Does your cat suffer from kidney failure? We’ve selected the best and healthiest wet cat foods for cats with kidney disease.
Out of 12+ different brands and flavors of cat food we have picked our top 5 of best wet food for cats with kidney disease.
A Quick Look At Our Favorites
|Product||Rating||Why We Like It|
|1||Weruva TruLuxe Quick ‘n Quirky||Low Phosphorus||Buy on Amazon|
|2||Farmina Natural & Delicious||High Protein||Buy on Amazon|
|3||Royal Canin Selected Protein||Low Protein||Buy on Amazon|
|4||Weruva Best Feline Friend||Low Phosphorus||Buy on Amazon|
|5||Purina Pro Plan Focus UTH||High Potassium||Buy on Amazon|
|Moisture||Protein* (min.)||Fat* (min.)||Fiber* (max.)||Carbs* (approx.)||Ash* (approx.)||Calories (approx.)||Allergens|
|1||86%||71%||9%||4%||16%||0%||54 / 100g||none|
|2||78%||59%||20%||5%||2%||14%||86 / 100g||eggs, seafood|
|3||77.5%||40%||24%||7%||30%||0%||100 / 100g||seafood|
|4||87%||76%||14%||2%||4%||2%||82 / 100g||none|
|5||78%||45%||27%||2%||14%||11%||97 / 100g||seafood|
|* on a dry matter basis|
|What We Like||What We Don't Like|
|1|| Weruva TruLuxe Quick ‘n Quirky|
|2|| Farmina Natural & Delicious|
|3|| Royal Canin Selected Protein|
|4|| Weruva Best Feline Friend|
|5|| Purina Pro Plan Focus UTH|
Best Wet Food For Cats With Kidney Disease
The best approach to choosing the best wet food for cats with kidney disease is to find the food that tackles most of their symptoms. For some cats, that may mean a low protein diet. For other cats, lowering the amount of phosphorus in their blood is more important. While even others require an increase of protein to stop them from withering away. Whatever stage of kidney disease your cat is in, we have found a food that meets her needs.
A WORD OF CAUTION: Always be careful when introducing your cat to a new food. The change in nutritional composition can cause digestive upset or allergic reactions, so it is best to take it slowly. Give her only a bit of the food at first, combined with her old food, and monitor how well your cat does on it. If you see any signs of an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing, rashes, elevated heart rate, diarrhea, vomiting) switch back to her old food and contact your vet immediately.
Best Overall Wet Food For Cats With Kidney Disease: Weruva TruLuxe Quick ‘n Quirky
Weruva TruLuxe Quick ‘n Quirky is an excellent wet food for cats with kidney disease. That is, if you are going for a high protein diet. It contains everything it should, and nothing that it shouldn’t. Large quantities of lean animal protein, with none of the by-products, additives or fillers that you see in most cat foods.
Weruva TruLuxe provides a convenient way to get cats with kidney disease some much needed hydration, as it has a moisture content of no less than 86%. Some cat owners may argue that it is even higher, because there have been reports of cans containing mostly gravy. Luckily, this doesn’t seem to happen too often.
If your renal failure cat also suffers from obesity and/or heart problems, Weruva TruLuxe might be just what your cat needs. With a calorie count of only 54 kcal per 100 grams it fits perfectly into a weight loss diet for kitties who struggle to maintain their sleek physique. Its low sodium content helps to lower your cat’s blood pressure and support her cardiac health.
All in all, there isn’t much I don’t like about Weruva TruLuxe Quick ‘n Quirky. But… I’m not the one that has to eat it! Most cats seem to enjoy this luxurious wet food and lick their bowls clean. Nevertheless, cats with kidney disease can be fussy about their food and not all of them give this one two paws up. If you’re considering switching your cat to this, or any, new food, take it slow. Test if she likes it before you make any commitment.
|What We Like|
|What We Don't Like|
Best High Protein Wet Food: Farmina Natural & Delicious Venison And Pumpkin
Farmina Natural & Delicious Venison And Pumpkin Wet Cat Food is an all natural high protein cat food with venison as its main ingredient. Venison is lean and easy to digest, which means it doesn’t put a lot of strain on your cat’s kidneys or stomach. On top of that, it is 100% free of grains, soy and by-products.
Check out our Cat Food Database for a full nutritional analysis of Farmina Natural & Delicious Venison And Pumpkin wet food.
The dietary fiber in Farmina Natural & Delicious comes from pumpkin. Besides being a good source of fiber, pumpkin also acts as a natural probiotic and is loaded with vitamins. It helps to prevent hairballs, constipation and other digestive issues, while not adding too many calories to your cat’s diet.
