Feeding a Cat With Kidney Failure

Caring for a cat with kidney failure
Caring for a cat with kidney failure (Image: Cat image by Kondretnko Max from Fotolia.com)

The primary purpose for a kidney is to help remove waste and regulate electrolytes. When a cat’s kidney struggles to function properly, the waste that a kidney is supposed to filter inadvertently poisons the cat, resulting in further complications. Unfortunately, there is no cure for feline chronic renal failure. However, it is possible to prolong the length and quality of life of a cat with kidney failure. Besides medication and fluid therapy, a special prescription renal diet can help.

Consult with your veterinarian to choose a diet for your cat that reduces the amount of waste entering its system. There are special cat foods designed for kidney failure that are only available through your veterinarian. A diet low in salt, protein and phosphorus will assist in balancing your cat’s electrolytes.

Consult your vet for a prescription diet.
Consult your vet for a prescription diet. (Image: schwarze schlange mit v image by manu from Fotolia.com)

Introduce the new diet by replacing small amounts of your cat's current food with the prescription diet food. Gradually increase the amounts of the new food as you decrease your cat’s current food until you are feeding the prescription diet food only.

Introduce new food gradually.
Introduce new food gradually. (Image: portion de crocettes pour chat image by Canaricrea from Fotolia.com)

Because of the lower protein level in prescription foods for kidney failure, the food may be less flavorful and so be unappealing to the cat. Add the water from canned tuna or sardines to your cat’s food to boost the taste. Make sure it has no added salt. If you have been using a dry food option, try the canned version of the prescription food.

Heat your cat’s food in the microwave to help make it more appetizing. Don't overheat it; it should be just warm enough to eat comfortably. Warm food will have an aroma that can help encourage your cat to eat. Smell arouses the cat's appetite.

Microwave cat food to encourage appetite.
Microwave cat food to encourage appetite. (Image: microwave image by Adrian Hillman from Fotolia.com)

Make sure your cat has continuous access to water. Provide chemical-free spring water in various bowls throughout the house. Keeping plenty of water bowls available will create a power of suggestion, encouraging your cat to drink.

Elevate food bowls so your cat doesn't strain to eat. Provide a stress-free, calm, warm and comforting environment for your cat. Create easy access to your cat’s usual hang-out spots by providing steps. Making your cat’s routine spots accessible will lesson pain and strain on their muscles.

(Image: calico cat domestic pretty rest sleep relax lounge image by Paul Retherford from Fotolia.com)

Tips & Warnings

  • Be familiar with your veterinarian's office emergency hours. Find out if there is an alternative place to take your cat for 24-hour care.
  • When your cat's quality of life has diminished and it can no longer eat, it will be time to consider euthanasia.

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