cat eating bowl

Guest post by Darren Hawks, DVM

Renal insufficiency, or kidney failure, is very common as our cats age. Early signs are subtle, seen only as increased drinking and urination. More advanced signs are weight loss, poor appetite, vomiting, and dull coat. Problems occur as the kidneys can no longer reabsorb water, leading to excessive urination and chronic dehydration. As problems progress, the kidneys cannot handle the breakdown products of excess protein, leading to the buildup of toxins in the blood (azotemia). This is reflected in an increased BUN and creatinine on blood work.

The goals of therapy for renal failure are to increase hydration, decrease the buildup of toxins in the blood, treat any possible underlying reversible disease (infection, hyperthyroidism), maintain good blood flow to the kidneys, and minimize any further damage.

Diet is a key component of the health program for a cat with kidney disease, but the goals may not be quite what you have been told. In my opinion, the most basic first step in mild to moderate cases is to increase water consumption. This means avoiding dry food (the reason here being that cats on dry food tend to be chronically dehydrated, but there is another important reason regarding protein sources which we will discuss in just a bit). Fresh or frozen unprocessed food, or as a second choice canned food, should be the diet of choice. Many cats with mild to moderate disease will improve with this step alone.

Secondly, the source of protein in the diet is crucial. Blood toxicity (uremia) from kidney failure occurs because toxins are created when excess protein is broken down. The amount of dietary proteins which is used to satisfy basic body protein needs does not create these toxins, but dietary protein in excess of these needs do. Different protein sources have different types of amino acids, and if the composition of amino acids in the food do not match the needs of the body, the unused ones must be broken down, thus creating toxins.

The goals are not only to provide just enough protein to meet needs, but also to provide the correct ratio of amino acids so that the unusable amino acids do create toxins. This means matching a cat’s protein and amino acid needs with its food. Cats are pure carnivores, and their amino acid requirements are those found in MEAT. Not corn meal. Not soy. Not by-products as the sole source of protein. MEAT. This may go against conventional wisdom, but it really does make sense.

Find a food that is based on meat, not carbohydrates. Interestingly, this means fresh or canned, since all kibbles will have a higher carbohydrate content. So you will solve two problems, high water content and high quality protein with one diet.

What about protein restriction?

There is some controversy regarding protein restriction for cats with kidney disease. First and foremost, there is no evidence that protein restriction prevents kidney disease in healthy cats. There is also no solid evidence that protein restriction prevents further damage to cats with existing kidney disease. What protein restriction might do is help decrease the amount of toxins (reduce azotemia or decrease BUN) so that your cat feels better. But there is still controversy there, too, despite what your veterinarian might tell you.

In my opinion, there are no clinical studies showing conclusive benefit of protein restriction in cats with renal failure. I am not saying that there is no benefit, just no conclusive proof of benefit, meaning that we just do not know for sure. Even experts agree that the degree of protein restriction possible in cats is somewhat limited by their higher protein requirements. My advice to you would be to try a protein restricted diet only if your cat is not doing well and see if improvement is noticed.

All veterinarians will agree that eating something, anything, is better than not eating (the body will digest its own muscles, which is the highest protein diet possible and obviously not good for the body), and some cats will not eat a protein restricted diet.

Let me put in a plug for my diet recommendations. I much prefer fresh food to processed food. This would usually be in the form of homemade diets (please, please be sure to follow a respected recipe!) or commercially prepared frozen diets. These can be fed raw (after you have educated yourself on the feeding of raw foods) or lightly cooked.

Another option is ZiwiPeak, an air dried meat formula with minimal processing. In my opinion, this would be the next best to fresh food, better than canned or kibble. ZiwiPeak has the advantage of containing organ meat in proportions to that found in nature, along with omega 3 fatty acids of animal source. It is also convenient, with no worries associated with the handling of raw foods.

If canned food is your choice, then I would recommend the ZiwiPeak canned foods. As with the entire ZiwiPeak line, the canned food has free-range meats with no added hormones or antibiotics. The meat comes from a consistent, New Zealand known source. The ratio of meat to organs is that found in nature, mimicking what a pet would eat in nature. All of these are important factors when choosing your pet’s food.

