Question Regarding Royal Canin Varieties

Morpheus1967

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I have a 16 year tabby that is starting to get an elevated creatinine level in his kidneys. My vet has suggested I put him on a kidney friendly diet. The sample she gave (sold) me is Royal Canin Gastrointestinal. This is a prescription wet cat food. I am not averse to using this, but that means I have to order it online. In case of emergencies, I would like to have a backup I can get locally in case there is ever a supply issue. That being said, my question:

Does anyone know what the difference is between the Royal Canin Gastrointestinal and the Royal Canin Digest Sensitive is? They both seem to be low protein. And I can't figure out what makes the Gastrointestinal food need a prescription. Thanks for any insight!
 

Flybynight

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I wonder if senior wet cat food with low phosphorous would work.
Not sure if prescriptions are a gimic in some cases. Where I live you don't need prescriptions for gastro food for cats nor renal etc.
 

maggie101

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I don't know the difference but would like to know if your cat likes it and what is the texture like
 
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mrsgreenjeens

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Does your cat have other issues aside from higher creatinine? I ask because I've had three kidney cats and not once has any Vet recommended the use of Royal Canin Gastrointestinal food. That's usually for cats with digestive issues, not kidney issues. INHO, the phosphorus level is too high for a prescription kidney food. BUT, that being said, I never fed my cats the prescription kidney foods, mainly because they didn't like them. I used the website referenced above, specifically this page https://www.felinecrf.org/canned_food_usa.htm and just bought the over the counter foods with the lowest phosphorus that they would eat.
 

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Royal Canin is having a pretty serious production problem right now. Its been going on for months and doesn't seem to be letting up. Before putting your cat on a Royal Canin diet, I would suggest contacting the company (by telephone, you'll get better results, trust me), and finding out if its going to continue to be readily available. I just spent the past month and a half weaning Montgomery off a Royal Canin wet recipe because of this.
 
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Morpheus1967

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Thanks everyone for all of your replies! Long story coming!

A little more back story. Mozart (the OC of this thread) all of a sudden started vomiting clear liquid, started keeping to himself in a back bedroom, etc. This was so out of the ordinary for him, I made an appointment. Cursory physical exam the vet stated that she thought she could feel a "mass" in his abdomen area. X-rays were negative. So she ordered blooodwork and obtained a urine sample. X-ray being sent out to be professionally reviewed, and vet will call if any issues.

The results the next day showed "slightly" elevated level of the creatinine and one other kidney related result (bun maybe? I can't remember.) The vet then sold me 4 cans of the gastrointestinal medicine and I went home. Friday night he ate a bit of it, but not much. (My cats have always free fed, so at this point I'm not sure when he last ate, to be honest.)

Kept his dry food out all weekend for the other two cats, Maggie and Miller, who are also older, 16 & 12, respectively. Mozart, the sick one, did not eat all weekend. Not dry (that I saw) and not the new crap. He also didn't poop at all. Called the vet back Monday morning to let her know he wasn't eating again and about the lack of bowel movements. I also stopped by to get a few more cans of the GI food she had sold me before.

So that is where we are up to last evening. And to make sure you all have the whole picture (impressed by the amount of knowledge here!) a bit of back story on their diet before all of this happened.

For the last 5 years or so, I have fed them all exclusively Blue Buffalo Adult Living dry cat food. For some reason, the last time I went to buy it, it was discontinued unless I purchased a 15lb bag. Well, it would take me well over a month to go through that much food, and I much prefer the smalller 3 pound bags for freshness. So I knew I was going to switch their food. I did some research and looked at reviews and bought two different kinds, and put them both out, as a sample test if you will. Nulo Medal Series for Indoor Cats and the other was Blue Wilderness with Chicken (all dry food). Well they liked both of them, so I ordered 3 bags of each online. Not sure how fast they would go through them, I did not set up an auto ship. Well, they went through those 6 total bags with no issues (I mix them together). Knowing now that there were no issues, I returned to Petsmart, bought another bag of each, and then at the same time went online and set up a recurring shipment. It is these last two bags I got in store where I think part of the issues lies.

