Treatment instructions for a cat with a chronic kidney insufficiency

The function of kidneys

The kidneys’ main function is to filter impurities from the blood. The kidneys also take care of the body’s fluids, acid-base balance and electrolyte balance. Kidneys participate in regulating blood pressure and production of red blood cells.

Chronic renal insufficiency

When symptoms appear, at least 2/3 of the renal tissue are damaged. Damaged kidneys are unable to filter out the impurities or direct water and electrolytes back to the body.

Impurities accumulate in the body, leading to uremia, which is a serious threat and always requires medical attention.


Typical symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue and possibly increased drinking and urinating.


There is no cure for chronic renal insufficiency, but with diet and treatment the lifespan of the animal can be lengthened without causing suffering to the animal.

The cat must have enough water and it needs to urinate often enough. Make sure that the litter box is clean.


To alleviate the symptoms, the cat should eat only a small amount of protein. It should be high-quality protein, such as egg, dairy, meat or fish. In addition, You can give high-fat and high-carbohydrate foodstuffs, such as butter, cream, ice cream, corn oil, macaroni and rice if the cat eats them. Cats with chronic renal insufficiency are often prone to potassium deficiency.

Instructions of daily calorie intake for cats

These are guidelines only. Individual requirement depends on the environment, exercise, character and age of the cat. You can adhere to these instructions in the beginning and then adjust the feeding in a way that allows the cat to stay in its ideal weight. Weigh the cat from time to time and keep track of the weight.

Weight of the cat Calories per day
2,2 kg 175 kcal/day
3-3,5 kg 250 kcal/day
4,5 kg 300 kcal/day
7 kg 420 kcal/day

Suggestion for home food

Dice and stew the liver in a pan under a lid and save the fat it renders. Combine the ingredients and mix well. The mixture is dry, so to improve flavours You can add water. The mixture has 794 kcal/585 g (699/500g).

If You wish to feed home-cooked food to the cat, we suggest that You contact a nutritionist (Kulkurinputtiikki, tel. 044 0126 021,, who can help You plan a diet for Your cat.

Commercial diet foods

You can feed the cat with commercial foods that take the special requirements of a kidney patient into account. You can buy the food from our clinic.

If You decide to feed commercial food to Your cat, it is important for the success of the treatment that the cat only eats the prescribed diet food and water. Even small amounts of other food, minerals or vitamins can ruin the treatment completely. Home food and commercial food are two separate options, and they should not be mixed.

Suitable diet foods are e.g. Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d and Waltham Feline Low Protein Diet.


It is important that the owner understands the nature of the illness and the importance of treatment and diet. With proper care, the animal may live for a long time in spite of the illness. Kidney disease worsens slowly and at some point the animal is unable to compensate for the insufficiency. The course of the illness is individual and the vet will always make a prognosis that is as realistic as possible, taking into account the condition and age of the animal as well as other factors.

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