(Chum falling asleep in some yarn)
The vet came out for a house call today because Chum was starting to take a turn - occasional vomiting and a few dark brown urine spots on the shower curtains but still decent activity levels. I wanted to nip this in the bud before it got much worse so she came out to test his blood and urine and give him some antibiotics. I learned some more valuable information re: cats with kidney disease as well as gastrointestinal issues (which we believe Chum also has).
We were told to keep his protein levels low because a protein rich diet was believed to add stress on the kidneys. My vet said that this is hard to prove but what is a definite must for cats with kidney disease is to feed them canned food (dry can be supplemented throughout the day) and to make sure they get enough omega acids and a low phosphorus count. I had been doing that for close to two years and I think we've been pretty successful at keeping him comfortable and somewhat stable.
When I buy his food, the first thing I search for is the percentage of protein. I try to keep it under 10% and always avoid any sort of fish or shell fish in his food since he has a hard time digesting them. I found a New Zealand brand of canned food made from Lamb that had a decent protein count so I started to feed him some of that because he needs variety otherwise he gets bored and loses his appetite. After a couple times eating the lamb I noticed he would vomit. This is because the lamb (and any type of meat) can inflame the GI tract. I never realized this. So now he has to avoid:
The best meals for a cat with kidney and GI issues are:
and any VEGGIES they will eat.
Thankfully Chum LOVES veggies - I make him soup using low sodium chicken broth, very diluted, filled with carrots, celery and spinach (no onion or garlic though).
I've been buying him the Chicken, Duck and Rabbit cans from Nature's Variety Instinct as well as intermixing Spot's stew which has a very low protein count as well. I used to feed him the chicken variety but it contains soy so now I am switching to turkey.
I just wanted to pass along this information for anyone else who may have a cat with either kidney problems, GI problems or both because you may notice some positive changes with some of these modifications to their diet. I've hit every pet store in a 10 mile radius finding the best combo for his issues and I'm happy to say he's still here with us.