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Diet & Kidney Disease – What you need to know for your cat
When your cat has kidney problems, it’s absolutely essential to get their dietary needs in order. Internal ailments can be deeply dispiriting for our cuddly companions, but a change in nutrition can soothe their suffering.
Specially formulated meal plans are the best way to make the disease less debilitating for our fabulously fluffy family members.
Food really is the best medicine for our cats and prescribing the right sustenance can help our precious pets get back on track.
Here at Applaws, we want to do whatever we can to help your four-legged friend get fighting fit, so here are some suggestions on how to slow its progression and the solution to nursing the symptoms.
Why does a cat with kidney problems need an updated diet?
When a pet’s mechanics aren’t fully functional, and an afflicted major organ is compromising their health and wellbeing, then it’s imperative to act without delay.
The dynamic between diet and disease can be quite a complex one to understand, therefore a little research, and seeking expert guidance and advice, can go a long way to easing the strain on your sickly kitty.
Specially formulated meal plans aren’t just a fad, they serve a real purpose, especially when it comes to our enfeebled felines, who need sustenance suitably tailored to meet their individual needs.
A cat with CKD requires a food type with restricted or high-quality protein given that the kidney can no longer operate at full capacity and perform some of its key roles.
One of the organ’s major duties is to remove toxic waste products from the bloodstream, which is produced when dietary protein breaks down during the digestion process.
However, when the kidney’s functionality is reduced, waste products such as urea and phosphorus can’t be removed from your pets system properly, which is when the problems begin to escalate and cause your cat to feel some discomfort.Hence why a diet made from moderate amounts of high-quality protein helps, because it produces reduced levels of urea and phosphorus that the kidney is required to eliminate.
Another crucial role of the kidneys is to conserve water and fight to prevent dehydration. With the disease causing your four-legged friend to urinate excessively, it becomes essential to increase their water intake.
This can be achieved via their diet with foods that promote a high water content. Wet food, for example, is made up of around 70% moisture, which makes it a much more suitable and convenient source for your companion, particularly in comparison to dry food options.
All of this combined can ease the stress on your fur baby’s body and internal organs, enhance their quality of life, while ensuring that they’re getting all the nourishment necessary to thrive on a daily basis.
What does an example diet look like for a cat with kidney disease?
Finding a near-perfect dietary match for your precious little purrer can take time, perseverance and some experimentation.
Ideally, mealtimes ought to be calorie dense with strictly high-quality or restricted levels of protein.
The content of their food bowl should also have low phosphorus levels, controlled sodium levels, and added B vitamins on top of Omega-3 fatty acids.
Prescription or therapeutic diets are generally the only ones at present that can boast a clean sweep of what is necessary.
They are, however, far from unblemished in what they offer considering they usually contain high carbohydrate content and added sugar.
Other options include non-prescription diets, that might tick a couple of boxes, or homemade menus, which also have their pros and cons.
The benefits of rustling up your own concoction is that you’re in full control of what goes into it. You can add in all the goodness of existing diets while rectifying any flaws, though it can be quite time consuming and there’s a lot of pressure on getting the nutritional balance just right.
Cats need enough protein in their diet to maintain muscle mass, but, as mentioned previously, too much will increase the amount of urea and phosphorus the body needs to dispose of.
Ballpark figures for nutrient ratios, based on dry varieties, are — Protein: 28 to 35%, Phosphorus: 0.3 to 0.6%, Sodium: ≤0.4% and Omega-3 fatty acids: 0.4 to 2.5%.
What happens if a cat doesn’t eat a specific diet when they have a kidney issue?
Your cat’s health, happiness and well-being is of paramount importance, even more so when they’re suffering from illness/injury/disease.
Failing to cater to your tail-wagging companion’s dietary requirements can have quite serious repercussions in the long run.
Trying to hit the proverbial nail on the head of their nutritional needs is the first port of call and it might take some time and attention to get there.
Packing too much protein into their main course can be detrimental to them, as explored previously, because it’s overworking a largely dysfunctional organ, which is already struggling to filter out waste that’s building up in the bloodstream.
However, introducing a blanket ban on protein can be equally damaging as it’s depriving your pet of vital nutrients, leading to decreased muscle mass, malnutrition and reduced physical/mental health.
Meeting somewhere in the middle and providing a source of digestible, low-waste protein from high-quality animal produce is a recommended compromise. After all, your main goal is to make your friendly furball feel better.
It’s also essential to counteract the deterioration of the kidney by limiting excess waste in the bloodstream. As the organ’s functionality reduces, phosphorus doesn’t get filtered out as easily, meaning that it becomes increasingly important to reduce the amount of this by-product in your cat’s diet.
Sodium consumption in cats with CKD should also be limited as it can increase blood pressure and accelerate your poor pet’s condition. Omega-3 fatty acids, on the other paw, can aid their recovery and examples, such as EPA and DHA, behave as anti-inflammatories to help reduce the risk of nephritis.
An extra portion of B vitamins will also come in handy as kitties with kidney disease tend to lose these in abundance due to additional toilet time. Prescription or therapeutic diets for kidney disease are usually fortified with additional B-complex vitamins, which will boost their appetite and promote good health and wellbeing.
All the above contribute to the overall happiness, health and well-being of your prized pet, which is why a specially formulated diet is crucial in helping your cat thrive and survive.
A healthy cat is a happy cat
Dietary guidance for cats suffering with kidney disease is there for a reason. Specially formulated meal plans, tailored to meet the nutritional needs of those pets suffering, are almost medicinal when it comes to caring for our four-legged friends.
All we want, as pet parents, is for our savvy little sidekicks to keep moving around our homes with a sassy little swagger, even when they’re suffering from a potentially debilitating illness.
It’s down to us to do all we can to ease their hurt and anguish. Filling their bowls with all the goodness they crave is an integral part in ensuring that they can keep going about their day-to-day business as normally and as pain-free as possible.