Should Phosphorus be reduced for healthy senior kitty?

yelloweyes

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Our cat, Roxy, died with kidney disease two years ago (almost exactly 2 years, actually). At the time, I started learning about what some nutritional red flags to look for are, but too slowly, and to late to help Roxy as much I would have wished.

Now that Jasper is getting older and is still healthy (we think) at age 14, I just want to pay attention. I want to see what you folks think about phosphorus levels in cat food. When Roxy was sick, we were advised by our vet to look for food that had low phosphorus - as low as possible, pretty much.

But here's my question: Is there some benefit to lowering phosphorus in food for a healthy older cat? Would it help to prevent kidney problems from developing? Is it not even worth worrying about unless a problem develops? Would it even be beneficial (or harmful) for our healthy 3 year old cat to be on that same food?

We feed them mostly dry food (measured) with a canned food "snack," and multiple stations for drinking water.

*Roxy is pictured in my avatar
 
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FeebysOwner

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Hi. I personally do not think that feeding a cat who is not having issues a low phosphorus food will necessarily stop kidney disease from developing, or even slow down the development. Nonetheless, 'regular' food lower in phosphorus, that still contains a good level of protein, can't hurt anything in an older cat. But, feeding them canned food and not dry would also be a good idea. I would not give a healthy 3 yo cat lower phosphorus foods until they were older - just my opinion. Although it is more applicable to kittens, younger cats need more phosphorus in their diets than older cats do.

Have you looked at this web site to get an idea of some of the 'regular' foods that have lower phosphorus levels?
Tanya's Comprehensive Guide to Feline Chronic Kidney Disease- Canned Food Data USA (felinecrf.org)
Tanya's Comprehensive Guide to Feline Chronic Kidney Disease- Dry Food Data USA (felinecrf.org)
 
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yelloweyes

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Regarding Tanya's Guide - yes, it was my Bible when Roxy was sick. True, I might take a fresh look at it with my current cats in mind. I think mostly I learned not to change around a diet my cat will eat when she's already sick. Too many food changes for her, too quickly - it didn't help her. It may be better to go to more canned food, but we're kind of looking to limit expense, not add to them right now.
 
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yelloweyes

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Hi. I personally do not think that feeding a cat who is not having issues a low phosphorus food will necessarily stop kidney disease from developing, or even slow down the development. Nonetheless, 'regular' food lower in phosphorus, that still contains a good level of protein, can't hurt anything in an older cat. But, feeding them canned food and not dry would also be a good idea. I would not give a healthy 3 yo cat lower phosphorus foods until they were older - just my opinion. Although it is more applicable to kittens, younger cats need more phosphorus in their diets than older cats do.

Have you looked at this web site to get an idea of some of the 'regular' foods that have lower phosphorus levels?
Tanya's Comprehensive Guide to Feline Chronic Kidney Disease- Canned Food Data USA (felinecrf.org)
Tanya's Comprehensive Guide to Feline Chronic Kidney Disease- Dry Food Data USA (felinecrf.org)
What level of phosphorus do you think is right for a young adult cat? I realize we’re threading a needle just to feed both our cats of different ages. Our current food is .9 % according to Tanya’s list, though considerably higher according to the nutritional info on the bag - 1.4%. Seems like another mystery to solve.
 

FeebysOwner

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Honestly, I cannot attest to a reasonable phosphorus level for a young adult cat, but I suppose to help with your feeding issues the younger cat could eat a lower phos food by the time they are 3 yo. Most have finished growing by that time, when a higher phosphorus content is more important. Just my layperson's opinion.

I can only speculate that the content/ingredients may have changed for the food you are feeding, compared to when it was recorded on Tanya's web site. Typically, the 'as fed' basis is what is listed for phosphorus, if it is listed at all. And, that number is usually lower than the 'dry matter basis'. You could contact them and ask what the dry matter basis for phosphorus is. It seems that most companies will accommodate these kinds of requests.
 

msserena

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Oh my gosh, I came onto this forum because I was gonna post the same thing! I have 3 cats that are about 9 years old. I have been feeding them 1% or lower of phosphorus because my thinking is that it would help avoid a problem later in life.

According to Dr Pierson's website, this is what I found "...and the overall phosphorus level should not be above ~1.5% dry matter." I always get dry matter numbers from a company. A lot of them have it right on their website, others you have to contact. I have a spreadsheet of a bunch of different cat food brands & if a brand checks my boxes, I will feed. Unfortunately, the kitties don't always like what's good for them.
 

Furballsmom

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but we're kind of looking to limit expense, not add to them right now.
Keep looking, I'm still finding canned food that's decent for under $15 or $20 for a case, and there are always sales, as well as taking advantage of auto ship. Set it up, place the order then cancel the auto ship.
 

jclark

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Our cat, Roxy, died with kidney disease two years ago (almost exactly 2 years, actually). At the time, I started learning about what some nutritional red flags to look for are, but too slowly, and to late to help Roxy as much I would have wished.

Now that Jasper is getting older and is still healthy (we think) at age 14, I just want to pay attention. I want to see what you folks think about phosphorus levels in cat food. When Roxy was sick, we were advised by our vet to look for food that had low phosphorus - as low as possible, pretty much.

But here's my question: Is there some benefit to lowering phosphorus in food for a healthy older cat? Would it help to prevent kidney problems from developing? Is it not even worth worrying about unless a problem develops? Would it even be beneficial (or harmful) for our healthy 3 year old cat to be on that same food?

We feed them mostly dry food (measured) with a canned food "snack," and multiple stations for drinking water.

*Roxy is pictured in my avatar
Phosphorus doesn't cause kidney problems, it's just that as a cat ages their kidneys become less effective. This is why all cat food labeled as senior, adult, urinary, etc has lower levels of phosphorus and other minerals.

Of course for cats with CKD it's not just phosphorus, but it's also the byproducts of protein digestion (fermentation) which the poorly functioning kidneys have trouble clearing. It's why CKD cat food has lower levels of protein.

As for your cats a full urinalysis will determine the current state of their kidneys and whether an "senior" food makes sense
 

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The research isn't available yet to know the answer to your question.

But, cats with urinary issues eat lower phosphorus foods from a young age. All three of our boys eat mostly urinary wet food, despite being perfectly healthy as my geriatric cat had ongoing issues.

If you can afford even just a single portion of wet with added water per day, it helps with a variety of issues.

I would recommend even a cheaper brand of dry food to be able to afford a single portion of wet food per day rather than a more expensive dry food with lower phosphorus. That'll be more cost effective long term in lowering vet bills.
 

Alldara

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There is also research to show that dental issues impact kidneys with age. Brushing your cat's teeth daily should help to prevent illnesses and issues.

Cats need a cat-specific toothpaste, however my vet recommends that even a toothbrush with no paste used once a day is better than say rubbing toothpaste on the teeth.
 
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