Best diet for an older cat whose kidney function is getting worse

melaniewa

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Hi, my kitty is nearly 16. Her kidney function readings have been getting worse:

Glucose 76 (72 - 175 mg/dL 89 66)
BUN 41 (16 - 37 mg/dL H 28 26)
Creatinine 1.8 (0.9 - 2.5 mg/dL 1.2 1.0)

are her most recent readings. My vet has recommended a low protein diet, but then when I surf the web it seems that not everyone agrees with this approach.

Does anyone here have experience with low protein diets? Do they help much, and will your kitty even eat a low protein food?  Any tips?

Thanks in advance!
 

catpack

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Yes, there is opposing consensus on when or if to put a kitty on a low protein diet; however, it does seem that most agree to do this when kitty is in late stage (stage 4) kidney disease.

Low phosphorus, on the other hand, is something that seems to be agreed upon, as well as the importance of keeping kitty properly hydrated. Canned food can help greatly in the hydrate department and, because the smell is often stronger, than be more enticing to get kitty to eat.

Another thing all can agree upon is the importance of kitty eating. This is the #1 concern.

I suggest having an open talk with your vet about any and all concerns about any diet. If you don't feel comfortable after the discussion, or if the vet is pushing something you are not comfortable with, get a second opinion from another vet/clinic.

This site has a lot of information regarding kidney disease. Perhaps give it a read before talking with your vet?
http://www.felinecrf.org

As a note, if you are uncomfortable feeding a prescription food, there are almost always other options, just ask your vet for specific guidelines to selecting a food (i.e. Low protein, low phosphorus, etc...)

I recently helped a former vet of mine find an alternative for a client whose cat has Kidney disease. She was mostly looking for a low protein food, with protein in the 20% range. I found PetSmart's brand Simply Nourish had a Turkey and Rice (or Oatmeal) that fit the bill close enough for her and that was what she was going to suggest to her client. Note that this is a dry food.
 

missmimz

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I'd encourage you to join the feline CKD group over on facebook. They have several files you'll get access to that have a good list of high protein low phos foods. "low protein" is an old school theory. Cats, regardless of kidney disease, need high protein, the goal is just to keep the phos low. You can also use a binder if needed. 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/felinecrf/
 

Anne

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We recently interviewed Dr. Rachel Boltz, a feline health specialist, who reviewed the latest information about feline nutrition. You can see here what she had to say about feeding cats with kidney problems. Like @missmimz  said, a low phosphorus diet is usually indicated. Most commercial diets for cats with kidney problems are in fact low in phosphorus and use binders. 

There is indeed a lot of confusing and conflicting information out there. I know many people say that veterinarians don't know enough about feline nutrition but the truth is there is a lot that's simply not fully understood. Unfortunately, some people advocate diets that have not been shown to help. They express their opinions - often biased by personal agendas - but not fact. What there is that we actually know, a good veterinarian who keeps up to date is more likely to know than the average commenter on a Facebook group but of course, you have no way of knowing just how up to date your vet is.

What I would do is seek out a veterinarian who's a certified feline specialist or nutrition specialist. Someone who can look at your cat's file and provide you with sound advice based on that. Many carry phone or email consultations. It's much safer than seeking internet advice that's usually based around personal beliefs and anecdotes and not on any sound research. With a senior cat that already isn't healthy, the wrong kind of change can actually be harmful, so it's best to consult with an expert. 

You can find professional accredited pet nutritionists here  and veterinarians who specialize in cats here
 
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melaniewa

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Thank you so much for all of the helpful replies!
 

zed xyzed

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My vet is a big fan of a balanced raw diet with Omega 3 supplementation. She is a firm believer that cat need a high quality protein at this stage. 
 
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melaniewa

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Thanks! I am planning to get a 2nd opinion from a vet on the list who specialize in cats.

One more question - can I continue to give her pred does anyone know?

She was diagnosed with possible IBD a few years back. When she is not eating well, I'll give her pred for a couple of days to get her back on track and it has always seemed to work.

When I asked my vet if I could continue to do this, I did not get a very clear answer.

