Food plays a large part in our feline friends' well-being, especially regarding kidney health. Cats suffering from kidney issues, such as chronic kidney disease (CKD), have different nutritional needs than healthy cats. So, what should owners feed them? Let's look at how pet parents can improve their kitty's quality of life by choosing optimal cat food for kidney health.

Nutrition: Why it's essential for cat kidney health

Your cat's nutritional intake significantly affects how well its kidneys function. For cats with CKD, the food you give them must be part of a recommended renal diet. Giving them too much of one nutrient over another could do more harm than good. To understand nutrition's role in cat kidney health, we'll first look at the mechanics of kidney functioning.

Your cat's kidneys do multiple things. They remove waste products from the bloodstream, conserve water, manage blood pressure, and make urine. In a healthy cat, kidneys filter toxins, such as phosphorus, out of the body. They also prevent your cat from becoming too dehydrated. For a cat with CKD, however, the filtering process breaks down—leading to a buildup of toxins. This leads to increased thirst and weight loss in cats.

However, choosing the right cat food for kidney health can counteract CKD and improve your cat's kidney function. But, what's the proper diet for a cat with CKD?

Renal diets: How do nutritional requirements differ for cats with CKD?

Cats with CKD need altered diets to give them the nutrients they need to prolong kidney health. This may mean you'll have to ditch the store-bought or vet-prescribed cat food you used to buy them. Yet, what nutrients should you include in their diet when choosing cat food for kidney health? Let's take a look.

  • Water: Cats with CKD can't dilute urine to rid toxins from their body. They'll need to increase their water intake. You can do this by giving them plenty of fresh water during the day and feeding them canned food. Avoid giving your fur baby dry food if they have kidney issues as its moisture levels are too low.
  • Vitamin B and C: As poorly functioning kidneys can't concentrate urine, water-soluble nutrients, such as vitamin B and C, are lost from your cat's diet. You'll need to supplement these vitamins into their renal diet.
  • Protein: Cats with kidney diseases need a low-protein diet. This is because meat is high in phosphorus. Feeding your cat a high-protein diet will lead to increased phosphorus levels in their bloodstream. However, too little protein could lead to muscle loss. Ask your veterinarian how much protein is suitable for your cat's kidney health.
  • Phosphorus: Similar to protein, a cat with CKD requires a lower phosphorus level in its diet. Reducing phosphorus can potentially help slow down your cat's renal failure and improve overall kidney health.
  • Sodium: A sodium-rich renal diet is too taxing on kidney functioning. Instead, aim to restrict sodium levels; reducing sodium as part of renal diets helps felines to maintain healthy blood pressure.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Cat food for kidney health should contain beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. This nutrient is great for reducing any inflammation in the kidneys.

If you have a cat with CKD or any other form of kidney disease, speak to your vet about the best cat food for kidney health.

How Wagmo's cat wellness plans can help your kitty's kidney health

As part of many cat wellness plans, a vet will monitor your cat's kidney functioning and health. If you suspect your cat may have CKD, they'll do routine blood work and urinalysis tests. Your vet will design a treatment plan based on the results to keep your kitty healthy and comfortable.

With Wagmo cat wellness insurance, pet parents can rest knowing each part of their pet (including its kidneys) will receive the best pet care available. We help you cover pet ownership costs. So when unexpected illnesses appear, you can help your feline friend live the healthiest life possible. Check out our Wagmo cat wellness plans today, or take our pet wellness quiz to find the plan right for you.