Feline Diabetes Mellitus, Nature Or Nurture?
There seems to be some evidence that genetic and environmental factors are contributing to feline diabetes. For cats, the most common form of feline diabetes is Type 2. There are environmental risk factors that include the cat’s age, their weight, being a male, neutering, the activity or inactivity that he gets, and indoor confinement. If your can is on a high carb diet which causes an increase in their blood sugar or glucose levels it will raise their insulin levels as well and may cause your cat to be predisposed to obesity and could cause feline diabetes.
Then we have low-carb diets, like the Catkins Diet, which is high protein diets, may actually prevent the cat from getting diabetes.
Feline diabetes, nature vs. nurture?
There is a range between 1 in 50 to 1 in 400 cats will develop feline diabetes. It will depend on the population study. Research has now indicated that this rate is increasing due to predisposing factors such as the cat is not getting enough exercise and is inactive which causes weight gain. When a human is diagnosed it based on blood glucose concentration levels, but in felines it is usually based on the signs that become evident. Cats tend to get type 2 diabetes and it accounts for about 80 to 95 percent of feline diabetes.
Diabetes is of the most common in domestic long and short hair cats.
There are generic influences on cats developing cat diabetes. Researchers have shown that if a cat gains 44 percent weight on their bodies then almost 50 percent of them will develop impaired glucose tolerance. They have found that if these cats that are generally healthy become obese they might be at a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes over time. So it is important that you keep your cat at a reasonable weight especially if they have an underlying sensitivity to low insulin. Cats are carnivores and they don’t normally eat things like dry cat food, they eat meat. Cats usually walk in nature, not in your living room. (Although, it is probably safer to be inside than out in many areas.) Cats in the wild tend to not be overweight. If your cat leisurely goes to the dry food bowl on the kitchen floor then you are constantly causing a strain on your cat’s cells because on the prolonged demand for insulin which after a while will exhaust the cats body to the point that he will develop diabetes. Remember, there are so many commercial cat foods out there that have a high amount of carbohydrates and it has only come about really in the last 20 to 30 years and that is why we are seeing an increase in feline obesity. We are also taking into consideration that your cat is now an indoor cat, doing all of his indoor activity, meaning sleeping 16 hours a day. Oh, what a grand life.
So, when it comes to nature or nurture, it probably is a mix between both of them. Your cat’s body is geared towards the old carnivore life style and when he is introduced into an environment full of high carbohydrates and laziness, his cells and insulin levels will go haywire causing illnesses, such as feline diabetes.