Best Cat Food for Kidney Disease

best cat food for kidney disease

If you’ve just discovered your cat has kidney disease – you’re not alone. Chronic kidney disease is one of the most common conditions indoor cats will experience. The usual culprit is dehydration. As a result, the kidneys can’t properly filter down waste products. It causes a lot of urination, weakness, and loss of appetite.

The only way to confirm if your cat has kidney disease for sure is through an official test and diagnosis. Once you know your cat is struggling, it can feel worrisome and overwhelming as a cat parent to improve your cat’s condition. But we want to reassure you that it doesn’t have to be all downhill from here.

The good news is nutrition and diet plays a key role in slowing the progression of kidney disease in your cat!

So it’s time to get good food that eases kidney strain and promotes renal function (acid-base balance). Here are some important considerations before you commit to purchasing. But always double check with your vet to ensure it’s right for your kitty.

Best prescription wet food

Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care with Chicken Canned Cat Food

Best prescription wet food

Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care with Chicken Canned Cat Food

Hill's Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care with Chicken Canned Cat Food
  • 6% Protein

  • 4% Fat

  • First 5 ingredients: Water, Pork Liver, Chicken, Egg Product, Brewers Rice
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Best prescription dry food

Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care with Ocean Fish Dry Cat Food

Best prescription dry food

Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care with Ocean Fish Dry Cat Food

Hill's Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care with Ocean Fish Dry Cat Food
  • 26% Protein

  • 20% Fat

  • First 5 ingredients: Brown Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Pork Fat, Ocean Fish, Cracked Pearled Barley.
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Best non-prescription food

Weruva Truluxe Steak Frites with Beef & Pumpkin in Gravy Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

Best non-prescription food

Weruva Truluxe Steak Frites with Beef & Pumpkin in Gravy Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

Weruva Truluxe Steak Frites with Beef & Pumpkin in Gravy Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
  • 10% Protein

  • 1.3% Fat

  • First 5 ingredients: Beef Broth, Beef, Pumpkin, Sweet Potato, Potato Starch.
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Best raw food for kidney health

Weruva Truluxe Steak Frites with Beef & Pumpkin in Gravy Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

Best raw food for kidney health

Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Recipe with Real Rabbit Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Dry Cat Food

  • 35% Protein

  • 19% Fat

  • First 5 ingredients: Rabbit Meal, Peas, Tapioca, Canola Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Rabbit.
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The Best cat foods for kidney disease: Key points

Best prescription wet food

Cats with kidney issues may be unable to effectively filter toxins and waste products from the bloodstream.

Hill's Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care with Chicken Canned Cat Food
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First ingredients:

  1. Water,
  2. Pork Liver,
  3. Chicken,
  4. Egg Product,
  5. Brewers Rice

This means that consuming foods containing lots of carbs and fillers—or foods particularly dense in proteins and other traditionally desirable nutrients—may have a negative effect on their health. This can lead to decreased appetite and loss of muscle mass, among other problems.

As a result, cats with kidney disease (KD), need a clean, carefully restricted diet, using prescription wet food formulas such as this one from Hill’s. This recipe keeps things simple, with low amounts of clean protein from pork, liver, and chicken, with an extremely high moisture content to promote digestion. It’s made specifically to include low levels of phosphorus and sodium, and high amounts of Omega-3 and amino acids, the building blocks of protein.

(Product requires authorization from a veterinarian).

What are owners saying?

Over 450 owners gave Hill’s KD formula a rating of 4.1 with commenters saying that, although it was sometimes difficult to get their cats to transition to this product, those that did make the switch often saw an improvement in their blood work results. One reviewer noticed that she was able to keep her cat interested in the formula by mixing it with small amounts of regular cat food.

Nutritional info:

  • Protein: 6%
  • Fat: 4%

Runner Up

Royal Canin’s KD prescription formula is developed to be high in antioxidants, compounds that help reduce levels of toxins in the blood.

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Renal Support D Morsels in Gravy Canned Cat Food
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First ingredients:

  1. Water Sufficient for Processing,
  2. Chicken By-Products,
  3. Chicken Liver,
  4. Pork Liver,
  5. Wheat Flour

It’s also low in phosphorus and proteins, which means that underweight cats should be able to intake enough calories without impacting their kidney function.

However, we’re not so sure about the protein that is included in this formula. With such low levels on offer, we’d prefer to see some whole meat included, rather than chicken by-products being the primary protein.

(Product requires authorization from a veterinarian).

What are owners saying?

One of the most highly-rated foods on this list, Royal Canin has received positive feedback from over 550 owners for their Renal Support formula. Reviews highlight the combination of low protein and low carbs, as well as how Royal Canin often seems to work for cats that refused other big-brand KD recipes.

Nutritional info:

  • Protein: 6.5-9.5%
  • Fat: 4.4%

Runner Up

Another reduced-protein and phosphorus option, this formula by Purina Pro is very similar to Royal Canin’s, using meat by-products to give calories while controlling protein levels.

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets NF Kidney Function Advanced Care Formula Canned Cat Food
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First ingredients:

  1. Water sufficient for processing,
  2. meat by-products,
  3. chicken hearts,
  4. rice,
  5. liver.

Again, this might make an enticing meal for moggies, but we’d prefer to see amino-rich whole meat being incorporated. In this recipe, the by-products and meals used are not from named animals, indicating that they’re of the lowest quality.

