The food that your cat eats every day can have a large impact on their overall health. In this post, our Hattiesburg and Wiggins vets talk about kidney disease in cats and how the cat food that your cat eats can affect their care and this condition.
Dry Food Diets For Cats
It can be difficult to select the right food for your cat because you must consider nutritional value, your cat's picky (and potentially ever-changing) palate, and your budget. You must also choose between wet and dry food. Which one, however, is best for your cat's long-term health and nutrition?
Here, we talk about dry cat food and whether it causes kidney problems. We also list the real causes of kidney failure in cats and recommend the best foods for cats that have kidney disease.
Can a dry food diet cause kidney disease in cats?
You may find your cat likes one type of food more than the other, whether they prefer wet food from a pouch or dry kibble.
If you are a well-read cat owner, you may have read conflicting advice in pet publications or spoken to other cat owners about dry food and been told that it can harm your cat's kidneys or teeth, or urinary tract.
However, the nutritional content of cat food is much more critical than whether it’s dry or wet.
The Ingredients In Your Cat's Food
By nature, cats are carnivores, which means fatty acids and meaty proteins are imperative to their diet. Too many carbohydrates can result in obesity and diabetes. While your kitty does require a small number of carbohydrates, a diet that contains too many of these can cause health problems.
However, many dry foods contain rice, cornmeal, and grains to aid your cat's digestion, which adds up to more carbohydrates (wet food contains less of these). Some cat foods may even contain vegetable proteins rather than meat, which is not ideal for your meat-loving cat.
Our feline friends need foods that are high in animal proteins and fats, and low in carbohydrates. While the amount of carbohydrates in some dry food is acceptable (and there are little to no vegetable or grain products), these often have, especially labels.
Just as you do when you shop for your own food, read the ingredients list on your cat’s food and leave the items with ingredients such as peas, beans, corn, potatoes, or rice on the shelf.
You need to be conscious of the nutrients that are in your pet’s food and make sure they match your four-legged friend’s dietary requirements.
Can dehydration cause cat kidney failure?
Because of their low thirst drive (compared to other animals), cats don't usually drink a lot of water during the day. While they may be dehydrated, they won’t feel thirsty. Therefore, our feline companions rely on their food to give them water.
Wet food contains more water than dry food and is more similar to what cats would eat in their natural environment. In cats, extra moisture promotes better bladder and kidney health, whereas dehydration can irritate the urinary tract and potentially cause kidney disease.
If your cat prefers dry food sprinkle some water on the food to encourage them to drink more. This way, they get the benefits of wet food without actually switching meals. To get specific advice that is tailored to your cat's individual needs, call your vet to schedule an appointment.
The Causes of Kidney Failure in Cats
There are actually two types of kidney failure in cats, and each has its own causes.
Acute Renal Failure
When cats suffer from acute kidney failure, their kidneys cease to function properly. This type of kidney failure happens quickly (within a few days or weeks). Acute renal failure can often be reversed if detected early enough.
Cats of any age can develop this condition and it is usually caused by infection, organ failure, poisons, dehydration, urethral blockages, and other triggers.
Chronic Kidney Failure
Chronic kidney failure usually develops over months or even years, making it more gradual. This type of kidney failure is typically caused by autoimmune diseases, genetics, or kidney cysts.
This form of kidney failure can cause total kidney failure, and as a result, the kidneys gradually cease working as they lose the ability to filter toxins from the blood.
Renal Diets For Cats
If your cat has kidney disease, it means that its kidneys are unable to effectively filter out waste products, resulting in a buildup of these substances within its body. To help manage this condition as effectively as possible, it's critical to provide your cat with the nutrients that can help manage their symptoms, control waste build-up, and slow the progression of their condition.
There are a variety of commercial diets available to help cats with kidney disease. These foods aim to improve your cat's health by containing less phosphorus, sodium, and protein and more Omega-3 Fatty acids. As a result, these foods aid in the prevention of metabolic acidosis in cats. Your veterinarian will be able to prescribe or recommend the best food for managing your cat's kidney disease.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.