Chronic renal failure, or chronic kidney disease, is a painful and life-threatening condition that affects between 1% and 3% of cats during their lifetime.
Kidney disease usually affects older cats, but in rare cases, may also be diagnosed in cats under 3 years old.
A diagnosis of kidney disease in a cat can be a very sad time, and we understand that the idea of your beloved companion suffering can make you feel powerless.
Thankfully, however, there is something you can do to help your feline friend through this difficult time.
A renal diet is one of the key factors in extending the lifespan and maintaining the quality of life of a cat with kidney disease.
While renal cat food alone can’t reverse chronic kidney disease, it can help to slow down the progress of the disease and prevent the formation of kidney stones, keeping adverse symptoms to a minimum.
We’ve put together a list of the best renal cat foods for cats with kidney disease, so you can keep your cat feeling healthy and happy for as long as possible. If you have any further questions or concerns, our buyers guide and FAQ section are here to help. It’s also important to remember that you should consult with your vet to ensure that you’re getting the best food for your cat.
Top 5 Best Cat Food for Cats with Kidney Disease
OUR TOP PICK
Hill’s Prescription Diet Kidney Care dry cat food has been specially formulated to provide your cat with the nutrition they need to live a longer and happier life despite their diagnosis.
This food contains essential amino acids, including high levels of L-Carnitine, to support lean muscle development.
The presence of fish oil-derived omega-3 fatty acids helps to stimulate blood flow to the kidneys, while the controlled levels of phosphorus and sodium, meanwhile, minimize the risk of further kidney damage and promote heart health.
This formula helps to prevent the formation of calcium oxalate crystals and struvite uroliths in the urinary tract, which may otherwise lead to kidney stones and urinary tract infections.
Because one of the primary symptoms of kidney disease in cats is decreased appetite, Hill’s have developed their patented E.A.T technology. This technology encourages a healthier appetite to ensure that your cat is getting all the nutrients and calories they need.
Hill’s even reports a 35% greater caloric intake from their food compared to other renal cat food brands.
Kidney disease is a serious condition and requires professional guidance for the best prognosis. Therefore, the purchase of this food requires the approval of your veterinarian before dispatch.
- High amino acid levels for muscle development
- E.A.T technology to stimulate appetite
- 35% higher caloric intake compared to other renal cat foods
- Omega-3 fatty acids improve blood flow to kidneys
- Controlled sodium and phosphorus levels
- Helps to prevent calcium oxalate crystal formation and urinary infections
- Veterinarian approval needed before dispatch
VertriScience Laboratories’ Renal Essentials bite-sized chews are designed to be incorporated into your cat’s regular meals to ensure healthy kidney function.
4 chews should be given daily to achieve the desired benefits.
These supplemental chews contain adaptogens (Cordyceps Sinensis) and astragalus powder to promote a strong immune system and increase blood circulation to the kidneys.
They also contain Rehmannia, which is a Chinese herb which is known to promote healthy liver and kidney function, and nettle seed extract to detoxify and regulate fluid retention.
Meanwhile, the Vitamin B antioxidant content ensures healthy kidney function and increases energy production to help your cat continue to live a healthy and active life.
Unlike many specialist cat foods, these chews are suitable for consumption by cats of all weight ranges.
- Includes cordyceps Sinensis and astragalus powder for a healthy immune system and kidney circulation
- Contains vitamin B antioxidants for healthy kidney function and energy production
- Incorporated Rehmannia for kidney and liver function
- Nettle seed extract detoxifies and regulates fluid retention
- Suitable for all weight ranges
- Some cats do not enjoy the flavor
Forza10’s Renal Actiwet is a wet cat food that provides nutritional support for several health conditions, including both acute and chronic kidney disease, as well as congestive heart failure.
Developed by veterinary professionals and supported by scientific evidence, this food is formulated to provide the low phosphorus, protein, and sodium diet required by cats with both kidney and heart conditions.
This is a natural formula containing pasture-raised New Zealand lamb and other natural, plant-based ingredients such as cranberry and dandelion root to support renal and urinary function.
The formula does not contain any GMOs or harmful antibiotics, nor does it contain soy, wheat, corn, or any artificial preservatives or flavorings.
This natural formula minimizes the risk of any adverse reactions to the food and ensures that this food is as healthy as possible.
- Provides support for both kidney and heart failure in cats
- Low levels of phosphorous, protein, and sodium
- Natural GMO, soy, corn, and wheat-free formula
- Contains cranberry and dandelion root for kidney and urinary health
- No harmful antibiotics
- Strong and unpleasant smell
- Some cats do not like the flavor
Purina is one of the most trusted cat food brands, so it’s no surprise that its Early Care Kidney Function food ranks amongst the best renal care cat foods on the market.
This wet cat food formula is designed to provide kidney support in cases where kidney disease is not yet advanced.
The formula contains a controlled amount of high-quality protein in order to provide your cat with the nutrients they need for muscle maintenance whilst adhering to the low-protein diet recommended for cats with kidney disease.
Additionally, the phosphorus and sodium content of this food is restricted to ensure that your cat’s kidneys have no difficulty processing this food.
B-complex vitamins, potassium, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids combine to promote healthy kidney function, circulation, and energy production. This food is also energy-dense, which helps to maintain calorie intake despite decreased appetite.
