Best Cat Food for Kidney Disease

If you are the owner of a kitty who has recently been having some health problems and has been diagnosed with a renal disease, your veterinarian probably would have recommended a renal prescription diet, but why? Well, there is lots of research which suggests that diets which are restricted in protein can lengthen kidney function.

But, there is a lot more to it. Finding the best cat food for kidney disease is very important; the consequences of bad dietary choices for your kitty who is suffering from kidney disease can be very dangerous.

Cats are obligate carnivores. What this means is that they cannot survive and get nourishment without protein… they need it to live and function normally. A good amount of decent quality animal proteins is essential for your kitty’s immune system to function properly and to produce the right number of hormones. Unlike other mammals such as dogs, cats cannot get energy from anything other than animal or plant proteins… it is super important.

Cat Food for Kidney Disease Comparison Table

NameMain IngredientsProteinFatFiberPricing
ROYAL CANIN Feline Selected Protein Adult PD CanWater sufficient for processing, duck, duck liver, pea flour, duck by-product meal, pea protein, vegetable oil9%5.3%1.5%Click Here
Hills Z/D Low Allergen Cat FoodBrewers Rice, Hydrolyzed Chicken Liver, Powdered Cellulose, Soybean Oil, Chicken Liver Flavor, Lactic Acid, Calcium Carbonate28%12%4%Click Here
Wellness Natural Grain Free Wet Canned Cat FoodTurkey, Chicken Liver, Whitefish, Chicken Broth, Salmon, Carrots, Natural Flavor10.5%5%1%Click Here
Blue Natural Veterinary Diet KM KidneyChicken, Chicken Broth, Water, Potatoes, Potato Starch, Beef, Chicken Liver4.5%3%3%Click Here
Fussie Cat Gold Super Premium Grain FreeBoneless Chicken, Water Sufficient for Processing, Tapioca Starch, Sunflower Seed Oil, Tricalcium Phosphate, Locust Bean Gum, Calcium Lactate11%1.5%2.5%Click Here
Hi-Tor Neo Diet For CatsSufficient Water for Processing, Meat By-Products, Beef, Chicken, Pork Liver, Ocean Fish, Poultry Fat8%10%1%Click Here
Tiki Cat Gourmet Whole FoodChicken broth, tuna, chicken, sunflower seed oil, tricalcium phosphate, tuna fish oil, choline chloride17%3%0%Click Here

This is our top pick for us and we think it is the best cat food for kidney disease available on the market right now. This low-protein blend is made by Royal Canin, a brand associated with specialist formulas specifically targeted towards pets with health problems.

This Royal Canin Feline Select blend is a great option for kitties suffering from kidney disease who have a problem digesting protein, because it includes a very simple but high-quality duck protein. Duck is actually a protein, which cats can digest very easily. Plus, it has low phosphorus because there are not tons of it present.

With boosted Omega-3 fatty acids to keep skin and coat healthy, added antioxidants for immune system support and added moisture, it is a brilliant renal cat food for cats suffering from kidney disease. It is a well-balanced food which, in our view, ticks all the boxes and will help your kitty on the road to recovery.

Pros

  • Low amount of high-quality protein.
  • High amount of moisture.
  • Low in phosphorus.

Cons

  • Limited flavours available.

This is another highly recommended renal cat food and it is highly praised by veterinarians nationwide. The protein which this food contains are very easily digestible and come in limited amounts, so there, again, is no problem with excess phosphorus but your cat is still getting a high-quality protein source which satisfies their carnivorous needs.

Plus, there is added Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids alongside antioxidants to help your kitty’s fur and coat, and strengthen the immune system. Although this formula is not directly targeted towards cats with kidney disease, it does help many cats with renal problems. It is great for cats who need a low-protein diet.

Pros

  • Limited amount of protein.
  • Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
  • Contains useful antioxidants.

Cons

  • Not a renal food.

Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Cat Food is a great option because its formula includes a special fiber blend which is designed to move hair through the digestive system with relative ease, and pass hairballs which have already formulated. Using deboned chicken and chicken meal as its top ingredients, it is a protein-rich formula which is full of good and natural flavour.

Wellness is one of my favourite cat food brands and is trusted throughout the pet industry. When it comes to their food options, there is no doubting that this is one of the best cat foods for kitties suffering from kidney disease.

This limited protein blend lists turkey as its primary ingredient, which is present in a limited amount and is easily digestible for cats. This low-protein cat food, like the others, contains added Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids thanks to the presence of salmon, as well as taurine which helps maintain a healthy heart.

