My cat turns 13 next week! He’s super active, normal weight, eats a quality wet food diet. Every 6 months he goes for routine lab work and at the last check he had everything was normal. However, I've been reading about how Kidney failure affects a large percentage of senior cats.

I'm mostly looking for a supplement that could be added to his food to support kidney function and possibly prevent any kidney problems from appearing later on.

Does anyone know of a supplement to do this or another way to reduce the risk of kidney issues?

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    @Trond Hansen, I’ve found out that while there isn’t anything that can be done to fully prevent kidney decline, omega 3’s, specifically dha and epa’s have been shown to reduce inflammation and support healthy kidney function. I purchased a product for pets called Nordic Naturals and it’s an omega 3 oil that is added to their food. I appreciate you taking the time to respond to my question. Thank you.
    – Tanya
    Feb 19 '19 at 7:08
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    @Tanya - If that's the answer to your question, please consider writing an answer below to your own question. This will help future readers of your question. You may also wish to clarify the specific question you're asking. It seems that perhaps that question would be 'Is there a supplement I can feed to my Cat to slow down or prevent kidney issues?' - You may wish to read How to Answer for some tips.
    – Henders
    Feb 20 '19 at 9:25
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    At close voters, I am not sure talk to a vet is a valid reason to close. If you feel strongly about please start a Meta discussion. There are currently 3 re-open votes, and I am casting my vote to re-open as well. Feb 22 '19 at 16:00
  • Hello, My Vet told me that dry food has an effect on kidneys, It's so important to pick the right dry food. Personally i am using hills (silly vets). You have to be really careful with the dry food.
    – Hani Gotc
    Feb 22 '19 at 17:06

It is true that kidney diseases are a major cause of cat deaths. In senior cats who are more than 15 years old, at least 80% are suffering from kidney disease.

However, responsible and caring cat owners can prevent or at least delay the onset of kidney diseases in their kitties.

Kidney failure falls into two main categories –

  1. Acute -
  2. It is a sudden kidney failure due to toxin consumption, infection or shock and can occur in any age. If detected in time, it can mostly be cured.

  3. Chronic -
  4. It mainly occurs in older cats. It is due to damage to nephrons with old age. If two-thirds of the nephrons get damaged, it results in kidney failure. It may be due to earlier cases of acute kidney failure, genetic reasons, infection or long-term inflammation. If detected early, its progress can be slowed down but is generally non-curable.

Prevention of kidney diseases –

  1. Keep your cat away from toxic substances -
    • Prevent using ethylene glycol based anti-freezing agents. It is most commonly used in car coolants. But it is highly toxic if ingested and often results in kidney failure. Instead use propylene glycol based anti-freezing agents as they are non-toxic in nature.
    • Human medications for pets should be avoided without consulting a vet. It may be potentially toxic. For example, Ibuprofen is extremely toxic to cat kidneys. So, keep such medicines out of your cat’s reach.
    • Lily plants are highly toxic to cat kidneys. So, don’t keep lily plants in the house.
    • Keep pesticides out of your cat’s reach. Besides being poisonous, they are linked with kidney failure.
    • Keep household chemicals like cleaning fluids, firefighting foam, wax, polish, etc. out of your pet’s reach as they are toxic to kidneys.
    • It is always beneficial if you can keep your cat indoors, as outdoor cats gets exposed to many toxic elements.

  2. Physical injury like broken pelvis and burst urinary bladders should be treated on emergency basis.
  3. Prevent dehydration. For example, due to blood loss, extremely hot weather or diarrhea.
  4. Keep blood pressure in check.
  5. Keep diabetes in check.
  6. Genetic susceptibility of your cat breed –
  7. Abyssinian and Persian cat breeds are more prone to kidney diseases.

  8. Every few months visit your vet for your cat’s health checkup. Early detection of the diseases can go a long away in treating the disease.
  9. Keep watch for early signs of kidney disease -
    • Change in drinking pattern or that of visit to litter box.
    • Decreased appetite.
    • Weight loss.
    • Vomiting.
    • Bad breath.
    • Lethargic.

Changes in cat diet and lifestyle that help prevent kidney disease –

  1. Incline more towards weight food than dry food and make sure that your cat drinks a lot of water.
    See - How to encourage your cat to drink more water
  2. Optimal condition of litter box as it is linked with proper elimination of urine –
    • The golden rule for multi-cat household is one litter box per cat and one extra.
    • Most cats prefer non-scented cat litter.
    • Deep bin-type litter boxes should be avoided for older cats with arthritis.
    • Regularly clean the litter box as a dirty litter box deters many cats.

  3. High phosphorous levels in blood can damage cat kidneys.
    • Give your cat egg white and lean meat like chicken and small fish, which are low in phosphorous.
    • Avoid both animal and fish liver as it is high in phosphorous.
    • Avoid sardines as they are high in phosphorous.
    • Avoid cereal grains as they have higher phosphorous.
    • Slowly introduce fresh vegetables in your cat’s diet which are high in nutrition and very low in phosphorous. Some vegetables to consider are – watermelon, apple, banana, green bean, carrot, broccoli, zucchini, blueberry.
    • Feed your cat Chitosan –
      • Chitosan is a naturally occurring molecule which binds to phosphorous. Thus if present in cat food it will leave less amount of free phosphorous molecules to get absorbed by cat intestine.
      • Chitosan is present in high amounts in the shells of crabs, prawns, lobsters and shrimps. Separate the shells, dry them and ground them. Store the grounded shell as source of chitin. Add in small amounts to cat food.
      • Some over the counter pet medicines have chitosan too.

