It is vital for your cat’s health that its kidneys function correctly. Their functions include controlling blood pressure, regulating the bloodstream, producing hormones and enzymes, and removing metabolic waste. You can end up with significant & life-threatening problems if your cat’s kidneys fail to do their job correctly.
Domestic cats are susceptible to chronic kidney disease; unfortunately, many cat owners will need to deal with it. Fortunately, proper nutrition can minimise symptoms and slow and control this disease’s progression, especially with a low-phosphorus diet. Having your cat diagnosed by a veterinarian is the only way to ensure that the disease is present, and many foods that can minimise the symptoms require a prescription from the veterinarian. If your cat does not have kidney disease, feeding them a diet low in phosphorus can be dangerous. If you plan to feed your cat a special diet, ensure you have confirmation from your veterinarian. Finding the right food to feed cats with kidney disease can be very stressful since proper nutrition is so important.
A bacterial infection can cause cat kidney disease, but the exact cause is often unknown. When your cat’s kidneys fail to excrete waste products like proteins and phosphorus, the kidneys stop doing their job. This creates an imbalance in the cat’s systems. From high blood pressure to anaemia, all sorts of problems can occur.
In the early stages of kidney disease, what are the first signs? Increasing thirst or frequent urination may occur in your cat. Weight loss may occur even when they usually eat. The disease may cause some cats to lose appetite, weight, and energy and groom less as it progresses.
In cats with kidney disease, a healthy diet can help them live longer, but the condition cannot be cured. Subcutaneous fluids, phosphorus-binding drugs, and other medications may be given to cats as the condition progresses.
Detecting chronic kidney disease (CKD) before symptoms appear is crucial since kidney function typically deteriorates after 75%. Keep your cat’s health in check by getting regular check-ups. To slow the progression of kidney disease, you must address the underlying cause as soon as possible.
Kidney problems are more likely to develop in cats between the ages of 10 and 15 years. To determine whether a cat has kidney problems, veterinarians recommend getting a “senior screening” at their annual check-up.
The most common cause of severe illness in cats is kidney failure, especially in older cats. There are two types of renal failure in cats: chronic renal failure and acute renal failure. Chronic renal failure is characterised by symptoms that last longer than acute renal failure, which develops over weeks or months. Cats with Persian and Angora fur are more likely to develop kidney disease than cats with other breeds.
- Kidneys are less likely to receive blood or urine
- A cancerous growth
- Stones in the kidneys can cause obstructions
- The intake of toxic materials, such as antifreeze, pesticides, medications, and cleaning chemicals
- Dentures in advanced stages
- A genetic predisposition to the disease exists in some long-haired breeds (such as Persians and Angoras)
- A person who is older than seven years old
- The disease’s progression can be accelerated by foods high in phosphorus or high in protein.
- As a result of increased exposure to toxins, outdoor cats are at a greater risk of developing acute problems.
Because kidney failure in cats resembles other disorders, such as diabetes and hyperthyroidism, it may be difficult to diagnose. The symptoms of cat kidney failure may take a long time to appear because it is a progressive disease. Your veterinarian should be contacted if you notice any of these symptoms.
- Appetite loss
- Drinking more water
- Frequently urinating or not urinating at all
- Urethral blood or cloudiness
- Refusing to eat
- An unattractive coat
- Symptoms of depression and lethargy
- A decrease in weight
- Breath that stinks
- Inflammation of the mouth or mouth ulcers
- A diarrheal or constipating condition
- Sleeping more than usual
Since kidney disease has no cure, your cat’s diet must be carefully monitored and medication administered. In this case, a specialised diet low in phosphorus, protein, and sodium is used since kidney disease restricts how these materials are disposed of. The following aspects should be included in your cat’s food, so keep this in mind.
Your cat’s kidneys need to deal with excessive waste products produced by protein breakdown, so you must choose food with low protein levels. Even though your feline needs protein, they should consume a reduced amount of high-quality proteins or a low concentration at most. It’s essential to provide them with the best source of protein since they’re getting a reduced amount of it.
Cats whose bloodstreams are high in phosphorus suffer from kidney damage and function loss that is speeded up by high levels. Conversely, cats whose bloodstreams are low in phosphorus suffer from slower damage. Most kidney disease foods have restricted phosphorus levels to give your cat a sense of energy and happiness. Cats with food sensitivity tend to be more sensitive to certain proteins than others, but this isn’t always the case. The protein may cause a reaction in your cat even if it is not a very common food. Many of the proteins that are known to cause allergic reactions in cats are rare, so if your cat doesn’t have a reaction to these proteins, then they won’t have reactions to other proteins, but it is still possible that your cat may be more sensitive to different protein sources than other cats.
