Most veterinarians will advocate a low protein cat food when confronted with a cat with kidney failure. They will also suggest a diet low in phosphorus. However, it is my believe, that both these ideas are faulty and are avoiding the real cause.
One of the most important areas to consider when your cat develops kidney failure is that they are most likely chronically dehydrated. Cats have evolved in arid areas, with little opportunity to drink regularly. This means they have developed other strategies of getting an adequate liquid intake. It comes from their diet.
A wild cats diet is very moist. After all, each animal comes with a large amount of blood.
The common practice of feeding cats dried food may not lead to dehydration quickly, but it will sooner or later. Cats rarely drink enough water to make up the short fall. So if you feed your cat ANY amount of dried food, be assured that kidney failure is very high on the agenda in the coming years.
This is the cause of the majority of kidney failure in cats.
Once renal failure is established, the diet is the first area you should address, not a drug. Every cat needs a highly digestible, bio-appropriate protein content. Cats cannot cope with a low protein diet. It is detrimental to their ongoing health, as they are obligate carnivores.
However, a blood test may reveal toxicity in the blood as a result of protein breakdown. This is not the protein from a good quality cat food, but rather from the protein from plant based foods so common in commercial cat food.
This is not something your vet is likely to know or consider. As far as they are concerned, protein is protein. But your cat cannot digest or use plant based proteins; they have no problem with good quality animal based proteins. This means there is a VAST difference between proteins, and other nutrients, that the veterinary profession has little idea about.
It’s all about a species-specific diet. YOU need protein from plants, being an omnivore at the herbivore end. CATS need protein from animal sources, being an obligate carnivore. And it doesn’t matter what state of health they are in. The sooner they start eating food specific to their needs, the better their chances of fully recovering.
Another area that may be of concern to those with cats with kidney failure is the phosphorus content of the food. Phosphorus is an essential mineral for everyone’s health, including cats. Excess phosphorus is easily eliminated from the body through the action of the kidneys.
Cats with kidney failure may not be able to eliminate this as easily and so excess phosphorus (hyperphosphataemia) may result. Vets will often suggest a diet low in animal protein, to avoid this problem. But phosphorous is high in all foods, not just meat. And as cats eat a diet almost exclusively animal based in the wild, they have a high requirement for this mineral.
By ensuring your cat has a diet not just high in quality meat, but also in quality bones, with its high calcium content, you ensure they have their natural diet, one their bodies know how to balance.
Meat is not high in protein for cats. It’s normal. Substituting meat for plant based food is not palatable to your cat and will cause more problems. Don’t get sucked into the myth about low protein cat food.
Phosphorus is an essential mineral and is easily controlled with a balanced diet of quality meat and bones.
Dehydration, from dried cat food, is the main cause of kidney failure in cats. Swap this for real, quality food, and the problem, any problem, is likely to disappear.
Spend your money once, on learning about quality food for your cat, rather than repeatedly, on expensive veterinary visits and drugs.