For cats with kidney disease, maintaining a healthy weight is critical to slow down the progression of the disease, alleviate the symptoms, and offer a better quality of life. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a common condition among cats, particularly those over the age of seven. The disease leads to a gradual loss of kidney function, which affects the body’s ability to filter waste and regulate fluids.
Weight loss is one of the primary symptoms of CKD, and it poses a significant risk to the cat’s health and lifespan. In this article, we will explore the causes of weight loss in cats with kidney disease, the dietary changes and strategies to increase appetite, practical tips for weight gain, and unconventional methods to explore.
II. Causes of Weight Loss in Cats with Kidney Disease
Kidney disease leads to weight loss in cats because the condition changes the way the cat’s body metabolizes proteins and fats. This results in several physiological changes in the body, including the loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Cats with kidney disease require more calories and vitamins since they take longer to absorb nutrients, causing a consistent weight loss. Over time, weight loss leads to muscle loss, dehydration, and other complications that can significantly affect the cat’s quality of life and lifespan.
The importance of addressing weight loss in cats with kidney disease cannot be stressed enough. By helping the cat regain weight, you’re offering them nourishment and energy that can help fight the disease’s symptoms and prolong its lifespan. Proper nutrition helps increase appetite and improve overall health, which boosts the cat’s immune system.
III. Dietary Changes for Weight Gain
To help your cat with kidney disease gain weight, you must modify its dietary plan under the guidance of its veterinarian. Here are tips on how to adjust your cat’s diet to promote weight gain and support renal health
Introduce Protein-rich foods:
Protein is a crucial nutrient for cats, particularly those with kidney disease. Protein aids in building and repairing muscles and organs and is crucial for a cat’s overall health. You should choose an animal protein source like chicken, turkey, or beef that contain higher protein and are more digestible than plant-based protein.
Include Supplements Recommended by the Vet:
Your veterinarian may recommend supplementing the cat’s diet with essential vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and fat-soluble vitamins. These supplements aid in digestive health, improve coat quality, and regulate blood pressure and red blood cells. Any supplement you choose must meet your veterinarian’s approval.
Cats with kidney disease have difficulty excreting phosphorus, which can lead to other complications. It’s necessary to feed them low-phosphorus foods that won’t overload their kidneys. Speak to your cat’s veterinarian to determine the best low-phosphorus foods available or reevaluate their current food consumption to ensure optimal health.
Smaller, More Frequent Meals:
Feeding your cat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day is a good way to promote weight gain. Smaller portions ensure that the cat gets the appropriate nutrients while being easier on its kidneys, while frequent feedings keep the cat’s metabolism high. This makes it simpler for them to maintain an appropriate weight.
IV. Increasing Appetite for Weight Gain
Addressing a decreased appetite can be a challenging task with cats with kidney disease, but it’s essential to help them regain weight. Here are some tips to help make the food more appealing.
Adding Flavour Enhancers:
Your cat’s appetite may be stimulated with the addition of flavour enhancers. You can add bone broth to their meals, which contains nutrients that are beneficial to the cat’s health. You may also try adding animal-based fats like tuna oil or chicken fat to make the food more tempting, appealing, and delicious to your cat.
Experimenting with Food Texture:
Cats with kidney disease prefer certain textures since their health affects how they consume food. Try changing the texture of their food to suit their eating habits and stimulate their interest in their meals. They may prefer soft or liquid foods to kibble. You may wish to warm the food to make it more “smell-able”.
Incorporating Wet Food:
Cats are more likely to consume wet food since it tends to have a stronger aroma than kibble. It’s a good idea to incorporate wet food into your cat’s diet to promote weight gain. If your cat prefers dry food, you can mix a small amount of wet food into the kibble to make it more appealing.
V. Simple Solutions for Weight Gain
There are easy-to-implement solutions that you can try at home to help your cat regain weight and strength:
Feeding Your Cat Small, Frequent Meals:
Dividing your cat’s meals into smaller portions over the course of the day is a great way to promote weight gain. You may wish to offer them six small meals daily instead of one or two large ones.
Warming Up their Food:
Warming up your cat’s food can enhance the odor and temperature, making it more appealing. Cats prefer food at room temperature or slightly warm, so try warming up their food in the microwave for a few seconds. Make sure it’s not too hot to avoid hurting them.
Offering Treats and Snacks:
Small, nutritious snacks can entice your cat to eat and offer the right amount of calories for weight gain. You can talk to your veterinarian about treat options that are appropriate for your cat’s health and dietary needs.
Using Interactive Feeding Toys:
Cats enjoy playing with interactive toys that dispense food and stimulate their appetite. These toys challenge your cat mentally and physically, making them tireless and in no time ready to eat. Available online and at the cat accessories shop.
VI. Unconventional Methods for Weight Gain
If your cat is struggling to gain weight through conventional methods, here are some additional strategies to try to help it regain weight and strength:
Tactile therapy is a technique that uses touch to stimulate appetite and encourage physical activity in cats with kidney disease. The technique involves massage, stretching, and gentle movements to improve blood flow and provide pain relief. It’s advisable to consult your veterinarian or veterinary therapist before considering this option.
Cats with kidney disease are more sensitive to stress, and this can affect their appetite and health. You may wish to try managing your cat’s stress through play, music, and aromatherapy. This technique may improve appetite and enrich their lives.
Herbs can promote weight gain in cats with kidney disease and enhance their digestive system’s function. Herbs such as dandelion and burdock root improve GI tract function and reduce inflammation. Talk to your veterinarian before you try herbal remedies as some may interact with other medications.
Customized Exercise Plan:
Customized exercise plans may aid cats with kidney disease in strengthening their muscles and regaining their appetite. Your veterinarian or veterinary therapist will design an appropriate exercise program based on your cat’s age, general health, and individual needs.
Cats with kidney disease require special care, particularly when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight. By modifying their diet and engaging them in play and other activities, you can help your cat regain their strength and vitality despite his/her condition. A combination of conventional and unconventional methods in a trial-and-error process may also help ensure the best outcome for their health. Consult with your veterinarian to determine which strategies will be the most beneficial for your cat’s individual needs.