Unfortunately, there’s no single “best” kidney diet for your cat. The best one is the healthiest renal diet your cat will actually eat! And to find that out, you may have to experiment quite a bit.
That said, we do know a lot about the kind of diet which is best for a cat with kidney disease.
In this article, I’ll break down the key ingredients of a diet which is healthy for renal function.
WHAT A CAT WITH CKD NEEDS IN THEIR DIET
So what are the basic ingredients of a renal friendly diet?
Cats are carnivores. They need to consume protein in order to survive—and the ideal source of this protein is, of course, meat. While the research varies on exactly how much your typical house cat is going to need, all things being equal, the research suggests your average cat requires around 26g of protein a day.
That’s the ideal scenario for a cat, but things get a bit trickier when it comes to protein for cats with CKD. There’s some controversy surrounding the correct level, but most agree it’s about a balancing act.
On the one hand, you need to make sure their diet is protecting their muscle tone and maintaining an ideal weight.
However, excess proteins place additional strain on the kidneys. Protein levels need to be neither too low nor too high. The best way to achieve this is a balanced diet in lean proteins.
Older cats are more likely to have CKD. They also tend to lose weight. Unequivocally, the research reveals that thinner cats have a significantly shorter lifespan.
This all boils down to one simple fact. You need to keep your cat’s weight within the ideal range!
Your vet will help you establish what this range is, and then it’ll be up to you as your cat’s faithful servant to keep an eye on their weight and adjust their diet accordingly.
Around a third of cats with CKD have low potassium levels. The main reason for this is that CKD typically causes increased urination, which in turn leads to larger than normal amounts of potassium to pass through the body.
To counter this, cats with CKD need to slightly increase their intake of potassium.
Essential Fatty Acids
Research suggests that essential fatty acids significantly slow the progression of CKD. It’s important to note here that EFA supplements should only be introduced in small quantities, so as not to throw off the omega 3 and 6 balance.
Again, your vet is your best friend when it comes to getting the levels right!
WHAT TO AVOID
Damaged kidneys are unable to process phosphorus. Worse, a buildup of phosphorus in the body will actually speed up the progress of CKD. A diet low in phosphorus is definitely a step in the right direction, although you may also need to consider talking with your vet about a phosphorus binding medication.
THERAPEUTIC KIDNEY DIETS
So, where can you get a hold of this magical combination of requirements? The good news is there are many pre-formulated kidney diets. Your vet will be able to prescribe or recommend a number of options. You may need to experiment to find which ones your cat will eat, but there are definitely many options you can play with.
A CKD friendly diet will almost certainly be a change of pace for your cat. They may give you a few nasty looks at first, trust me! At the end of the day, the key is to take it slow.
Even if you have to keep some of their favorite food in the cupboard and gently transition to the renal friendly stuff, this is far better than no change at all.
Thats not all...
Now, alongside feeding you cat a prescription kidney diet - its vital you also take a look at supplementation. You see, supplements contain the nutrients that are either not included in your cats food - or are lost during processing.
When choosing supplements, make sure that they're formulated by experts who know cats.. and that their ingredients have been Scientifically backed to support feline health, such as the Scruffy Paws Kidney Vitalize Chews!
We've worked long and hard alongside feline experts to create a kidney boosting support for your kitty (whether she has CKD or not). Each chew is packed full of natural, scientifically backed active ingredients that support your cats kidney health!
The active ingredients have been proven to reduce proteinuria and fight inflammation - it really is a no brainer! Check out the scientific backing section here
Here's what some of our customers have said about the chews:
“I am so happy to have found your Kidney-Vitalize Chews. My 15 year old cat Cagney was losing weight and had his blood tested. It showed he was in the beginning stages of kidney disease. My vet suggested changing his diet to a prescription kidney friendly one. I had also seen your product advertised on Facebook. I ordered a jar and Cagney loved it and actually gave him his appetite back. I just had his blood tested 4 days ago and his numbers have improved tremendously and he gained almost two pounds! I am so happy with the results and will continue to use your product. Thank you also for all the information you share on your emails and Facebook.”
- Nancy H
“My cat bootsie seems to be doing better already! I think she has put on a little weight, more energy and hasnt had any problems urinating. I break up a chew and mix it in with her morning and afternoon feeding. Thank you so much for your product!. And Bootsie thanks you too!"
- Rita A
"I brought my Nicholas 18 years old to the vet today to have his creatine levels checked. Before I started him on this chews his levels were 2.4. Today they went down to 2.3. I've had him on the chews for around a month. I'm totally thrilled with them"
- Anita S
So look, if you are worried about your kitties kidney health - then definitely check out our chews! Click the button below to be taken to the product page!
Again, this list isn't exhaustive. We often suggest speaking to your vet as well to see what they recommend.
I hope you enjoyed this article and found it useful!
Good luck! And I hope your cat feels better soon.
P.S. a great addition to your cats diet are supplements that promote kidney health. One such example is the Scruffy Paws Kidney Vitalize Chews. We’re not going to promote it too much, but they’ve been formulated by feline experts and contain scientifically backed active ingredients that have been proven to help combat proteinuria, inflammation and kidney disease. Check it out here