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As a Bengal cat owner, you can easily tell if there’s something not quite right with your Bengal. Maybe you’ve noticed that they’ve been urinating a lot or drinking more water than usual. Perhaps you’ve even noticed that your once playful, energetic Bengal has become lazier and less enthusiastic about playtime.
If one or more of what I’ve previously mentioned is true about your Bengal, then it’s possible that they’ve developed feline diabetes or diabetes mellitus.
Diabetes mellitus is a chronic, and potentially debilitating, condition that develops when the cells inside the cat’s body become resistant to insulin—a hormone that regulates the amount of glucose that enters the cells. Usually, diabetic cats suffer from Type II diabetes, which is when the body stops responding to insulin and the levels of glucose begin to increase.
Overweight or obese, male cats over the age of eight and are on a high carbohydrate diet are the ones mainly affected by this disorder.
If you notice your Bengal exhibiting any of the signs listed below and suspect that they’re suffering from diabetes, take them to a vet immediately for a complete check-up and proper diagnosis.
- Increased thirst and urination
One of the earliest signs you may notice if your cat is suffering from Type I or Type II diabetes is if they’re peeing more than normal. This is because the kidneys are trying to get rid of the all the excess glucose from the body through urine. The high concentration of glucose pulls excessive amounts of water to flow out of the body together with the urine. Frequent urination—usually in inappropriate places—can lead to a massive decrease in the amount of body water, causing dehydration and increased thirst.
- Weight loss and increased appetite
In a diabetic cat, it becomes very difficult for cells to absorb the glucose from the blood. The cells will then begin to starve and trigger the breakdown of the fats and proteins available in the body to act as an alternative energy source.
With the fats and proteins continually being broken down for energy, the affected cat will feel hungrier and therefore, eat more, but will continue to lose weight.
If your cat displays the following symptoms, they could be in critical condition and you should seek professional help immediately.
- Loss of interest
This is a sign that’s easy to spot in a Bengal. If your once fun-loving Bengal cat is a lot less energetic and stops doing their usual activities like playing with their toys or climbing shelves and furniture, they may be sick.
Diabetes can lead to weakness. This is why affected cats are often lethargic and have trouble walking properly on all fours. They will usually walk flat on the back of their hind legs.
The reason for this is that the elevated blood sugar level leads to diabetic neuropathy. This affects the nerves in the hind legs and changes the way affected cats move. If left untreated, this may result in permanent paralysis.
- Vomiting and loss of appetite
Like humans, cat that are unwell lose their appetite. This is because of all the changes happening inside their body.
Vomiting, on the other hand, occurs when the waste from the broken down fats and proteins aren’t eliminated fast enough and accumulates inside the body.
If you suspect your cat is sick, visit your veterinarian as soon as possible. Diabetes mellitus is can be fatal without the proper medical attention and timely treatment. Make sure to keep your cat healthy at all times by monitoring their diet, providing them with enough daily exercise and following up on vet appointments.