Cat Food for Kidney Problems

In today’s world of variable quality cat food, finding the right cat food for a cat with kidney problems can be a challenge. Some cats may need to be fed a specific diet in order to manage their health condition. Other times, you will need to obtain a prescription from your veterinarian to purchase the right cat food for your cat’s kidney problems. With this in mind, how should you go about choosing a cat food for a cat with kidney problems? Here is a quick guide to help you get started.

Quality Ingredients

A very common mistake that many cat owners make is to purchase a cat food for kidney problems that has low quality ingredients. Some cat food companies produce certain food formulas that are marketed as being good for cats with kidney problems, but with lots of filler ingredients. An example of this is Royal Canin, a company that produces many “Veterinary” diets that contain a high percentage of corn and wheat ingredients. Always read the ingredients of any cat food formula when purchasing a cat food for kidney problems. Remember that the first five ingredients make up the bulk of the formula, and that the first ingredient should always be a meat-based protein. Avoid any formulas that contain corn, wheat, soy or other common allergens. Never purchase a cat food formula for kidney problems that contains chemical preservatives, artificial colors or artificial flavors.

Sodium Content

If your cat has kidney problems, a good renal cat food will have regulated sodium content. This is because cats with kidney problems often have trouble processing foods that contain a high amount of sodium. Depending on your cat’s specific condition, you will need to look for a cat food formula that meets the dietary guidelines given to you by your veterinarian.

Protein Content

Cat food for cats with kidney problem often contains a lower percentage of protein. This is because cats with kidney problems may develop complications when fed a high protein diet. However, it’s essential to remember that your cat’s food should never contain less than 20% protein in its guaranteed analysis. The exception is only when this has been clearly advised by your veterinarian. Most cat food formulas designed for cats with kidney problems are only available by obtaining a prescription from your veterinarian.

  • Steve

    I rescued a cat from a “shelter”. He was obviously sick and suffering from food allergies. I did some research on my own and found that “veterinary-approved” cat food is what is making him sick. I started giving him a raw and supplemented home cooked diet, and grain free canned food occasionally. He is like a different cat now. I don’t trust doctors. Conventional medicine is about drugs and surgery. They don’t treat the cause of disease, only symptoms. I will never force my cat to undergo invasive procedures again.

  • Janet

    I totally agree with Ashley. I have worked in the veterinary field for over 21 years. I personally do not like the ingredient content in the Hill’s/Science Diet brands, but they are there for a bunch of reasons. I am only going to refer to the prescription dry/canned diets. Each formulation of their diets have to be specifically formulated towards the disease/health issue(s) that they are intended for. Cats with failing kidneys still need protein (quality is key not the higher the percentage as some brands have, i.e. 40% & up) but the phosphorus needs to be lowered. A diet with an extremely high meat content will drive the protein, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium & sodium levels to the extreme (which can also cause urinary/bladder problems for some). Fish is not good as well. Fish oil is acceptable. Fish ingredients are elevated in these minerals too.

    I happen to have a 15 year old cat on Hill’s w/d for urinary and kidney problems and doing well with it (since he was 4 years old). I also had a cat who lived to be almost 21 years of age with diabetes and hyperthyroidism, also on w/d & died at home (10 days shy of her 21st birthday) from a stroke, not her ‘poor quality Hill’s diet.’ There are pros & cons to everything in life. We would all love to feed our pets the way nature intended. However, animals have evolved from many years of domestication & for some pets, this type of feeding is not always advisable or even possible, especially when there’s a disease process going on or other health issues. This is why it is important to have a good relationship with a veterinarian. That’s what they go to school for. They learn, they on going research & learn from other sources like we all do…

  • Ashley

    Ok, not to be mean but this article is very unhelpful. How about a list of all these foods you mention with quality ingredients that also are good for kidney disease? I suspect there is no list because these foods simply do not exist. Don’t get me wrong, I hate having to feed my cat Hill’s brand, but it has been proven to be healthy for his kidneys. I’d rather have a live cat eating Hill’s than a dead one who ate organic free range buffalo tongues or whatever.

    Furthermore, I suggest you do a little research before advising people on what to buy – especially when it comes to cats with health issues. You mention paying attention to the sodium content, but restricted phosphorus is one of the main qualities of a kidney-friendly cat food, and it is not mentioned in this article. It may be better to leave it to the professionals when it comes to diets for unhealthy cats if you are not well-versed in their needs.

    Again, not trying to be mean or trollish, I just see a lot of this judgmental attitude toward feeding prescription diets, with no viable or proven alternatives to back it up.