Advanced cases of kidney failure might require a lower protein diet, but a meat based diet is my preference for mild to moderate kidney problems in cats. You can be guided by your cat’s appetite, weight and energy levels. Try the lower protein diets if your cat is having problems and see if you notice an improvement. Please note that the BUN of a pet on a meat-based diet can be higher than that of a pet on a grain-based diet and still be normal and healthy.

Since the goal is to supply only the needed amount of protein, fat is often the other part of the equation to supply calories (rather than simple carbohydrates). Cats do metabolize fats better than people and dogs, so the higher fat content is usually not a problem. High quality fats, however, might be hard to find. Processed fats (exposed to the high heat and temperatures associated with canning) can cause free radical damage and inflammation. Thus we are back to fresh, frozen or air dried diets as the better choice.

Speaking of fats, one of the additional recommendations for cats, dogs, and people with renal insufficiency is to include omega 3 fatty acid supplements in the diet. Omega 3 fatty acids decrease inflammation and help maintain blood flow to the kidneys. Cats do require an animal source for some needs, so think about krill or fish oils.

Other alternative therapies include glandulars (supplements containing actual kidney tissue along with supportive nutrients; Standard Process products would be an good example), homeopathic remedies, and Chinese herbs.

Subcutaneous (SQ- under the skin) fluids can be an invaluable, life-prolonging therapy which can be provided at home (ask your veterinarian). Check for possibly treatable underlying conditions such as hyperthyroidism (blood test) or kidney infection (urine culture). Minimize vaccinations to only that which is truly needed, and space them out rather than giving them all at one time. Consider testing antibody titers instead of automatically giving vaccines. Excessive stimulation of the immune system with vaccines can result in antigen-antibody complex settling out into kidney tissue, causing inflammation and further compromise in kidney function.

Potassium supplementation is often a good idea in cats with kidney disease, as overall body depletion can occur even if blood levels of potassium are normal. You can talk with your veterinarian regarding available supplements.

Darren Hawks, DVM graduated from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 1988. She is a board certified specialist in internal medicine. She offers a variety of alternative therapies including chiropractic, other manual therapies (myofascial release, Integrative Manual Therapy, Reiki), herbs, homeopathy, flower essences and nutrition. Her goal is to guide owners towards a total health program including diet, exercise, improved energy flow via body/energy work, removal of stress and toxins, as well as addressing emotions and stress. 

Ziwi Peak offers a complete range of ultra premium natural meat pet products prepared with care beneath the Bay of Plenty’s celebrated peak, Mount Maunganui, New Zealand. For more information about Ziwi Peak and their products, please visit their website.

Editor’s note: Dr. Hawks was compensated by Ziwi Peak for this article. Always consult with your cat’s veterinarian before making diet changes or giving supplements.


New Dr. Goodpet banner


83 Comments on Kidney Failure and Diet in Cats

  1. ziwi peak is high in phosphorous… 1.24 just sayin’…its a great cat food…but im not sure its the correct choice for ckd cat when lower phosphorous levels are being sought…i think .7 is the highest you should go in phosphorus when seeking a cannede cat food for ckd kittie

  2. What fresh or frozen diet foods could I give my 15 yr old cat with renal failure. He wont eat prescription food and I’m struggling with what to feed him. Would be very grateful if you could help

  3. My 6-7 yr old male cat was diagnosed with kidney failure a week ago. The vet gave him drips for 48 hrs to try and bring down her creatin, potassium and BUN levels. All were off the chart. It helped some but not as much as the vet hoped. We have him on KD Diet, canned which he somewhat eats. He will drink water fair. His numbers were off the chart. Are there anything else you would suggest????? So sad!!!!

    • Just had the same situation. My cat has been on a dry k/d diet for some time and doing well. Recently I brought home some samples from the vet of the same brand (Hills) canned food, gave it to the cat who has NEVER liked canned food, and she scarfed it for about three days and then stopped eating completely. A blood test showed that her numbers were “off the chart” and the vet gave me little hope that she could recover. I talked to a friend who is a M.D., and she felt that the cat had consumed an overload of protein. The ingredients list on both the dry and canned food showed 24% protein, and I know from my studies that it should be much lower for kidney disease. So, I took her to a vet I had used before who does holistic medicine. When she looked at the ingredients list, she was appalled at the percentage of protein too. Started her on a detox, and a kidney formula and bought her some food that has 5.75% protein (Dave’s Restricted Diet), which does not require a prescription, at my local high end pet food store. Within two days she was eating again and I would bet that if I wanted to spend another $100+ on a followup blood test, the number would be back down. I don’t know how much damage was done to her system, but at this point I am giving her sub fluids occasionally, continuing the holistic formula, no longer overloading her with protein and hoping for the best. She is 15 years old and not active, so it is hard to tell for sure. My best advice is to be sure the vet you use SPECIALIZES in cats and research the food you are feeding her. Good luck.

