My cat Monte just got his blood work back - kidney values are a bit high

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?
 

philovance

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It is impossible to restore diminished kidney function but a diet lower in phosphorus than most over the counter foods provide is the most important thing you can do to slow the disease. No commercial diet will provide as low a phosphorus level as the "prescription" foods. In fact, the "better" foods due to their high meat content also have unacceptably high levels of phosphorus. I would be very careful about treats and start your cat on a Rx canned food asap. A rx dry food is better than most commercial canned foods. Over the past 35 years I have nursed many elderly cats with kidney disease and they usually live the longest eating Rx food. My last cat with the problem preferred Royal Canin. Good luck!
 

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I've had three kidney cats myself, and none of them would eat the prescription kidney foods, but that didn't mean I couldn't still feed them food that was better for them then certain foods.  If you can, stop feeding the Wellness kibble altogether.   Kidney cats need more moisture in their diet than your average cat, so I fed only wet food, with extra water added.  And I fed 7 - 9 meals per day that way


Anyway, here is a website that anyone with a kidney cat should become acquainted with:  http://www.felinecrf.org/index.htm  As you dig into that site, you will find food charts that list foods, RX and non-rx, listed in order of the amount of phosphorus in them, both wet and dry.  These charts can be extremely valuable if you have a picky eater. 

As for treats, I honestly don't know.  Maybe you could call  the manufacturers of the treats he likes and ask what the phosphorus content is on a Dry Matter Analysis.  You want something under 1%, ideally.   But talk to your Vet about that, since, afterall, these are treats and aren't a large part of his diet. 
 

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I'm glad mrsgreenjeens posted a link to the site about kidney cats, there's tons of great information about various theories for treatment and the food charts are invaluable. They helped tremendously when our previous cat was diagnosed with mild kidney disease. She was older than Monte and had many other health issues, plus she was a picky eater and eating is especially crucial for kidney cats, so I chose to put her on commercial wet foods with low phosphorus rather than prescription food. As mrsgreenjeens mentioned, there are lots of foods with moderately low phosphorus -- we were lucky that Brooksie took to Weruva. Lots of Weruva foods are relatively low in phosphorus; some canned Wellness foods (I remember the CORE venison/lamb/beef was good) are also relatively low. Her kidney levels did improve. (The vet was surprised!)

All that said, every cat is different and Brooksie's results could have been skewed by lots of things: she also had bad thyroid numbers, a horrendous arrhythmia, IBD, arthritis, and, most likely, lymphoma, so our main goal was to try to keep her comfortable and eating in her last months. No matter what, I don't think she would have eaten prescription food anyway: she was a very particular eater!
 
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helen725

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To Philovance:
Thank you so kindly for the information and your well wishes for Monte. Hopefully the prescription diet will help Monte. We're fortunate that Monte isn't a picky eater and hopefully he'll like the food.
 
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helen725

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I've had three kidney cats myself, and none of them would eat the prescription kidney foods, but that didn't mean I couldn't still feed them food that was better for them then certain foods.  If you can, stop feeding the Wellness kibble altogether.   Kidney cats need more moisture in their diet than your average cat, so I fed only wet food, with extra water added.  And I fed 7 - 9 meals per day that way :rolleyes:

Anyway, here is a website that anyone with a kidney cat should become acquainted with:  http://www.felinecrf.org/index.htm  As you dig into that site, you will find food charts that list foods, RX and non-rx, listed in order of the amount of phosphorus in them, both wet and dry.  These charts can be extremely valuable if you have a picky eater. 

As for treats, I honestly don't know.  Maybe you could call  the manufacturers of the treats he likes and ask what the phosphorus content is on a Dry Matter Analysis.  You want something under 1%, ideally.   But talk to your Vet about that, since, afterall, these are treats and aren't a large part of his diet. 
I really appreciate the link to the kidney cats website. It has some very helpful information.
I may stop giving Monte the Wellness dry food as he doesn't eat it that often.
 
