Dietary Considerations for Managing Cat Renal Failure

Cat renal failure is a serious, potentially fatal condition that is also known as feline kidney failure. There are many types of feline kidney disease that may ultimately lead to kidney failure, or other severe complications. One of the most effective and least invasive treatment programs for chronic renal failure in cats is a renal cat food diet. By controlling your cat’s diet properly, you help to preserve his kidney function and protect him against renal failure.

Understanding Kidney Failure in Cats

Renal failure results in a breakdown of your cat’s kidney tissue.  In a chronic case, this breakdown occurs gradually over months or years. Acute renal failure occurs most often as a reaction to a toxic substance and is unrelated. As a result of renal failure, excess waste enters the bloodstream, causing conditions like urea. Furthermore, kidney failure may disturb the natural balance of electrolytes and sodium in your cat’s body. 

Kidney failure is a progressive disease, meaning that it develops gradually over time and worsens if left untreated. In advanced stages or particularly severe cases, emergency medical treatment is often necessary. However, early-stage kidney failure may be moderated appropriately with a feline kidney disease cat food.

Treating and Moderating Kidney Failure with Special Diets

Because feline renal failure interrupts your pet’s natural ability to process certain components of the foods that he eats, many pet food manufacturers have developed special types of cat food designed to reduce the stress put upon your pet’s kidneys. 

Most kidney failure diets have low protein content compared to other cat foods. Reduced protein requires less work on the part of your cat’s kidneys, reducing the waste products that enter into the bloodstream. Additionally, many renal failure diets limit the sodium and phosphorous content of the food, which helps to balance out the incorrect electrolyte production in your cat’s body. Finally, kidney failure diets are almost always canned rather than dry, because the extra moisture aids in digestion and processing.

Renal Failure Food for Your Cat

Due to the increasing number of cats suffering from kidney failure late in life, most major pet food brands manufacture a renal failure food. Eukanuba, Hill’s, Iams, Purina and Royal all market cat food diets specifically designed for pets suffering from early-stage kidney failure. These foods differ somewhat in ingredients, so it's best to select a new diet for your pet with the help of a veterinarian. 

It may be difficult to persuade your pet to eat a new type of food, particularly one with reduced sodium and protein. Many pet owners have found that gradually transitioning from one diet to another is helpful. Begin the transition by mixing in a portion of the new diet equal to one quarter of the total meal with the standard food. As your cat grows accustomed to this change, begin to increase the proportion of the meal that is the new diet. Eventually your pet will have transitioned to an entirely new diet. 

If your pet suffers from chronic renal failure, speak with a veterinarian about the possibility of tempering his symptoms with the help of a dietary management practice. These treatment options are effective, inexpensive, and unobtrusive.