    • I have been supplementing with crushed Magnesium, baking soda. Vitamins. Lots of canned food, water, available at all times. We are trying to reverse it. Calming, hyperthyroid tonics. I am about to try sodium citrate. A variety of supplements seem to be found appropriate for his condition.

    • I give my girl vit c with rose hips water, 10cc 3 times daily. I give her .5cc of salmon oil twice daily too so as to offset the dehydration from the vit c and it works. She eats only canned food. I have been doing this for 3 years and if I do not do it she has hematuria and dysuria. She is 17 years this May and I love my girl. I would have to put euthanize her due to her kidney disease, but this seems to be working and has for the last 3 years.

      • As a pet sitter I had an elderly cat client with advanced renal failure whose owner expected the cat to die. I researched homemade foods specifically for AKF, which had consistency of thick soup, there were supplements in small amounts based on recipe. The cat not only survived it thrived and the owner was delighted. Try looking up natural homemade foods for renal disease/failure. Also discovered no food with preservatives (ie. canned) !

  4. My 18 yo has diabetes, CKD stage 3, hypertension and hyperthyroidism. Also she recently had surgery to remove calcium oxalate stones from her bladder. She seems to be doing well but I’ve noticed lately she is not interested in her Hills Rx k/d diet food her vet put her on. She was a Fancy Feast Classic kitty which her brother still is. She has lost a pound and a 6lbs that’s not good. Please help. It is so hard to find a food that will fit all of her issues!

  5. Our Yogi has just been diagnosed with kidney failure. Where can we find recipes and information on cooking his food here at home, etc? We are a little overwhelmed by all the information. Our vet wants to start him on Hills K/D but from what we have read, low protein doesn’t meet feline needs. Thanks

    • My 23 year old Bubba was also diagnosed with kidney failure & was really bad, on sub-q fluids. God answers prayers & brought to my attention Pet’s Wellbeing kidney formula. He is also eating the Hills KD formulas because it is the right ratio of protein/amino acid he needs, but he will only eat the dry-but at least he’s eating! Bought a dripping water fountain & keep water bowls readily available everywhere. It has been a year now & he’s not on sub-q & is MUCH better.

  6. Hi. Our cat has just been diagnosed with kidney issuficiency…….our vet wants to put him on Hills K/D but from what we have read, dry is not a good option. our Yogi cannot digest chicken byproducts and we will be reading the K/D labels tomorrow at the vets office. Is there a site that gives natural recipes? I do not mind cooking his his food but am not sure where to start, what meats and veggies that will help, etc. He is currently on Blue Buffalo Flaked Tuna, Flaked Salmon, etc. again, because of the chicken issue. thanks!

    • I would work with a holistic vet to help you formulate a homemade diet that’s appropriate for cats with kidney issues. You can also try a service like or

      • I saw that recommendation but unfortunately, we do not live in an area that has or is close to one…….Thank you for the other sites, we will look at those today!

        • I researched and found a source (naturopathic vet) for Kidney failure specific homemade cat foods, which had consistency of thick soup. There was also a list and amounts of supplements to add to “soup” recipe. I used these on elderly cat who owner expected to die but not only survived, it became more active and improved within several weeks. Try looking up natural homemade foods for renal disease/failure. Also learned to be aware of preservatives in canned or other food.

  7. I was wondering if Papaya juice would be good for my little kitty he doesn’t have kidney disease yet but they started him on the KD diet and he’s not taking to it very well so I’m just giving him his regular canned food because I’d rather see him eat but I do have the Papaya juice I was wondering if I could give it to him in a syringe because he doesn’t like it in his food

    • Not sure why you would give your cat papaya? They don’t naturally eat fruit and some fruit and vegetables are detrimental. If you use a syringe your cat has no opportunity to reject something it may know internally is not good. I’d research this more.

