Learning that your cat has a chronic condition, such as chronic kidney disease (CKD), can feel like a death sentence. Though this condition is not curable or reversible, support and treatment can improve your kitty’s quality of life and help it live longer. Most cats with CKD can be effectively managed with diet changes, supplements, and medication.
If you’re a Canadian looking for high-quality foods to support your cat’s kidneys, you may be frustrated with what’s available. There aren’t many options for therapeutic foods outside of what’s for sale at your vet’s office, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck.
We’ve gathered the nine best cat foods for kidney disease in Canada to help your decision-making process a bit easier. Keep reading to find our reviews and a thorough buying guide so you know exactly what to look for while food shopping for your cat’s condition.
A Quick Glance at Our Favorites in 2023
|Best Overall||Purina Pro Plan Kidney Function||
|Best Value||Hill’s Prescription Diet Feline Renal Health||
|Premium Choice||Hill’s Prescription Diet Kidney Care with Chicken||
|Hill’s Science Diet Senior Vitality Cat Food||
|Hill’s Science Diet Adult Tender Tuna Dinner||
The 9 Best Cat Foods for Kidney Disease in Canada
1. Purina Pro Plan NF Kidney Function – Best Overall
|Main ingredients:||Water, meat by-products, chicken hearts, rice, powdered cellulose|
The best overall cat food for kidney disease comes from Purina Pro Plan. Their NF Kidney Function wet cat food provides the perfect balance of high-quality protein and restricted phosphorus to support the kidneys. This food was explicitly designed to minimize the signs of kidney failure and may help slow the progression of the disease.
This recipe contains a dose of omega-3 fatty acids, which may help delay the progression of kidney disease. It also has a controlled amount of sodium and is fortified with B-complex vitamins, which cats with CKD often lack. The B vitamins can also assist with breaking down nutrients so your kitty can absorb them better.
The phosphorus level in this food is 0.39%.
2. Hill’s Prescription Diet K/D Feline Renal Health – Best Value
|Main ingredients:||Water, chicken, pork liver, carrots, rice|
If you’re on a budget but want to provide your kitty with the best cat food for kidney disease for the money, Hill’s Prescription Diet has a solution. Their k/d food is designed specifically for cats with kidney issues. This wet food features high amounts of amino acids, the building blocks of muscle protein, and controlled levels of both sodium and phosphorus. It works to protect the function of your cat’s kidneys and heart as well as support its ability to build lean muscle.
The recipe has been gently cooked with chunks of real chicken to increase its aroma and flavor. Sometimes cats with kidney problems will have a decrease in appetite, so this formula’s tastiness should keep them interested at meal time.
There are some reports of consistency issues from can to can, which can be a turnoff to picky kitties.
The phosphorus level in this food is 0.49%.
3. Hill’s Prescription Diet Kidney Care with Chicken – Premium Choice
|Main ingredients:||Brown rice, corn gluten meal, chicken, pork fat, whole grain wheat|
Some cats do not take well to canned food diets. If your kitty is one of the picky ones that only likes to eat kibble, you must ensure the dry food you’re offering will at least provide kidney support. Hill’s Prescription Diet’s dry k/d formula is similar to the previous product we reviewed but is in a dry kibble form.
This food is formulated to provide vital kidney and heart support while boosting your kitty’s ability to build lean muscle. It features Enhanced Appetite Trigger technology to stimulate the appetite and increase your pet’s caloric intake. The recipe has a low phosphorus count and is fortified with therapeutic levels of essential nutrients like l-carnitine and omega-3s.
The biggest downfall of this food is that it comes at a high price and is difficult to find from online retailers.
The phosphorus level in this food is 0.52%.
4. Hill’s Science Diet Senior Vitality Dry Cat Food – Vet’s Choice
Chicken, brown rice, corn gluten meal, whole grain oats, pea protein
Our vet’s choice product for the best food for kidney support again comes from Hill’s. The good news about this particular formula is that since it is not a prescription-style food, it’s relatively easy to find on Canadian-based pet food websites.
This kibble provides a unique blend of ingredients to support your cat’s brain function while promoting kidney and bladder health. The antioxidants and vitamins work together to boost the immune system, too.
