The Best Diabetic Cat Foods

A diabetes diagnosis for your cat doesn’t need to be a disaster. With the correct diet and medication implemented shortly after diagnosis, your cat’s diabetes could effectively be reversed (in the case of type 2 diabetes), meaning she can be weaned off her insulin shots. Choosing a proper diabetic cat food for your feline friend is the first step. Diabetic cat food should be high in protein and very low in carbohydrates (less than 10% and even under 5% is best in some cases). In theory, fat content can be moderate, but you may want to start out with a low fat option if your cat needs to lose weight. Although there are foods on the market specifically designed for diabetic cats, you’ll find some standard high protein cat food fits the bill, too.

We reviewed dozens of diabetic cat foods to identify the best of the best. We compared nutritional values, flavor, value for money, and average customer reviews to find the best options out there.

Top Pick
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ROYAL CANIN Feline Glycobalance Morsels In Gravy

Formulated for glucose management in diabetic cats, this food helps keep post-meal blood sugar stable.

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After extensive research, we chose ROYAL CANIN Feline Glycobalance Morsels In Gravy as our top pick. It is pricey and has had some mixed reviews, any complaints don’t seem to be about the effectiveness of the food. It’s a veterinarian-approved recipe that has been specifically formulated to keep blood glucose stable, making it an obvious first choice.

The 5 Top-Rated Diabetic Cat Foods

Editor's PicksBrandRating
Best OverallROYAL CANIN Feline Glycobalance Morsels In Gravy 3.9
Runner UpNomNomNow Wet Cat FoodN/A
Best Budget BuyCrave Grain Free High Protein Wet Cat Food 4.2
Best Grain-Free Diabetic Cat FoodZiwi Peak Grain-Free Canned Cat Food Recipe3.6
Best Dry Diabetic Cat FoodROYAL CANIN Feline Glycobalance Dry3.2

*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change

Our Top Pick: ROYAL CANIN Feline Glycobalance Morsels In Gravy

If you need to seriously get a handle on your cat’s blood glucose levels while helping her to lose weight, ROYAL CANIN Feline Glycobalance Morsels In Gravy would be our first choice of diabetic cat food. The moderate calorie levels will help your feline friend shift some pounds, which should lead to much better control over blood glucose levels, and may even “reverse” the diabetes so your cat no longer needs insulin injections. This food has high levels of protein to maintain muscle mass in the case of weight loss. The carbohydrate content is low, too, with reduced starch content.

At almost $80 for 24 three-ounce cans, this is certainly an expensive food, but you may not need to use it long term. Once your cat has lost weight and her blood sugar is more stable, you should be able to switch to a standard high protein, low carb cat food.

ROYAL CANIN Feline Glycobalance Morsels In Gravy Key Features:

  • Veterinary grade formula
  • Manages post-meal blood glucose levels
  • Boosts urinary tract health to avoid formation of crystals

Our Runner Up Pick: NomNomNow Wet Cat Food

Runner Up
NomNomNow Flavorful Fish Feast

Complete whole-food nutrition customized to your cat’s unique dietary needs.

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And now for something slightly different. NomNomNow provides a cat food delivery subscription tailored to your cat’s dietary needs. When you sign up, you enter details about your cat’s size, weight, medical conditions, and dietary requirements, and the company tailors portion sizes and feeding schedules to meet the needs of your feline friend.

NomNomNow makes two wet cat food recipes, both of which are suited to diabetic cats. The Chicken Chow-Meow gets 56% of its calories from protein and 10% from carbohydrates, while the Flavorful Fish Feast gets 50% of calories from protein and just 5% from carbohydrates. If your diabetic cat thrives on low carbs, the fish recipe is a slightly better option, but 10% of calories from carbohydrates still makes the chicken recipe a low-carb option.

According to NomNomNow, it costs roughly $14 per week to feed an average seven-pound cat on its food, which is very reasonable considering the quality. That said, it may cost more depending on your cat’s portion sizes.

NomNomNow Wet Cat Food Key Features:

  • Delivered straight to your door
  • Low calorie
  • Contains quality ingredients

Best Budget Pick: Crave Grain Free High Protein Wet Cat Food

Best for Budget
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Crave Grain Free High Protein Wet Cat Food

This high protein, low carb wet food is beneficial to most diabetic cats.

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$28.56 USD

As you should now know, the best food for diabetic cats should be high in protein and low in carbs, and Crave Grain Free High Protein Wet Cat Food ticks both those boxes, all at an affordable price per serving. Although we’ve focused on the salmon recipe, you can choose from another five formulas, plus variety packs. Both pate and cuts in gravy are available, so you can pick depending on your cat’s preferences.

Retailing at $29 per pack, it’s not an insignificant amount to spend at once, but you must bear in mind you get 48 servings for this price, bringing to cost down to an extremely reasonably $0.60 per serving.