Additionally, there is low phosphorus and magnesium levels which help the urinary tract function properly.

Pros

  • Added magnesium for urinary health.
  • Two sources of high-quality protein in limited amounts.
  • Low in phosphorus.

Cons

  • Some cats hate paté foods.

This specialist formula is an option often overlooked, but an analysis of its ingredients shows us that it is definitely a top choice food for kitties suffering from kidney disease. All cat foods manufactured by Blue are all-natural and grain free, made in a human-grade production facility. This means that there are no added nasties or surprises which we discussed earlier.

In addition to this, it has a limited amount of protein and a limited amount of carbohydrates, and the first ingredient is tuna which cats love! So, if you have a fussy kitty suffering from kidney disease then this is a solid choice to get them eating. Plus, it is packed full of moisture, too!

Pros

  • Lists tuna as the primary ingredient.
  • Full of moisture.
  • Grain free.

Cons

  • No added antioxidants.

Although this product itself is not directly targeted towards cats with kidney disease, it is still a great choice. Thanks to its grain-free nature and the low amount of phosphorus present, this is a brilliant food which you can feed your kitty without worrying about upsetting his or her kidney problems.

The primary ingredient is chicken which is a high-quality protein source, and there is a limited amount of it. As it is grain-free, it will not overwork your kitty’s kidneys and the low amount of phosphorus helps maintain calcium levels. It also supports urinary tract health with the addition of magnesium.

Chicken is a good choice of protein here, because other proteins, especially seafood, contain higher amounts of phosphorus than other protein sources; all that is present here is lean all-white chicken.

Pros

  • Supports urinary tract health.
  • Is targeted towards fussy cats.
  • All-white quality chicken with no phosphorus.

Cons

  • Vegetables have no place in a feline diet.

Hi-Tor is a specially designed formula tailored to help cats suffering from kidney disease, so it is a perfect renal dietary staple. It is highly recommended by veterinarians and is quite often one of the first brands that you would have recommended to you if you have a kitty who has just been diagnosed with kidney disease.

It has a great taste, too (well, reportedly – I haven’t tasted it!) which means that even the fussiest of kitties should be able to transfer over to this with minimal fuss. With its low phosphorus and restricted protein, it is the perfect choice to feed a kitty on who is suffering from kidney disease.

Pros

  • It is palatable and cats usually like it.
  • Around 8% protein from high quality sources.
  • High in moisture.

Cons

  • Not all cats like the taste.

Again, this is not a specially formulated food for kidney disease, but it provides a very healthy and fulfilling food source. It is packed full with high quality proteins in limited amounts and is highly palatable, along with being grain-free and having low phosphorus levels thanks to the quality of the meat used.

In fact, the meat used is of such a high quality that it is perfectly safe for humans to eat. We don’t recommend eating it, though.

Pros

  • Lots of flavour options.
  • Highly palatable.
  • Quality protein used.

Cons

  • Does not directly target kidney failure.

Kidney Disease Prognosis

Most cats will survive kidney disease for months or years after they have been diagnosed, but kidney disease is generally not curable. It is a progressive and chronic disease and, over time, it is fatal in cats, because the disease causes kidneys to weaken.

That being said, however, it is possible to help prolong your kitty’s life for as long as possible and lead a quality life by feeding the right diet, with the right foods and taking the right care of your kitty. Having a kitty suffering with kidney disease is not easy… it will require a lot of care on your part, but this can be relieved by feeding the best cat food for kidney disease.

With all of the above in mind, here are our reviews of the best cat foods for kidney disease available on the market right now. These specially formulated renal foods tick all the boxes and will help your kitty on the road to recovery from kidney disease. Not all of these are specially-formulated renal foods, however, some are just regular cat food brands!

Renal Diets

Renal diets contain added potassium, lower sodium, low phosphorus and extra Omega-3 fatty acids, in addition to restricted protein. Although all of these things are good for your kitty’s condition, what is not good is the limited amount of protein.

There is no one diet which is good for all cats who have kidney disease, some factors depend on your individual cat. What is important, however, is that your cat is getting a good quality protein, rather than the amount of protein they are getting. So, if your kitty has been diagnosed with kidney disease, you should look at swapping out your kitty’s current food for a food which has high quality protein sources.

Don’t forget the importance of water, either; water is important to preserving kidney function and tissue. Cats with renal problems will drink more water, but they cannot retain this water as efficiently as before. But, the buck does not stop here – you need to also make sure your kitty is getting plenty of moisture through their food.