  8. Thank you for all of your information and recommendations. I see you recommend Soltice in general, is this food also good for cats with Kidney failure? My old man, Toby, is currently on K/D but I am looking to switch based on the reading I have been doing lately regarding cat diet.

    • I’m assuming you’re asking about Soulistic, Leila? If so, I believe it’s a good choice for cats in renal failure because it’s high in moisture, but please verify phosphorus content with the manufacturer.

  9. In addition to kidney failure, my cat has food allergies, so switching her to a k/d food has caused her allergies to flair up. Any suggestions on a food that would address both problems?

    • You’ll have to figure out what your cat is allergic to, and then select a diet based on that information. Here’s more information on food allergies: Protein restriction isn’t indicated until the very final stages of kidney disease, but you’re going to want to try to find a diet that is low in phosphorus, in addition to being free of what is causing your cat’s reaction.

      • Thanks, I’ll do that. All I know is that when I switched her from her previous diet to a skin sensitive one, her flair ups stopped, and when I had to switch her to the k/d diet, they were back in a week.

        • Check out Royal Canin’s Renal Support + Hydrolyzed Protein Multi Function diet. I understand prescription diets are not ideal. However Royal Canin started making foods that address multiple issues. Personally I have always liked Royal Canin but found this site and am researching the move to raw for my girl as we battle kidney issues.

          • I’m glad you’re considering alternatives to prescription diets, Charles. You are correct that they’re not ideal, and the whole idea of foods that address multiple issues sounds like a marketing gimmick to me.

  10. Thank you for posting this article. I recently removed GMOs from my diet because of unexplained liver issues and began to wonder if my cat’s prescription Hill’s Science Diet kidney formula may be hurting rather than helping my cat (corn is main ingredient in Hill’s Science Diet kidney formula). Today, I switched to ZiWiPeak (canned venison was all I could find today) and I’ve never seen my renal cat so excited about eating. I’m looking forward to learning more about a raw diet for my renal cat, and I appreciate you giving me a healthy head start.

  11. I haven’t read all these posts yet, but have to go and wanted to leave a note.

    You can find the #’s you need (if your vet isn’t as helpful as you’d like) to know whether it’s time to initiate phosphorus control with a binder — especially if your cat (like mine) won’t accept any of the foods lower in phosphorus, on the Tanya’s web site. I always get copies of all my cats’ lab reports, so I can see for myself how things are going.

    I rescued a 13 yr-old cat who was soon found to have failing kidneys. I watched his labs and gave a phosphorus binder when the time came (with his vet’s approval), and kept giving him the highest protein foods he would eat. I gave him supplements (liquids) for his arthritis every AM mixed into Gerber Stage 2 baby food — all meat and nothing else. Even tho he did not have high blood pressure (and when we tried a medication anyway, it made him dizzy so I had to give that up) he went blind. Our wonderful vet could never find the reason. But MoMo just stayed indoors then, except to nap on the back porch in the sun, where he found his way around very easily. When he died, he was still comfortable — he never had distressing symptoms of kidney disease and he did not die of it.

    One of the ways to encourage cats to drink more water is to put water bowls in a number of places. My cats like large diameter bowls, mostly, heavy ceramic ones which keep the water cool. I looked for and found attractive ones, most of them handmade, which I like having as part of my environment, too. I put one in every room, and since my cats go outdoors, one on the back porch, too. The one place cats do not like to have a water bowl in next to their food. Both the cats living with me now also like to drink from the glass I’m using. I found a gorgeous, large blue and green stemmed glass (at a benefit white elephant sale) with a “V” shaped bowl which Boo agreed he would drink out of instead of the glass I take to the bedroom at night for myself. Be creative with offering water. Watch what your cats like. And keep the bowls clean! it matters a lot to them.

  12. Me again… Hi ! All those questions about Weruva and Tiki Cat, only to change again and so fast as our vet wants to test our cat for food allergies. Because my husband is not totally comfortable with raw (yet), I chose to go with Ziwipeak. I thought it was a good compromise, especially since our vet suggested Royal Canin.

    It has been a week since we transitioned completely and I am scratching my head over this already. Our cat used to be on the constipated side: very dry stool once a day on Science Diet, smaller and crumbly stool every 2 or 3 days on Tiki Cat. Once or twice a day, formed but soft stool on Ziwipeak venison cans. I’d be very happy if it wasn’t for the fact that being a highly digestible food, the bulk shouldn’t be increasing. Am I overthinking it ?