The kidneys also regulate sodium levels in your cat’s blood. It is natural for high levels of sodium to build up in the bloodstream if they do not function properly. Increasing blood pressure and retaining fluids can result from this buildup, which puts more pressure on the kidneys and prolongs the issue. These symptoms are often treated with fluids and a low-sodium diet. High levels of sodium in the blood can also lead to stomach ulcers, which are particularly common in older cats.
Canned wet foods provide your cat with extra moisture, making them a superior alternative to dry foods. Because the kidneys lack fluid balance, cats with damaged kidneys risk dehydration. This can help prevent kidney disease since cats drink very little water even when they are healthy. If you start your cat on a diet of canned wet food, he will gradually replace dry food with canned wet. In time, he may even abandon his dry food entirely and only eat canned wet foods.
The loss of appetite and consequential weight in cats with kidney disease is common. Food that smells good and tastes good helps encourage your cat to eat.
Waste is produced when dietary protein is broken down during digestion. A waste product that belongs to this category is urea. Filtered waste is sent to the litter box by healthy kidneys.
It becomes increasingly difficult for your cat to eliminate waste products as kidney function declines. They are more likely to remain in your cat’s bloodstream rather than pass through him.
As a result, cats with chronic kidney disease have higher blood urea nitrogen levels (BUN). A veterinarian analyses BUN on routine blood work to assess kidney function.
A protein-restricted diet is often given to cats with CKD to reduce BUN levels. Despite its controversial nature, this practice has recently gained more popularity.
Those concerned about the effects of a protein-restricted diet are concerned that it will result in severe protein depletion, decreased muscle mass, and poor physical condition. Rather than reducing protein intake to 20% or less, consider feeding moderate levels of highly digestible, low-waste protein derived from high-quality animals.
It boils down to making your cat feel better, not worse. The protein-restricted diet may help some cats feel better, but it can also cause muscle weakness and wasting. Choosing a low-protein diet for your cat will be a matter of weighing the costs and benefits.
The kidneys are unable to filter out phosphorus as their function declines. During this time, your cat will begin to feel ill, and kidney function will deteriorate more rapidly due to phosphorus accumulation in the bloodstream.
Adding less phosphorus to your cat’s diet will help counteract this effect. Cats with CKD should consume less than 5% phosphorus in their diet.
Most renal diets do not contain excessive sodium due to the risk of hypertension and kidney damage caused by excessive sodium consumption. Aside from avoiding high-sodium foods like lunch meat and cheese, it would help if you also avoided treats that contain a lot of sodium.
Nephritis is an inflammation of the kidneys that occurs in cats with kidney disease. You may also want to consider omega-3 fatty acids like E.P.A. and D.H.A. in combination with other anti-inflammatory supplements. You can help your cat feel better by giving him these fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation.
The omega-3 fatty acids from flaxseed oil and other plant sources benefit humans and other animals. However, cats cannot use omega-3 fatty acids derived from plant sources. You can find fish oil in various forms—salmon oil, menhaden fish oil, sardine oil—and krill oil. The green-lipped mussel is also an option to consider. Also, they contain the most concentrated amount of E.T.A. in the ocean and other omega-3s.
An excellent omega-3 supplement may also benefit your cat, even though many foods contain these beneficial fatty acids.
It is common for cats with kidney disease to lose crucial B vitamins in the litter box due to the amount of urination they undergo. Loss of appetite and poor health are associated with B vitamin deficiencies.
The B-complex vitamins are often included in prescription or therapeutic diets for kidney disease. B12 shots recommended by your veterinarian can also boost your cat’s health.
Consider giving your cat a multivitamin supplement, such as Vetoquinol Renal K+, in addition to vitamins in its diet and subcutaneous injections. The gel contains potassium and B-complex vitamins to help cats and dogs with kidney disease. Your cat’s nervous system and muscles benefit from both substances.
Dehydration is common among cats with kidney disease since they urinate excessively and lose their appetite. Injections under the skin are commonly used to keep cats hydrated, but adding water to your cat’s diet is not the only way.
The high water content in wet food makes it a convenient source of hydration for your cat. You might be able to increase your cat’s water intake by four ounces per day by switching to wet food. You probably wouldn’t give him that much fluid in a typical injection.
The risk of severe dehydration will be reduced significantly if you feed your cat a juicy diet.
Researchers have found that cats with chronic kidney disease should eat food with the following contents:
- It contains a lot of calories
- Having a high-quality or limited protein diet
- Low levels of phosphorus
- Levels of sodium are controlled
- An increase in B vitamins
- Omega-3 fatty acids
In the current situation, the only foods that meet all of these criteria are prescription diets or therapeutic diets. The problem is that these diets also have some not-so-great aspects.
