Feeding a cat with renal disease

Tortoiseshell cat eatingDiet is the most important treatment for a cat with chronic kidney disease.  An appropriate diet slows the progression of the kidney disease and can prevent secondary problems developing.

The key components of a kidney diet are:

  • low levels of a high quality protein – the kidneys deal with the waste products of protein, by using a high quality protein there will be fewer waste products.  Some protein is still important as it helps to keep lean muscle mass.
  • reduced phosphorus content – high phosphorus accelerates the decline in kidney function so by restricting the phosphorus content of the diet we can reduce the rate of deterioration.
  • highly palatable – it is very important for a cat with kidney disease to keep eating so it is important for these diets to be tasty – if they won’t eat them, they won’t get the benefits!




Maintaining hydration is very important in a cat with kidney disease as they cannot control how much fluid is lost through the urine.  Feeding a wet food is the best option, as well as encouraging your cat to drink.

There are many kidney-specific diets available, your vet will be able to help you to decide which is best for your cat, but sometimes it is a matter of trial and error to see which they like best.  It is important to make any changes gradually, over at least 1 week but possibly longer.  The later in the disease process that you try to change the diet, the more difficult it will be, so early diagnosis of kidney disease is key.

Ratios of old to new foodKidney diets currently available include:

Brand Wet food flavours Dry food flavours
Hills k/d Chicken, Salmon, Beef Chicken
Royal Canin renal Chicken, Beef, Tuna Standard, Select, Special
Purina NF Renal function Chicken, Salmon Unspecified
Eukanuba Veterinary Renal formula Chicken



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