Transitioned to new food - they don't like it

Kacox

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So I recently was told by my vet that it would be a good idea to switch my cats to a kidney friendly diet, so before I ran out of my last food I bought the new one. It's the pro plan indoor health to the pro plan kidney.

I mixed their food and tapered it for about a week and a half with no issues and they ate it just fine. Now that they are purely on the new food it seems like they don't like it because it takes them all day to eat it which is out of character for them. They usually finish their food in one go.

Its a different flavor, they're used to turkey or salmon and this new food is chicken. The pieces are also a little bigger.

How do I get my cats to start actually eating their new food? I feel like I tried to do everything right so I'm at a loss here.
 

Furballsmom

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Hi
Why did your vet suggest this food? Were their kidney numbers elevated? This is dry food, right? Can you start them on canned if there's something available that meets your vets requirements?

Can you add more fresh daily water sources in unusual vessels such as clean daily tall water glasses or mason jars?

Anyway, I was thinking maybe you could add a little of the old food into the new on a regular basis. Also, are you weighing them so you can keep track if where they are in that regard?
 

FeebysOwner

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As asked above, why is there a need to put them on kidney care food? Most kidney foods are lower in protein on the old-fashioned thought that reducing protein helps 'protect' the kidneys. It does not take into consideration that as cats age they are harmed more by lowering their protein due to the inherent nature of muscle mass loss that comes with aging.

Is this dry food? If so, you'd get better results in trying to stave off kidney issues with canned foods because of the added moisture.
 

mrsgreenjeens

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I have the same questions as the above folks. Why put them on the kidney diet? I can see if ONE cat were diagnosed with kidney disease that your Vet might suggest he/she have a diet change, but not all your cats. I've had three kidney cats and none of them ever ate the kidney diet, mainly because they didn't like it. Our Vet said that was ok, just get them to eat...anything, since kidney cats are prone to not wanting to eat.

I guess we just need more information about your cats, but keep in mind, if a cat doesn't like something, there's usually no changing their minds. They are quite like humans in that they know what they want and can be terribly stubborn about it :lol:
 

lisahe

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As asked above, why is there a need to put them on kidney care food? Most kidney foods are lower in protein on the old-fashioned thought that reducing protein helps 'protect' the kidneys. It does not take into consideration that as cats age they are harmed more by lowering their protein due to the inherent nature of muscle mass loss that comes with aging.

Is this dry food? If so, you'd get better results in trying to stave off kidney issues with canned foods because of the added moisture.
I agree with what all the other posters have said but FeebysOwner FeebysOwner sums up what I see as the biggest issues with putting cats on a kidney diet. Muscle wasting is a serious problem for aging cats and dry food is a big risk for developing kidney disease.
 
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Kacox

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My vet recommended it due to elevated kidney levels, so I figured it was time to switch and I didn't really have a reason to question my vet.
They really aren't very old, my boy is 3 and my girl is 4. My boy is the only one of them has the elevated kidney levels and they do both drink quite a bit of water and I have multiple water sources. I guess I don't know enough about the kidney diet and what it does. I asked about if there were any other options to support his kidneys and also make sure hers stay good and they insisted that the kidney food is the only way.
They both have FIV so I like to have both dry and wet food for them so I don't have to brush their teeth so often. I really get concerned about gum disease.
 
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Kacox

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Also I do keep track of their weight esp since I had to help my girl lose weight

My girl is about 10lbs on average and my boy is about 12lbs on average.

He was a Tom cat for the first 2 years of his life and didn't get neutered until he was picked up off the street. He is the one with the higher kidneys.
 

lisahe

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My vet recommended it due to elevated kidney levels, so I figured it was time to switch and I didn't really have a reason to question my vet.
They really aren't very old, my boy is 3 and my girl is 4. My boy is the only one of them has the elevated kidney levels and they do both drink quite a bit of water and I have multiple water sources. I guess I don't know enough about the kidney diet and what it does. I asked about if there were any other options to support his kidneys and also make sure hers stay good and they insisted that the kidney food is the only way.
They both have FIV so I like to have both dry and wet food for them so I don't have to brush their teeth so often. I really get concerned about gum disease.
What are the elevated levels they are concerned about? Even in cases of actual diagnosed kidney disease, the approach is very often reducing phosphorus intake rather than feeding a food with reduced protein, as kidney diets usually are. Your cats are very, very young to have their meat protein reduced like this and I can't fathom why anyone would recommend a kidney diet for your young girl cat if her levels are normal, that's very strange and concerning (even potentially dangerous), given that cats need lots of meat protein. Is there another vet you could see for a second opinion?

It's not difficult to reduce a cat's phosphorus intake by feeding (preferably wet) foods with low phos levels. We did that for our previous cat, who had mild kidney disease, and she was very happy with the food, much of which was from Weruva. Many of their foods are low in phos. I've always watched our current cats' phos levels, too, just to be sure they're not consistently getting very high levels of phos.

When Brooksie had kidney disease I read Dr. Lisa Pierson's site, including this chunk about cats, meat protein, and kidney disease. Feeding Your Cat: Know the Basics of Feline Nutrition – Common Sense. Healthy Cats. (catinfo.org) It's a good and brief introduction to the varying approaches for treating kidney disease. There are lots of online resources for checking phosphorus levels of foods, too.
 
