Low-Protein Cat Food for Cats With Kidney Disease

Updated April 17, 2017

As a cat grows older, it may start to suffer from kidney disease. Once a cat has been diagnosed with kidney disease, it is important to watch the cat's diet, according to the Cat Health Guide. Kidney diseases make it difficult for the kidneys to break down protein. Therefore, a cat should be put on a low-protein diet.

Feline Chronic Renal Failure

Kidney failure can either be acute or chronic. According to Feline CRF Information Center, chronic renal failure is the progressive weakening of the kidney's function. Chronic renal failure is mostly seen in cats older than 7. Acute renal failure is an abrupt shutdown of the kidneys because of urinary obstruction, diseases or trauma. A cat may also go into acute renal failure by ingesting antifreeze. Symptoms of both include increased thirst, licking lips, emaciation, vomiting and loss of appetite.

Diet Management

When a cat is diagnosed with kidney disease, a veterinarian may recommend a low-protein diet. According to the Feline CRF Information Center, these diets reduce the waste a kidney needs to filter out, therefore making the kidneys' job easier. This can also help slow the advancement of the disease. Unfortunately, the low-protein cat food often is not as appealing as commercial food, and a cat may refuse to eat it.

Appetite Stimulant

At some point the cat will get sick enough that it will refuse to eat. The veterinarian may prescribe low-protein appetite stimulants to encourage the cat to eat. According to the Feline CRF website, follow the dosage amount prescribed by the veterinarian. Giving the cat more may cause the cat to become disorientated. One of the low-protein options is called Hi-Tor Canned Neo-Diet Feline Canned Kidney Diet by Waggin Tails. This is low-protein food is formulated to be tasty so the cat will eat more. Another one is called Eukanuba Veterinary Diet Multi-Stage Renal Formula. This appetite stimulant can be found in most veterinarian offices.

Commercial Foods

According to the Feline CRF Information Center, cats may refuse to eat the specially-made foods. If this is the case, it is better to feed your cat commercial food rather than have it starve. Research the commercial food brands and find the ones with the lowest protein levels. Canned foods are lower in protein than dry. If you are uncertain, contact the manufacturer by phone or website and ask about the protein levels of their food.


While the Feline CRF Information Center says it is not completely advisable to feed treats to a cat with kidney disease, you may wish to give your cat a little treat, especially with it facing the restrictive diet. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet feline treats are designed to taste good while still keeping the cat's health in mind.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Jennifer Mackin has been writing since 2006. She sold her first story in 2007 to "Freya's Bower" and just recently sold her first full-length novel to Carina Press. Her nonfiction writing has been published with eHow and Answerbag. She has written various topics ranging from medical conditions to children's games. Jennifer graduated from Caldwell Community College in 1998 with a cosmetology license .