This recipe is made from high-quality ingredients and is formulated without the use of artificial flavors, coloring, or preservatives. It is best suited for cats over the age of seven.
The phosphorus level in this food is 0.68%.
5. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Tender Tuna Dinner
|Main ingredients:||Water, tuna, chicken, pork liver, wheat flour|
Yet another Hill’s Science Diet product has made our top ten list. We typically like featuring a variety of brands wherever possible, but the truth is that Hill’s provides the most and best non-prescription, low phosphorus foods for cats.
This particular flavor is an excellent pick for cats with CKD between the ages of 1 and 6. It provides a perfect balance of critical nutrients necessary to promote a healthy body weight and proper digestion. The formula contains taurine to boost your cat’s vision and heart health and is free of artificial flavoring or preservatives.
This food has a chunky texture in gravy, which isn’t always a fan favorite amongst cats.
The phosphorus level in this food is 0.52%.
6. Wellness Healthy Indulgence Chicken & Chicken Liver
|Main ingredients:||Chicken broth, water, chicken, chicken liver, potato starch|
Wellness Healthy Indulgence provides a simple-to-serve kidney-friendly wet food made with real morsels of chicken and chicken liver. Not all cats love the texture of morsels, so keep that in mind before buying these for your pet.
Though real protein is not the first ingredient, these pouches still provide a hefty dose of nutrition. They’re made with antioxidant-rich cranberries to promote a healthy bladder, and the inclusion of broth in the ingredients ensures your kitty with CKD keeps its hydration levels up.
This formula is made without artificial colors or flavors and is gluten- and grain-free, which is excellent for pets with food sensitivities.
The phosphorus level in this food is 0.55%.
7. Weruva Truluxe Steak Frites Dinner
|Main ingredients:||Beef broth, beef, pumpkin, sweet potato, potato starch, carrot|
Weruva Truluxe’s Steak Frites Dinner is a fantastic limited ingredient formula low in phosphorus and free of any artificial coloring or preservatives. It provides 100% complete and balanced nutrition for adult maintenance and features added vitamins and minerals to support your cat’s health. This formula features a blend of vitamins and minerals to support vision and heart health.
This recipe has grass-fed beef and pumpkin as the main ingredients to provide a hefty dose of healthy protein and fiber. Its broth-based gravy is enticing and may promote a healthier appetite in your CKD kitty. Finicky cats may not like the shredded texture.
The phosphorus level in this food is 0.57%.
8. Now Fresh Grain-Free Fish Recipe
|Main ingredients:||De-boned trout, potatoes, peas, whole dried egg, potato flour|
This recipe from Now Fresh is perfect for the fish-loving feline as it provides an ideal blend of fish cats love and nutrient-rich superfoods to promote overall health. It is fortified with probiotics and pumpkins to promote digestion and nutritious fruits and veggies to support immune function. The recipe contains whole eggs for a complete protein source with the amino acids your pet needs to thrive and coconut oil for easy-to-digest fatty acids.
Though this recipe is slightly higher in phosphorus than others we’ve looked at, it’s still low enough to be a viable option for kitties with CKD.
The phosphorus level in this food is 0.60%.
9. Wysong Epigen Turkey
|Main ingredients:||Turkey, water, natural flavor, organic guar gum, mixed tocopherols|
Though Wysong’s Epigen Turkey formula is slightly higher in phosphorus than others we’ve reviewed so far, it is still low enough to be considered for cats with CKD. It is made with very few ingredients and is made of 95% meat. The formula contains no filler ingredients or additives to help mimic the natural eating patterns of your furry little obligate carnivore.
It is important to note that this recipe is not nutritionally complete and is designed to be used as a meal topper only. It also does not contain an added vitamin or antioxidant blend like many other options we’ve reviewed.
The phosphorus level in this food is 0.60%.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Cat Foods for Kidney Disease in Canada
Finding non-prescription kidney-friendly cat foods in Canada can be challenging, especially if you prefer to shop online. While the nine options above are all great choices, you might still feel overwhelmed trying to choose which will be best for your pet.
Keep reading to find all the things you must consider when shopping for the best cat foods for kidney disease.
