Need to boost calories but not protein

Neo & Celeste

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My 18-year-old cat has chronic kidney disease and is supposed to be on a prescription diet but he hates all his prescription foods so I'm trying to get by with regular foods that claim to be lower in phosphorus. He won't eat enough and is losing weight. With the few wet foods he likes, he licks up the gelatinous goo but leaves the chunks. The vet says his teeth look fine so I don't think it's a problem with chewing.

I need suggestions for how to boost his calories but NOT his protein or phosphorus. I've tried mixing various fats into his wet food but he has hated them all: fish oil, flax oil, unsalted butter, an canola. I might try buying plain chicken fat at a grocery store, but the gelatinous goo he likes in his food is made with a lot of additives I wouldn't know how to replicate like gelatin, guar gum, wheat flour, plasma (whatever that is), and others.

He likes corn and peas, but again, I want to give him as many calories as possible, so a fat is needed.

Any ideas are super duper appreciated! Thank you!!
 

maggie101

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My 18-year-old cat has chronic kidney disease and is supposed to be on a prescription diet but he hates all his prescription foods so I'm trying to get by with regular foods that claim to be lower in phosphorus. He won't eat enough and is losing weight. With the few wet foods he likes, he licks up the gelatinous goo but leaves the chunks. The vet says his teeth look fine so I don't think it's a problem with chewing.

I need suggestions for how to boost his calories but NOT his protein or phosphorus. I've tried mixing various fats into his wet food but he has hated them all: fish oil, flax oil, unsalted butter, an canola. I might try buying plain chicken fat at a grocery store, but the gelatinous goo he likes in his food is made with a lot of additives I wouldn't know how to replicate like gelatin, guar gum, wheat flour, plasma (whatever that is), and others.

He likes corn and peas, but again, I want to give him as many calories as possible, so a fat is needed.

Any ideas are super duper appreciated! Thank you!!
For a quick detailed reference do a search on this sight for low phosphorus. Sorry, can't help more. Hope she feels better
 
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Neo & Celeste

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Thanks all! Furrballsmom, thanks for that link--it's an incredible site and I've spent most of the day reading it. Beholder, thanks for the product recommendation; I'm going to try it.
 

lisahe

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One suggestion since there are apparently foods that your cat does like, Neo & Celeste Neo & Celeste : have you tried pureeing the food in a miniprocessor? That's what I did for our previous cat when she was in her last months. She, too, was a gravy licker so the pureed food was like endless gravy for her. Not all foods process well but some worked out very well.

We looked for foods with low carbs and phosphorus, and higher protein and fat for Brooksie, who had kidney disease (her kidney numbers improved on that diet of commercial foods) but she was elderly and even sicker with IBD and apparent lymphoma so died of that. The most important thing for her, though, was to feed her whatever she would eat, avoiding the ingredients (fish, grains) that triggered her digestive problems. That meant she got, for example, some Merrick foods with carby peas, like Cowboy Cookout, which did, BTW, puree well, at least in its 2013 recipe. Even if they weren't ideal food, she consistently ate them! She also loved Weruva's Fowl Ball, pureed.

You probably already know this but if you haven't tried Weruva, they're definitely worth a look since most of their foods are low in phosphorus. And they have great charts online. Brooksie also loved Steak Frites, one of Weruva's lowest in phosphorus. (It didn't puree but she let me hand feed it to her.)

Good luck.
 
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Neo & Celeste

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OMG, lisahe, thanks! I'm kind of slapping my forehead wondering why I didn't think of that. Well, actually I had thought of the blender but then rejected the idea because I'd never again use my blender on human foods after using it with disgusting cat food! But you're right, I could use one of those little processor thingies, and I could just buy one that is only for cat food. (Of course these things are washable but cat food grosses me out too much!)

It's a brilliant idea. So far my cat (Neo) has been gravy-licking the Royal Canin Instinctive and Aging varieties. I wrote to RC through their website to find out the lowest-phosphorus non-Rx options, and they said Aging, but they didn't send me the actual phosphorus amount.

Thanks for mentioning the Weruva. My vet (and my previous vet before we moved) doesn't recommend "boutique" brands because she says the "big pet food" brands like RC, Hills, and Purina have better testing and quality control. I don't know if it is true, and before my vets said that I always bought the high-end boutique stuff. I'm really glad that you say Weruva is lower phosphorus because I know that both my cats do really like their BFF Valentine and their Cats in the Kitchen "Pumpkin Jack Splash." (Plus they have great names!) Now that you point out the lower phosphorus I feel better about going back to those.

Is the Merrick you mention also lower phosphorus? "Carby peas" sounds promising because my cats like peas. The Tanya's site Furrballsmom mentioned does have a huge list of foods and the phosphorus levels, but I don't know if any of the foods have changed. Another food my cats really like is Koha Poke Bowl Tuna and Pumpkin, which scores pretty good on the Tanya's list.