This means that you can no longer feed dry food or, if you do, feed as little as possible. If you do feed dry food, try adding water or protein-based broths to it such as chicken or fish broth. If you have a kitty who loves dry food, try moving them onto some Soft Dry Cat Food instead, which does have moisture.

Restricting phosphorus is also important, because the high amount of phosphorus found in high protein diets can speed up the decline of your kitty’s kidneys. When looking for the best cat food for kidney disease, look for a phosphorus count lower than 0.6% on a dry-matter basis or between 0.7-1.2 grams per 1000kcal.

How Do Special Diets Help?

Renal diets help your kitty’s kidney problems in two primary ways.

Through low quantity, high-protein sources

  • As we have already mentioned, because your kitty will now be on a limited protein diet, it is super important to provide lower quantities of protein which are higher in quality. You may find the Best Limited Ingredient Cat Food useful, too.
  • When your kitty eats food, protein is broken down and there are some toxic by-products which pass out through the urine. But, when your kitty has kidney disease, they cannot do this job properly and so the toxins build up in blood and cause renal failure and illness.
  • The point of a limited-protein diet is to reduce the production of toxins so that your cat feels better in the long run. Cats must continue to have protein in their diet because they are obligate carnivores; the best cat food for kidney disease contains less protein than regular foods but are high quality, so there is less protein to cause problems but your cat is still benefitting from a quality protein source.

With restricted phosphorus

  • Excess levels of phosphorus, which is found in animal-based proteins, can hasten kidney failure, so restricted phosphorus found in these renal foods can help slow it down and protect the kidneys from more damage. Restricted phosphorus helps protect the kidneys from more damage and slows the progression of kidney disease.

What is important to remember is that the best cat food for kidney disease are specially formulated and meet the above criteria, providing significant benefits for your kitty in terms of improving their kidney disease whilst reducing the levels of toxins in the bloodstream.

A Personal Note

You may find that the need to provide your kitty with a limited-protein wet cat food which is low in phosphorus to be quite difficult and complicated, but it is necessary. I get it. Personally, I don’t like complicated cat foods and I am not a fan of those posh-sounding foods which are packed full of nice fruits and vegetables; your obligate carnivore kitty doesn’t need them and has no use for them!

But, I understand – and you should too – that it is important to feed your cat a food which they will eat, even if there are some ‘bad’ ingredients in them. If your kitty has kidney disease, it is more important to limit the protein, phosphorus and feed a wet food than it is to filter out ‘bad’ ingredients.

Kidney disease means that the foods you can feed your kitty are already limited, so you do not need to overcomplicate it more by worrying about ingredients. Your cat’s clinical health is more important as kidney disease can be deadly.

Kitties can be stubborn and if you only provide food which your cat does not like, he / she will not eat it, especially if your kitty is feeling poorly due to kidney problems. It is more important to get food into your cat than it is to let your kitty go hungry based off of your principles.

Benefits of a Renal Diet

There are obvious benefits when it comes to feeding a renal diet. Although people have little enthusiasm for renal foods, they help your cat get better. A proper renal diet can slow the progression of kidney disease, extend life and reduce illness and symptoms such as vomiting and appetite loss.

Although you may not be a fan of the quality of renal diet foods, you should keep an open mind. They will work to help your kitty’s condition and prognosis improve and, what’s most important, your cat will feel so much better on these diets. It is important that your cat remains comfortable and symptom-free in-order for him or her to lead a normal life.

Just like there is Cat Food for Sensitive Stomachs and Cat Food for Urinary Health, there are cat foods available especially for kidney disease.

Kidney disease is a complicated disease and we are no specialists, so it is important to follow the advice of your veterinarian and listen to what he or she has to say about it. Kidney disease is not clear-cut, and it has two distinct types and, as with most things, how your cat will cope with the disease is circumstantial.

Kidney disease is the leading cause of death in cats and most kitties will suffer from it with age, or suffer some form of renal failure. It is just a natural part of life, unfortunately.

The Round Up

Although it is not nice to hear that your cat has kidney disease, it is a natural part of their life. It is important that you feed the right foods which are limited in protein and have a low amount of phosphorus present in them,

There are plenty of specialist renal-formulas and non-specialist regular food formulas which are ideal for cats suffering from kidney disease. We have provided our reviews of seven of the very best ones on the market… it should be so easy for you to pick the right one for your individual kitty and we hope it has helped you out!

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