Crave Grain Free High Protein Wet Cat Food Key Features:

  • Grain free formula
  • Low in starches
  • Made in the USA

Best Grain-Free Diabetic Cat Food: Ziwi Peak Grain-Free Canned Cat Food Recipe

Best Grain-Free Diabetic Cat Food
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Ziwi Peak Grain-Free Canned Cat Food Recipe

With large amounts of meat, this food packs a protein-rich punch.

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$44.52 USD

Containing 92% meat, Ziwi Peak Grain-Free Canned Cat Food Recipe is ideal for diabetic cats thanks to its impressive protein content. It’s low in carbohydrates, too, containing no grains or potato products. In fact, Ziwi Peak contains nothing more than meat, chickpeas, vitamins and minerals, and water for processing. What’s more, all the ingredients used in these foods are carefully selected and as ethically sourced as possible. Meat comes from animals raised free range without use of hormones or wild caught.

You can choose between eight recipes, including hoki, mackerel, venison, and chicken, so you’re sure to find something suitable even for picky eaters. Priced at $45 for 12 cans of six-and-a-half ounces, it’s certainly not the cheapest food, but you are paying for the quality of ingredients.

Ziwi Peak Grain-Free Canned Cat Food Recipe Key Features:

  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
  • Grain free
  • No fillers

Best Dry Diabetic Cat Food: ROYAL CANIN Feline Glycobalance Dry

Best Dry Diabetic Cat Food
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ROYAL CANIN Feline Glycobalance Dry

If you choose to food dry kibble, this glucose management formula is a fair bet.

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$48.95 USD

Dry food isn’t always the best option for diabetic cats, as carbohydrate content is often too high, but ROYAL CANIN Feline Glycobalance Dry is specifically formulated for diabetic cats and does a good job of regulating glucose levels (though admittedly not as good as its wet counterpart). The high protein content releases energy slowly, which helps to prevent spikes and crashes of blood sugar that often occur after eating and can be especially problematic for cats with diabetes.

This is a veterinary diet and generally recommended for short-term use (around six months) after which you should check with your cat’s vet to see if there are any improvements in her condition. Priced at $47 for a four-pound bag, it’s certainly not cheap, but about on par price-wise with other similar veterinary grade diabetic cat food.

ROYAL CANIN Feline Glycobalance Dry Key Features:

  • L-carnitine helps maintain muscle mass
  • Great for free feeding
  • Picky eaters tend to accept it

Who Should Buy Diabetic Cat Food?

If your feline friend has been diagnosed with diabetes, it’s essential that you buy diabetic cat food. The combination of high protein and low carbohydrates helps to prevent spikes in blood sugar, which can be hugely detrimental to cats with diabetes. Cat food suited to diabetic cats also tends to be low in calories, since the majority of diabetic cats are overweight. Even if it isn’t listed as diabetic cat food, if the levels of nutrients are correct, it will still fit the bill.

Top Pick
Buy Now
ROYAL CANIN Feline Glycobalance Morsels In Gravy

Formulated for glucose management in diabetic cats, this food helps keep post-meal blood sugar stable.

buy now

Important Features to Consider

Diabetic cat food should have a few important features. Here’s what to consider when selecting a cat food for your diabetic cat:

  • Wet vs. dry. As a rule, wet food is better for diabetic cats than dry food, before it tends to contain more meat, and less grains and starches, meaning is has higher protein and lower carbs than dry food. What’s more, the high moisture content is great for cats who don’t drink enough water (though this can sometimes be improved through the use of cat water fountains, which can encourage some cats to drink more). However, there are some instances in which it’s just not possible to feed wet food, such as in an automatic cat feeder or for cats who will only free feed rather than eating a full meal in one go.
  • Protein content. It can be tricky to compare the protein content in wet and dry cat foods, since the listed content on wet foods isn’t adjusted to reflect the fact that they contain far more moisture than dry foods (75 to 85% in wet food vs. 6 to 10% in dry food). There are ways of converting these figures to a dry matter basis, but all you really need to know is that the protein content of diabetic wet cat food should be at least 10%, whereas dry food should be at least 40%.
  • Carbohydrate content. Carbohydrate content generally isn’t listed on cat food packages, as it isn’t required by law, but you can figure it out by adding up the percentages of protein, fiber, ash, and moisture, then subtracting this number from 100. Whatever’s left is the carbohydrate percentage. This should definitely be less than 10% for diabetic cats, and ideally less than 5%.
  • Calories. There’s no recommended calorie level for diabetic cats, nor does diabetes alone mean your kitty needs to eat a low calorie diet. However, many diabetic cats are also overweight and weight loss can help to improve type 2 diabetes in cats. As such, you may choose to feed a low calorie food to your diabetic cat until she’s reached her ideal body weight.
  • Recipe. The flavor, or “recipe”, doesn’t necessarily make a difference to how effective a cat food is at maintaining stable blood glucose levels, but it will affect how palatable your cat finds it. Choose a recipe carefully, with your cat’s likes and dislikes in mind, especially if she’s a fussy eater.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many times a day do you feed a diabetic cat?