(I am going to start subq fluids several times a week according to my vets recommendation, and hopefully that will help her appetite.)
 

tarasgirl06

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Not sure on the pred, unfortunately; I would definitely consult your vet about that.  Wanted to encourage you on the sub-Q.  Our Moti angel went into CRF a few years back and I was taught how to give sub-Q by our wonderful vet.  It bought us 7 months of mainly quality time with her!  I put her top-loading hard plastic carrier on the bathroom countertop and placed her in it; I was able to suspend the Ringer's from a coat hanger hung across the room on the shower frame, and we followed this ritual very well.  She was very, very patient with me.  I hope you are able to enjoy a long time with your little queen.  
 

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I don't know about the pred but If it's vet recommended during a flare-it would be better to treat the flareup than to not treat it.

my angel Floey-was 17.5 when she passed away in July. She had early kidney disease. she loved Fancy feast mixed in water-hot water-as well as the miralax to help her colon as she too struggled with constipation her entire life. Sadly she came down with lymphoma and it was aggressive BUT her kidney values improved in her last year of life from adding wet foods. We did sub fluids the last 10 days of her life. She tolerated it well enough and she was still able to enjoy the window seat until it was over. I hope you can add some wet food. That seems to be the biggest help-wet food and yes some vets say low protein but my vet doesn't follow the low protein only because they loose so much muscle mass. So she recommended a compromise of a mixture of low protein and high protein snacks like freeze dried treats.

So for Floey we kept it at a regular protein diet-she ate 4Health and fancy feast. She would NOT eat any other wet food. She was a kibble lover and HATED temptations treats. I think it is a balancing act-the extra protein can tax the kidneys but we also see muscle wasting when they get elderly. I don't see why we can't feed a higher protein twice or three times a week-like every other day=and see how it goes. Floey loved freeze dried treats from Orijen. those are all meat. so we fed those every other day. then her usual bowl of slurry at breakfast then she preferred it after it sat all day-don't ask-fussy cat. and forget if I refrigerate the food-she wouldn't touch it.

so fluids most important, then a better diet also don't forget playtime. it helps to keep them active in their old age. Keep us posted!
 

helen725

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My cat Monte is 12 years old and we just got the bloodwork back from his checkup. Our vet said that his bloodwork was okay except his kidney levels were higher. I'm not familiar with the numbers or what they mean but our vet said that normal kidney levels should be at at 150 and Monte's was at 215. They like to put Monte on a prescription diet. At the moment he's been on 1 small can of Wellness wet food and he gets a small amount of Wellness dry food. But he doesn't eat the dry food that often, only if he's really hungry. He also is fond of cat treats, which he occasionally gets as a treat or reward.

My question is what's the right kind of food that we should give Monte? Are there any kinds of cat treats that are still okay to give him that won't worsen his kidney condition?
 

foxxycat

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My cat Monte is 12 years old and we just got the bloodwork back from his checkup. Our vet said that his bloodwork was okay except his kidney levels were higher. I'm not familiar with the numbers or what they mean but our vet said that normal kidney levels should be at at 150 and Monte's was at 215. They like to put Monte on a prescription diet. At the moment he's been on 1 small can of Wellness wet food and he gets a small amount of Wellness dry food. But he doesn't eat the dry food that often, only if he's really hungry. He also is fond of cat treats, which he occasionally gets as a treat or reward.

My question is what's the right kind of food that we should give Monte? Are there any kinds of cat treats that are still okay to give him that won't worsen his kidney condition?
Hi Helen-Can you start a new thread and we can better answer your questions?

I have my own theory about prescription diets but the name of the game for kidney disease=increase fluids. Add water to wet food, give water by syringe if he will let you. One of mine LOVES it when I feed her syringed water. Put more bowls around the house. or in my house we use cups of water-they won't drink out of bowls. Ours are outdoor in the summer and we have a big flat bowl outside that they LOVE to drink out of. Just some ideas. I also suggest to wean off kibble if he doesn't eat it. that's one of the culprits of high kidney values. Start a new thread and we can delve deeper into this.
 

tarasgirl06

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If I can add to those excellent suggestions, I would strongly encourage a water fountain be added.  My older cats have always loved drinking a lot of water from their fountain. 
 
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melaniewa

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Her name is MIca.
 
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