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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In September when we took Jas for her physical, she was a bit overweight. She'd been staying at my inlaws' all summer and was being free-fed a very calorically dense dry food (Innova). To try and slim her down, we mostly cut out the dry food... now she eats mainly canned food (Natural Balance) and she only gets dry when I'm going to be out of the house for a while, less than once a week.

We just took her in to the vet's for a checkup yesterday and now she's a little on the thin side, which I suspected. She's 10.1 pounds now, and the vet would like to see her closer to 11. I don't want to give her more dry food because a) it gives her dandruff and b) she's got some kidney issues, but I just don't know how else to get enough calories in her.

She normally eats about 1/4 can in one sitting, and I try to feed her as often as she'll eat it, which usually maxes at 4x/day but is usually more like 3x - which is WAY less than the 1.5 cans she should be eating for her weight. I just don't know how to get her to eat more... I put her food down but she tends to nibble then walk away, nibble and walk away. On a normal day, she'll get fed in the morning, when I get home from school, and before I go to bed. Sometimes I try to squeeze in an extra feeding after dinner, but it usually goes untouched. On the weekends I can space the feedings out a bit more, and she usually eats a whole can over the course of the day... which is still not enough.

We're going to be transitioning her onto the g/d food soon, but I'd like to get her intake up on her old food before making another change!

Any tips on how to get more calories in her? Thanks! :)
 

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EVO canned is very calorie dense. I'd also give her some additional variety, she may just be bored with the one brand. How about getting some calories in her with good treats like Whole Life freeze dried meat.
 

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I'll second doodlebug. I also add freeze dried raw (stella & chewy's or nature's variety) to the food sometimes. We recently went down from 3 feedings per day to 2 as they were not eating all their food, so now they each get 1 5.5 oz can per day -divided into two feedings plus some freeze dried raw mixed in and sprinkled on top, they are currently 11.4 and 12.8 lbs. Just keep in mind Nature's variety freeze dried raw isn't nutritionally complete for cats so i use it as a tasty mix-in and/or topping (they love it) and not the only food.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the tips! Jasmine is a pretty finicky cat - I've tried most of the 'premium' brands in the store, and she turns her little nose up at everything except two flavours of Natural Balance and something called Performatrin. I'm pretty sure I've tried the Evo, but she dislikes all the high-protein foods (the ones we jokingly call 250% chicken) which is probably all right anyway since we're supposed to be reducing her protein intake.

I will try those treats though... she's usually fussy about those too, but I haven't switched up her treats in a while (she usually gets Greenies) so it's definitely worth a shot.

There's also the complication that our other cat Ariel is a bit of a food vulture... so even if I put out 1/4 can for Jasmine, if she walks away from it Ariel will tend to poach some. So really, I can't even be sure that she's getting her full serving each meal. I guess I just wish she would eat more at each sitting or eat more often, but I'm not sure how to accomplish that...
 

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Generally speaking, I don't advocate dry food, BUT, you're talking about a kidney cat here, and kidney cats are notoriously difficult to keep weight on. Not only does renal failure often cause a cat to feel chronically oogy, but the dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and buildup of stomach acid that frequently accompany this disease can also cause inappetance. Are you giving your cat any supportive treatments like supplemental fluids and/or medications and/or nutritional supplements to manage her renal issues?

The bottom line with a kidney cat is if she won't eat what you want her to eat (in sufficient quantities), feed her whatever she WILL eat, including, if necessary, dry food. Feed her small meals frequently throughout the day. She'll be much more likely to reject large meals that overwhelm her diminished appetite.

As far as the other cat is concerned, separate the cats at mealtimes behind closed doors so that the kidney cat doesn't have to compete for her food. A cat with a diminished appetite isn't likely to put up any sort of objection to having her food stolen, so you need to make sure she can eat without interruption or distraction.

Laurie
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi Laurie! Thanks for the info. :) We're sort of just stepping into renal-issue land. Jasmine has high creatinine but mostly unchanged in 6 months, normal total protein, and normal behaviour and drinking/urination. The vet recommended we put her on g/d and keep retesting every 6 months.

So, I'm not really sure if she's a 'kidney cat' or not... the vet certainly never mentioned a need for any interventions besides the diet change and future blood tests. But I do want to make sure she stays at a healthy weight. I'm thinking about transitioning her from Innova dry to g/d dry and putting out a small amount of that if I'm going to be out of the house for more than a few hours or overnight. I guess I'm struggling with the dry food being not as good for her kidneys as wet food, versus making sure she puts some weight on.

We've been trying to separate them today... but it's hard to juggle it since Jasmine has never been one to clean her plate in one sitting, it sometimes takes her a couple of hours to polish it off bit-by-bit. We've been keeping them separated until Jasmine does her initial wander-off, but I'm not sure how we're going to manage it once she's on the special diet...
 

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We're sort of just stepping into renal-issue land. Jasmine has high creatinine but mostly unchanged in 6 months, normal total protein, and normal behaviour and drinking/urination. The vet recommended we put her on g/d and keep retesting every 6 months. So, I'm not really sure if she's a 'kidney cat' or not
If your cat has had high creatinine for 6 mos, she's a kidney cat.