One of the biggest frustrations for cat owners in Canada is how difficult it can be to find specific food formulas online. Retailers like Chewy and Amazon.com for American pet owners sell prescription food formulas, but the same is not true for the Canadian version of Amazon. It is very rare to find any prescription or diet-specific foods on Amazon Canada, and when they become available, they’re at a highly inflated price.
The foods we reviewed above are available on Amazon Canada at the time of writing, though some of them come with a higher price tag than expected.
Phosphorus is a mineral that you will need to pay close attention to once your cat has been diagnosed with CKD. Keeping phosphorus levels under control can not only slow the progression of the disease, but it can also reduce the likelihood of your kitty developing serious problems and even make them feel better.
Phosphorus is an essential mineral that is necessary for your cat’s good health. Its body is typically very good at regulating phosphorus levels by removing any excess through the kidneys. Cats with CKD, however, are unable to remove excess phosphorus efficiently and may develop levels in their blood that are too high.
The ideal phosphorus level is below 0.50% on a dry matter analysis basis. Therapeutic (prescription) foods are the only complete foods that meet this criterion. Some cats will simply turn their noses up at therapeutic foods, so if this is the case with your kitty, you’ll want to choose a food with the lowest possible phosphorus level.
VCA Canada suggests that decreasing the amount of dietary protein your cat takes in can slow the progression of CKD by reducing the workload on the kidneys. A reduced protein intake also means your cat won’t excrete as much protein through the kidneys, which can help preserve kidney function.
The key is finding the perfect amount of protein. Too much can increase the number of toxins in your cat’s bloodstream, but too little can cause muscle mass loss.
Foods too high in protein are also likely to be too high in phosphorus, so that’s something to keep in mind.
Focus on providing the highest quality protein possible so your cat will get the most value from its meals with the least damaging effect on the kidneys.
Wet vs Dry
Most vets will recommend a diet of canned food for cats with CKD as it contains much more water than kibble. Since dehydration is a big concern for cats with CKD, your kitty must get enough water in a day. The downfall of high water content is that canned foods are typically less calorically dense than their dry counterparts.
If your kitty is having a hard time maintaining its weight on a wet food diet, your vet may suggest you switch to dry. If you choose to feed a kibble diet, you need to ensure your cat is taking in more food than it would on canned food and that you are willing to potentially start subcutaneous fluid administration to compensate for water loss.
Every cat owner can attest to the finickiness of the species. If your kitty dislikes canned food, the dry food options listed above are great jumping-off points. Don’t try to force a wet food diet on a dry food addict. It is more important that your cat eats something of nutritional value than wet food.
Essential Fatty Acids
Essential fatty acids are a compound that is vital to your cat’s overall health. Research in rats and humans suggests that omega-3 fatty acids may help slow the progression of kidney disease.
Studies suggest that dietary intake of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) may decrease inflammation in cats with CKD and may even protect against malnutrition.
The best overall cat food for kidney disease is Purina Pro Plan’s NF Kidney Function for its low phosphorus level and high nutritional value. The best value option is Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d Chicken & Vegetable Stew for its high level of amino acids and controlled levels of phosphorus and sodium. The premium option is Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care as it can stimulate your cat’s appetite and boost heart health. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Senior Vitality is our vet’s choice as it promotes bladder and kidney health and is easy to find online and in stores.
A kidney disease diagnosis doesn’t have to feel like a death sentence for your pet. With proper nutrition and support from your vet, your kitty can still live a long and healthy life.
Featured Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock
- A Quick Glance at Our Favorites in 2023
- The 9 Best Cat Foods for Kidney Disease in Canada
- 1. Purina Pro Plan NF Kidney Function – Best Overall
- 2. Hill’s Prescription Diet K/D Feline Renal Health – Best Value
- 3. Hill’s Prescription Diet Kidney Care with Chicken – Premium Choice
- 4. Hill’s Science Diet Senior Vitality Dry Cat Food – Vet’s Choice
- 5. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Tender Tuna Dinner
- 6. Wellness Healthy Indulgence Chicken & Chicken Liver
- 7. Weruva Truluxe Steak Frites Dinner
- 8. Now Fresh Grain-Free Fish Recipe
- 9. Wysong Epigen Turkey
- Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Cat Foods for Kidney Disease in Canada