    • You probably are overthinking it, Jessica 🙂 I suspect that your cat’s digestive tract is still normalizing. It sounds like she’s doing really well on the Ziwi Peak. You may want to consider adding a probioitic, but read labels carefully since you’re doing an elimination trial. You want to be sure that there are no hidden proteins (flavoring, etc.) added. I recommend the Dr. Goodpet Feline Digestive Enzymes product, and I believe it meets those requirements:

      • As always, thank you Ingrid. I will give him more time. I wasn’t overprotective until we experienced a very bad situation with a vet which lasted for months.

        Great point on the hidden proteins. I have started to give him NaturVet Digestive Enzymes and Probiotics Powder (but will keep Dr. Goodpet in my mind for the next purchase), I don’t see anything but I have contacted them just to make sure.

        Fructooligosaccharide, Dried Aspergillus oryzae Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus niger Fermentation Solubles, Dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum Fermentation Product, Carica papaya, Dried Bacillus coagulans Fermentation Product, and Maltodextrin.

  13. I was reading another article on the healthiest cat food and the raw foods were at the top of the list. In fact, almost the whole list were raw foods. But it seems nearly all had ground bone (including ZiwiPeak) which author said was not good for cats with constipation or “kidney failure”. I’m trying to read everything I can about kidney failure as one of my cats was just diagnosed. It is difficult to decide what to do as there is so much conflicting opinion. Has anyone had real results in stopping the continued downward path I have been told to expect?

      • Just found this website so I hope you get this reply. My cat was diagnosed with kidney disease about 4 years ago. Micaila’s age was estimated to be about 6 to 10 years(she was a grown stray I resscued) I had been feeding her what I thought was the best commercial food available at the time. When she was diagnosed, I did some research and opted for the raw diet. She has been on it for 4 years now and the vet was surprised at her improvement. She no longer is on any meds. Her raw diet does include ground bone which is an essential source of calcium. I haven’t tried Fresh Pet yet, but I might to add a little variety in her diet. If you go the raw diet route do some research and be sure its organic and her diet is balanced. Her stool is almost odorless and formed, her coat is full and shiny. Since she has switched to raw, she hasn’t had to have her teeth cleaned. Hope this helps.

        • Raw, homemade seems to be best for cats with renal disease. Most commercial foods have fillers and preservatives that make the kidney disease worse. There are some vegetables that cats can have but have to test for their approval.

  14. Could anyone direct me to a respected recipe for a homemade cat food for our cat with renal failure?
    He still eats and drinks quite well, but is less active, loosing condition, has an estimated 25% kidney function and could be anything from 9-13yrs old (he was a rescue cat).
    We live in rural Australia and a one-on-one dietary consult is not offered by any specialists in our area.

    Gratefully yours,

    Liz and Roscoe cat.

  15. My Birman is 12 years old has been diagnosed with third stage kidney disease. He has always been on Hills T/D and diced beef from the butcher. I have been told to get him off the Hills T/D and he is on Renal biscuits that he doesn’t eat. He loves dried chicken treats but wants them all the time now. I don’t know what do to.

  16. Our Bambi-Sue is 18 years old next month. She has been treated for CRF since JULY 2009! She will only eat dry food, the vet said to give her whatever she likes. She likes dry Fancy Feast Filet Mignon and crunchy treats. Nothing wet or canned for this princess. She gets sub fluids every 3.5 days (for the last 3.5 years) at the vet’s office. She’s slowing down, still drinking lots of water, and sleeps a lot during the day. We have to help her get on the bed or into my lap, but she is a lap kitty and is quite happy there, especially in a cool room. Not so much when the AC comes on, and it is warm in NC about 8 months out of the year. She is well taken care of by our vets at Wake Veterinary Hospital, they are our heroes!

    • The most important thing for any cat in renal failure is to make sure that she eats. I’m glad your Bambi-Sue has been doing so well despite the fact that she won’t eat wet food.

