Putting weight on Tilly-cat

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fjm
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Putting weight on Tilly-cat

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Tilly is nearly 19 years old, happy and active but very skinny. In 2019 she was diagnosed with early CKD and put on a renal diet, which she didn't much like but sort of ate. At her latest check up earlier this year her kidney results had improved over the 2019 baseline and all blood test results were within the normal range, but she had lost more weight. The vet and I agreed that it would be best to relax the phosphorus control a bit if that meant she would eat more.

So I started yet another spreadsheet, and yet another frustrating round of buying and chucking innumerable cat foods, and buying supermarket meat and ending up feeding it to the dogs or eating it myself. And at last - whisper it softly so as not to jinx it - I have found a combination that she will eat regularly without too much waste and that, if not perfectly balanced, is not too outrageously unbalanced. On one plate 1/3 sachet of Royal Canin renal, preferably chicken or fish, with half a sachet of Gourmet Mon Petit spread over the top and very lightly mashed in (not mixed, you notice!). On another plate 25g or so of chopped raw chicken hearts, with a few grams of chicken liver and a tiny pinch of ground eggshell. Repeat at least three times a day. Add the contents of an omega 3 capsule once a day. Plus a bit of the dogs' chicken pancake for magnesium etc and scraps of meat for treats. Phosphorus comes in at around 150mg per 100kcal, which is what I aim for at her stage of CKD, and total calories are considerably more than she was getting from eating just the renal. She has gained a little weight, although we still have a way to go to get her back to where she was three years ago and she was thin then.

It all rather emphasises what they say about dogs having owners and cats staff - although thinking about it, what with the home cooking, treat baking, chauffeuring, etc my dogs have staff too!
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Re: Putting weight on Tilly-cat

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Cautious congratulations, I really do admire your home cooking calculations, something I have always wanted to do but been terrified to get wrong. It doesn't help that there are so many "recipes" online with clearly bad advice and I knew vets could not be trusted with feline nutrition from the day I was first instructed to offer a post-op "bland meal of boiled chicken and rice" - I dismissed the idea as "advice for dogs" and moved on.

I think you and I have both fallen foul of the now questionable practice of being instructed to start a renal diet at IRIS Stage 1, when increasingly there is a question mark over whether this is too soon. I know in Molly-cat's case I let myself be bamboozled into starting it too soon based on poorly conducted tests and focus on the wrong results. We still have the overweight problem but her coat, eyes and energy levels are so much better since we ditched the renal.

And in the end, we are trying to maintain the best possible quality of life, not length of life at all costs. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "It is not the length of life, but the depth" and in cat food terms that means compromises.
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fjm
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Re: Putting weight on Tilly-cat

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Renal food or not is a very tricky one. On the one hand she is still reasonably healthy and her kidneys are functioning well three years after diagnosis; on the other she could definitely do with rather more weight and much better muscle tone. There seem to be more and more early renal foods available now - unfortunately Tilly considers them inedible! I think the answer is adding good quality protein with a reasonable phosphorus level per 100kcals, which comes down to moderately fatty meat for cats that won't eat eggs. Commercial renal diets seem to have jumped straight to the very reduced protein levels that may be needed for advanced cases, but are too low for the early cases that the SDMA test reveals. |t's rather like the hepatic diet that Poppy-dog is on - the vet said it was bland and ideal in many ways, but too low in protein for long term maintenance for her level of disease and needed supplementing - I add chicken breast and she has done very well for over two years now.
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