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Nutritional Support For Cats With Chronic Kidney Disease

When your best feline friend is diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, making changes to their diet is one of the most important aspects of managing their condition. But some cats struggle to adjust to dietary changes, especially when their CKD makes them lose their appetite.

Prescription Diets For Chronic Kidney Disease
Cats with chronic kidney disease need a diet that is specially formulated to reduce the workload on their kidneys. Veterinary renal cat food, available with a prescription from your veterinarian, is lower in protein, phosphorus, and sodium than regular cat food.
Protein is essential in your cat’s diet to help maintain muscle tone, sustain energy, and repair tissue. But protein creates waste products that must be filtered and flushed out of the body. For a cat with compromised kidney function, a diet with too much protein can cause waste products to build up in the blood.
Healthy kidneys help balance phosphorus and calcium levels in the body. For cats with kidney disease, excess phosphorus in the blood leaches calcium from bones and accelerates kidney damage.
Keep in mind that a high protein diet has not been linked to the development of kidney disease in healthy cats. Healthy kidneys can filter excess protein through the urinary system without issue. If you have healthy cats in your home, there is no need to start them on a renal diet. Make sure your healthy cats eat a diet with high moisture content and take them for annual vet checkups to screen for early stage kidney disease.

Fresh Cat Food For Chronic Kidney Disease
Prescription diets are backed by years of research to ensure that they are effective for treating your pet’s chronic condition. Studies show cats with kidney disease on a renal diet live longer than those that eat a regular adult maintenance diet. Most are available in dry and canned options so you can find a food that your cat will accept.
However, if your cat will not eat their prescription food, you might look for other options. Not all veterinarians agree that a low protein diet is best for cats with kidney disease. Instead, they may suggest a diet made with easy-to-digest, low phosphorus protein sources like chicken, tuna, and egg whites.
You may find success with a fresh cooked or raw diet, but it must be designed by a board certified veterinary nutritionist. A fresh renal diet may not usually be low in protein, but it must still contain a balanced amount of other nutrients like phosphorus to avoid causing further kidney damage.

Supplements For Cats With Chronic Kidney Disease
As with any dietary change, talk to your veterinarian before trying a new supplement for your cat. Keep in mind that many renal diets are already formulated with these ingredients, so there may be no need to add supplements.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to have renal protective properties for cats and dogs with chronic kidney disease, especially when combined with antioxidants vitamin E, carotenoids, and lutein.
Cats with kidney disease are predisposed to developing urinary tract infections. To help prevent secondary infection, consider adding a urinary tract support supplement like UT Soft Chews under the guidance of your vet.
Research on human kidney patients suggests that chronic renal disease can affect the gut microbiome. Supplementing with probiotics can help improve gastric symptoms and even slow the progression of kidney disease. A probiotic supplement like Advita is easy to give, as it can be sprinkled over food. It has a potent flavor from poultry liver that can help pique your cat’s appetite.
You may also find holistic preparations to be helpful in boosting appetite and supporting your cat’s kidney function. Pet Wellbeing Kidney Support Gold is a vet-formulated herbal supplement for pets with chronic kidney disease.
If you have trouble getting your cat to eat, consult your veterinarian right away. Inappetance is a sign that your cat is not feeling well and may need additional support. An appetite stimulant like prescription Elura can help, or they may need a feeding tube if they cannot get adequate nutrition by mouth.