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helen725

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I'll look into the Weruva
I'm glad mrsgreenjeens posted a link to the site about kidney cats, there's tons of great information about various theories for treatment and the food charts are invaluable. They helped tremendously when our previous cat was diagnosed with mild kidney disease. She was older than Monte and had many other health issues, plus she was a picky eater and eating is especially crucial for kidney cats, so I chose to put her on commercial wet foods with low phosphorus rather than prescription food. As mrsgreenjeens mentioned, there are lots of foods with moderately low phosphorus -- we were lucky that Brooksie took to Weruva. Lots of Weruva foods are relatively low in phosphorus; some canned Wellness foods (I remember the CORE venison/lamb/beef was good) are also relatively low. Her kidney levels did improve. (The vet was surprised!)

All that said, every cat is different and Brooksie's results could have been skewed by lots of things: she also had bad thyroid numbers, a horrendous arrhythmia, IBD, arthritis, and, most likely, lymphoma, so our main goal was to try to keep her comfortable and eating in her last months. No matter what, I don't think she would have eaten prescription food anyway: she was a very particular eater!
I'll have to look into the Weruva brand of cat food. We're lucky that Monte will eat almost any brand of cat food. The only brands he doesn't like are the ones that are a lot like people food. Monte is still in very good health. His appetite is very good and his coat is very shiny. He drinks enough water but not too much.
He is also quite fond of cheese, butter and yoghurt and he occasionally will want to eat small pieces of pear or nectarine. Would those foods make a difference for his kidneys? He is also on a small daily dose of Prozac (5mg) for his anxiety. The vet assured us that the Prozac wasn't having any adverse affect on his kidneys.
 
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philovance

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I have relied extensively on Tanya's website for my CRF cats, especially the table that lists the phosphorus values for most foods. While my first post emphasized the Rx foods, the reality is that the cat I kept going for over a year ate both Royal Canin modified protein dry (because he preferred dry) and the lowest phosphorus commercial foods I could find. He did not care for the Rx canned foods. We did feed a lot of Weruva. But to be perfectly frank, although I took the advice to feed low phosphorus foods very seriously, I think it was giving Andy subcutaneous fluids every day for all that time that made the biggest difference. Tanya's website will tell you all you need to know about giving fluids and your vet can tell you how much to give based on his condition and weight.
 

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It is impossible to restore diminished kidney function but a diet lower in phosphorus than most over the counter foods provide is the most important thing you can do to slow the disease. No commercial diet will provide as low a phosphorus level as the "prescription" foods. In fact, the "better" foods due to their high meat content also have unacceptably high levels of phosphorus. I would be very careful about treats and start your cat on a Rx canned food asap. A rx dry food is better than most commercial canned foods. Over the past 35 years I have nursed many elderly cats with kidney disease and they usually live the longest eating Rx food. My last cat with the problem preferred Royal Canin. Good luck!
This isn't true. There are plenty of good quality high protein low phos canned foods that can be used for a cat in the early stages of kidney disease. In addition, there are binders that can be added to these foods to lower the phos levels even more. RX foods are loaded with inappropriate ingredients. Cats, as obligate carnivores need high protein in their diet. The goal is to lower the phos levels without lower the protein levels or replacing them with fillers. RX foods are not the best option for cats in early stage of the disease. 

To the OP - If you have a facebook account check out this feline CKD group. They are AWESOME, and really know their stuff. They have a ton of resources to help you find good quality high protein, low phos foods to help your kitty thrive. In addition, you can and should post labs so they can direct you on additional supplements. Good luck.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/felinecrf/
 
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helen725

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Here's an update on Monte and his new diet.

We picked up the new prescription food for Monte this weekend. We got him the Hills Kidney Diet (K/D) chicken flavour dry food and a few cans of the wet food from Hills Kidney diet (small cans (2.9 oz) of the vegetable and tuna stew and the big cans (5.5 oz) of the chicken).