Cats on short-acting insulin shots should stick to two to three meals a day, Small, low carb snack in between are okay if necessary, but free feeding would case too many blood sugar spikes. If your cat isn’t insulin-dependent or has a long-acting insulin, you can stick to whatever feeding schedule works for you and your cat,

What are the signs that a cat has diabetes?

Different cats can show different signs of diabetes, so don’t expect to see all of these symptoms in your cat. However, common signs a cat has diabetes include increased thirst and urination, dramatic weight loss, increased hunger, vomiting, collapsing, and weakness or decreased activity.

Can diabetes in cats be controlled with diet?

All cats with type 1 diabetes and most cats with type 2 diabetes will need to have insulin shots. However, it is sometimes possible for type 2 diabetes (which is the more common form) to be controlled with diet alone, albeit infrequently.

How long can cats live with diabetes?

As long as you feed the correct diet and go along with your vet’s recommended treatment plan, your cat can live to a full life expectancy with diabetes. Treated properly, it isn’t a life-limiting illness in cats.

Other Diabetic Cat Foods We Reviewed

Top Pick
Buy Now
ROYAL CANIN Feline Glycobalance Morsels In Gravy

Formulated for glucose management in diabetic cats, this food helps keep post-meal blood sugar stable.

buy now

We looked at 20 other diabetic cat foods during our research. Although they didn’t make our top five diabetic cat food list, they’re the best of the rest and still great options for your feline friend.

Wet Diabetic Cat Food

AvoDerm Natural Tuna

AvoDerm Natural Tuna

With 10% protein and less than 2% carbohydrates, this is an excellent food for a diabetic cat.

Key Features:

  • Chunks of crab and tuna in gravy
  • Grain free
  • Made with omega-rich avocados

Cost: $25 for 24 three-ounce cans

Halo Grain Free Indoor Whitefish Recipe Wet Cat Food

Halo Grain Free Indoor Whitefish Recipe Wet Cat Food

Contains whole whitefish, chicken, and chicken liver with a commendable 11% protein content. 

Key Features:

  • Formulated for indoor cats
  • Grain free recipe
  • No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives

Cost: $19 for 12 five-and-a-half-ounce cans

Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Wet Cat Food

Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Wet Cat Food

Made with just one meat (turkey) and one vegetable (peas), this is an excellent pick for diabetic cats with food sensitivities.

Key Features:

  • Free from grains and other starches
  • 11.5% protein
  • No fillers

Cost: $27 for 12 five-and-a-half-ounce cans

Nulo Adult & Kitten Grain Free Canned Wet Cat Food

Nulo Adult & Kitten Grain Free Canned Wet Cat Food

With 11% protein, it contains more than the minimum recommended amount of protein for diabetic cats.

Key Features:

  • Seven flavor options
  • Grain free
  • Helps weight management due to low carbohydrate level

Cost: $45 for 24 five-and-a-half-ounce cans

Purina Veterinary Diets DM Dietetic Management

Purina Veterinary Diets DM Dietetic Management

The high protein, low carbohydrate formula was specifically designed for weight management and stabilizing blood sugar in cats.

Key Features:

  • 12.5% protein content
  • Contains omega-3 and omega-6
  • Pate consistency

Cost: $55 for 24 five-and-a-half-ounce cans

Rachael Ray Nutrish Wet Cat Food

Rachael Ray Nutrish Wet Cat Food

We’d recommend most of our other wet food choices before this one, as the 9% protein isn’t ideal, but it does offer great value and is appealing to some picky kitties.

Key Features:

  • Grain free formula
  • Three flavor options
  • No meat by-products

Cost: $22 for 24 three-ounce cans

Reveal Layers Complimentary Cat Food

Reveal Layers Complimentary Cat Food

Made with shrimp and dolphin-friendly tuna in natural aspic jelly, this is an appealing choice.

Key Features:

  • Low in carbs, less than 2%
  • Low calorie and fat content
  • Limited ingredient recipe

Cost: $18 for 12 three-ounce packs

Tiki Cat Aloha Friends Wet Food

Tiki Cat Aloha Friends Wet Food

Thanks to its 11% protein content and less than 2% carbohydrate content, this is an ideal for for diabetic feline of all ages.

