We went to the animal hospital 5 days ago (Sunday) because our 7-year-old cat Betsy was frequently in the litter box trying to pee but producing only a few drops (or nothing).

They said when they saw her the bladder was empty, so we stayed long enough to get a urine sample.

They took the urine sample and x-rayed her for crystals (none seen), and prescribed an antibiotic. Betsy was totally back to normal (energetic, peeing normally, etc) in a couple days.

Yesterday (Thursday) they left a very confusing message: it said there was elevated glucose in the urine, but also said stuff that didn't sound like our cat: they mentioned our supposed plans to see the primary care vet on Thursday (we had no such plans and never mentioned any), and they mentioned being unable to take a blood sample because the cat was agitated (they didn't try to take a blood sample, and on Sunday they told us Betsy was very nice and cooperative with everything they tried to do).

I called to try clearing up the misunderstanding, and apparently there was another Betsy in there the same day. They told me the stuff that sounded wrong was actually about the other cat, but the elevated glucose was about our Betsy. (I'm not sure if I believe this! Maybe they were confused about all of it.)

They also said it was urgent (as in, should happen in the next day or so) to see our primary vet to get a blood sample so we can confirm diabetes and possibly start treating for it.

Is it really that urgent? I do want to confirm about diabetes, but Betsy seems fine, and nothing I've read on the internet makes it sound so urgent as that.

3 Answers 3


Short answer:

Yes this is urgent.

Long answer:

Diabetes in any animal is no joke and is definitely a top priority to diagnose. The main reason is that blood sugar can fluctuate fast. Low blood sugar can put your cat into an unexpected coma and even result in death if left untreated. High blood sugar can cause nerve damage.

These are the extremes of diabetes, but you have to be aware that they are still possible results should you ignore your vet. I have a (human) friend who's diabetic and one moment she seemed perfectly fine, while half an hour later I was calling an ambulance for her as she was slipping in and out of consciousness with her blood sugar dangerously low.

Here's some more information on hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia as well as diabetes in cats: Hyperglycemia


Diabetes in cats and what to do in an emergency

  • One thing to note: a diabetic cat, dog, or human will not suffer from low blood sugar unless you give them too much insulin. So if you think your cat may be diabetic, their problem is that their blood sugar is too high. Until you start administering insulin to them, it will always and only be high.
    – sam
    Commented Feb 23, 2020 at 23:07
  • @Sam this isn’t correct it depends on the type. Type 2 Diabetics are still able to produce insulin so It’s very possible for a diabetic to have low blood sugar by skipping a meal or exercising. Thus, it’s VERY important to diagnose as quickly as possible. Type 1 diabetics produce very little to no insulin. However my friend was type 1, had thought she administered correctly and still had dangerously low blood sugar Misinformation is dangerous. Commented Feb 24, 2020 at 11:25

I hope everything turned out OK! I would say that if she hasn’t been back to the vet to take her. My 11 year old kitty (may she rest in peace) had subtle symptoms of the disease - in her case it was drinking more water than usual, increased diuresis and some weight loss - we thought it was because of the new food we put her on. Sadly, by the time we caught it and took her to the vet she was already lethargic and losing motor function, and it turned out she was in full-blown ketoacidosis. None of the vets we went to were well-versed in treating this and didn’t let us know how serious it was until it was too late. After three days thinking she was just weak, not in pain, we took her to the ER. They finally told us she had pancreatitis and fatty liver disease as well. After they were unable to treat her further we had to help her go to kitty heaven.

I don’t mean to scare you with this, your cat is not showing any of the symptoms mine was, so if she is diabetic, it’s likely in the very very early and treatable stages!

All I can say is that I’ve had that kitty since I was a toddler and ketoacidosis is a devastating sudden onset thing. She was completely fine and normal then three days later she had passed away.

If you can, try and get her diagnosed as soon as possible because I can speak for the fact that letting it run it's course unnoticed doesn’t turn out well for the animal.

Thanks so much, stay safe and healthy!


My male cat out of nowhere started drinking a lot of water and peeing a lot, also lost a lot of weight. He is a long haired cat that weighed between 20 and 25 lbs. Just a big happy ball of fur. This went on for about a week and we took him to the vet sadly to find out he is now diabetic and had lost close to 10lbs.

It is extremely important to have your cat tested as soon as possible. The earlier you catch it the more possibly you could fix it with a simple change in your cat's diet. My poor cat was in mid- to late stages and has been on insulin ever since we found out. And we still had to change his food to a special diabetic prescription food! But he takes his insulin shots twice a day like it's been going on his entire life. New vet told me I need to keep track of his blood levels and now that is a constant struggle to get done. I have only gotten it done twice and I had to use the pads on his paws. He hates it but it's very necessary to try to get so I can know whether to decrease or increase his insulin levels.

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