Chronic kidney disease or CKD is one of the most common ailments found in cats. Cats aren’t great at drinking water. Unlike a dog, cats aren’t fond of stagnant water. They prefer to drink flowing water instead. It is a kind of genetic adaptation to save themselves from bacterias and microbes present in stagnant water. They also live on a high protein diet and have limited water intake through food.
In CKD, kidney functions might diminish gradually or all of a sudden. Waste materials that are normally excreted through urine start building up in the cat’s bloodstream and cause a lot of health-related complications. It makes them lazy, affects their appearance and they lose weight as well. Sometimes they might urinate more and drink a lot of water due to ongoing dehydration. This results in nutrients getting washed away and cause diminished metabolism and lessen food intake as well.
Another complication that may arise is the acid accumulation in the bloodstream. The kidneys don’t excrete these acids and it starts affecting other organs as well. CKD might cause a reduction in red blood cells resulting in anemia which is evident from pale gums and lethargy.
There is no certain cure for CKD, however, a cat’s life may be prolonged by treatment and modification of diet. Your vet might prescribe a certain diet or dietary support like Royal Canin Renal Support Dry Food for cats.
Reducing the effects of CKD in your feline friend can seem like a monumental task. Since the disease can’t be cured altogether, you can only work towards reducing its effects on your cat’s life. Dietary modifications play an important role in CKD which is a proven fact. Managing a cat’s nutrition intake can play a significant role in reducing the signs and effects associated with your cat’s CKD.
This is how each element in your cat’s food intake should be managed.
Needless to say that water intake is the key element here. CKD reduces the excretion of toxins from the cat’s bloodstream and can result in dehydration. Dehydration can also occur from vomiting which is one of the major symptoms. Make sure you supply your cat with plenty of water as it will feel constantly thirsty. You can also increase the quantity of water with its food. Cats dislike stagnant or stale water, so you can install a source of running water for its benefit.
Cats with CKD might suffer from lethargy and loss of appetite. It is advisable to keep changing the foods and note the cat’s preferences. Try new flavors of foods along with new ingredients. You have to make sure that your cat consumes enough calories or it might suffer a loss of muscles and body fat. Sometimes high-fat diets are recommended as they contain about 2.5 times more calories than carbohydrates. Make sure you spread out small meals throughout the day to meet their energy needs. This also reduces vomiting tendencies.
Restriction of protein in your cat’s diet depends on the severity of the disease. Although it is unclear if protein restrictions help at all or not. But a moderate intake of high-quality protein will certainly prevent the loss of your cat’s muscles. Limited restrictions can decrease the levels of nitrogen waste in your cat’s blood and also prevent anemia and essential fatty acids deficiency. However, it is not advisable to impose restrictions unless your cat shows any symptoms like vomiting or loss of energy.
Phosphorus is one of the key elements in a healthy cat’s diet. But a cat suffering from CKD cannot manage the level of phosphorus in its blood since the excessive phosphates do not get excreted. Excessive Phosphorus in the bloodstream can cause low appetite, ill-coordinated movement, and extreme weakness. As Phosphorus intake is linked with Protein intake, moderating both together is necessary.
Sodium and Potassium
Sodium should be restricted slightly to reduce its retention in the body, even though its role in feline hypertension is controversial.
On the other hand, Potassium should be supplemented in the diet as it’s deficiency due to renal loss can cause stiffness in muscles.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
CKD can result in protein getting removed from kidneys. Omega 3 fatty acids can help in the prevention of damage caused by oxidative stress.
Even though your veterinarian will prescribe the optimal diet for your cat, there are a few things that you should keep in mind when it comes to feeding your cat suffering from renal problems.
When it comes to over the counter foods for your cat, canned foods are the best. They have more water and the contents are usually organic-based made from high-quality protein.
Cats suffering from an advanced stage of the disease would benefit from vet prescribed food that provides renal support. They are usually tastier to appease your cat’s food preferences.
Sometimes an organic, homemade food might be just the key to complete your cat’s special dietary needs. But it is important to consult your vet before committing to home-cooked food to make sure that your recipe is safe and optimally nutritious to cater to the feline needs of the hour.