Though diabetes cannot be cured, the condition can be managed, and with proper care, diabetic cats can be healthy and live for many years, explains Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Without proper treatment, a diabetic cat's lifespan is shortened, and the condition can cause a variety of health problems.
In some cases, cats that do not receive treatment for their diabetes develop ketoacidosis, a potentially fatal condition with symptoms that include loss of appetite, dehydration, vomiting and diarrhea, according to Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Additional symptoms of ketoacidosis include lethargy, weakness and breathing abnormalities.
Without proper management of the disease, diabetes can cause unhealthy skin and fur, liver disease and bacterial infections, notes Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. A cat with the disease might develop diabetic neuropathy, which progressively weakens the cat.
Diabetes can go into remission for months or years in some cats that receive treatment, states WebMD. Remission of the disease may result after a diabetic cat's blood sugar is controlled, he begins eating an appropriate diet and he achieves an improved body condition. Diabetes caused by obesity is likely to resolve or at least significantly improve after the cat loses weight, explains Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.