Cats on Dry Food Diet May Be at a Greater Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Oct. 26, 2017

Researchers say the dehydrated kibble subjects felines to a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Image via Unsplash/@pactovisual

Hold the kibble -- researchers have found a possible link between a cat’s diet and their chances of developing diabetes.

Analysts from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences studied more than 2,000 cats, and found that those who dine exclusively on dry food are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.  

The four-month study is the largest research project ever conducted that links a cat’s diet to the disease.

The Methodology

Researchers sent an online, 48-question survey to the owners of 1,369 diabetic cats and to the owners of 5,363 non-diabetic cats, who acted as the control group. The questionnaire asked owners for their cats' general health information, including the cats' age, sex, breed, diet, medications and feeding routine.

Overall, the study found that, for cats whose owners identified their weight as "normal," "there was an association between eating predominantly dry food and an increased risk of diabetes."

"Through our research we found that while obesity is a very important and prominent risk factor for diabetes mellitus in cats, there is also an increased risk of diabetes among normal-weight cats consuming a dry food diet,” lead researcher Malin Ohlund, DVM, a Ph.D student of the department of Clinical Services at the Swedish University of Agricultural Science, told Veterinary Practice News.

Ohlund goes on to tell Veterinary Practice News that, “This correlation, compared to normal-weight cats on a wet food diet, is a new and interesting finding that warrants further research, as a dry food diet is commonly fed to cats around the world.”

WebMD Pets estimates that up to two percent of felines have type 2 diabetes, but notes that the disease is “probably under-diagnosed.”

If you think your cat might have diabetes or are considering making any chances to your pet’s diet, it’s best to consult with your vet first. You can read more about the study here.

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