Abstract Type-1 diabetes, resulting from immune-mediated destruction of beta cells, appears to be rare in cats. Type-2 diabetes, characterised by inadequate insulin secretion and impaired insulin action, is the most common form of diabetes in cats. Other specific forms of diabetes constitute a substantial minority of cases. The most common is pancreatic destruction from pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Less frequent causes are insulin resistance from other endocrinopathies including acromegaly. Diabetes in cats is characterised by variable loss of insulin secretory capacity and insulin resistance. Glucose toxicity, islet amyloid-deposition, and pancreatitis contribute to further loss of beta cells and failure of insulin secretion. A significant number of cats undergo remission of their diabetes, usually 1–3 months after good glycaemic control is instituted. Obesity, old age, and Burmese breed are recognised risk factors for the development of diabetes in cats.