Farmina Natural & Delicious is a great choice for cats with kidney disease. Not just because of its high amount of protein, but also because of its high amount of minerals. These are found on the label as “ash”, which is the inorganic material that is left when all the organic material is cooked and burned away. These minerals include calcium and potassium, which could be essential to your cat’s well-being, depending on her blood work.
The one downside to Farmina Natural & Delicious Wet Cat Food is that it is not completely free of allergens, as it contains fish oil and eggs. If your cat is allergic to either of these, you should choose a different food for her.
|What We Like|
|What We Don't Like|
Best Low Protein Wet Food: Royal Canin Selected Protein Adult PD
Royal Canin Selected Protein Adult PD is a vet recommended option in the low protein range. Despite its low protein content, it does manage to deliver a high calorie count. This means your cat won’t have to eat as much of it as she would of a normal food, further decreasing the amount of proteins she ingests.
It must be noted, however, that the decrease in protein content seems to have led to an increase in carb content. The amount of fat is also higher than the average wet food. That said, if your cat needs an immediate lowering of the protein waste products in her system, then Royal Canin Selected Protein is probably exactly what she needs.
Once your cat’s blood and urine analyses show that she is out of the woods, I recommend you switch her to a healthy, high protein diet, like some of the other cat foods on this list. Royal Canin Selected Protein Adult PD, when fed over longer periods of time, can leave your cat either starved from good proteins, or obese from an overload of carbs.
|What We Like|
|What We Don't Like|
Best Low Phosphorus Wet Food: Weruva Best Feline Friend
Weruva Best Feline Friend is a high-moisture cat food that comes in two textures: meat in jelly and chunks in gravy. Each comes in two flavors, so enough to choose from for finicky cats with kidney disease. All flavors are low on phosphorus, which helps to increase your cat’s overall appetite.
Besides being low on phosphates, Weruva Best Feline Friend is also high in quality animal protein that is sustainably sourced from skipjack tuna. It is a completely natural formula with no added flavors, preservatives or filler ingredients like grain or soy. This ensures that your cat’s kidneys and colon aren’t burdened more than necessary during digestion of this food.
Weruva felt pressured to change the formula of their Best Feline Friend products early in 2019. Some customers took issue with the use of carrageenan in the cat food, so they decided to take it out. It is worth noting that carrageenan is not harmful to cats at all. Either way, the new formula doesn’t seem to agree with all cats. Some cat owners report that their sensitive stomach cat don’t tolerate it, while others say their cat won’t even go near it.
Still, many cat guardians are very satisfied with Weruva Best Feline Friend, regardless of the recipe change. The moist, but not sloppy, texture is appreciated by cats with dental issues as well as difficult eaters. It has a decent calorie count, from quality animal protein instead of carbohydrates. Your cat can eat all she needs without being at risk for diabetes or obesity.
|What We Like|
|What We Don't Like|
Best High Potassium Wet Food: Purina Pro Plan Focus Urinary Tract Health Formula With Salmon
Purina Pro Plan Focus Urinary Tract Health (UTH) wet food is a salmon flavored cat food with a high mineral content. Potassium is an important substance for maintaining overall health, but is often flushed out of the system too fast in cats with kidney disease. Purina Pro Plan Focus UTH makes sure your kidney disease kitty gets enough potassium to retain it in the blood.
There is something real “fishy” about this wet food, though. And it almost cost Purina its place in our top 5. The main ingredient listed for the salmon flavor is not salmon, but meat by-products. In fact salmon is only the fourth ingredient on the list, after the aforementioned meat by-products, chicken by-products and water.
Now, by-products are not necessarily bad. The main issue I have with them is that they are not exactly specified by the manufacturer. Cats with kidney disease require very precisely tuned diets, and in this sense by-products create a huge blindspot.
Nevertheless, cat owners are raving about this food. Some even claim that it saved their cat’s life after suffering from kidney stones and bladder infections. This is likely due to the added magnesium in Purina Pro Plan Focus UTH and its ability to lower the pH of your cat’s urine. By targeting urinary tract issues and the kidneys specifically, it can actually help to increase the lifespan of cats with kidney disease.
|What We Like|
|What We Don't Like|
Our Top Pick: Weruva TruLuxe Quick ‘n Quirky
Our top choice of wet food for cats with kidney disease is Weruva TruLuxe Quick ‘n Dirty. While not specifically marketed as a cat food for cats with kidney disease, it sets the bar for what a good all round kidney diet needs to be: moisture-rich, loaded with protein, minerals and vitamins, and low on sodium and phosphates.
