What are the pros/cons of foods containing sugar for my cat?
Excessive sugar isn’t good for any animal–or person, for that matter.
First of all, cats are strict meat-eaters and they can’t digest any carbohydrate efficiently so they’ll suffer from a lack of nutrition if fed sugar-laden foods. Cats, therefore, don’t even have much of a taste for sweets and will often turn up their noses at the sweet stuff.
Most important, cats absolutely must have the essential amino acid, taurine to avoid a deficiency that can result in severe health problems. Taurine can’t be produced in the cat’s body, so it needs to rely on diet, and taurine is only found in meat and fish.
One of the biggest problems with pets today is the obesity epidemic. Obese cats are more prone to diabetes, so controlling your cat’s weight is important.
While diabetes certainly is not a death sentence, it does require careful management. One of the components of management is diet. Follow your veterinarian’s guidelines for what to feed your cat. While some cats need a high-fiber, high-carbohydrate diet, others need a low-carbohydrate diet. In all cases, however, you are going to want to feed your cat low glycemic foods, which are digested slower than high glycemic foods. This slow digestion means that an animal eating low glycemic carbohydrates will feel fuller for longer, and the blood sugar levels will remain more stable.This is an obvious advantage for weight loss and diabetes.
The glycemic index (GI) is just a ranking of foods in order of how quickly they enter the bloodstream. Talk to your veterinarian for more information.
The other problem, although much less common, is hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Hypoglycemia is a serious medical emergency that can lead to death.
The cause of hypoglycemia can range from something as simple as not eating enough during the day, especially if the cat needs to balance insulin and blood sugar, to eating a lot of sugar which first raises blood sugar levels and then drops them far too low.
Symptoms in cats include sleepiness and inability to wake, glassy eyes, drooling, coughing, excessive meowing or crying. Sometimes, they’ll even get aggressive.
A hypoglycemic cat should be taken to the veterinary clinic for a thorough check up.