The following link is the premier resource on all things related to feline kidney disease. I strongly recommend you visit this site, read as much as you can keep your eyes open for, bookmark it, and go back and continue reading whenever you have a free minute. Knowledge is the key to successful management of kidney disease. Let the information on this site help you and your cat:

Tanya's Comprehensive Guide to Feline Chronic Kidney Disease - Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatments and How to Cope With It

Could you please post ALL of her most recent lab results so that we can take a look and get a better idea of her condition? It's important to post all blood values, including those in normal range, along with the lab's reference range like so:

Creatinine 250 (40 - 180)
BUN 10.3 (3.5 - 8.0)
potassium 3.6 (3.5 - 5.5)
etc.

The reason it's important to see all results is because in a kidney cat, even some blood values within the reference range may indicate problems. For instance, Total protein near the upper end of the reference range can indicate dehydration. Potassium below 4.0 may indicate potassium deficiency, and phosphorus above mid-range may be problematic.

... the vet certainly never mentioned a need for any interventions besides the diet change and future blood tests.
That may be because your cat is at an early stage of the disease with stable bloodwork, but I don't know if that's the case without seeing the labs.

I'm thinking about transitioning her from Innova dry to g/d dry
Have you checked out the ingredients in G/D? Personally, I wouldn't feed that stuff to any of my CRF (chronic renal failure) cats ... or any other cat, for that matter.

Brewers Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Pork Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Chicken By-Product Meal, Soybean Mill Run, Pork Protein Isolate, Chicken Liver Flavor, Calcium Sulfate, Fish Meal, Choline Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Potassium Citrate, Natural Flavor, Iodized Salt, DL-Methionine, Taurine, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Phosphoric Acid, preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid, Rosemary Extract.

There is a lot of controversy and opposing opinions about appropriate foods for kidney cats. I am of the school of thought that cats, even most kidney cats (except, perhaps, those in end-stage renal failure) require high quality, species-appropriate protein sources for good health. There are no such protein sources in G/D.

You can read more about nutrition and kidney cats here:

Tanya's Comprehensive Guide to Feline Chronic Kidney Disease - Diet and Nutrition Overview

----- I guess I'm struggling with the dry food being not as good for her kidneys as wet food, versus making sure she puts some weight on.
Weight should be your first consideration, unless your cat is in late-stage renal failure. Even then, my personal focus is always on keeping adequate weight on my CRF cats, regardless of what I have to feed them in order to achieve that goal.

We've been trying to separate them today... but it's hard to juggle it since Jasmine has never been one to clean her plate in one sitting, it sometimes takes her a couple of hours to polish it off bit-by-bit.
That's common for CRF cats. With their diminished appetites, they are inclined to eat small meals often throughout the day, and that's actually better for their kidneys. If there's anyone at home while you're in school, or if you can run home between classes, it'd be great if Jas could be fed as many times a day as possible.

Another option is to set her up in her own comfortable room with a litterbox, food, and water while you're away from home so that she can eat at her leisure and not have Ariel stealing her food.

Laurie
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for all the info! I did have a look at Tanya's site when we first starting thinking about kidney info back in September. I don't have the rest of the test results, but I was planning to ask for copies when we go back to the vet's. But as far as I remember, the only values that were abnormal were the creatinine and (sort of) the specific gravity. In September, her creatinine was 242 (normal 27-186) and her specific gravity was 1038. This weekend, the creatinine was 248 and specific gravity 1034 (normal SG 1045 for cats on dry food - lower for cats on wet... vet indicated these values were lowish but still normal).

We've been talking a lot about whether to switch to g/d or not. I've always been super suspicious of Hill's, etc., but have been doing some reading for the past few days. I still have a lot more papers to wade through, but quite a few of the studies indicate a longer average survival time for cats that were switched to any renal diet versus cats that were kept on their previous diet - and the studies seem well-done. I have yet to find any study indicating that keeping the cats on a normal-to-high protein diet improved their life spans. This does go against how I have fed them until now and my philosophy on feline nutrition in general, but I don't know that I can morally justify throwing away all that research because I 'feel' that a premium brand is better than Hill's. I guess I feel that if I continue to give her her usual food (although I'm not sure what that's going to be anymore, since both the brands she eats now have cranberries which is supposedly not good for CRF) and things go badly... then I will always wonder why I thought I knew better than controlled clinical studies. Whereas, if I do give her the g/d, and things go badly, I will know that at least I followed the scientifically recommended option, and didn't take her health into my uneducated hands.

Anyway, that's not a judgment on anybody's cat husbandry... just some of the things I've been ruminating on for the past 48 hours or so. :)

And, of course, she has to go and not eat today... which she's done from time to time her whole life and normally I would dismiss as nothing, but which of course today means impending kidney failure, like tomorrow. :-? That's what kind of gets me.... as far as I can tell, nothing about her has changed, from her tap-drinking to her nibbly eating habits to her periodic fasting... these are all things she's always done and that now make me uber-paranoid.

We have to pick up some new cat food tomorrow anyway, so we'll have a look at some of the other dry foods (we wanted to get them off the Innova anyway) and see if there's anything that might be more appropriate for now.
 
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