Renal Cat Food
"Renal cat food is needed when renal problems in cats require nutritional management as part of the prescribed therapy. This is usually done in two ways, i.e. if the cat renal problem is in the initial or middle stages, renal feline food is formulated to interrupt the progress of the disease, while in cases of latter or “end stages” of cat renal diseases, diet is adjusted only to improve the quality of the affected cat’s life. In either case, the ratio of different nutritional components such as energy level, proteins, fats, minerals, antioxidants etc are adjusted according to the pathogenesis (progression) of the renal disease, which is generally termed as renal food for cats. A Veterinarian must be consulted when selecting the right commercial cat food for cats with feline renal failure; to ensure that quality and the requirements of the affected cat are considered, which is based on the stage of renal disease."
Importance of Renal Cat Food:
Renal problems in cats are some of the most complicated urinary tract problems. Renal insufficiency and failure of the nephrons in the feline kidneys leave a cat with a poor prognosis, and if the nutritional components are not adjusted at the time, ultimately death may occur within weeks.
By adjusting different dietary components, the progress disease can be slowed down and the cat's quality of life can be improved. In fact, cat food for feline renal therapy is a generally preferred method for treatment/management of renal diseases in pets.
Goals of Renal Cat Food/Nutritional Modifications:
Dietary therapy for cat renal or cat kidney problems through modification of regular food can help to achieve different goals. These goals are:
- Fulfillment of energy and nutritional requirements of the patient.
- To reduce the affects of clinical symptoms and alleviating uremic (retention of waste in the bloodstream) intoxication
- To maintain the mineral, vitamin and acid-base balance in body that is being disturbed by the feline renal problems
- To slow down the process of renal failure feline or cat kidney failure
Components of Renal Cat Food:
- Energy: A cat requires energy to perform different bodily functions. In renal feline food, energy levels are usually elevated for the reason that if energy is not provided, the body will consume needed indigenous proteins. Sometimes, if dietary proteins are restricted, renal problems persist. This happens because the body consumes its indigenous proteins causing symptoms such as azotemia (accumulation in the blood of nitrogenous waste products (urea) that are usually excreted in the urine) and uremia persists. The more proteins that are consumed, the more it will lead to nitrogenous toxicity (feline axotemia). This type of energy can be made available through carbohydrates or preferably fats. In a quality cat kidney food, the level of energy should remain 25 – 28%.
- Proteins: Quality renal cat kidney food should contain restricted amounts of protein. Protein is restricted in order to control the level of nitrogenous toxicity in the blood, i.e. symptoms of azotemia and uremia. In this context, cat food should only contain 10 – 16% of dry protein. Non essential amino acids – units of proteins, should be eliminated and only essential amino acids are recommended for cats with renal problems, as excessive restriction of dietary proteins can lead to malnutrition. Protein malnutrition can lead to hypotrophy which refers to the degradation of vital organs and tissues due to a loss of cells.
- Vitamins, Electrolytes and Minerals:
Different minerals such as calcium, sodium and potassium should be
restricted, but phosphorus should be completely prohibited. These
minerals can certainly cause the accumulation of crystals over the
cat kidneys. Phosphorus in particular causes severe problems as its
in the blood. Other minerals like sodium may cause hypertension, but
controlled with restricting the amount. Complete prohibition of
or potassium is never recommended, since they are responsible for vital
biochemical reactions in the body.
Vitamins on the other hand are usually excreted in excess due to dehydration. Vitamins therefore causes symptoms such as anorexia (appetite loss) in affected cats. It is recommended that additional vitamins be added to renal cat food, excluding vitamin A. Research has shown that cats with renal problems have higher vitamin A levels in the body as compared to healthier cats.
- Fats: Fats are considered to be a more reliable and rich source of energy for cats with renal problems. Quality renal cat food should contain adequate amounts of omega 3 fatty acids and other fats in adequate quantities. These not only provides energy but also work to preserve renal function by reducing the load over the kidneys.
- Natural Remedies:
Natural preparations are always recommended, as these can support the
of renal cat food, which is to help enhance energy
levels, vitality and support the physiology of the renal system.
Supplementing formulated cat renal food preparations with
additional vitamins, minerals or antioxidants is never encouraged,
since it ruins the goals of dietary therapy, the goal of renal cat
Natural remedies, however, supports a cat's physiology via detoxification and by enhancing the efficacy or effectiveness of the components of the cat renal food. Some natural remedies to consider include Energy Tonic to boost energy and vitality levels, Kidney Support to strengthen the cat renal system and C-Caps Formula to boost cellular strength and physiology throughout the body.
A good source of commercial diets for cat renal disease is Ohio State University on available cat kidney diets. When visiting the site, choose cat as the species, and select the option for reduced Phosphorous/Protein. Note that most commercial foods suggested require a prescription.
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Merck Veterinary Manual (Merck & Co. 2008)
Pibot P. et all. “Veterinary Clinical Nutrition” (IVIS, Ithaca NY. 2008)