Welcome to Part Two of our guide to how to transition a fussy cat to a kidney-friendly diet. If you haven’t read Part One, you might want to “digest” (see what I did there?) that one first. Otherwise, let’s press on and look at the remaining tips we have to get your cat nomming down and asking for more.
6. GET CREATIVE WITH TEXTURE
This is a particularly good one to try if your cat vomits after eating.
Most cats with CKD develop a strong preference for softer, paté style food. It tends to stay down easier and it’s just easier for them to eat.
One way to get a nice smooth texture to your cat’s food is to run it through the blender. The great thing about this approach is that you can experiment with consistency.
An easier approach (provided your cat is clear to eat tinned food) is to buy pre-prepared paté style cat food. Most varieties have an aerated, almost mousse-like (note, I said mousse, not moose!) consistency.
My cat with a sensitive stomach swears by this stuff and can’t get enough.
7. MIX IT UP
Most humans would go crazy if they had to eat the same thing every day and cats are pretty much the same way. They simply get stone cold sick of eating the same thing, day in and day out.
So if Lieutenant Fluffers Von Twitchy Tail is turning up her nose at dinner, try offering her something completely different!
I’d recommend having at least three or four different meat / texture combinations to keep your cat surprised and interested in what’s on the dinner plate.
8. FISH IT UP!
The cartoons have a lot of things wrong about cat behavior, but one thing they get right is that almost all cats go berserk for fish. They love the stuff.
Grab some low-sodium tuna and drain off that delicious, fishy juice. Sprinkling a bit of this over their regular dinner is likely to make it that much harder to resist. A great bonus here is that you’re also getting more liquid into their diet, which is never a bad thing.
9. USE CAT KRYPTONITE — AKA CATNIP
Catnip (AKA cat kryptonite) is magical stuff. Most cats are fascinated by its smell and will become delightfully loopy and playful when exposed to even a fleeting sniff of catnip.
Why not use their weakness to your advantage? Sprinkling a little catnip around their food won’t just rev them up, it’ll also stimulate their appetite.
It’s important to gauge their reaction, though. A small number of cats actually don’t enjoy the smell at all, so you’ll need to carefully experiment.
10. KEEP THEM COMPANY
We humans tend to prefer eating socially over eating alone (unless it’s donuts, in which case I for one get weirdly secretive). Many cats are no different.
If your cat is really struggling with eating, they may feel distressed and anxious. This is especially likely if they’re dealing with a chronic condition like CKD.
It may be helpful if you just sit down with them. In most cases, I wouldn’t recommend getting too close as you don’t want to spook them. But being nearby and gently encouraging your cat may be all the nudge they need to finish dinner.
11. SHOW THEM THEY CAN TRUST THE FOOD
Finally, if getting your little buddy to eat is a real struggle, you may need to get directly involved in their eating process, at least for a time.
This is especially effective if you have a close relationship with your cat, as they’ll trust you. Feeding your cat by hand will help them understand that the food is safe, and it may help them persist with eating even if they’re not feeling great.
Yes, this is a time consuming process and perhaps not the most pleasant thing to do for those of you who don’t like touching squishy stuff!
But I’d encourage you to think of it like this: it’s a small price to pay to get your unwell feline friend back into the swing of eating, and once they’re back on track you can gradually remove yourself from the process.
Getting a cat with chronic kidney disease to transition to a kidney-friendly diet can be a struggle. Every cat is going to be a little bit different in its eating preferences and you’re going to need to work with your cat to discover what works and what doesn’t.
The one thing you have going for you is that, if you pay close attention your cat will tell you what it wants.
Good luck! If you’ve discovered other ideas to get your cat with CKD eating, please share them in the comments thread below.