Ideal diets for cats with renal disease should be low in phosphorous, proteins, sodium but higher in omega-3 fatty acids to help reduce metabolic acidosis incidents.
Additionally, you should consider commercial cat foods for kidney disease and phosphate binders.
Noticing feline chronic kidney disease
Among the various renal disease, chronic kidney disease (CKD) in cats has a higher prevalence and it alters normal excretion of toxins as well as retention of the right electrolyte balance since blood filtration dues do not occur as expected.
Cats of all ages can get CKD but those above 10 years are more vulnerable.
The most noted symptoms are more drinking or thirst as well as more urination. However, weight loss, vomiting, lethargy, bad breath, loss of appetite, among other symptoms may be noted and they will worsen as the condition progresses (declining kidney function or renal insufficiency). Hypertension is also often associated with feline CKD.
There are various treatments for CKD. We will focus on the aspect of nutrition in dealing with feline CKD.
Nutritional management of CKD – therapeutic diets
In managing CKD nutritionally, various aspects of diets offered to them will be considered. Here are some of the things you must put in mind.
Renal diseases impair this animal’s ability to conserve water by concentrating urine. Instead, for this animal to get rid of toxins, his or her urine will be diluted, and a lot of water will be lost, making this pet to be thirsty or drink more. Therefore, ensure you provide unlimited amounts of freshwater for your cat.
Also, wet foods may help provide additional water when compared to dry diets as they have a higher moisture content.
Moderate protein – 28-35% proteins
Secondly, you need to watch on the protein amount and quality you give to these pets. According to the Feline Nutrition Foundation, “diet for a cat with renal disease should have a highly digestible, bio-appropriate protein content, such as rabbit and poultry.”
Note that protein breakdown often results in many toxins that these pets cannot effectively excrete or they can overload their kidneys.
If you prefer raw diets for renal cats, then you should go for digestible protein sources such as poultry, rabbit, possum or hare.
Unfortunately, most cats find low protein foods not palatable and this can also lead to weight loss, affecting this animal’s health.
For instance, their body may result in muscle catabolism which will produce toxins worsening CKD. In such a case, ensure any commercial diets helps boost protein supply.
Avoid fish meal, corn gluten or chicken meals as they are difficult to digest.
Finally, avoid extreme protein deprivation as there are no specific studies that prove it will help cats with CKD except for the fact that its phosphorous amount may be low.
Phosphorous 0.3-0.6% of dry matter
Research has shown that high phosphorus foods are likely to damage kidneys even in healthy cats. This indicates that phosphorus will only worsen things if they that already have chronic kidney disease as it will overload their already defective kidneys as they try to excrete the excess phosphate.
In fact, diets high in phosphorous and other factors can lead to feline hyperphosphataemia, cause CKD to progress, hyperparathyroidism as well as reduce response to CKD treatments.
It is a fact that phosphorus has many functions in cats and it should be provided in the required amounts. There are phosphorous level charts that can give you an insight into what levels of this mineral the various cat foods have including the Catinfo.org. There is also another one, the Us Canned Cat Food Data by Tanya, and so on.
Go for low phosphorus feline diets and keep the level at between 0.3-0.6% o dry matter weight. However, ensure you do not compromise on the quantity of protein provided to this critter being obligate carnivores. Note that most high protein sources also have high phosphorous and vice versa.
If you opt for raw foods, consider bones with some meat as they will ensure the correct calcium to phosphorous ratio.
Keep sodium low
Sodium levels should also be minimized, typically amounts of sodium should be below 0.4% on a dry matter basis. CKD patients may not be able to effectively eliminate excess amounts of sodium as well as fluids from their bodies.
A build of fluid and sodium can cause high blood pressure, damage their kidneys, among other complications.
Consider phosphate binders
Besides restricting amounts of phosphate in various cat foods, you should also consider the use of phosphate binders for cats available in the markets.
Brands such as Vetoquinol Epakitin Powder, Vetoquinol Renal K+ Gel, Neuroscience Laboratories Renal Essentials Kidney Health Support, Ipakitine (phosphate binder), Phos-Bind, among others will be helpful.
Increase omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants
They can help slow down CKD progress as they minimize protein loss via kidney and reduce oxidative stress by reducing inflammatory compound production.
Best renal diets for cats – foods for cats with kidney disease
From the discussion above, it is evident ideal cat renal diets should be low in phosphorus and sodium and be moderate in high-quality proteins.
On the other hand, they should have added omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, including vitamins B, C, and E.
Finally, since there are both wet and dry formulations, if you opt for the wet one, ensure you dampen or add water to it to promote hydration.
Hill’s Prescription Diet Feline K/D Kidney Care
As your cat’s kidney filter toxins and wastes, while ensuring there are a usual mineral and fluid balances, it may slowly wear down, especially as your feline friend grows older. This irreversible damage and reduced kidney function may result in loss of appetite and body muscle mass.
If your cat is suffering from chronic kidney disease, your veterinarian may prescribe a renal diet such as Hill’s Prescription Diet Feline K/D cat food. This diet has restricted sodium and phosphorus while it has therapeutic omega-3 fatty acids and L-Carnitine as well as high amounts of other essential amino acids.
All these ingredients will ensure your feline has enhanced heart and kidney functions as well as reduced chronic renal disease progression. Furthermore, your pet will gain muscles.
Depending on your feline’s preference, you have a choice of going for flavors like vegetable & tuna, chicken & vegetable stew, pate with chicken, with tuna, ocean fish, chicken, vegetable & rice, and so on that may either be dry or wet. There is also Hill’s Prescription Diet Feline K/D Kidney Care Early Support and Mobility.