Before your post, I'd been thinking of things I could use in recipes to try to replicate the gravy, such as mashed peas, corn, pumpkin, rice, and a fat if I can find one that works) but it may be that just pureeing the food itself is a better solution. Gosh, though, if I could come up with something tasty enough to get him to eat the prescription diet, I'd be sooooo happy. (There are many gravies and toppers on the market but my finicky little guy doesn't like any of them.)

Thanks again!
 

lisahe

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I'm glad that was helpful, Neo & Celeste Neo & Celeste ! My personal view on Weruva is that they're pretty good: we feed a couple cans/pouches of it a week and I feel very comfortable with them, particularly because they make certain foods with ingredients that our cats can actually eat. (They need low carbs and definitely no potato or peas!) Weruva did have a problem (thiamine deficiency) with some BFF foods in Australia a few years ago; here's a blog post that chronicles it. This sort of problem is one of the reasons we feed our cats a lot of different foods! If your cats are already eating and enjoying them, all the better.

As for miniprocessors, the Cuisinart (which I think costs roughly $25-30?) works really well for cat food. And for chopping things like garlic and ginger root! ;) We have two bowls for ours because it gets a lot of use!

If I remember correctly, Merrick wasn't one of the foods that was lowest in phosphorus but it was in a decent range; the carbs also weren't crazy high. Brooksie liked a bunch of theirs: Cowboy Cookout, Grammy's Chicken Pie (or somesuch!), Chicken Divan, etc. If your cats like peas, they might also like Merrick's LID canned foods: our cats used to love those, especially duck and turkey, until Merrick added peas! (Which I wouldn't have fed had I known they suddenly added them to the recipe. The cats refused to eat it before I read the new label!) I mention all these with the caveat that I don't know how much they might have changed over the years.

And if Koha Poke Bowl scores well on Tanya's list, I'd say to go for it! Seriously, the big thing is that you want your cat -- what's his name, by the way? -- to eat.

As for toppers, have you tried Pure Bites chicken? Even our picky eater will eat just about anything with that on it. Another thought: if you need to add liquid when you puree, you might want to try poaching some chicken (you can then use it for a dish that also calls for garlic and ginger that you chop in the other processor bowl, ha!) in plain water and add that. Our cats say chicken water is tastier than plain water.

Good luck!
 
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Neo & Celeste

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Thanks, lisahe, I'll try the Pure Bites. I'm not crossing my fingers too much because it's been surprising to me how many gravies he's rejected, including all the Fancy Feasts. He does like two canned Fancy Feasts but I'm sure they're not low in phosphorus. I desperately wish there were a gravy tasty enough to make him eat Rx food, but I think he can detect a single molecule of Rx food and will walk away from it.

My CKD kitty is Neo. My other kitty, Celeste, thankfully doesn't have CKD and I hope she can avoid it.

Limited luck so far on the pureeing. He still leaves the majority in the dish. I still feel like if I could add a tasty gravy and make it moister he would eat more. My sister offered to give me some bacon fat next time she cooks bacon. Is there any reason I shouldn't trying adding a little of that? I may also try buying chicken fat at the grocery store. But I'm skeptical based on how much he has disliked it when I've added various oils. Unless anyone thinks the bacon and/or chicken fat is bad to try, I think I will and will report back if it works.
 

lisahe

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Unless anyone thinks the bacon and/or chicken fat is bad to try, I think I will and will report back if it works.
I'm sorry the pureeing isn't working out for Neo.

As for the fats, well, given the choice, I'd definitely go for chicken fat since bacon has salt and (even with natural bacon) other things added. Personally, I won't/don't use bacon. That said, even Dr. Pierson of catinfo.org mentions using bacon fat. If you do, I'd go as natural as possible on the bacon and as light on the amount as possible. But plain fats from unprocessed meat can get good results. I bought some fatty lamb so I could add a little meat and fat to some of our cats' homemade food made with low-fat chicken and they really love it! They love pork fat, too. If you find some good fatty pork chops you might be set for a while!

Since you mentioned the phosphorus in Fancy Feast, I'll link to Dr. Pierson's food chart, too: https://catinfo.org/docs/CatFoodProteinFatCarbPhosphorusChart.pdf
Dr. Pierson lists phosphorus by calories and Tanya's Site lists it by dry matter basis, making it's hard to cross-reference, but maybe it will be helpful in some way! I recall -- from back in 2013 -- that Fancy Feast Classics were relatively high in phosphorus and some of the gravy foods, which our cat really loved (but couldn't have because they had wheat gluten) were much lower.
 
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