  4. Obesity is known to cause kidney problems –
    • The best way is obviously to make your cat exercise more. Play with her and give her a lot of toys to play with.
    • Adjust calorie levels in your cat’s diet. Older cats require fewer calories, even if very active, compared to younger cats. Pregnant cats require many more calories.
    • Limit the treats and your own food you give to your cat as they are for pure taste and not cat specific food.
    • Check with your vet for any underlying disease for sudden increase in weight.

  5. Feed your cat D-mannose –
    • Most Urinary Tract Infection occurs by E-Coli bacteria. In the urinary tract, E. coli bacteria latch on to the walls, grow and cause infection. D-mannose works by latching on to E. coli bacteria which in turn is not able to attach itself to the urinary tract and gets eliminated through urine.
    • Naturally occurring food rich in D-mannose – black currants, red currants, cranberries, apples, peaches, blueberries.
    • Over the counter food supplements are also available which are rich in D-mannose.

  6. Feed your cat Omega-3 fatty acid (although this is not prevention, rather treatment, still it is worth mentioning) –
    • Uremic itch is a common skin condition in case of renal failure. Red spots appear over the skin throughout the body and these spots are itchy.
    • Omega-3 fatty acid is known to provide a relief in this condition.
    • Naturally Omega-3 fatty acid is found in fish oil.
    • Over the counter food supplement rich in Omega-3 fatty acid is also present.

  7. Prevent a diet that is high in calcium as it may result in formation of kidney stones.
    • Don’t give your cat bone meal as it has calcium hydroxylapatite.
    • Don’t give your cat milk as it has calcium lactate. (Moreover most adult cats are not able to digest lactose resulting in diarrhea)


ethylene glycol toxicity

Kidney disease linked with pesticide exposure

Household chemicals are toxic to kidneys

Ibuprofen poisoning in cats

Kidney failure is linked with high blood pressure

Tips for preventing kidney failures in cats

Cat kidney failure symptoms and causes

Certain cat breeds are more prone to kidney diseases

Low phosphorous cat food for kidney disease

Link between phosphorous level in blood and healthy kidney

Link between obesity and kidney health

Prevent obesity in cats

Naturally occurring chitosan

Over the counter chitosan rich food supplement

Naturally occurring food that are rich in D-mannose

D-mannose as pet food supplement

Science behind D-Mannose

Feline urinary and kidney health

Omega-3 fatty acid provides relief in uremic itch

Hyperthyroidism causes high blood pressure

Cat food having high calcium

  • This answer might benefit from a summary at the top, it's quite long :)
    – Henders
    Feb 22 '19 at 17:01
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    This is a great answer. You did so much research and give a lot of usefull information. I wish I could upvote this more than once.
    – Elmy
    Feb 22 '19 at 19:37
  • @Elmy thank you so much, upvote is what inspires everybody to write more quality answers :)
    – Sonevol
    Feb 23 '19 at 1:14
  • Sorry for all the confusion, this was my first posted question so I was unsure about where to comment. I also for some reason am not getting notifications when something new is posted. I’m going to answer the question as recommended as well but I just wanted to thank @Sonevol for the excellent information, I truly appreciate it so much and I hope other people will find it useful.
    – Tanya
    Feb 23 '19 at 6:32

All of the suggestions here were excellent. I like to believe I’m always doing my absolute best to keep Enzo in the best shape but every year that passes I get more concerned about possible health conditions. He’s by all accounts quite healthy. His weight is optimal, he gets Miralax to help with occasional constipation, he has filtered fountains that he drinks from daily. Litter box habits are normal. He eats a limited ingredient diet because he has IBD and a bunch of food sensitivities. He gets an Omega 3 supplement daily, as well as probiotics. So, I’ll stick with the 6month labs at the vet and go from there.

I know we all can’t live forever, but I don’t ever want to feel like I could’ve done something to keep around longer. So in summary, what I’ve taken away the most from this is: Any wet food is better than even high end dry foods. I’ve done a bunch of research on the effects dry food has on cats and it honestly makes me sad that it’s allowed to be sold to unsuspecting pet owners. Fresh, moving water is ideal, and I’ve even read that leaving a faucet drip could attract cats that aren’t willing drinkers. Omega 3’s are huge, because they also act as an anti inflammatory. I don’t know if I’m breaking any rules by naming it, but Nordic Naturals makes an Omega 3 supplement that is liquid and can be added to food. It’s important to not give too much Omega 3’s because it can affect vitamin e levels. The Nordic naturals comes with a dropper so you know how much you’re giving.

Another thing I’d like to add that my vet said to me recently, was that aside from the basics which have been listed here, a happy, enriched life is really the best medicine for an animal of any age. And I guess I like to think that if I keep him happy and as healthy as possible he’ll stick around for awhile.

Thank you all so much again.

  • I hope best for your cat I do think that this is a comment rather than answer. All you are saying is about your cat. You should focus on only the effort to answer the concerns you have raised in your question. Rest all should be comment :)
    – Sonevol
    Feb 23 '19 at 7:06

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