Consult with your vet before making changes to your cat’s diet.
Chronic Kidney Disease In Cats
Chronic kidney disease is characterized by a gradual decline of kidney function over the course of months, or even years. Symptoms are subtle at first, but become more evident and varied as the disease progresses.
Cats with kidney disease tend to drink significantly more than the average cat. As a result, they will also urinate more. If you start noticing changes like this in your cat, it is time to take them in for a check-up.
To find out more about symptoms and the latest research surrounding kidney failure in cats, read our full guide on Chronic Kidney Disease In Cats.
Even though chronic kidney disease is an incurable condition, cats that suffer from it can still enjoy a long and happy life with the proper care. The earlier they are diagnosed, the better their chances. So make it a habit to take your cats to the vet at least once a year. Especially for older kitties this can mean the difference between life and death.
Caring For Cats With Kidney Disease
If your cat is diagnosed with kidney disease, there are several things you and your vet can do to increase your cat’s quality of life. Besides treating already present symptoms, you can also work on lowering the risk of future and co-occurring ailments.
Two of the most common comorbidities of kidney failure are irritable bowel disease (IBD) and hyperthyroidism. Both these gastrointestinal disorders and kidney disease all hamper your cat’s ability to keep herself fed and maintain her weight. A healthy diet helps to support your cat’s digestive system and minimizes the chance of complications occurring.
A Healthy Diet For Cats With Kidney Disease
A healthy diet for cats with kidney disease is one that both:
- relaxes the strain on the kidneys by decreasing waste products,
- and increases their chances of absorbing and retaining good nutrients.
Chronic kidney failure is a disease that attacks on multiple fronts, so your cat needs all the defenses she can get. These are some of the most immediate and proven changes you can make to your cat’s diet to help her fight kidney disease:
- More protein: Despite what your vet may say, your cat can’t do without her protein. Especially during times of illness, the compound benefits of bulking up far outweigh the effects of a low protein diet. Just make sure that it is from a quality source of animal protein and no by-products.
- More potassium: Potassium is another must have for cats with kidney disease. It helps to keep them fit, both physically and mentally. Finding a cat food with enough potassium for a cat with kidney disease can be tricky, so I recommend finding a good supplement.
- Fewer phosphates: Phosphate build-up in the blood can cause your renal failure cat to lose her appetite and, in turn, her physical strength. Find her a low phosphate food and consider supplementing it with phosphate binding supplements to further reduce levels of phosphorus in your cat’s blood.
- Fatty acids: Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids assist your cat’s kidneys by trapping good proteins and retaining them in the blood. As such, they actually work to decrease the symptoms of kidney disease. Luckily, more and more cat foods nowadays already contain these ingredients.
- Vitamin B: Although often missing from commercial cat foods, vitamin B is highly beneficial to cats’ digestive tracts. Cats with kidney disease commonly suffer from gastrointestinal problems such as irritable bowel disease (IBD) and hyperthyroidism. Vitamin B helps to reduce the risk of these disorders and controls symptoms if they do occur.
- Wet food only: Cats with kidney disease need all the fluids that they can get. Reduce the risk of dehydration by removing all dry foods from her diet and replacing them with wet foods. Besides the added moisture, wet food is also less likely to contain damaging filler ingredients like grain, so it puts less stress on the kidneys overall.
Want the full story on a healthy kidney diet for cats? Read our in depth guide on Feline Kidney Disease.
Is your cat addicted to kibble, or does your wallet not allow you to go all in on a wet food diet? Check out our guide on the Best Dry Food For Cats With Kidney Disease for some healthier options. You always have the option of adding nutritional supplements to your cat’s food to give her a boost.
Keep in mind that any prescriptions and recommendations for your cat’s regular food also apply to the treats you give her. In fact, treats offer another great opportunity for you to control your cat’s diet and supply her with vitamins and minerals she isn’t getting elsewhere. Read our guide on the Best Treats For Cats With Kidney Disease to find out more.
Low vs High Protein
The main controversy in the discussion around healthy kidney diets for cats centers on the amount of protein that they need. Traditionally, it was believed that a low protein diet was the best way to reduce strain on the kidneys and stall the disease’s progression. More recently, however, scientific studies have shown that high protein diets are actually more beneficial, as they work to support and maintain your cat’s overall health and wellbeing.
Long story short, common sense and some prior cat knowledge lead me to believe that more, not less, (quality) protein is better in the long run. But what is most important, is that you find a diet that caters to your cat’s specific needs. That is why it is important that you keep your vet informed of any changes you make to your cat’s diet, and that you do not discount their advice.