cat owners, nutritionists, and vets can confirm that they are committed to quality. Some great examples include Instinct, American Journey, and Ziwi Peak.

Final Thoughts

A cat owner will stop at nothing in ensuring that their feline is happy and healthy. While seeking treatment is paramount in addressing the problem of diabetes, we have demonstrated that proper feeding can slow the problem and even reverse it.

Our roundup of the best food for diabetic cats has captured the best that the market has to offer. These picks have high-quality proteins sourced from real animals, are low in carbs, and are made by the best brands.

While we stand with the nine foods for diabetic cats in our reviews above (they are awe-inspiring), this Tiki Cat Hookena Luau Cat Food stood out among all of them. It is formulated with high-quality ingredients that helps to stabilize blood sugar easily, and maintain your cat in good health.

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