You want to ensure your cat gets high nutritional value from its diet. If you’ve done your research and wondered if dry food causes kidney failure in cats, our Baltimore vets have some answers for you. Plus, we explain the causes of kidney failure.
Cats & Diet
Deciding which food to feed your cat requires a delicate balance. After all, you’ve got to consider nutritional value, your cat’s choosy (and potentially ever-changing) palate, and your budget. There’s also another key choice: wet food or dry food? Which is best for your kitty’s long-term health and nutrition?
In this post, we address questions surrounding dry cat food and whether it causes kidney problems. We list the real causes of kidney failure in cats and recommend the best kinds of food for a cat with kidney disease.
Does dry cat food cause kidney failure in cats?
You may discover your cat prefers one type of food over the other, whether they look forward to wet food from a pouch or their favorite dry kibble.
If you’re a well-read kitty parent, you may have read varying advice in pet publications or commiserated with other cat owners about their four-legged friends’ diets and come away with information that dry food can impact kidney health or be bad for your cat’s teeth or urinary tract.
However, the nutritional content of cat food is much more critical than whether it’s dry or wet.
Fats, Proteins & Carbohydrates...Oh My!
Cats are carnivores by nature, which means fatty acids and meaty proteins are essential to their diet. Too many carbohydrates can cause diabetes and obesity. While your kitty will need a small amount of carbohydrates, a diet packed with too many of these can cause health issues.
That said, many dry foods contain rice, cornmeal and grains to help your cat process the kibble, which adds up to more carbohydrates (on the other hand wet food contains less of these). You’ll even find vegetable protein rather than meat in some cat foods, which is not ideal for your meat-lover cat.
Our feline friends need food that’s 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 like you do when you shop for yourself, 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.
The key is to be conscious of the nutrients in your pet’s food and ensure they match your four-legged friend’s dietary requirements.
Can dehydration cause kidney failure in cats?
Due to their low thirst drive (compared to other animals), cats usually drink little water during the day. While they may be dehydrated, they won’t feel thirsty. Therefore, our feline companions depend on food for water.
Wet food contains more water than dry food and is more similar to what kitties would dine on naturally. Extra moisture encourages better bladder and kidney health in cats, whereas prolonged dehydration can lead to irritation in the urinary tract and potentially lead to kidney disease.
Have a cat that 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. For advice geared to your cat's circumstances, our vets can offer nutritional consulting services, and develop a custom dietary plan to fulfill your cat's needs.
What causes kidney failure in cats?
There are actually two types of kidney failure in cats, and each differs in causes.
Acute Renal Failure
For cats with acute kidney failure, their kidneys are suddenly unable to function properly. This type of kidney failure happens suddenly, within days or weeks. If diagnosed in time, acute renal failure can often be reversed.
It can occur in cats of any age and is typically caused by infection, organ failure, poisons, dehydration, urethral blockages and other triggers.
Chronic Kidney Failure
Chronic kidney failure typically develops over several months or even years, and thus is more gradual in nature. This type of kidney failure is usually caused by autoimmune diseases, genetics or cysts in the kidneys.
This type of kidney failure can lead to total kidney failure, which results in the kidneys gradually ceasing to work as they lose the ability to filter toxins from the blood.
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.