If your cat is diagnosed with feline kidney disease, one of the first things your veterinarian will probably recommend is a change in diet. Many studies have been done on this subject, and there is a wide range of opinions about what is the best cat food for kidney disease. Here are a few things every cat owner should know.
One school of thought is that for a cat with kidney problems, protein in the diet should be restricted. However, this idea is very controversial, even among veterinarians. Many feel that this thinking came out about because in humans, as well as in dogs, a high level of protein can indeed be linked to kidney failure. However, cats have different nutritional needs, and rely on protein to a great extent. What does really cause problems is the high phosphorus content in meat. Unfortunately, restricting phosphorus often implies restricting protein as well.
The best thing you can do if you find yourself in this situation is to have a very open discussion with your vet about the pros and cons of restricting protein. In addition, do plenty of your own research. New findings are always coming out, so be sure you have the latest information.
Also, at this point having enough water in the diet is absolutely critical to your cat’s health. Canned food is a better cat food for kidney disease, because it will provide more moisture than dry, and will help to prevent your cat from getting dehydrated, which is another very serious danger to a cat with kidney disease.
In the end though, what is really critical is that your cat eats, period! When a cat has kidney disease, he doesn’t feel good, and doesn’t feel much like eating. He can easily lose weight, which will only make his condition worse. You may at some point need to have appetite stimulants prescribed for your cat in order to get him to eat. The saddest part of this is that appetite stimulants are among the worst smelling and bitterest tasting of feline medicines, and even getting him to take those can be a huge struggle. So most importantly, just get your cat to eat! Even if it means trying new foods, or tricking him into eating with a treat or catnip, just do it!
One of the best things to try is making your own cat food at home. This provides the best nutrition of all, but here again, this is only effective if your cat will actually eat it. If she is not willing to give it a try, don’t force the issue, but this is at least worth making a good attempt. There are plenty of excellent books available that provide recipes for homemade cat food. Ask your veterinarian as well, and he/she may also have some good suggestions.
Understanding cat food for kidney disease can take a little time and effort, and you may need to try a number of different foods to see what works out best with your cat. But having the best possible diet can go a long way toward management of his kidney disease and improvement of his quality of life.