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3 Best Cat Food For Kidney Disease Choices

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Looking for the best cat food for kidney disease?

A low phosphate and high calcium wet cat food is best for kidney health.

Here’s my 3 best picks:

  1. Wellness Core | Best Overall
  2. Hound & Gatos | Best Value
  3. Ziwi Peak Air-Dried | Best Dry

Kidney disease is common in senior cats. It’s progressive and decreases lifespan if not treated.

The main approach is prescription foods that cats don’t like and cost a lot.

Or choose foods balanced for kidney disease, with the quality cats like.

In this article, I’ll go through a buying guide where I’ll help you tease out what you need. Then I’ll run through the best options.

Finally, I’ll answer frequently asked questions.

So how do you know what to get?

Read on.

I am not a veterinarian and I recommend seeking the advice of a vet for any further questions. This article is not intended as a replacement for medical advice.

Buying Guide

Phosphate and protein restriction help cats with kidney disease live longer.

Feeding the wrong type of diet will decrease your cat’s lifespan.

3 top tips for kidney disease in cats:

  1. Choose low phosphate cat food
  2. Consider protein restriction
  3. Choose wet cat food

1. Choose Low Phosphate Cat Food

Choose a low phosphate cat food for kidney disease.

Balancing calcium with phosphate at a 1:1 ratio helps prevent renal calcification. That’s what to aim for.

High phosphate diets cause renal secondary hyperparathyroidism.

This increases renal calcification and hastens the progression of kidney disease.

A diet with too much meat without a source of calcium causes hyperparathyroidism. This causes bone abnormalities and depression.

The reason?

Not enough calcium. Too much phosphate.

2. Consider Protein Restriction

Moderate protein restriction helps reduce build up of uremia.

Benefits depend on how advanced the disease is.

Renal diet formulas contain 6-7g/100kcal of protein which is less than 9-10g/100kcal in commercial cat foods. This works out to 28-35% protein on a dry matter basis.

For maintenance, cats need 26% protein (dry matter). However, senior cats need more to combat sarcopenia.

The problem is cats prefer high protein diets (~50%).

And many wet cat foods far exceed 28-35% protein.

Use a dry matter calculator. We’ve rounded up some suitable choices later in the article.

3. Choose Wet Cat Food

Cats with stage 3-4 kidney disease are at a higher risk of dehydration from diuresis.

Give cats with kidney disease access to clean water at all times.

Water fountains also help encourage drinking. Or just more bowls.

This is also why wet cat food is best for kidney disease. Wet food is high in moisture (75-85% moisture) and helps cats stay hydrated.

If you choose dry, moisten it with water.

If you serve dry cat food, try to moisten it with water and have fresh water available at all times.

More Tips for Kidney Disease


Omega 3 fatty acids may improve survival times for cats with kidney disease.

Good sources include:

  • Salmon
  • Green mussels
  • Herring

Cats also prefer moderate fat diets.

Fat is helpful for cats losing weight and senior cats with impaired fat digestion.


Cats don’t need carbs.

Many older cats with kidney disease have diabetes.

Choose cat food with less than 15% carbs (dry matter).

3 Best Cat Food for Kidney Disease Choices

1. Wellness Core Tiny Tasters

Best Cat Food for Kidney Disease

Wellness Core Tiny Tasters

Pros and Cons

  • Low phosphate
  • Moderate protein
  • Suitable for all life stages
  • A little pricey
  • Added gums


Wellness Core is one of the best options I found for kidney disease.

Our cats enjoyed this one. It’s low phosphate and high calcium.

There’s a range of flavors for picky cats.

The only downsides are the price and added gums.

Best for:

  • Picky eaters
  • Senior cat health
  • Portion control

Where to find Wellness Core Tiny Tasters?

Learn More: 

Wellness Core Tiny Tasters dry matter nutrition
Wellness Core Tiny Tasters dry matter nutrition
Wellness Core Tiny Tasters review score
Wellness Core Tiny Tasters review score

2. Hound & Gatos

Best Value Cat Food for Kidney Disease

Pros and Cons

  • Low phosphate
  • Moderate protein
  • Suitable for all life stages
  • Mixed quality
  • Mixed taste


Hound & Gatos is a cat food that immediately looks the goods.

