Cat with kidney disease

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LindaKat
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Cat with kidney disease

Post by LindaKat » Thu May 21, 2020 7:46 pm

Any advice on cat with kidney disease. Harry keeps losing his appetite. Won't eat wet food or will just lick the gravy off it. I have read somewhere about feeding a senior diet, obviously will check it out with the vet. Has anyone else tried this?

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Mollycat
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Re: Cat with kidney disease

Post by Mollycat » Fri May 22, 2020 6:57 am

I'm on my third one with reduced renal function. My first was many years ago when treatment and diet options were very limited and she had 8 good quality years on Hills dry, because the only wet option was made by Whiskas and she would not touch Whiskas in any form. She lived to 16 and was fine until the last few weeks. My second had other health problems at the same time, I had him on Hills dry and pouch but after a while the pouches started to make him sick, then the dry did too and I had him on Felix good as it looks senior. His kidney function improved into borderline normal but sadly his other issues overtook him, he was 15. My girl now showed up early stage after successful hyperthyroid treatment last year, she is 13 this year and I don't have her on any special diet - digestion dry which she rarely touches and Felix good as it looks senior. All had and have little or no commercial treats but get some fresh meat (cooked or raw) to help balance up against the high carb dry food and boost their protein intake, but mostly because they love real food.

Renal failure is a gradual progression disease and it's so common that personally I almost expect to see some values edging towards the high range once they reach their teens. Often, helped by a decent diet, progression can be slowed down even more. To support the kidneys this means low phosphorous and if needed B vitamins and potassium (potassium is excreted from the kidneys and urinating a lot can deplete potassium) and of course fluids. Protein is the subject of debate. Traditionally protein has been restricted in renal support foods, and most manufacturers claim reduced amounts of high quality protein - and also in senior foods, probably because renal failure is so common. But some studies in recent years have found senior cats need much higher levels of protein, and that unlike most animals it seems an old cat's dietary needs might be much more similar to the needs of a kitten than an adult. And that's the conflicting science and commercial interests we cat owners have to try and make our own sense of. To cap it all vet practices are usually tied to one food manufacturer and will recommend their product and sell it to you at vastly inflated prices regardless of whether it's the best for your cat or if your cat will eat it, and if your cat won't eat it rather than recommend another food they often suggest other tricks to get them to eat that food. Vets are not nutritionists and vets are not impartial.

The best reading there is on the internet in my opinion is this - http://www.felinecrf.org/index.htm. Helen who runs it (Tanya was the name of her first CKD cat) is impartial and has done an incredible amount of thorough investigation to put together this valuable no nonsense resource. As she says, no renal food on earth is any good to your cat if he or she won't eat it, and that right there is the most important piece of advice you will ever get from anyone on managing your cat's renal issues. Sorry for the long post but I hope it helps.

* just to add - Felix has one of the highest protein contents of easily available reasonably priced commercial cat foods. For grain-free (not carb-free) I also recommend Butchers canned, it's cheap and surprisingly good for the price.

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fjm
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Re: Cat with kidney disease

Post by fjm » Fri May 22, 2020 7:17 am

When Tilly was diagnosed I first adjusted the home made diet both cats are fed to be lower in phosphorus by using bone free meat (mostly chicken with a little liver, heart, etc) and adding ground eggshell for calcium, and then researched the kidney diets for one that was reasonably high in animal protein while being low in phosphates. I do wish there were samples available - I ended up with a shelf full before I found one she liked (Purina Pro-Plan renal). Even then she licked the gravy off and left the lumps, till I used a shallower bowl, mashed it well, and offered her tiny portions practically every time she came in. She also likes the Kattovit renal biscuits so there is always a bowl of those out for her to browse on, and she is once more eating at least some of the home made diet, plus assorted mice and voles - she is still skinnier than I would like but is fit and happy, and at 17 I am grateful for every good month.

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Re: Cat with kidney disease

Post by LindaKat » Fri May 22, 2020 7:16 pm

Thanks. He has appointment for a anabolic steroid injection tomorrow. Hoping this may encourage him to eat. It annoys me that you have to spend a fortune on a 1.5kg bag of food. Wish the manufacturers did sample bags. I have to try to get potassium supplement into him somehow, tuna water usually works.

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Mollycat
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Re: Cat with kidney disease

Post by Mollycat » Fri May 22, 2020 7:51 pm

Don't give potassium supplement if it's not needed. Most cats will happily take it sprinkled on food, so my vet tells me.

issiandarchie+68
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Re: Cat with kidney disease

Post by issiandarchie+68 » Sat May 23, 2020 12:22 pm

Mollycat, as you are aware, I lost my wee darling Cody to sudden onset kidney disease but won't offer opinion on diets as you have all explained it so well in your responses to LindaKat. I was however, interested in your comment re feeding kitten food. My old boy Gandhi had terrible Megacolon and latterly thyroid problems. Couldn't poop or keep his food down, we despaired. However once his meds were sorted out as he grew old, in desperation I fed him both Whiskas and Felix kitten food alongside RC Gastrointestinal dry. He absolutely thrived, healthiest he had ever been. Gleaming coat, sweet breath, lots of energy. I am now feeding my newly adopted old boy Christopher Brodie exactly the same, alternating different flavours. He too is thriving, I can't top running my fingers through his thick coat or sniffing him! My only very deep regret is trying to feed Cody renal food in her final days, it just made her miserable. In the end, I gave her what she wanted, lots of cat milk and Tesco ham. But that's a purely personal decision.

Issi

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Mollycat
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Re: Cat with kidney disease

Post by Mollycat » Sat May 23, 2020 1:13 pm

issiandarchie+68 wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 12:22 pm
Mollycat, as you are aware, I lost my wee darling Cody to sudden onset kidney disease but won't offer opinion on diets as you have all explained it so well in your responses to LindaKat. I was however, interested in your comment re feeding kitten food. My old boy Gandhi had terrible Megacolon and latterly thyroid problems. Couldn't poop or keep his food down, we despaired. However once his meds were sorted out as he grew old, in desperation I fed him both Whiskas and Felix kitten food alongside RC Gastrointestinal dry. He absolutely thrived, healthiest he had ever been. Gleaming coat, sweet breath, lots of energy. I am now feeding my newly adopted old boy Christopher Brodie exactly the same, alternating different flavours. He too is thriving, I can't top running my fingers through his thick coat or sniffing him! My only very deep regret is trying to feed Cody renal food in her final days, it just made her miserable. In the end, I gave her what she wanted, lots of cat milk and Tesco ham. But that's a purely personal decision.

Issi
That's very interesting Issi thank you, yours is the first anecdotal account I have heard supporting this kitten food idea. I stumbled on it while reading so many papers and articles trying to find my way through IBD or lymphoma, early renal changes and hyperthyroidism at various stages in not one but two cats at the same time, one not diagnosed but suspected, the other recently cured and having had some kind of liver or bile related crash.

There seem to be more articles appearing now claiming there is "little evidence" to support much benefit from a reduced protein diet but plenty to support a reduced phosphate diet, backing away from the old certainty that protein was the thing to be reduced. But some research papers say with a cat's tendency to lose lean muscle mass and an increased caloric need in old age, protein seems the best way to achieve this. The jury's still out but it's an interesting topic to watch anyway and I'm glad someone has actually done this and found it so helpful.

Oh and I'm completely with you on letting them eat exactly what they love best once they reach a certain stage, where we go from preserving quality of life to prolonging life at any cost. I do believe we sometimes have to be brave and do the right thing by doing everything wrong :)

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