Raw Food Benefits for Your Cat's Kidneys

cat enjoying raw food

Most people have been led to believe that kidney failure is a natural and unavoidable cause of death in cats. But kidney disease (CKD), however common, is not inevitable for your kitty. Diet and lifestyle have a lot more to do with it than you may think! 

What is Chronic Kidney Disease, or CKD?

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) in cats is common, especially in older cats. It’s estimated that over 50% of cats over 10 years old suffer from CKD, and it is one of the leading causes of death in our beloved feline friends. The condition reduces your cats’ kidney function, so that they process waste less effectively, and ultimately can fail completely.

But what many people don’t know is that:

A) There are many things that cat owners can do to prevent it, and

B) Even if your cat does have CKD, it’s still possible for your furkid to live a long and healthy life, especially if you catch it early.

cat living best life

What Causes CKD in Cats?

One-off accidents, like your cat eating antifreeze, or lilies in the garden (both are toxic to cats!) can poison the kidneys and reduce their ability to function correctly, eventually resulting in CKD. But it is far more common for CKD to come from long-term dietary deficiencies, especially dehydration.

Kidneys need water to function correctly, and many cats don’t get enough moisture from their diets. When a cat is constantly dehydrated, the kidneys take immense strain and their function degenerates. A dry kibble diet, by definition low on moisture and therefore hard work to digest, is a leading cause of CKD.  In fact it is only since dry kibble diets became so popular that CKD has become so common in cats! Dry cat foods have also been shown to contribute to urinary tract problems and the formation of urinary crystals or stones.  

cat with water

Is Raw Food Better for my Cat's Kidneys?

The short answer is yes!  In addition to providing plenty of moisture to support the kidneys, a registered raw cat food diet is rich in bio-available, naturally occurring nutrients to support the kidneys and all your cat's other bodily functions.  While processed kibbles have been chemically formulated to provide a list of the required nutrients, these chemical formulations are not as digestible and nourishing as when they are naturally occurring.  Much of the nutrient value of kibble simply passes through as waste, along with the many filler ingredients that can't be processed. Raw fed cats produce much smaller feces, since their bodies absorb and benefit from a much higher proportion of the food! 

cat with raw food

What If My Cat Already Has CKD?

Don’t panic! Even if your cat gets a CKD diagnosis, she can still live a surprisingly long and healthy life. And it's not too late to make positive changes to support her kidneys rather than further strain them:

~ Ensure that your cat has constant and unlimited access to fresh water. Consider having not just one, but two or even three water bowls around the house, especially if your cat is older or less mobile.

~ Stop feeding your cat dry food that their body struggles to process. It can take a little effort to transition your cats to raw food if they're not used to it, but we have been doing this for years and we're here to help!

~ Nutrient supplements like pure salmon oil can help too. Salmon oil contains omega 3 fatty acids which help to reduce inflammation around the kidneys as well as other parts of the body. We recommend all our customers add a bit of salmon oil to their pets' diets because the list of benefits is just so generous - from increased heart, eye, and brain health, to shinier coats and pain reduction, plus it smells and tastes irresistible to both dogs and cats! 

benefits of raw food

But I’ve Heard That Too Much Protein Is Bad For CKD!

Vets often suggest low-protein diets for cats who have CKD, and this puts some people off raw because they think that “More Meat = More Protein = More Bad”. But it’s important to understand that not all proteins are made equal.

The protein found in raw meat is much higher value than the protein found in kibble, which is often supplemented with plant-based proteins. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that they have to eat meat in order to survive. Plant proteins are not in their natural diet, so their bodies have to work hard to extract nutrition from them.

A “low protein” kidney diet is not the same as a meat-free diet. Even cats with CKD need the biologically appropriate, bio-available kinds of proteins in order to thrive.  We offer a wide range of protein options in our raw cat foods to keep your cats’ diet varied and tasty. 

While diet plays a huge role in kidney function, cats with CKD still need medical attention in addition to nutritional support, and we're not vets.  We’re always happy to discuss your cat's diet with your vet, and even recommend our trusted, nutrition-savvy vets if you need.  Read more about the benefits of feeding raw here.

cat with fish pieces

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