Disorientation in diabetic cats is a sign of hypoglycemia, which means low blood sugar levels. Sugar is a cat’s source of energy and helps brain function. When a cat’s blood sugar becomes too low it causes the cat to become disoriented or confused. Hypoglycemia is a serious symptom that should not be ignored, according to Petmd.com
Diabetes is a condition that results when the pancreas cannot produce insulin—a hormone the body uses to regulate blood sugar—to balance blood sugar levels after a cat eats. When insulin is not produced or not produced in significant amounts, the organs cannot use sugar for energy production.
Sometimes hypoglycemia occurs when treating diabetes by injecting insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. If a cat is given an overdose of insulin or if the cat has not eaten before an injection, there is not enough sugar to be processed by the body and blood sugar levels drop dramatically. Some cats are prone to hypoglycemia and must be monitored to avoid serious complications, according to the San Francisco Pet Hospital.
Low blood sugar may cause a cat to be weak or stagger when walking. The cat may have difficulty seeing and performing basic functions, as well as exhibit nervous behavior. An increase of appetite occurs to make up for the lack of sugar in the bloodstream. Serious symptoms that should prompt immediate treatment include seizures and unconsciousness. If left untreated, hypoglycemia can be life-threatening, according to the San Francisco Pet Hospital.
Determining the cause of hypoglycemia is important in order to prevent future adverse side effects of low blood sugar. A veterinarian can test to see if the cat has an underlying disease or if hypoglycemia is caused by diabetes treatment.
Home treatment may be used before a consulting a veterinarian if a hypoglycemic attack isn't severe. Cats may be given sugar, such as honey or maple syrup, by putting it on the gums with a finger or toothbrush. The cat should be watched until he or she returns to normal. If there is no improvement, the cat should be taken to a veterinarian, according to Petmd.com.