FEEDING CATS WITH CHRONIC KIDNEY DISEASE: FOOD OPTIONS
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a relatively common problem of older cats. It is a progressive problem that cannot be cured, but these pets can often be successfully medically managed for a long time. One of the most important treatment strategies is to feed a food or foods that are specifically formulated for cats with CKD.
There are three pet food lines that have products that are very effective for CKD management: Hill’s Prescription Diet is the best, and Purina Veterinary Diets and Royal Canin are decent alternatives. Other brands are not worth considering, and it is not possible to duplicate the benefits of these CKD diets with a home-cooked diet.
A few things that do not appear in the veterinary textbooks or on the food label, that we have learned over years of managing cats with CKD:
~ Ideally the pet would be fed only canned food because of the benefit of higher moisture content. Many cats do not like canned food and will eat better when fed some dry food or exclusively dry food. In practice we have found no drawbacks to accommodating these cats with dry kidney diets.
~ Because the kidney diets from Hill’s, Purina, and Royal Canin are so highly digestible it is usually not necessary to convert gradually to the new food; however, sometimes a slow introduction helps a cat accept the new food.
~ When there is a normal cat or cats in the house with the cat with CKD it is fine to feed all the cats the kidney diet; it is high-quality maintenance food for normal cats.
~ Ideally the pet would eat only one kidney diet, but it is unusual for a cat to be willing to do so. It is fine to feed an assortment of kidney diets, including foods from not just one, but two or all three of the companies.
~ Ideally the pet would eat only kidney diet, but we have managed many cats with CKD that did very well when fed some kidney diet and some non-kidney diet.
~ The most important thing nutritionally for a cat with CKD is that they consume a reasonable amount of calories from a reasonable quality food or foods. Some cats will seem to reject all attempts to be converted to kidney diet. It is worthwhile to keep trying, but, at the same time, the cat should be fed plenty of the non-kidney diet food(s) it likes.
CURRENT OPTIONS FOR KIDNEY DISEASE DIETS FOR CATS
HILL’S PRESCRIPTION DIET
K/D Chicken 4 lb, 8.5 lb
K/D Mobility 6.35 lb
K/D Ocean Fish 4 lb, 8.5 lb
K/D Chicken Pate 5.5 oz
K/D Chicken and Vegetable Stew 2.9 oz
K/D Mobility 2.9 oz
K/D Tuna Pate 5.5 oz
K/D Vegetable and Tuna Stew 2.9 oz
Renal Support A 12 oz, 3 lb, 6.6 lb
Renal Support F 12 oz, 3 lb, 6.6 lb
Renal Support S 12 oz, 3 lb, 6.6 lb
Renal Support D 3 oz
Renal Support T 3 oz
Renal Support E 5.8 oz
PURINA PRO PLAN VETERINARY DIETS
NF Kidney Function Early Care 3.15 lb, 8 lb
NF Kidney Function Advanced Care 3.15 lb, 8 lb
NF Kidney Function Early Care 5.5 oz
NF Kidney Function Advanced Care 5.5 oz
Yarmouth Veterinary Center