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What is Glucose in the Urine?

Cats exhibiting symptoms such as excessive thirst should be brought to a veterinarian for examination. All cats should receive an annual wellness check with routine blood and urine tests. This will help to facilitate the early detection of common medical conditions such as the presence of glucose in the urine. Early diagnosis and treatment is often the key to a positive prognosis.

Glucose in the urine, also called glucosuria or glycosuria often indicates the presence of a more serious condition that can potentially be life-threatening if left untreated. Glucosuria is easily detected using a test strip that is dipped into a urine sample. Measurable amounts of glucose are not found in the urine of healthy cats. If glucose is detected, further diagnosis and medical treatment will be necessary.

Symptoms of Glucose in the Urine in Cats

Symptoms of glucosuria will vary depending on the underlying cause. Affected cats may display one or more of the following:

  • Diluted urine
  • Renal failure
  • Urinary tract disease
  • Increased thirst
  • Excessive drinking
  • Increased appetite and weight loss (when diabetes is present)
  • Decreased appetite and lethargy (when pancreatitis is present)


  • Hyperglycemic glucosuria occurs when there are abnormally high levels of glucose in the blood. It is sub-categorized as either transient (temporary) or persistent (resulting from ongoing disease).
  • Normoglycemic glucosuria occurs when glucose is found in the urine without the presence of excess amounts in the blood. It is sub-categorized as either congenital (present at birth) or acquired. 

Causes of Glucose in the Urine in Cats

The primary cause of glucosuria is a kidney disorder secondary to diabetes mellitus. Other causes vary depending on the subcategory of the condition.

Transient Hyperglycemic Glucosuria

  • Extreme stress
  • Adverse drug reaction

Persistent hyperglycemic glucosuria

  • Systemic disease
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Overactive adrenal gland
  • Acute pancreatitis
  • Lesions on the brain, spine, or other areas of central nervous system
  • Tumor on the adrenal gland
  • Growth hormone disorder
  • Sepsis (bacterial infection in blood)
  • Chronic liver failure
  • Exposure to heavy metal poisons and certain chemicals or drugs

Normoglycemic glucosuria

  • Birth defect
  • Acute kidney failure

Diagnosis of Glucose in the Urine in Cats

The presence of glucose in the urine is easily detected by dipping a test strip into a urine sample. The challenge lies in diagnosing the underlying cause of the condition so that it can be properly treated. The veterinarian will begin by reviewing the cat’s full medical history and discussing the onset of current symptoms. A physical exam will be completed and lab tests ordered, including complete blood count (CBC), biochemistry, electrolyte profile and urinalysis.

Treatment of Glucose in the Urine in Cats

Treatment recommendations depend on the underlying cause of the condition.

Urinary Tract Infection

When a urinary tract infection is present, an antibiotic will be prescribed. The specific type of antibiotic used will depend on the result of a bacterial culture.

Drug Interactions or Toxicity

If it is determined that drugs are the cause of the condition, they should be immediately discontinued and replaced with a substitute. A veterinarian should always be consulted prior to making any changes regarding the use of prescription medications. Cats should be kept away from other toxic substances that may be contributing to the presence of glucose in the urine. When a cat is suffering from toxicity, hospitalization and intensive treatment will be required.


Diabetes can be managed using prescription medications. Dietary changes are often recommended and insulin may be need to regulate blood sugar levels. 


Treatment of pancreatitis generally requires hospitalization. It may be necessary to use a feeding tube to ensure that the affected cat is receiving adequate nutrition.

Recovery of Glucose in the Urine in Cats

Cats with glucose in the urine will need frequent follow-up appointments with a veterinarian and glucose testing will be required on a regular basis. It is likely that the vet will recommend a specific diet and the use of vitamin and mineral supplements. Owners will need to closely observe their cats and report any symptoms or changes in behavior to the veterinary team. It is important to attend all follow-up appointments, even if the cat appears to have returned to normal. 

For cats that have been diagnosed with pancreatitis, the outlook is guarded as survival rates depend on the severity of the disorder and owner’s ability to provide necessary treatment.

When diabetes has been diagnosed, medications will need to be closely monitored and it is likely that periodic adjustments will be needed. Owners should observe the cat’s eating and drinking habits and urine output. It is important that the cat is fed on a consistent schedule to maintain blood sugar levels. It is possible for diabetes treatment to result in hypoglycemia, a condition that occurs when the blood sugar drops to dangerously low levels. Regular testing will be necessary to ensure that blood sugar remains at appropriate levels. With proper treatment, diabetic cats can enjoy a healthy life for many years.

Glucose in the Urine Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Mr. Sandy (nickname)
5 years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms


Help! Our beloved 5-year-old Birman cat, who is diabetic, has glucose in his urine now. Test results on 10/11/2017 show 3+ (1000 mg/dL). Test results 8/1/2017 and 3/9/2017 indicated no glucose in urine. Our vet does not seem concerned that our kitty's urine glucose is 1000 mg, but we are concerned because we learned that level is about 3 times the amount to be diagnosed glycosuria. Yikes! We are so afraid that our baby (he truly is our baby) may suffer RENAL DAMAGE. His recent glucose level tests were 303 and 393 after 5 months of "remission" & cessation of insulin because glucose level was dropping too low - 20. Because of those recent high blood glucose levels, vet has resumed insulin (Novolin, we live on Social Security & could not afford the very expensive Glargine), 1 unit twice daily. Glucose curve coming up next week. But we are concerned about that high glycosuria. Should we be?? Is there something that should be done to bring the glycosuria down?? We are so afraid that our baby will suffer kidney damage & that we will lose him soon & we simply cannot bear that thought!! Please enlighten us!!

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1953 Recommendations
Glycosuria and diabetes generally walk hand in hand, controlling the blood glucose will in turn resolve or manage the urinary glucose. Stabilisation of the blood glucose is key and a glucose curve is important to know that the current diet and insulin dosage are balanced. Glycosuria may occur along with other conditions as well including kidney failure, poisoning, tumours, autoimmune disease among other causes; the primary goal is getting the blood glucose under control, after then monitor the urine. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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