Problems with the kidneys are common in cats. If your feline friend has already been diagnosed with renal disease, feeding her a specific diet designed for kidney care will help to improve and maintain your cat’s quality of life. For healthy moggies, the best ways to prevent kidney problems are regular urine testing and making sure they drink plenty of water. In addition to that, here are some other tips for looking after your kitty’s kidneys.
How to help your cat
1. Carry out a twice-yearly urine test for cats over the age of seven. Nothing else will have a greater impact in terms of spotting renal problems earlier and then treating them. Simply collect your cat’s pee using urine sample-collecting litter (or by putting aquarium gravel into your cat’s tray and collecting the urine which isn’t absorbed), and then take it to your vet for testing.
2. Make sure your cat has access to plenty of fresh water. Adding a wet food to your pet’s diet can also help increase their intake of fluids, as it’s higher in water than dry food. And if your cat enjoys drinking from a dripping tap, treating them to a water fountain can also encourage them to drink more often throughout the day. One more hydration tip? Some cats love having their water flavoured with fish or chicken.
3. Be aware of the most common changes you’ll spot in your cat if they have developed renal problems, including drinking more water, losing weight, tacky skin (indicating dehydration), and loss of appetite.
Popular renal diets
Renal cat foods contain high-quality protein in a smaller quantity than regular foods. This is because, when your pet’s kidneys are working poorly, protein can’t be broken down in the gut as effectively, which results in a build-up of uremic toxins in the blood.
Renal diets also contain less phosphate, as too much of this compound can cause kidney failure. Research shows that foods which are specifically formulated to meet these two needs (lower protein and lower phosphate content) provide significant long-term health benefits to cats who suffer from kidney disease.
If you’re looking for a cat food that helps support kidney function, we've put together a selection of renal care foods here.
Supplements for kidney disease
There are some supplements available that can also help with some of the functions that the renal diets provide, such as the phosphate binder Ipakitine, which works by "binding" to dietary phosphate and allowing it to be excreted in the faeces rather than the urine.
Please remember to consult with your vet before changing your cat’s diet or giving them supplements, especially if your cat has other diseases as well.