This morning, I watched as Maggie, the other 16 year old, vomited clear liquid. I really felt like something was up. Too coincidental. Mozart's vomiting issue started damn near to the day they started eating the last of the store bought bags. So I dumped what was left. I had a single bag of the Blue Buffalo Adult Living left (the previous food for 5 years) and put that in their bowls. The results were stunning.

All three came running over immediately (as they always do when they hear me pouring a new bag of food into the storage container). Mozart started eating immediately. Like he hadn't eaten for days, because he hadn't. Miller started eating like crazy, and finally Maggie. It may just be my paranoia, but I really feel like there was something off on the last two bags of store bought food.

As for the vet giving me gastrointestinal food for Mozart, I think that may have been all she had at the clinic. The actual food I purchased online (which required veterinarian approval) was Royal Canin Renal Support. I bought both pate and slices. But now I am not sure what to do. I know that his kidney issues are not caused by a few bags of cat food, but I am wondering how medically necessary it is to change his diet so drastically after all these years. There is a Blue Buffalo Healthy Aging food I can get that is lower protein, but the phosphorous content is at .9% or so. (I never, ever knew this was important.)

So that's the story of my 3 cats lol. I will read the links supplied and be back with any other questions I have. Thank you all so much for your advice and expertise!

Matt
 
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Morpheus1967

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Does your cat have other issues aside from higher creatinine? I ask because I've had three kidney cats and not once has any Vet recommended the use of Royal Canin Gastrointestinal food. That's usually for cats with digestive issues, not kidney issues. INHO, the phosphorus level is too high for a prescription kidney food. BUT, that being said, I never fed my cats the prescription kidney foods, mainly because they didn't like them. I used the website referenced above, specifically this page https://www.felinecrf.org/canned_food_usa.htm and just bought the over the counter foods with the lowest phosphorus that they would eat.
The stuff I purchased online was actually Royal Canin Renal Support. I think the vet gave me the gastrointestinal to help with the vomiting, and because that was all she had in the clinic? Not sure.

Matt
 
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Morpheus1967

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I wonder if senior wet cat food with low phosphorous would work.
Not sure if prescriptions are a gimic in some cases. Where I live you don't need prescriptions for gastro food for cats nor renal etc.
I have been trying to research the lower phosphorous foods, but it's not a common item to be listed on the label. Unless, of course, it's kidney specific food.

Matt
 
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Morpheus1967

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I don't know the difference but would like to know if your cat likes it and what is the texture like
No, he does not like it. But my cats have all been on dry food their entire lives, save for treats a few times a week. The texture is mush. Not slices in gravy, not pate that needs to be "sliced". Mush. I read alot of online reviews complaining how they have changed their formula recently and folks are NOT happy. 2/10, would not recommend.

Matt
 
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Morpheus1967

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You probably don't even need Royal Canin or other prescription food. This web site has lots of info on feline kidney disease and diet options: Tanya's Comprehensive Guide to Feline Chronic Kidney Disease - Everything You Need to Know to Help Your Cat
This is a great page. Unfortunately I do not see any of the Blue Buffalo foods listed, particularly the Senior Living one. What is the target I should be shooting for with for phosphorous? Is .9% ok for slightly elevated level of creatinine?

Matt
 

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A lot of food companies don't give enough details when it comes to things like phosphorus, and you have to contact them to get the specific information. That said, I've called a few companies over the years and they have all been happy to answer my questions. In my experience, Royal Canin, Hill's, Hi-Tor, Purina and Solid Gold all offered excellent customer service.
 

mrsgreenjeens

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Since you mentioned your Vet gave you wet food, I linked to the Kidney site's wet food chart, but here is the link to their dry food chart, listing the food in order of the lowest phosphorus first: Tanya's Comprehensive Guide to Feline Chronic Kidney Disease- Dry Food Data USA

If possible, though, try to get him to eat as much wet food as possible, simply because kidney cats need water. Eventually you may even need to give him sub-q fluids. Here's a link on how to transition cats from one type of food to another: Transitioning Your Cat From Kibble To A New Type Of Food – TheCatSite Articles
 

Flybynight

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M Morpheus1967

Generally senior wet foods are lower in phosphorous.

