You are here:

Ask the Veterinarian/high blood sugar in cats


QUESTION: Hi, if a cat has blood sugar of 375 is that really dangerous. Can a cat with that level of sugar be controlled with diet. Thanks

ANSWER: Hi Elena,
The normal levels range between 75-120mg.Cats in general are prone to high blood sugar, typically during times of stress, where glucose levels may reach 300-400mg. This is often a temporary increase in blood sugar, and while it warrants further observation, it may not be cause to diagnose chronic hyperglycemia or diabetes mellitus.

There are various reasons other than diabetes mellitus which causes high sugar levels.Depending on the cause and right diagnosis,the treatment protocol and management can vary.If a conclusive diagnosis has been made in your cat's case,please let me know.

In case of diabetes,  compliance is required for proper management of the disease. The cat  also require special diets with less  sugar. High-protein, low-carbohydrate, low-fat, and high fiber diet is often recommended in such cases. If your cat is found to be diabetic, you will need to strictly follow the treatment guidelines given for your cat to avoid major fluctuations in blood sugar levels.   

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi, yes the vet said he does have diabetes, he based it on his blood sugar level they checked it twice. The first reading was 385 the second was 375.Plus he is drinking a lot of water.   The thing is we went to two vet's, one said he should be on insulin the other said to try a special diet for cat with diabetes and a cat with blood sugar under 400 in his opinion doesn't need insulin. We don't know which one is right. My question is if a cat does have diabetes with blood sugar of 375 can that be treated with diet alone. Can you tell me what other reason a cat can have high blood sugar, he does weight 24 pounds. Thank you so much.

Apart from Diabetes mellitus there are a few conditions where there can be high blood sugar levels especially in Acute pancreatitis,Insufficient excretion of wastes by the kidneys,Hyperadrenocorticism,Pheochromocytoma,Glucagonoma,Pancreatic neoplasia,Soon after taking meal,Exertion,Excitement,Stress,Dental infection,Kidney infection,Urinary tract infection etc.Your vet is aware of all these and probably have ruled out majority of the above chances.But proper monitoring of the glucose levels/overall health status  is required to rule out a few.
Your cat with 24 pounds seems to be on the obese side.Excess carbohydrates wreak havoc on many cats' glycemic (blood sugar) balance.Cats on dry food are much more apt to be overweight or obese.  Fat cells secrete a substance that can cause insulin resistance - leading to a diabetic state.
So if you think that your cat is obese,special diet programme could be an option to consider initially.But do monitor the health status regularly.
Diabetic cats urinate large volumes, because the sugar in the urine pulls extra fluid along with it. These cats have to drink extra amounts in order to replace that lost fluid.  As the diabetes becomes controlled, the excessive drinking and urinating should decrease, so it is important to be aware of how much water your cat is taking in and how much he is urinating out like frequency and volume. A good appetite is crucial.  Cats that feel good are eating well, and your cat must be eating in order to get insulin injections(if on insulin), so you need to know exactly how much your cat is eating.The cat's attitude says a lot about how he feels.  He should be out and about, not hiding.  He should be interactive with other members of the family.  He should not be grumpy or act painful when handled. Healthy cats are always grooming, so watch your cat's coat for spikey, oily hair or matting that would suggest that he is not cleaning himself.  Also watch for loss of skin elasticity, which might mean dehydration.Poorly controlled diabetic cats can get weak, "rubber legs", especially in the rear limbs.  This is a reversible symptom, but it tells us that the cat is not regulated.

When your cat's blood glucose levels are above 180 mg/dl, glucose will spill over into the urine.  The amount of sugar in the urine is not a measure of the blood glucose at that moment, but rather an average of the blood glucose over the several hours during which the urine was being produced.  Typically, the higher the blood glucose, the higher the concentration of glucose in the urine.You can do Glucotest at home and closely monitor the levels whether you decide to manage with food alone or with insulin.Talk to your vet about this.

Wish you all the best

Ask the Veterinarian

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Dr S Bindu Anand


Large and Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, Farm Management,Preventive medicine


A Senior Veterinary Surgeon with more than 25 years’ experience in the field of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry. Mixed animal Practice that will utilize my skills in medicine and surgery, public health, client relations, and developing relationships within the community, such as humane society

Veterinary Consultant with Department of Animal Resources,Ministry of Environment,State of Qatar (Present). Animal Husbandry Department, Government of Kerala, India. Oakland's Park, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom. Severnside Veterinary Center, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom. Saud Bahwan Group, Sultanate of Oman. Trivandrum Regional Co-operative Milk Producers Union,Kerala,India.

BVSc & AH (Bachelor of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry) 1990. College of Veterinary & Animal Sciences, Mannuthy, Thrissur, Kerala, India under Kerala Agricultural University. Certificates Of Accomplishments- Equine Nutrition- University of Edinburgh Principles of Public Health-University of California, Irvine. AIDS- Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. General Environmental Health – EPHOC-Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. Food Protection-EPHOC-Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. Zoonoses:University of Minnesota-School of Public Health online. Food Safety:University of Minnesota-School of Public Health online. Occupational Safety and Health-EPHOC-Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. Rabies Educator Certified -Global Alliance for Rabies Control. Animal Handler & Vaccinator Educator Certified -Global Alliance for Rabies Control. Wildlife Conservation-United for Wildlife. Health Promotion & Disease Prevention-Boston University School of Public Health. Bioterrorism, Bioterrorism Preparedness-EPHOC-Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. Good Clinical Practice-London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

©2017 All rights reserved.