It’s 98% animal foods, grain-free, and it has a high calcium to phosphate ratio for kidney health.

With a wide variety at a reasonable price, it’s a good looking option. Complete meal for all life stages too.


Haven’t tested this one, and customers suggest the quality isn’t always up to scratch. Mixed taste results too.

Best for:

  • Flavor variety
  • Allergies
  • Budget buy

Where to find Hound & Gatos?

Learn More:

Hound & Gatos dry matter nutrition
Hound & Gatos dry matter nutrition
Hound & Gatos review score
Hound & Gatos review score

3. Ziwi Peak Air-Dried

Best Dry Cat Food for Kidney Disease

Ziwi Peak air dried cat food package
Ziwi Peak cat food

Pros and Cons

  • Low phosphate
  • Moderate protein
  • Complete meal for all ages
  • Limited flavors
  • Recent changes


Ziwi Peak is the best dry cat food for kidney disease.

It’s got moderate protein (not completely restricted). This is a quality product with no fillers, grains, or legumes.

If you’re interested in treating your cat with healthy food, this is the food.

Our cats enjoyed this one, which comes in dried square shapes.

The main problem here is the harsh price.

Best for:

  • Dry food lovers
  • Allergies
  • Easy digestion

Where to find Ziwi Peak?

Learn More:

Ziwi Peak Air-Dried cat food dry matter nutrition
Ziwi Peak Air-Dried cat food dry matter nutrition
Ziwi Peak review score
Ziwi Peak review score

Best Cat Food for Kidney Disease: Full List

Still not sure?

I’ve rounded up the best cat foods for kidney disease outside prescription foods.

These options are all high in calcium to phosphate, low carb, and not too high in protein (although there’s not too much to choose from).

Here’s my list:

Cat FoodPriceTypeProteinCarbsCalcium: PhosphateKcal/kgScoreNotes
Meat Mates$$$Wet42%2%2.41,0848Best choice, but limited availability
Wellness Core Tiny Tasters$$$Wet47%4%1.71,2918Portion controlled
Ziwi Peak Air Dried$$$Dry41%5%1.35,6007.5Best dry cat food
Hound & Gatos$$Wet45%0%2.31,2228Cheaper, but mixed quality
Feline Natural$$$Wet52%2%1.38958High quality and great for senior health
Ziwi Peak$$$Wet54%10%1.51,2008Another top Ziwi Peak choice
Dave’s Naturally$Wet48%4%1.112458Budget pick
Nulo Freestyle$Wet51%6%1.51,2257.5Another budget pick
Best cat food for kidney disease comparison table

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Signs of Kidney Disease in Cats?

Here are some of the signs of kidney disease.

  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Anorexia
  • Vomiting
  • Halitosis
  • Polyuria (excessive urination)
  • Polydipsia (excessive thirst)

Kidney disease is progressive.

Catching the problem early will help you adjust your cat’s diet to improve lifespan.

What Treatments Do Cats With Kidney Disease Need?

Treatments include:

  • Dietary therapy
  • IV fluids
  • Medication (e.g. phosphate binders)

Speak with your vet to find the proper treatment for your cat.

Treatment depends on The International Renal Interest Society (IRIS) stage of the disease.

Diet modification is important to slow the progression of kidney disease.

What Diet Do Cats With Kidney Disease Need?

A low phosphate and high calcium diet.

Excess phosphate in relation to calcium contributes to renal calcification.

This hastens the progression of kidney disease.

Aim for 1:1 calcium to phosphate.

Calcium and vitamin D decrease parathyroid hormone. This helps protect the kidneys.

Early-stage kidney disease involves lean muscle loss. High fat diets help prevent weight loss.

Do not follow homemade recipe advice on the internet. Almost all recipes don’t meet a cats needs.

They aren’t formulated for kidney disease.

Protein restriction can help in the later stages of kidney disease.

