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Should I Euthanize My Cat With Diabetes? Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on May 16, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

cat with intravenous infusion drip in vet clinic

Should I Euthanize My Cat With Diabetes? Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ


Dr. Lauren Demos (DVM) Photo


Dr. Lauren Demos (DVM)


The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Deciding whether or not to euthanize a beloved pet with diabetes is one of the most difficult decisions a pet owner can face. Diabetes is a serious condition that affects cats, and if left untreated, it can lead to significant health problems and even death. In many cases, managing diabetes in cats requires careful monitoring, medications, dietary management, frequent vet visits and lifestyle changes to help keep the cat’s blood sugar levels in check. While many treatment options exist, a discussion of euthanasia may become necessary if your cat’s diabetes becomes too much for you to manage financially or your cat’s condition worsens to the point that you can no longer care for them or their quality of life begins to diminish

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The 10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Make the Decision

Before deciding to euthanize a cat with diabetes, it’s important to ask yourself a series of questions, such as:

  • Will my cat be able to live comfortably?
  • Can I afford the ongoing medical costs associated with managing their diabetes? Is there anything else I can do for them?
  • Are there any treatments available that can improve their quality of life?
  • Do I know the signs to watch for that indicate my cat is in end-stage diabetes?
  • Is euthanasia a more humane option than continuing with ongoing treatment and monitoring?
  • How will this decision affect me and my cat in the long-term?
  • Does my cat still enjoy life and their activities, or is their quality of life diminishing?
  • Will treating my cat’s diabetes be beneficial for my cat in the long-term?
  • If I choose to euthanize, when should I do it?
  • Do I have the necessary support system in place to help me cope with this decision?

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Signs Your Cat Has End-Stage Diabetes

Your vet can advise you on when your cat may be reaching the end-stage of diabetes. Signs to watch for include dramatic weight loss, lack of appetite, lethargy and weakness, dehydration, vomiting and other signs of declining health.

sick cat with feline disease
Photo Credit: Kittima05, Shutterstock

cat paw dividerThe 3 Factors to Consider When Making the Decision

If you’ve answered those questions and are leaning toward euthanasia, or you are still undecided and need a bit more information, there are several factors you need to consider.

1. Quality of Life

If a cat’s diabetes is causing them severe pain, discomfort, or distress and treatment is not helping or you can’t afford treatment, it may be kinder to euthanize them in order to relieve their suffering. If, however, the cat is still able to enjoy life and you can afford any necessary treatments, then euthanasia may not be necessary.

2. Possible Medical Risks/Your Cat’s Age

Cats with diabetes are at risk of developing secondary health conditions, such as urinary tract infections and pancreatitis, which can lead to even more serious complications. It’s important that you discuss these risks with your vet so that you’re fully informed about what treatment options are available.

Sick cat medicines
Photo Credit: one photo, Shutterstock

3. Financial Costs

Diabetes management can be expensive, depending on the type of treatment and medications needed. It’s important to factor in the cost of ongoing care before making a decision about euthanasia. Your vet can give you an estimate of the costs associated it with treating diabetes, but it’s important to consider how long you’ll need to provide treatment for your cat and whether you can keep up with the financial aspects of it for the duration required.

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FAQs About Feline Euthanasia

Is there an age limit for cats to be euthanized?

Generally, cats can be euthanized at any age. However, it’s important to talk to your vet as they may have a different opinion based on your cat’s condition and prognosis.

sick cat
Photo Credit: Flickr

How long does the euthanasia process take?

The actual euthanasia procedure typically takes only a few minutes. Your vet will be able to explain what happens during the procedure and answer any questions you may have.

What is the cost of euthanizing a cat?

Generally, costs can range from around $50 to $200+. Your vet will be able to give you an estimate of the costs involved.

Is it okay to bring my other pets with me when I take my cat for euthanasia?

It’s not a good idea to bring your other pets with you when you take your cat for euthanasia. The process can be upsetting, and there is potential for them to pick up on the emotions in the room, which may be distressing for them.

a woman hugging her cat
Image Credit: U__Photo, Shutterstock

Can I take my cat home after euthanasia?

