Veterinarians at The Animal Medical Center in New York say that putting diabetic cats on a low-carbohydrate/high-protein diet like the popular Atkins diet for humans helps stabilize feline blood sugar and can often relieve the need for insulin shots. Like humans, modern American cats are tending to be obese, and about 45 percent of mature cats develop diabetes. Cats placed on the “Catkins” diet lose that excess body fat, and their blood sugar levels normalize.
While the jury is still out on the health effects of the popular Atkins diet in humans, a new study shows that diabetic cats may benefit from eating a high-protein "Catkins" diet.
With funding from the Morris Animal Foundation (www.morrisanimal foundation.org), Drs. Deborah Greco and Mark Peterson, staff endocrinologists at The Animal Medical Center in New York, have found that, in many cases, veterinarians and cat owners can control diabetes with diet.
Their results show that most diabetic cats on the "Catkins" diet can ditch daily insulin shots altogether.
Greco says that feline diabetes is similar to Type 2 diabetes in humans -- it is caused by too much fat.
Feline diabetes occurs most often in obese male cats, and 45 percent of all cats between the ages of 8 and 12 are overweight or obese.
"The way to control the disease is to reduce the amount of body fat," she says.
Greco says a low-carb/high-protein diet is the best option.
It helps cats lose fat while still maintaining the muscle needed to keep the weight off permanently.
"It's the Atkins diet for cats," she says, joining others who cleverly call the diet "Catkins."
"The thing that convinced me that this was the right diet was the improved quality of life for these cats," Greco says.
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