A high carbohydrate content, added sugar, and potentially low-quality animal byproducts are the most common warning signs.
The following options are available to you.
A therapeutic or prescription diet can be ignored in its ugly parts. If you meet some or all of the above criteria, you can choose a non-prescription food. It is also possible to make home-cooked meals appropriate for people with CKD.
Making therapeutic foods yourself will correct their flaws while mimicking the positive aspects.
Nonetheless, making your own food takes time and may not turn out as you expect. Consult a veterinary nutritionist to ensure you don’t miss anything when making homemade cat food for kidney disease.
Our number one choice for cat kidney health is Hill’s Prescription Diet Kidney Care dry food, which nutritionists and veterinarians specially formulate. Your cat’s appetite can be affected by decreased kidney function, leading to loss of muscle mass. By providing Enhanced Appetite Trigger (E.A.T.) technology, this food increases caloric intake and prevents weight and muscle loss. Moreover, it contains high levels of essential amino acids to promote muscle growth and maintenance and carefully controlled phosphorus levels. Your cat will benefit from the improved and more extended quality of life of this food made in the U.S.A. But Hill’s does seem to have a problem with quality control since some kibbles are too small for older cats to eat comfortably. Those cats need to eat more calories to stay healthy.
Purina Pro Veterinary Diets NF Kidney Function is the best choice for the best cat food for kidney disease. High-quality protein and low phosphorus content make this food ideal for improving cat kidney function. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in the food, as well as E.P.A. and D.H.A., and antioxidants to support the immune system. In addition to minimising kidney disease symptoms in cats, Purina Pro Plan also tastes great! Corn gluten meal is listed as the first ingredient in this food. Barley is listed as the third ingredient. The first ingredient on the ingredient list should be animal protein.
We recommend you give your cat Blue Buffalo Natural Kidney and Mobility dry food if you want a premium choice to assist with kidney disease in cats. In addition to chicken, there are no grains in this food, and the amount of phosphorus (0.3–0.7%) and sodium (0.3%), which helps support the kidneys, is carefully controlled. It is also free of poultry byproducts, corn, soy, and wheat, as well as vital nutrients like D.H.A., glucosamine, and chondroitin. Several customers reported that their cats would not eat this food due to the high price.
Hill’s Prescription Diet Chicken and Vegetable Stew canned food is the perfect choice for cats with kidney problems that also need great-tasting, high-quality canned food. Hill’s nutritionists and veterinarians developed this food to meet the needs of cats with kidney disease. Healthy amino acids and taurine are also included for heart health and beneficial vitamins like C, B12, and E. It has a low sodium content and contains phosphorus in controlled amounts. A fussy cat may not enjoy this food because of its pungent smell. Furthermore, you don’t want to waste this expensive food.
For your cat’s kidney health and to avoid kidney failure, Royal Canin’s Renal Support canned food contains the precise nutrients it needs. A tasty sauce coats the food, which encourages appetite, and the formula is full of healthy omega acids, antioxidants, and phosphorus managed at a precise level. With this food, cats with kidney issues can get adequate nutrition without having to eat a lot since it is packed with nutrients. Several owners complained that their cats didn’t like the new recipe, which contains chicken and pork byproducts. There are also a lot of greasy, slippery stains on the food, and the price per ounce is higher than the previous recipe.
A cat with CKD may have difficulty finding a suitable diet. Your cat may not necessarily benefit from a veterinary or prescription diet, but there are alternatives. Nutritional information, protein quality, and other information on the pet food label are essential to keep in mind when choosing your cat’s food. Consult your veterinarian before changing your cat’s diet if you suspect your cat may have CKD. If your cat has kidney issues or other complicating factors, your vet will know the specific results of his kidneys.
Pets with kidney disease need diets with low sodium levels to reduce blood pressure and worsen kidney damage. It is also a good idea to avoid feeding dogs, and cats treat that contain a lot of salts, such as cheese, bread, deli meat, and a lot of commercial dog and cat treats.
Bone and cereals are the primary sources of phosphates in animal foods. Inorganic phosphates are added to pet food to ensure the appropriate texture and maximise shelf life. Those synthetic forms of phosphorus may cause cat kidney disease.
Providing your cat with plenty of clean, fresh water and a carefully managed diet can support its treatment. Veterinarians recommend gradually transitioning your cat to a kidney diet that contains vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, is low in phosphorus and protein, and has low levels of phosphorus and protein.
Due to their obligate carnivorous nature, cats require easily digestible proteins. It is safe for cats with kidney disease to consume proteins such as turkey and chicken.
Each of these disorders has its cause, treatment, and outlook. In acute renal failure, symptoms develop suddenly over a few days or weeks. Cats of all ages can suffer from acute renal failure due to poisoning, which is the most common cause.