This will depend on your vet’s policy, so it’s best to ask in advance if this option is available. If not, they should be able to provide you with more details about what happens after the procedure has been completed.

How long does it take for a cat to pass after euthanasia?

Generally, the body will start to relax and the cat will become unresponsive within seconds. The body should be completely still within a few minutes.

Do I need to be present for the procedure?

This is entirely up to you, but it’s not a requirement. Your vet will be able to explain your options if you’re unsure. Many pet owners choose to stay to provide comfort to their pet during this time.

vet doctor examining cat in x-ray room
Image Credit: PRESSLAB, Shutterstock

Is there any way to make the process easier for my cat and me?

If you decide to be present for the procedure, it’s important that you stay calm and remain composed. This will help your cat feel more at ease and make the process a little less stressful. Additionally, speaking calmly and reassuringly to your cat during the procedure can also provide comfort.

It is also essential to ensure that you have access to the necessary support system, such as family and friends, who can provide emotional support both during and after the euthanasia process. This can be a difficult time, so it is important to take care of yourself too.

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FAQ About Feline Diabetes

How do I know if my cat has diabetes?

Diabetes can be diagnosed through a blood test to measure the cat’s glucose levels. Your vet will also consider other factors such as weight and diet when diagnosing diabetes.

What causes feline diabetes?

In cats, one of the most common causes of diabetes is obesity or an underlying medical condition, such as pancreatitis. It’s important to talk to your vet if you suspect your cat may have diabetes in order to get a proper diagnosis and begin treatment.

cat is being checked by a vet
Image Credit: Maria Sbytova, Shutterstock

Can cats with diabetes live a long life?

With the right management plan, cats can live a full, healthy life with diabetes. It’s important to monitor your cat’s condition regularly and consult your vet if any changes occur.

Can I give my cat insulin injections at home?

It is certainly  possible to give insulin injections at home, but it’s important that you receive proper training from your vet on how to do it correctly. It’s also important to monitor your cat’s glucose levels regularly and adjust the dosage of insulin accordingly.

What should I feed my cat with diabetes?

Feeding a wet food or low carbohydrate diet is beneficial for cats with diabetes. Your vet can recommend a suitable diet for your cat based on their condition and lifestyle.

orange cat eating on an orange bowl
Image Credit: Okssi, Shutterstock

Can diabetes be cured?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for diabetes in cats. However, with proper management and treatment, your cat can live a full, healthy life with diabetes. Some diabetics can also go into remission, and no longer require insulin therapy.

How much does it cost to treat a cat with diabetes?

The cost of treatment for cats with diabetes will depend on their condition and the type of treatments they require. It’s best to consult your vet to get an accurate estimate of costs.

Are there any side effects to treating a cat with diabetes?

Treatment for cats with diabetes may include insulin injections, dietary changes, and other medications. It is important to discuss any potential side effects with your vet before beginning a treatment plan. Additionally, regular monitoring of glucose levels is essential to ensure the health and safety of your cat.

How often should I bring my cat in for diabetes check-ups?

It’s important to have regular check-ups with your vet to monitor your cat’s condition. This will help to ensure that any changes in glucose levels are detected and that the treatment plan is working effectively. Your vet can advise on how often these check-ups should be.

cat and vet
Image Credit: Stock-Asso, Shutterstock

What other treatments are available for cats with diabetes?

Depending on your cat’s condition and lifestyle, your vet may recommend additional treatments such as diet changes, exercise, or medication. It is important to talk to your vet about the best course of action for your cat.

Is it possible to prevent diabetes in cats?

Maintaining a healthy weight and providing regular exercise can help to reduce the risk of developing diabetes. It’s also important to feed your cat a balanced diet and ensure they receive regular check-ups with their vet.

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Deciding whether to euthanize a cat with diabetes is an incredibly difficult decision for any pet owner to make. It’s important to consider factors such as quality of life, potential medical risks, and financial costs associated with ongoing care before making your decision. Discussing your concerns with your veterinarian can help provide you with advice on what option is best for your pet. Ultimately, it will be up to you as the pet owner to decide whether euthanasia is the right choice for your beloved cat.

Featured Image Credit: Yekatseryna Netuk, Shutterstock

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