Dry K/D Kidney Care
Canned or wet K/D Kidney Care
Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet K+M Kidney + Mobility Support
The Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet K+M Kidney + Mobility Support grain-free cat food’s formulation has moderate high-quality chicken protein while its sodium and phosphorus levels are low. These are some of the essential features of any renal diet.
Also, it has DHA, a type of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as chondroitin and glucosamine that will promote healthy joints and mobility. These ingredients make it the right choice if you have an older cat.
Finally, it is free of any preservatives, artificial flavoring, chicken by-product meals, and grains. Your feline pal will enjoy its fantastic taste while it is very affordable. All you need to do is get a vet’s prescription before you buy it.
However, if you prefer wet or canned foods, g for Canned Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary feline diet.
Royal Canine Veterinary Diet Feline Renal
If your vet has recommended a renal diet, Royal Canin Veterinary Renal Support for cats is a good option. There is both dry and wet cat food that comes in various flavors like the Support A, D, E, F, S, T as well as Multifunction Renal Support + Hydrolyzed Protein Dry Cat Food.
Since this feline food is energy-dense, your pet will not need to eat much to meet its energy and nutritional requirements. Furthermore, as Royal Canin notes, these renal diets will help “promote kidney function with a precise antioxidant complex, fatty acids from fish oil, low phosphorus, and targeted protein levels.”
Hi-Tor Veterinary Select Neo Diet for Cats
Hi-Tor Veterinary Select Neo Diet for Cats is not only low in phosphorus but also low in sodium and proteins. Therefore, it will help promote your cat’s urinary tract health.
Furthermore, you can use it as a healthy maintenance diet to reduce the chances of chronic renal failure since it is highly digestible. Your feline will enjoy eating it, thanks to its flavorful taste and digestion ease.
Finally, when compared to other therapeutic diets for renal issues, it is much affordable and will significantly cut on the costs you will incur. Don’t worry about artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives as it has none.
Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets NF Kidney Function Early Care
Many veterinarians often recommend Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets NF Kidney Function Early Care in case your cat has any of the signs of chronic kidney failure. You have a choice of picking from wet or dry feline food.
Like other renal diets, this brand is low in sodium and phosphorus, while its moderate high-quality proteins will ensure your feline’s kidney is not overloaded. Furthermore, it has EPA and DHA (types of omega-3 fatty acids that will help reduce blood pressure and improve blood circulation as well as inflammation), added vitamin B-complex and other antioxidants (to combat free radicals) as well as added potassium.
While it is very yummy and your cat will like it, follow the feeding recommendation since it will serve as a diet supplement, or you can feed them intermittently.
Dry NF Cat Diet
Wet (canned) NF cat food
However, if your pal’s chronic kidney failure has an association with encephalopathy, instead of the Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets NF Kidney Function Early Care, your vet will opt for Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets NF Kidney Function Advanced Care Dry and wet feline diets.
Eukanuba Cat Veterinary Diet Renal Formula Dry
Eukanuba Cat Veterinary Diet Renal Formula is another excellent choice of renal diet you should consider if you have your vet’s prescription. It will help manage the various liver and renal disease symptoms, including constipation, metabolic acidosis, lack of appetite, vomiting, and hepatic encephalopathy.
Like other renal diets, Eukanuba Cat Veterinary Diet Renal Formula has reduced phosphorus due to its soy protein isolate, which will ensure these pets manage high levels of blood phosphorus.
Furthermore, it has added omega-3 fatty acids (and a correct balance with omega-6 fatty acids that supports filtration in the kidney and reducing inflammation), moderate animal source high-quality protein (it won’t put much pressure on these organs) and added potassium citrate to help in pH balance.
Finally, its Nitrogen Trap Fiber System will promote intestinal nitrogenous waste hence reducing their excretion via urine. There will be little ammonia build-up in case your feline has hepatic encephalopathy.
Dave’s Pet Food Restricted Diet Phosphorus Chicken Formula in Sauce Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
This brand is a yummy, taste, and very palatable renal diet that has restricted phosphorus but adequate amounts of proteins made from real chicken and chicken broth. It is carrageenan and grain-free and has minerals, antioxidants, taurine, and vitamins to ensure your feline pal remains healthy.
Finally, it has low sodium levels to ensure your cat’s blood pressure doesn’t go up and omega-3 fatty acids for a nourished coat and skin.
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Renal
These unique brands that come in Renal with Tuna CIC, Renal select, Renal with chicken, and Renal Feline are low in sodium, vitamin D, and calcium. Furthermore, they have EPA and DHA (omega-3 fatty acids), and antioxidants high-quality proteins to minimize kidney overload as well as alkalizing properties.
Use them in dealing with calcium oxalate urinary crystals or any case of chronic or temporary renal insufficiency.
Another brand to buy which will not review is Darwin’s Intelligent Design which has a natural phosphorus binder known as chitosan.
Best non-therapeutic cat food for kidney disease
Therapeutic renal diets serve as supplemental or intermittent foods for your feline meal, with most having a limited time during which you should use them. However, there are standard diets which support renal health and they include:
- Weruva Grain-Free Natural Canned Wet Cat Food, Classic Recipes
- Weruva B.F.F. – Best Feline Friend Grain-Free Natural Canned Wet Cat Food, Original Recipes in Gravy
- Weruva TruLuxe Grain-Free Natural Canned Wet Cat Food
All these brands have high-quality proteins, are low in phosphorus and magnesium. Furthermore, they don’t have any GMOs, carrageenan, soy, corn, wheat, preservatives, artificial colors, and are minimally processed.
Calcitriol may help
If given in small amounts, it helps in inhibiting “parathyroid hormone without causing the kidney to retain phosphorus”  However, give it only to patients whose phosphate is not already high or having hypercalcemia.
Let your vet help you in coming up with the right foods that will ensure your cat does not end up with some deficiencies as you try to deal with CKD.