Recommended canned food for diabetic cats

Updated November 21, 2016

For a diabetic cat, a high-protein, all-wet diet could make the difference between going into remission or being on insulin for life. While many veterinarians believe any kind of wet food is better than dry food, there are some guidelines to consider when choosing canned food for your diabetic cat.

Avoid Carbohydrates

Canned foods with "sauce" or "gravy" tend to be high in carbs and can cause your cat's blood sugar to skyrocket.

Skip the Rice

While canned food that combines chicken or fish with rice sounds good to human guardians, cats don't use the protein in rice efficiently, and it, too, can make your diabetic cat's blood sugar climb.


There's no point in buying "holistic" canned food if your cat refuses to eat it. Many diabetic cats thrive on such supermarket brands as Fancy Feast and Friskies.

Read the Labels

Chicken, turkey or fish should be listed first on canned cat food labels. If the first ingredient is "meat by-products," choose another brand. Also watch for cane sugar, which is an ingredient in some commercial canned and pouch foods, and is not suitable for a diabetic cat.

Prescription Canned Food

Veterinarian and author Elizabeth Hodgkins, D.V.M., J.D., says it's not necessary to feed diabetic cats prescription canned food, which is expensive and unpalatable to many cats. Such supermarket brands as Fancy Feast "can be used successfully to manage and cure the feline diabetic," Dr. Hodgkins says on her website (see Resources).

Popular Brands

Among the hundreds of members of the Feline Diabetes Message Board, the brands of canned food fed most often are Wellness, Fancy Feast, Friskies and commercial raw food (see Resources).

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