Cat Food For Kidney Disease: What to Look For

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Kidney disease is very prevalent in cats, perhaps as much as in humans. In some cases, it can develop quickly due to an infection, but in most cases, Chronic kidney disease (CKD) develops over several years for no apparent reason. If you are a pet parent looking to get ahead of this disease, a simple diet change in the form of the right cat food for kidney disease is a significant first step. 

Today, we’re going to look at different food for cats with kidney disease and what to look for.

Diet Matters 

Cat food for kidney disease

The kidneys have several functions in your cat’s body. Two of these major roles involve eliminating waste products from the bloodstream and storing water. When your kitty’s kidney capacity dips past a certain point, toxic waste products, such as phosphorus and urea, start to accumulate in the body, which will eventually make a cat feel lousy. Poor kidney function will also lead to dehydration because of water loss in the urine.

Fortunately, these predicaments can be partly addressed with a little diet change. You’ll find that some foods have a higher water content than others. That can help solve your dehydration problem. In addition, a diet made from reasonable amounts of high-quality protein produces fewer waste products that then need to be excreted.

Kidney Diet for Cats

Low Protein Foods

Reduced dietary protein may decrease the course of CKD by reducing the workload on your cat’s kidneys to eliminate by-products. Less protein also means less pressure on the filtration mechanism, which helps conserve kidney function. On the other hand, if protein intake is too low, the disease will start breaking down muscle mass, strength, as well as function.

The dilemma in this situation is that cats are carnivores. Their natural diet leans toward protein-based foods. Protein not only tastes good to cats, but it also arouses their appetites. Fortunately, some cat foods for kidney disease contains less, but higher quality,  protein than more mainstream cat foods. 

Phosphate Content

Foods that are high in phosphorus quickens renal failure, and reduced amounts slow it down. Accordingly, foods low in phosphate content will help to preserve your cat’s kidneys from further deterioration, thereby delaying the progress of the disease.

Popular Cat Food for Kidney

Renal failure usually comes with age, and the symptoms often include oral pain and loss of appetite. As a pet owner, a simple way to stimulate your cat’s appetite is to get highly tasty food. While there are many options to choose from when it comes to renal diets, it’s important to keep the foods’ contents in mind.

Hills Prescription Diet Feline K/D

  • Low protein levels
  • Higher quality protein
  • Extra omega-3 fatty acids to improve blood flow to kidneys
  • High levels of antioxidants
  • Low sodium

 Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Feline Renal (wet)

  • Complete veterinary food formulated to help cats with kidney problems
  • Low phosphorus levels
  • Vitamin D, iron and calcium help recover from kidney disease
  • High in quality proteins

 Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Feline Renal Dry

  • Low phosphorus levels
  • Ingredients for vascular care
  • Increased palatability to stimulate your cat’s appetite
  • Restores your cat’s kidney’s ability to filter blood properly.

Eukanuba Cat Veterinary Diet Renal Formula

  • Nitrogen Trap® Fibre System – Shifts nitrogen excretion from the kidney to the excretions relieving the kidney and allowing the feeding of more protein
  • Moderate levels of high-quality proteins
  • Increased palatability 
  • Added potassium citrate
  • DentalCare System (dry only) – Decreases tartar accumulation.

Royal Canin Renal Select Cat

  • Formulated to support renal function in case of chronic kidney disease
  • Low phosphorus levels
  • Decreases renal workload
  • High energy, high energy density helps limit weight loss

Commercial Cat Food for Kidney Disease

Cat Food For Kidney Disease: What to Look For

Over-the-Counter Foods

Besides those special cat foods we talked about earlier, some over-the-counter foods can do the job. The next time you hit the grocery store, look for protein-based foods such as chicken or beef. If your cat refuses to eat canned food, try a dry food that is made from quality elements.

Prescription Diets

Older cats with more advanced cases will have to rely on prescription foods. Prescription regimes provide a reasonable level of protein-based elements that are also low in phosphorus. These prescription foods also usually have all the proper contents to keep your cat’s kidney health in top condition. Some of these include:

  • Decreased sodium content to prevent dehydration
  • High in specific amino acids to promote muscle mass 
  • Omega-3 fatty acids to support kidney health.

You will find prescription kidney foods in canned and dry formulations, but we recommend canned because of its high water content. 

Homemade Foods

If your cat is not consuming enough to keep a healthy weight, take a step back, and look into his or her diet. Most of the time, the food you regularly get is not meeting his or her individual needs. The answer may be as easy as trying different brands of foods. However, there is another solution worth looking into. If you’re willing, you can cook for your cat – yes, you heard us. Homemade meals are usually tastier than cat food, so they might be a great option to improve your cat’s appetite.

Although homemade foods sound like a great option, it can also be dangerous. Studies revealed that most homemade pet foods are nutritionally deficient. So, if you plan on taking that route, cooking a nutritious meal with the right ingredients is imperative. Luckily, we’ve you covered. Before serving your cat, some of that home-cooked food, talk to your vet to make sure that this is the right way to proceed.


If your cat’s behavior has changed and he has been suffering from kidney disease, you will be pleased to know that it is not the end of the line. There are many steps you can take to improve your cat’s standard of living. One of those steps is a change in diet. Your vet is the most qualified person you can reach out to make an educated recommendation regarding a proper dietary plan for your cat.

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Maria A.

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