Feline CRF Diet Recommendations

Feline CRF (chronic renal failure) is a progressive and fatal disease. However, cats affected by CRF can live comfortably for years with management and a healthy diet.

Symptoms of Feline CRF

Feline CRF is the progressive deterioration of kidney function, which includes the primary function of removing toxins from your cat's bloodstream. This causes toxins to build up in your cat's body, eventually poisoning him. To reduce the effects of this, it's important to reduce the toxins in your cat's body through increased grooming, medication and an improved diet.

Cats can often disguise the symptoms of CRF because they don't like to appear ill, so by the time your cat begins showing symptoms, he may be quite sick and will need veterinary care as soon as possible.

Symptoms of CRF

  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Dehydration
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Poor coat quality
  • Bad breath
  • Depression 
  • Oral ulcers

Diet for Feline CRF

There is a lot of contradictory information available about feeding a cat suffering from CRF, because veterinarians are beginning to change the way they think about treatment. Phosphorus, which is found in all commercial cat food because it's common in meat, should be avoided as much as possible.

However, reducing phosphorous often means reducing protein, which veterinarians are now concluding is counterintuitive to how cats eat, and thus should be avoided when possible. Cats are carnivores, and they thrive on protein. Removing protein from your cat's diet can often do more harm than good.

Therefore, it's important to look for high quality cat food with high quality protein sources, not meat byproducts. There are many foods that are high in protein and low in phosphorous.

The most important thing to remember is that the diet doesn't work if your cat won't eat it. Cats will starve themselves, so if your cat won't eat the special diet that you've designed, try something else. It's more important that your cat eats, whether he's eating the perfect diet or not.

It's also important that your cat receive adequate amounts of water. Since you may not notice how much your cat drinks, this often goes unnoticed.

Add enticements to both food and water. This can be low-sodium chicken broth, or tuna or clam juice. This can be added to food or water for additional nutrients and added flavor. Try warming your cat's food or adding warm water. Keep all food and water fresh, since many cats are repelled by stale food or water.

Though higher in phosphorous, feeding wet food can also entice your cat to eat. Since it contains more liquids than dry food, it also helps prevent dehydration. Look for wet food that contains high quality protein sources, and thus fewer harmful ingredients.

You can also prepare a home-cooked or raw diet for your pet that includes healthy ingredients and additional vitamins or supplements. Do your research before preparing such a diet, since omitting a necessary ingredient could cause a deficiency in your cat.

Since there is no cure for feline CRF, it's important to improve your pet's diet, which can prolong his life and improve its quality.