You can also get phosphate binders as a powder to add to food. A little at a time.

I agree, about more wet and less or no dry if possible. You can also supplement with plain (no salt or other seasoning) cooked chicken in broth. I give that to my cats periodically with a few pieces of chicken meat. Just an inch or two or broth in the bowl.

No cooked bones as they can be harmful to cats.
 
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Morpheus1967

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I will definitely try to get him on the wet food, but after 16+ years it's gonna be a struggle lol.
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi. First, a food that has 0.9% phosphorus is actually not too bad. The Tanya web site says to get as close to 0.5% as possible, but admits that is almost impossible to do unless you are feeding the prescription kidney care foods. However, those foods are also low in protein, and it is now the thought process that low protein is not really the way to go for older cats, even those with kidney disease, due to muscle loss that all older cats begin to experience. Tanya's web site also says that it is better to feed your cat food with a bit higher phosphorus count than to see them begin to shun food and not eat as much as they should. I wholeheartedly agree!

Having some canned food, even if you can't wean your guy entirely off of dry, is an added bonus because of the extra moisture. So, you could try some of the lower phosphorus foods and crunch up some of his dry to add to it and see if he might eat some that way. Maybe, at first, use the canned food as a topper to his dry, gradually adding more canned and less dry. If that doesn't work, then consider finding ways to add more moisture to his diet through seeing if he will drink more from a water fountain. as mentioned above. And/or, you can actually add some canned tuna water to his regular water to see if that might entice him to drink more.

Having said all that, initially, cats will begin to drink more to compensate for their kidney function changes, so you may notice him drinking more anyway. It is only when the kidney function is so compromised that they cannot compensate on their own - which depending on your cat's numbers/condition, may not yet be an issue. Watch for more drinking and more pee over time!!

The big take away for you is to take time to read (and re-read because there is a lot of data to digest) all of the data on Tanya's web site. The more you know, the better equipped you will be as his kidney disease progresses. It is also important that you get copies of his blood work results, familiarize yourself with what his numbers are and how 'off-track' any of them might be now and/or may become down the road with future blood testing. More 'knowledge ammo' for you. Tanya's web site has lots of 'guidelines' about the numbers associated with kidney disease and steps that may or may not be needed to help delay escalating issues related to those numbers.

There is a CKD forum - semi associated with Tanya's web site that you might not need just yet, but may want to keep in mind for later. Feline-CRF-Support groups.io Group. They are very knowledgeable, but you need to get familiar with Tanya's web site first, and better understand your cat's current condition.

Come back often with all the questions you may have, there are - unfortunately - tons of members who have knowledge in this arena.
 
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Morpheus1967

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Thank you all so much for your continued input. I have had these cats 16, 16 and 12 years, and this is literally the first issue I have ever had with them (knock on wood).

Since I have 2 other cats, and they have been free fed their entire lives, here is what I am proposing to do.

For the dry food, that I leave out 24/7

1. Blue Buffalo Senior Living (.97% phosphorous, 32% protein) 75%
2. Hill's Prescription Diet k/d (.52% phosphorous, 30% protein) 25%

The goal is to ween them off the Blue Buffalo and get them all on the Hills by slowly increasing the Hill's over time.

For the wet food, that I am going to try and introduce slowly, morning and evening:

1. Hill's Science Diet Savory Salmon (.79% phosphorous, 36% protein)

I bought larger water bowls, that I change in the morning and in the evening.

Does this sound decent for now?
 

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Sounds like a plan to me. While the protein is a tad low, you can always see if it is affecting their overall muscle mass over time. But, the phosphorus counts look good. Good luck!
 

NabilBen

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Speaking of experience, I trust Royal Canin blindly. The vet range is amazing. The gastrointestinal wet/dry is what my cat is on currently
 
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