(Product requires authorization from a veterinarian).

What are owners saying?

Many owners have noticed significant positive behavior changes in their pets after switching to Purina Pro. However, the formula also seems to divide opinion amongst cats, with a large number refusing to even try it out. This means that Purina gets a rating of 3.9 from just over 260 owners.

Nutritional info:

  • Protein: 6%
  • Fat: 4%

Best prescription dry food

While dry foods are normally off the table for kitties with KD, this prescription recipe from Hill’s fits all the requirements for a kidney disease-friendly diet.

Hill's Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care with Ocean Fish Dry Cat Food
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First ingredients:

  1. Brown Rice,
  2. Corn Gluten Meal,
  3. Pork Fat,
  4. Ocean Fish,
  5. Cracked Pearled Barley.

It’s low in protein and phosphorus, without resorting to the use of meat by-products or unnamed meals. It also incorporates Hill’s ‘Enhanced Appetite Trigger’ technology to help stimulate the appetite of underweight cats.

What are owners saying?

This product scores highly on both flavor and nutritional benefit, with most cats seeming to happily switch to Hill’s dry food, and see improvements in their blood test results. Despite some owners complaining about the price, this formula still gets a rating of 4.5 from over 290 owners.

Nutritional info:

  • Protein: 26%
  • Fat: 20%

Runner Up

This recipe from Blue Buffalo uses a “controlled” amount of real chicken, so it may not be suitable for cats in later-stage renal failure.

Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet K+M Kidney + Mobility Support Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
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First ingredients:

  1. Deboned Chicken,
  2. Peas,
  3. Pea Starch,
  4. Potato Starch,
  5. Dried Egg Product.

For those who can eat whole meats, however, here’s a formula that offers a grain-free, low phosphorus and sodium diet that’s packed with supplements. It also includes extra DHA, glucosamine, and chondroitin—all supplements known to promote better mobility and joint function.

(Product requires authorization from a veterinarian).

What are owners saying?

With a stellar rating of 4.8, owners loved how excited their cats were about Blue Buffalo’s formula, with it often being the only KD recipe that their cats would accept. While this is great news, it may be because this recipe contains whole chicken, which some cats in later stage failure may not be able to tolerate.

Nutritional info:

  • Protein: 26%
  • Fat: 20%

Best non-prescription food

A combination of beef broth, grass-fed beef, and the slow-release energy of pumpkin and sweet potato gives this formula from Weruva a unique advantage: it’s low phosphorus, low fat, and low protein, while still containing real whole meat ingredients.

Weruva Truluxe Steak Frites with Beef & Pumpkin in Gravy Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
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First ingredients:

  1. Beef Broth,
  2. Beef, Pumpkin,
  3. Sweet Potato,
  4. Potato Starch.

The broth-based gravy also makes it much more appealing to picky eaters than many of the formulas on this list.

(Product requires authorization from a veterinarian).

What are owners saying?

Owners appreciated the balance between protein and phosphorus levels offered by Weruva, making it a good choice for cats who don’t quite need a prescription KD diet. One reviewer commented that “the cans are not fully filled, some are about 80% full” suggesting that value for money may be a question. Overall, however, the Weruva Truluxe Steak Frites gets a rating of 4.2 from over 110 owners.

Nutritional info:

  • Protein: 10%
  • Fat: 1.3%

Runner Up

Like their prescription dry formula, Blue Buffalo opts for real chicken in their non-prescription wet food, which is combined with chicken broth, chicken liver, and an assortment of fibrous vegetables.

Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet K+M Kidney + Mobility Support Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
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First ingredients:

  1. Chicken,
  2. Chicken Broth,
  3. Water,
  4. Potatoes,
  5. Potato Starch.

The result is a recipe that keeps protein within safe levels while still providing the nutritional support of real meat.

(Product requires authorization from a veterinarian).

What are owners saying?

A rating of just 3.0 out of 5 from over 67 owners means that this product has the lowest reputation among owners of all the choices on this list. While many appreciated how Blue Buffalo has combined low phosphorus with real protein, a large number of cats simply refused to touch this wet food.

Nutritional info:

  • Protein: 4.5%
  • Fat: 3%

Best raw food for kidney health

Cats with kidney issues who aren’t quite at the point of requiring a heavily restricted diet might benefit from this limited-ingredient, raw food formula by Instinct.

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First ingredients:

  1. Rabbit Meal,
  2. Peas,
  3. Tapioca,
  4. Canola Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid),
  5. Rabbit.

While it’s still low in phosphorus, this recipe includes farm-raised, freeze-dried rabbit meat and rabbit meal, bolstered with pea protein and tapioca.

Because it’s a raw recipe, this formula has a much lower moisture content than traditional wet food, so it’s important that cats eating this food receive lots of additional hydration.

What are owners saying?

Owners of cats with IBD and other digestive issues are big fans of this formula, which often allows their cats to access real proteins without experiencing stomach upset. For cats with significant kidney problems, however, it may not meet their needs. Overall, Instinct’s freeze-dried raw rabbit formula gets a rating of 4.3 from over 285 owners.

Nutritional info:

  • Protein: 35%
  • Fat: 19%