  17. Thank you for the article. I wish I’d read it 6 years ago when my Silver was diagnosed.
    I trusted my vet, put him on KD, did the SubQ fluids and he died quickly and painfully in less than 3 months after $1000’s in vet bills & diagnosis.
    After I recovered, I adopted my neighbor’s 12 year old feral (but indoor) cat. And, I found out she also had kidney disease. SubQ fluids were out of the question – the vet had to sedate her just to get a blood sample. He gave her 9 months at the most, and suggested KD. I said no thank you. I fed her good canned food, good low carb/zero grain dry food pre-wet with warm water, and LOTS of of fresh water. At the end, she would only drink low salt chicken stock. But, she got better in the first 6 months, started running around and playing like a kitten. She lived a total of 2 years. She never did let me pick her up, but she would occasionally sit in my lap & ask to be pet. She died a much happier cat than my poor Silver.
    Thanks for the excellent article & posts!

    • I’m sorry about Silver, Ellen. Your formerly feral kitty’s progression of the disease certainly is a testament that the right diet can make a big difference!

  18. Could anyone share a few raw recipes that I could use for my older cats? I have 3, (ages 11, 11, 14) and they are all currently eating Purina U/R (the oldest cat needed it to help with sludge). I agree that a raw diet would be better. I really wish I had known more about raw diets previously. But if anyone could suggest some recipes, or a resource to get them, I would appreciate it.
    UC Davis grad just like the author, but unfortunately not a Vet 🙂

    • I can’t recommend any raw recipes specifically for cats in renal failure, Michelle, but I believe Dr. Lisa Pierson can do a remote consult and help you formulate the right diet for your cat. Her website is may also be able to do it for you.

      • Thanks. I happily just signed up for the blog. I should have done a little more poking around before posing a question, as clearly there is a lot of info already here. Thank you! Look forward to reading more.

  19. Hi Ingrid, I read your post with great interest because lately I have been noticing a very strong ammonia smell in my cat’s litter-box and I was wondering if maybe his kidneys may be suffering. The problem is that with him being an indoor cat in a high-rise, I really don’t want to vaccinate him (he had his initial round of vaccines a little over a year ago) but my vet will not see him unless he has the full battery of vaccines .I know you will probably suggest going elsewhere but I get the feeling this will probably be a requisite of other vets too in my area.I prefer to take him to a nearby vet because he gets very anxious and carsick when traveling and I want to spare him long trips. He is 4 years old and is being fed Wellbeing weight control dry food because he is about 16 lbs. I have on occasion tried to feed him wet food but he doesn’t want it.I did use a different brand of litter in his litter-box for a few days because I didn’t have time to go to the usual place I go to (PETCO) to refill his litter bucket so I just bought some litter in the convenience store in my apartment building,so perhaps the smell could be due to that. I am just trying to be cautious here.What can you suggest?
    Thank you so much,Tamara

    • You’re absolutely right, Tamara, I’m going to tell you to find a vet who will see your cat without current vaccinations. 🙂 Look for a holistic vet in your area, or a housecall vet – that might be even better, since your kitty gets car sick. It’s possible that the new litter caused the different smell in the box, but I’d err on the side of caution and get him checked out. I’d also wean him off the dry food completely. You’ll find lots of information about why, and how to do it, in the Feline Nutrition section on this site. I hope this helps!

  20. I have a 6 month old kitten, she has elevated BUN levels 44 urine sp gr:1.107 alb 4.1 creatine is in normal levels. Ultra sound diagnosis. Probable Familial Renal Failure. One vet said low protein diet. Another her regular wants her on Science Diet kitten, What would you suggest? I sure do not want to lose her

    • I’d lean toward your regular vet’s suggestion, Sandy, except I don’t like the Science Diet products at all. They contain too many by-products as well as corn and soy. I’d look for a premium, all meat brand of either kitten food or just regular grain-free canned food. Once you choose one, run it by your regular vet to make sure he feels that protein levels are adequate. As you can see from the article, protein restriction is usually not indicated until the final stages of renal disease, and it’s especially tricky in a growing kitten.

  21. I use the ZiwiPeak air-dried food for my dogs … my cat enjoys RadCat raw meals 100% of the time.

    As for the ZiwiPeak canned foods, what about the carrageenan? I have heard conflicting things about carrageenan, and I now choose to avoid it altogether, since I don’t know what is true about carrageenan.

    I notice that on the ZiwiPeak website they have a section under the FAQs about carrageenan. They state that the form they use is safe.