Key Features:

  • Grain free
  • Tasty seafood recipe
  • No by-products or fillers

Cost: $12 for eight cans of five-and-a-half ounces

Dry Diabetic Cat Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Dry Cat Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Dry Cat Food

This cat food might be high in protein, but it still contains roughly 25% carbohydrates, so it’s only suitable for cats with their diabetes well controlled by medication.

Key Features:

  • Contains nutrient-packed “LifeSource Bits”
  • Grain-free recipe
  • No animal by-products

Cost: $35 for 12 pounds

CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Dry Cat Food

CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Dry Cat Food

This premium, high protein cat food comes at a surprisingly affordable price.

Key Features:

  • Contains 40% protein
  • Grain free
  • No artificial additives

Cost: $12 for four pounds

Hill’s Prescription Diet Feline Glucose Management Dry Food

Hill's Prescription Diet Feline Glucose Management Dry Food

With its veterinary formula Hill’s Prescription Diet Feline Glucose Management Dry Food is designed to manage blood glucose levels and control overall weight.

Key Features:

  • Low in calories and fat
  • Fiber content increases feeling of fullness
  • High levels of L-carnitine promote weight loss while maintaining muscle mass

Cost: $30 for four pounds

Hill’s Prescription Diet Feline Low Carbohydrate Glucose/Weight Management

Hill's Prescription Diet Feline Low Carbohydrate Glucose Weight Management

This is a similar choice to the food above, but is specifically formulated to have low carbohydrate levels, as well as high protein.

Key Features:

  • 45% protein content
  • Clinically proven to control blood sugar
  • High level of taurine and arginine help with insulin secretion

Cost: $60 for eight pounds

Hill’s Prescription Diet Feline Metabolic Advanced Weight Solution

Hill's Prescription Diet Feline Metabolic Advanced Weight Solution

Although Hill’s Prescription Diet Feline Metabolic Advanced Weight Solution is more focused on weight loss than glucose management, it may help some diabetic cats.

Key Features:

  • Veterinarian approved
  • High fiber helps feeling of fullness
  • Low calorie and fat

Cost: $60 for eight pounds

Ketogenic Pet Foods Keto-Kibble

Ketogenic Pet Foods Keto-Kibble

Extremely low carb, starch-free, and with twice the protein content of an average dry cat food, this is an exceptional choice for the diabetic feline in your life.

Key Features:

  • 60% protein content
  • No starch fillers, which can cause blood glucose spikes
  • Complete and balanced formula

Cost: $50 for eight pounds

ORIJEN Regional Red Dry Cat Food

ORIJEN Dry Cat Food

A “biologically appropriate” option, ORIJEN Regional Red Dry Cat Food is made with 90% meat, 10% fruits and veggies, and no grains or starches, making in rich in protein with few carbohydrates.

Key Features:

  • Contains 40% protein
  • “Whole prey” formula
  • Dried at lower temperatures to preserve nutrients

Cost: $73 for 12 pounds

Purina Veterinary Diets DM Dietetic Management Feline Formula

Purina Veterinary Diets DM Dietetic Management Feline Formula

The Purina Veterinary Diets DM Dietetic Management Feline Formula is a veterinary formula food that’s been designed by experts to help balance blood glucose.

Key Features:

  • High protein, low carb formula
  • Helps with weight loss
  • Rich in omega fatty acids

Cost: $45 for six pounds

Solid Gold Fit as a Fiddle Cat Food

Solid Gold Fit as a Fiddle Cat Food

This weight control formula dry cat food is low and calories and fat to tackle weight gain, though the protein content could be higher.

Key Features:

  • Grain free recipe
  • Made with line-caught Alaskan pollock
  • Contains prebiotics and probiotics for gut health

Cost: $35 for 12 pounds

Tiki Cat Born Carnivore Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

Tiki Cat Born Carnivore Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

Thanks to its low calorie, high protein formula, Tiki Cat Born Carnivore Grain-Free Dry Cat Food does a good job of stabilizing blood glucose.

Key Features:

  • Perfect for overweight cats
  • Baked rather than extruded
  • Contains Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids

Cost: $18 for three pounds

Other Diabetic Cat Foods

Instinct Raw Boost Cat Food

Instinct Raw Boost Cat Food

A mixture of regular dry food and freeze-dried raw pieces to boost protein levels and increase overall nutritional value and palatability.

Key Features:

  • Grain free formula
  • Mix of raw and dried food
  • 43% protein

Cost: $13 for two pounds

Ketogenic Pet Foods High Protein Dog & Cat Food

Ketogenic Pet Foods High Protein Dog & Cat Food

While the high fat content high not be ideal for diabetic felines who need to lose weight, the freeze dried formula is high in protein and full of quality ingredients.

Key Features:

  • 44% protein
  • Three recipes to choose from
  • No grains or other starches

Cost: $45 for 19.5 ounces

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