What are the Benefits of a Kidney Disease Diet?

Increases survival time in dogs and cats with kidney disease.

A kidney disease diet also reduces the risk of a uremic crisis (kidney failure).

Improving your cat’s health also helps with financial costs related to medical treatment.

A healthier cat means fewer trips to the vet.

Do I Have to Give My Cat Hill’s Science Diet?

Check with your vet for tailored advice.

Hill’s Science Diet is formulated for cats with kidney disease, but has a high markup.

The ingredients in this product are low quality (e.g. brewers rice) and may not be optimal for a cat’s health.

A better choice is high-quality wet canned food with real animal ingredients including meat, bones, and organs.

The main goal is to find a product with a calcium to phosphate ratio of 1:1.

How Long Does a Cat with Kidney Disease Live?

Disease progression is unpredictable.

Many owners may opt for euthanasia due to the time and financial burden of caring for a cat with kidney disease.

The prevalence of kidney disease increases with age.

10% of cats over 10 have kidney disease, which increases to 31% over 15.

Feeding your cat a kidney-protective diet improves the lifespan and health of your cat.

Can I Reverse my Cat’s Kidney Disease?


Chronic kidney disease is progressive. Diet therapy slows the disease.

On the other hand, acute kidney failure is reversible if caught in time.

This is a sudden drop in kidney function related to infection and/or medication.

Can Healthy Cats Eat Kidney Disease Foods?


All cats benefit from a diet higher in calcium and lower in phosphate. This lowers the parathyroid hormone (PTH), a stress hormone.

Excess PTH leads to:

  • Bone abnormalities
  • Depression
  • Lack of movement

A low phosphorus diet should start in adulthood to help prevent kidney disease.

Why Does the Calcium to Phosphate Ratio Matter for Kidney Health?

1:1 calcium to phosphate slows the progression of kidney disease.

Reducing phosphate helps to protect the kidney from structural damage.

Too much phosphate increases parathyroid hormone, which increases calcium deposits in the kidney.

Calcium and vitamin D both inhibit parathyroid hormone and have a protective role in a cat’s health.

Can Cats Eat Chicken if They Have Kidney Disease?


Cats are obligate carnivores. They eat chicken as a normal food source.

However, fresh meat is high in phosphate and low in calcium.

A diet of only chicken would lead to calcium deficiency. This leads to nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism.

What Causes Kidney Disease in Cats?

Contributing factors include:

  • Dental disease
  • Free feeding
  • Breed
  • Aging
  • Low body weight
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Dehydration

Breeds at a higher risk of kidney disease include:

  • Maine coons
  • Abyssinian
  • Siamese
  • Russian blue
  • Burmese

Speak with your vet for more information.

How do I Introduce a Kidney Disease Food?

Introduce new food slowly.

Cat’s have neophobia, which means an aversion to new foods. It takes time to adjust your cats taste to new food.

There are two approaches to introducing new food:

  1. Placing the food next to old food side-by-side in the same bowl
  2. Mixing with the old food

Start by adding a small amount to the old food. Increase over 4-8 weeks.

Warming food to room temperature helps improve the smell and taste.

How Do I Find Out How Much Protein Is in Cat Food?

Here is what you do step-by-step.

Remember, we are looking for a protein intake of 6-7g/100kcal for kidney disease.

  1. Find the guaranteed analysis
A guaranteed analysis of cat food.
Go to the nutritional info tab online to find the guaranteed analysis

2. Calculate the dry matter basis protein

Using an online calculator to find the guaranteed analysis of cat food
Use an online calculator. Enter guaranteed analysis to find dry matter basis protein (51.43% in this case)


Choose low phosphate and high calcium food for kidney disease in cats.

Kidney disease is common in older cats. It’s progressive and decreases lifespan if not treated.

Discuss options with your vet. The stage of kidney disease can warrant different treatments.

Here’s my 3 best picks:

  1. Wellness Core | Best Overall
  2. Hound & Gatos | Best Value
  3. Ziwi Peak Air-Dried | Best Dry

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