    It’s hard to know what’s true about carrageenan.

    • Pam, I don’t know what to tell you about carrageenan. There’s a lot of conflicting information about it and some of it does concern me.

      I haven’t tried the RadCat brand for my girls, but it’s on my list of brands to try – I like what I’ve read about it.

    • Due to customer feedback ZiwiPeak has recently removed the carrageenen and replaced it with agar agar. Ziwipeak cans are also BPA free which is a big pro.

      A Holistic vet recommended Nutripe to me (not for my CKD cat, she’s on Hills K/D, I know bad me! But she was on a highly respected raw recipe when she developed it so I pannicked) Unfortunately at this stage Nutripe cans are not BPA free. As I have one cat with a high T4 reading and one cat with stage 2 CKD, avoiding BPAs is a consideration.

  22. Thanks for the post!

    This is what I’m doing for my cat now. His creatinine is almost 3.0 but BUN falls in the normal range. My cat has been feeding Ziwipeak (dry food) for a long time but he started to vomit after meal recently. So I switch his food to cans and he is doing fine now. Do you know anything about “Nutripe” canned foods? They are also grain-free and meat based canned foods. Just want to know are they good enough for cats with kidney problems. Thank you!

      • Hi Ingrid, thanks so much for the informative blog post! I have the same question as Wan-Ju regarding Nutripe – here’s the nutritional analysis (I used the Venison formula because Ziwipeak has a comparable Venison one; both brands are free range and grain free formulas from New Zealand):

        Venison (with heart, liver & lung), Chicken, Ocean Fish, Tripe, Stabilizer (Carrageanan, Guar Gum), Vitamins & Minerals, Green Lipped Mussel Powder, Taurine, Sufficient Water for Processing

        Typical Analysis
        Crude Protein (min) 10.45%
        Crude Fat (min) 5.25%
        Crude Fiber (max) 0.4%
        Crude Ash (max) 2.3%

        This is in comparison with Ziwipeak Venison:

        Ingredients: Venison – Meat, Liver, Tripe, Kidney, Green-Lipped Mussel , Carageenan, Guar Gum, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Vitamins (Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Nicotinic Acid, Vitamin E Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Minerals (Zinc Sulphate, Ferrous Sulphate, Manganese Sulphate, Copper Sulphate, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Chloride), Taurine, DL-Methionine

        Typical Analysis:
        Crude Protein 10.0%
        Crude Fat 7.0%
        Crude Fibre 2.0% (max)
        Moisture 78% (max)
        Ash 2.0% (max)
        Calories 1100 kcal/kg
        Calcium 0.54%
        Phosphorus 0.39%

        I think the Ziwipeak one will have slightly less carbohydrates – which is a very good thing! However, the Nutripe is comparable… and for half the price, it’s a good alternative. What do you advise?

    • Sadly, it is a very common issue, Layla. I think we need to ask ourselves why that is the case. I’m convinced that diet, especially dry food, plays a significant role in the prevalence of kidney disease in cats. Unfortunately, there just aren’t any studies that have looked at this issue.

  23. Good timing on your article, but bad news for us as we struggle with learning our cat Nicky has early signs of CRF. I agree that protein has to be fresh, raw meat, which is what Nicky gets now and will continue to be fed as we learn more about his condition. I’ll definitely share this informative post. Thank you, Ingrid!

    • I’m so sorry about Nicky, Robin. You’re already well-versed in raw feeding, but if you’re looking for a veterinarian who can help you formulate a raw diet for a cat with kidney disease, I highly recommend Dr. Lisa Pierson.

    • Marg, make sure that potassium supplementation is indicated for Holly – check with your vet first. Excess potassium can cause serious heart problems.

  24. Generally a good article, but he did not mention about the importance of limiting phosphorus in the diet of cat with renal disease. Although cats with renal disease have the same protein requirements as any other cat, it can be important to limit meat based protein as they are higher in phosphorus,and it might be appropriate to use egg as a protein or a high quality plant protein. The other option is to add a phosphorus binder like IPAKITINE.

    • Thank you for pointing out the issue of phosphorus, Michael. I believe that Ipakitine is called Epakitin in the US, and there are several other products available as well. It should be noted that phosphorus binders should not be given without checking with your veterinarian.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.