Veterinary approval is required when purchasing this product.
- Contains controlled levels of high-quality protein
- Restricted sodium and phosphorus levels
- Contain B-complex vitamins, potassium, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids
- Energy-dense for increased calorie intake
- Only suitable for kidney disease in the early stages
- Requires veterinary approval before dispatch
Blue Buffalo’s Natural Veterinary Diet food for kidney and mobility support helps not only with kidney function itself but also with the decreased mobility that can often accompany the disease due to related conditions such as osteoarthritis.
This dry food contains controlled levels of sodium, phosphorus, and protein, in accordance with the recommended diet for cats with kidney disease.
Meanwhile, the Glucosamine, DHA, and Chondroitin content helps to promote healthy joint function, which will improve the mobility and overall quality of life of your cat.
The formula is grain-free to reduce the risk of allergic reactions to the food.
Veterinary approval is required when purchasing this food.
- Promotes healthy kidney function and increased mobility
- Controlled sodium, phosphorous, and protein levels
- Contains Glucosamine, DHA, and Chondroitin for joint function
- Veterinary approval required before dispatch
Best Cat Food for Cats with Kidney Disease Buying Guide
Hopefully, the products reviewed above will have given you some idea of which food will provide your feline friend with the best possible support for their kidney disease.
However, if you’re still unsure, this buyers guide will outline some of the key factors you’ll need to consider when purchasing cat food for renal care.
The single most important factor to consider when purchasing cat food for renal care is the nutritional content of the formula.
Because nutrients such as protein, phosphorus, and sodium can be difficult for damaged kidneys to process, any cat food formulated for renal care should contain controlled levels of these nutrients to prevent any further strain on the kidneys.
In the absence of high protein levels, amino acids such as L-Carnitine can help with muscle development.
Whilst animal proteins and taurine derived from meat are essential in providing adequate feline nutrition, many plant-based and herbal ingredients can also be extremely beneficial for kidney care in cats.
Omega-3 fatty acids, such as can be found in fish oil, help to improve blood circulation to the kidneys.
Ingredients such as astragalus can help to stimulate healthy circulation in the kidneys, while Rehmannia, dandelion root, and cranberry are helpful for promoting healthy renal function. Cranberry is especially good for maintaining urinary health.
Because kidney disease can often lead to decreased appetite and weight loss in cats, it is advisable to select a renal care cat food brand that is energy-dense or appetite-stimulating in order to make sure that your cat is getting all the nutrients and energy that they need.
Additionally, because conditions such as osteoarthritis can accompany kidney disease, especially in older cats, cat food that supports mobility through ingredients such as Glucosamine, DHA, and Chondroitin may be ideal.
If your cat is additionally prone to allergic reactions or digestive sensitivity, it may be worth considering a grain-free cat food that is free of GMOs, harmful antibiotics, and artificial colorings and flavorings.
Wet or Dry?
You’ll also want to consider whether to feed your cat wet or dry cat food following their diagnosis.
Our list, as you can see, consists of both wet and dry cat food, leaving you free to make the choice that you feel will be best for your pet.
Generally, wet food is recommended for cats with kidney disease because they are more likely to suffer from dehydration, which wet food can help to reduce.
However, if your cat prefers dry food, or you don’t have the budget to purchase wet food (which tends to be more expensive), you can continue to feed your cat dry food. Just make sure that your cat always has plenty of water available to them.
Many brands also offer their cat foods in both wet and dry formulas, so if you like the sound of a dry food but want a more hydrating formula, it’s worth checking whether there is a wet alternative available.
Prescription or Non-Prescription
Several of the products on our list are prescription foods, and therefore, require veterinary approval before dispatch.
We understand that this can seem like an inconvenience, especially during such a stressful time.
However, prescription cat food for renal care does have the benefit of added confidence, since you know that your purchase has been endorsed by a professional. After all, with such an important purchase for your cat’s health, you don’t want to take any risks or unnecessary gambles.
Getting your veterinarian’s approval for your purchase doesn’t have to be a long or complicated process, either. When purchasing through Amazon.com, all you need to do is enter the details of your veterinarian and your cat.
The seller will then contact your veterinarian to verify the purchase. Should there be a problem with verification, you will be contacted directly and verification attempts will continue for a further 5 days.
Of course, there are also many non-prescription cat foods for renal care that have been proven to provide excellent support for cats with kidney disease, so the choice is ultimately yours.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the symptoms of kidney disease in cats?
Unfortunately, kidney disease in cats often remains undiagnosed for a long period of time because the symptoms can be difficult to pick up on.
However, there are some key symptoms to look out for that can help you to get your cat’s kidney disease diagnosed as early as possible for the best prognosis.
The first signs of kidney disease in cats are usually decreased appetite (and consequent weight loss), frequent urination, and increased thirst.
You may also notice bad breath that smells similar to ammonia and mouth ulcers.
These symptoms may be accompanied by vomiting and/or diarrhea, as well as overall weakness, low energy, and decreased mobility.
It is important to note that these symptoms can be indicative of a variety of health conditions. However, if your cat is exhibiting one or a combination of these symptoms, you should contact your veterinary care provider at the earliest opportunity.