Monte really likes the K/D dry food! He's eating a lot more dry food than he did before and he's drinking more water because of this. I'm giving him a little of the dry food at a time instead of just leaving it out in his bowl. Monte is also liking the small cans of the K/D wet food. I'm feeding him the wet food 3 times a day by dividing the one small can into threes. We still have a few cans of Wellness left and I'm alternating giving Monte Wellness one day and the K/D wet the other day until he gets used to the new food. I've been adding a few teaspoons of water to the Wellness wet food.

Monte is also getting much fewer cat treats. Since he likes the K/D dry food so much, I may use it in place of cat treats.

We haven't tried the bigger cans of the K/D wet food yet. Hopefully Monte will be okay with having the big can two days in a row.

Thank you to everyone for all your helpful advice! I'm also referring to the Kidney cats website quite often for information.
 
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philovance

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Well, although there may be alternatives to K/D (as another poster helpfully pointed out), my first goal would be to get the cat's numbers down and K/D would be one of the fastest ways to do that. It's very encouraging to hear that Monte is enjoying his new food; in the past K/D had something of a reputation for being unappetizing. I believe Hill's has worked on its palatibility extensively, especially since K/D is likely one of their biggest sellers.

When does your vet want to test his blood again? Please let us know if the numbers go down significantly. They often do in the early stages of CKD when the diet is changed appropriately.

All in all, great news!
 

philovance

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I couldn't see a way to edit my original post, weird but I wanted to add that although you may be encouraged to put Monte on canned food exclusively, I personally believe a combination of dry and wet K/D is better for his numbers than more OTC canned. As time goes on maybe you can shift the balance more and more toward canned. It's important for CKD cats to eat, however, and as long as he's enjoying the dry food I would give it to him. In fact the cat I kept going for a year always preferred dry to wet and he ate mostly Royal Canin Modified up until the end. One indication that they should start on sub-q fluids is if they start to lose their appetite. It is amazing how much they perk up after they get them.

In the meantime, you might want to increase the number of place around your home he has water available. Especially any place he eats but also places he likes to hang out.

(Ah, I just noticed there's a little pencil icon at the bottom left of the post for editing.)
 
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mrsgreenjeens

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As to the larger cans, once it's been refrigerated, just try warming it up a little before serving, or let it get to room temperature first.  That's what I do with ANY canned food I give our guys.  I either take it out of the fridge for about an hour before serving (still tightly covered), or put in their bowl and put in the micro on half power for 5 - 10 seconds (depending on how much is in their bowl.  They I mix it up well just to make sure there aren't any cold spots left, AND to mix in the water, because I give all my cats extra water in their food, to try to prevent any future  kidney issues.  Three kidney cats is enough.  I, personally, like your idea of using the k/d dry as treats, IF he'll eat enough of the K/D canned food to sustain his weight.  But always the number one goal is for kidney cats to eat. 
 

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As to the larger cans, once it's been refrigerated, just try warming it up a little before serving, or let it get to room temperature first.  That's what I do with ANY canned food I give our guys.  I either take it out of the fridge for about an hour before serving (still tightly covered), or put in their bowl and put in the micro on half power for 5 - 10 seconds (depending on how much is in their bowl.  They I mix it up well just to make sure there aren't any cold spots left, AND to mix in the water, because I give all my cats extra water in their food, to try to prevent any future  kidney issues.  Three kidney cats is enough.  I, personally, like your idea of using the k/d dry as treats, IF he'll eat enough of the K/D canned food to sustain his weight.  But always the number one goal is for kidney cats to eat.  
And there's the main thing: eating. When we had a cat who had kidney disease, just about everything I read or heard about caring for kidney cats mentioned appetite and said that the most important thing is that the cat not waste away because it won't eat. (My conclusion from that was to not take the low-protein approach with our cat who had mild kidney disease -- I focused on high calories and low phosphorus -- but I realize every cat and every treatment plan is different. Our very senior cat was far sicker from IBD and likely lymphoma, though her kidney numbers did improve in her last months after the dietary changes.)
 
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