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FeebysOwner

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I asked about if there were any other options to support his kidneys and also make sure hers stay good and they insisted that the kidney food is the only way...They both have FIV so I like to have both dry and wet food for them so I don't have to brush their teeth so often. I really get concerned about gum disease.
Maybe check out the list of canned foods from Tanya's web site (see link below) to look for ones that have lower phosphorus levels.

You might get lots of comments about dental health and dry food - mostly telling you that dry food does not really help to clean their teeth. If you are especially worried about it, make sure their teeth are checked routinely to ward off any issue becoming major. You may have consider periodic dental cleanings.
Tanya's Comprehensive Guide to Feline Chronic Kidney Disease- Canned Food Data USA (felinecrf.org)
 
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Kacox

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Okay so they are really forcing themselves to eat and so I'm going to switch back to their other food and probably donate the food I currently have.

Is there anything that can help manage the phosphorus content? If there is another possible way to help with that without entirely changing their food again I would prefer it to be honest.
 

Furballsmom

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... there are phosphorus binders but as mentioned you'll want to talk to your current or a new vet about this
 

FeebysOwner

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You do need to talk to your vet, and find out what your cats kidney values are, including phosphorus. Depending on where they are at there may be no need to start phosphorus binders. But, if you feel strongly enough about it, then educate yourself through other sections of Tanya's web site about all the nuances of kidney disease (see link below for one related to phosphorus).

From my experience so far, vets seem to be resistant to approving the use of phosphorus binders as long as the numbers are in range. But higher kidney values, such as creatinine, tend to suggest that the kidneys might need help with things like clearing phosphorus from the system, especially if the phosphorus level is in the higher end of the range.
Tanya's Comprehensive Guide to Feline Chronic Kidney Disease - Key Issues: Helping Your Cat Feel Better and Prolonging Life (felinecrf.org)
 
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lisahe

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As others have said, getting the numbers from your vet (preferably a copy of the actual printout the vet has so you can see how far from the norm the elevated numbers are) and reading up on kidney disease on Tanya's site are good first steps. Perhaps get a second opinion.

Since lowering phosphorus in a cat's diet can improve a cat's kidney values, maybe you could try slowly introducing some wet food with relatively low phosphorus? I know it's daunting at first (it was for me!) but the wet food chart on Tanya's site (here: http://felinecrf.org/canned_food_usa.htm) can help you make choices. The commercial (non-prescription) foods would be appropriate for both your cats and kidney cats need lots of moisture anyway.
 
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Kacox

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The main value she was concerned about was his creatinine being on the higher side and sometimes a few decimals over the normal range, as well as his BUN values. His results say his phos is totally fine so I won't worry about that.
 

FeebysOwner

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While number ranges can vary from lab to lab, the range for creatinine is generally from 0.6 - 2.4. However, International Renal Interest Society (IRIS) suggests that numbers between 1.6 - 2.8 can already mean Stage 2 of kidney disease - of course, other numbers that I won't belabor you with here do play a role. But, nonetheless, the point is that a few decimals can make a big difference.

And, the 'acceptable' range is wide for phosphorus, some labs going up as high as 8.2. Generally, any fully grown adult cat - with even a slightly elevated creatinine should keep the phosphorus level well below that.

Feeby (17+ yo) has a creatinine of 3.0 which is considered Stage 3 kidney disease according to IRIS, and she has a phosphorus level of 6.0. Most vets consider this fine - 2 out of 3 that I have seen agree - but it really is too high according to IRIS. She really should be below 5.0. At Stage 2 chronic kidney disease (CKD), the phosphorus level should be below 4.5. (These are all US-based numbers.)

These are basic guidelines with a whole host of details behind them. I mention them here as 'food for thought' for you. If/when you are ever interested in learning more about CKD, please refer to Tanya's web site. I've already given you some links to specific 'pages' on the site, but here is the link to the home page - Tanya's Comprehensive Guide to Feline Chronic Kidney Disease - Everything You Need to Know to Help Your Cat (felinecrf.org)
 
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Kacox

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Screenshot_20220627-140626_Adobe Acrobat.jpg

The vet never actually specifically mentioned kidney disease, she just suggested possibly supporting his kidneys.
 
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Kacox

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I'm going to be honest here, all of these replies are pushing me into thinking my 3 yr old cat has CKD and Tanya's website is overwhelming and pushing me further into panic.
 

Furballsmom

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Breathe, please, hang in there. Supporting the kidneys, as your vet is advising, makes a certain amount of sense :) Anything more than support isn't necessary at this point. I haven't read your whole thread so I apologize if I missed it, but can you find out, or do you know, why she's thinking that way, in more detail?
 
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FeebysOwner

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I am sorry that we are causing panic - it isn't our intent. If we had gotten the lab results you just shared above, we would have told you before what I am about to tell you now.

BUN is affected by all sorts of things, slight dehydration, stress, to name a couple of the more typical ones. Creatinine can also be impacted by a few things - one of the most common is cats who eat high protein diets and have high muscle mass can typically have a higher creatinine count; slight dehydration can also elevate creatinine. The phosphorus number is superb. I actually think your vet wanting your cat on a kidney diet sounds premature, IMO.

I would just monitor the creatinine level (and all the others too) over time and see what happens. And, in the meantime let your cats eat what they have been eating as long as they like it!!!
 
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