Many cats will develop chronic kidney disease during their lifetime. In order to maintain the performance of the kidneys for as long as possible, feeding them with special diet food is essential.
The kidneys are responsible for filtering toxins out of the body. If this important organ is restricted in its function, one speaks of renal insufficiency, which in many cats takes a chronic course (CRF). A diet that is adapted to the severity of the disease plays an important role in relieving the burden on the kidneys.
Feeding Properly in Renal Insufficiency
Studies have shown that the life expectancy of cats with kidney disease who were fed specially adapted diet food was usually twice as long as that of cats who were fed normal food. The severity of the kidney disease determines what the diet food should be like. The vet will give you individual feeding recommendations for your cat. Through regular check-ups at the vet, it can be adjusted again and again as the disease progresses. The general rule:
In the early stages (I and II) of chronic kidney failure, the content of phosphorus and sodium in the feed should be reduced in order to protect the kidneys. This feeding with significant phosphorus reduction…
- … slows down the deterioration of kidney function
- … protects the still intact working kidney tissue
Reducing the sodium content in the feed is also important, as this can increase blood pressure, which in turn puts more strain on the kidneys. Salty treats should also be avoided. As a guideline, the sodium value should be below 1 mg/kcal.
In the advanced stage (III and IV) of chronic kidney failure, attention should also be paid to the protein content in the kidney diet food: The breakdown of proteins produces urea, which accumulates in the blood due to the restricted kidney performance and gradually poisons the cat from the inside out. Therefore, the protein content in kidney diets is reduced, while at the same time attention is paid to particularly high-quality protein sources.
Switching to Kidney Diet Food
Normal cat food contains too much phosphorus and protein and would put too much strain on the cat’s kidneys. In therapeutic diet food for cats with kidney disease, on the other hand, the nutrient content is precisely tailored to the needs of the sick cat.
Special kidney diet food is now available from various feed manufacturers and in different dosage forms, so luckily it is now easier to find a diet food that the cat also likes to accept. Under no circumstances should a drastic change be made, for example from wet to dry food. In the beginning, you should only mix the diet food with the usual food by the spoonful and increase the proportion in the food step by step.
Targeted Support for Cats with Kidney Disease
A problem in cats with kidney disease is often a lack of appetite: this is why palatability is important in kidney diets. If the cat does not touch its diet food, you can try to make it more palatable with a few tricks:
- warming up the feed
- Adding a few drops of tuna oil or pieces of fried meat
You can also support your cat with kidney disease in other ways. High-quality omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in fish oil, have a positive effect on kidney damage. Your veterinarian will advise you whether and in what amount it makes sense to supplement your pet.
It is important that you really follow the vet’s dietary instructions. The cat with kidney disease should not be given any additional snacks apart from its special food. The cat may only receive vitamin preparations after consultation with the veterinarian, as many preparations contain a lot of phosphorus.