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One of the most important factors
in managing your cat's kidney disease is making kidney friendly
modifications to the diet of your cat. The things that need to be
considered in modifying the diet of your cat include the
One of the most vital functions of the kidneys is to maintain the
water balance of the body. When kidney function is reduced
there is more water lost through the urine and so the cat is
constantly fighting dehydration. It is imperative to have
plenty of water always available to drink, and to encourage your
cat to eat wet food as much as possible.
In healthy cats the kidneys excrete waste products from the
breakdown of protein in the body. Traditionally diets designed for
cats with kidney damage have been low in protein, as these cats
are less able to excrete these protein by-products which then
build up in the blood stream. Recently the importance of this has
been questioned. It is now thought that the phosphorus content of
the diet is more important, but it is difficult to reduce the
phosphorus levels in a diet without reducing the protein, so most
diets designed for kidney disease have reduced protein.
When kidneys are damaged they are less able to excrete excess
phosphorus. High levels of phosphorus in the body tend to
cause nausea, which in turn reduces the appetite. The specially
designed diets for kidney disease are restricted in phosphorus,
and there are also phosphorus ‘binders’ available to help the body
excrete phosphorus through the faeces.
Potassium is one of the electrolytes in the body that is kept in
balance by the kidneys. As kidney disease progresses, the body can
lose potassium; hence kidney friendly diets should have higher
than usual amounts of potassium. Some cats will need to have
extra potassium supplements as the disease progresses.
Keeping the blood stream less acidic:
Acidic blood (also known as Metabolic acidosis) is a common
complication of CRI in cats and can lead to decreased appetite,
vomiting, lethargy, weakness and weight loss. Acidified blood can
also lead to protein breakdown and hence muscle wastage as well as
causing further damage to the kidneys. Pre-prepared kidney diets
are formulated to help fight against this problem.
Sodium should be restricted in CRI cats as the kidneys are not as
able to excrete sodium adequately and excessive sodium intake may
promote high blood pressure (hypertension).
The pre-prepared kidney diets stocked by Paddington Cat Hospital
are all very good, with minor differences in formulation; however
you may find your cat has a preference for one particular brand.
These include: Hills k/d, Eukanuba Multi-Stage Renal, and Walthams
Renal Support. They are all available as wet and dry food.
There are some foods that you may use as treats for your cat,
which are not usually thought of as cat foods. All these "treats"
are made of palatable carbohydrates with as much fat as can be
tolerated by your cat. Examples include creamed corn (low in
phosphorus), custard, ice cream, and mashed or tinned pumpkin
(this helps to bind phosphorus).
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