If your finicky kitty is snubbing the low-protein diet that her veterinarian recommended, don't despair. Some cats, especially those with diminished appetites, may not find your first offer appealing. Cat-food companies have formulated low-protein foods to keep Roxy’s mealtimes healthy and palatable.
Special Diet for Specific Conditions
Adult cat foods contain a balance of nutrients to maintain your feline’s health. Some disorders, though, warrant a diet that is lower in protein and phosphorus. Fatty liver disease, known as hepatic lipidosis, and portosystemic shunt are two examples of disorders in which a low-protein diet helps to optimize the function of a compromised liver. A low-protein diet can also slow the progression of kidney disease, or chronic renal failure, the most common age-related degenerative disease to afflict older cats. If your feline friend has been diagnosed with kidney disease, your vet has probably dispensed a prescription diet specially formulated for her condition.
Depending on your kitty's lifelong eating habits, one of two things happened when you dished out the new diet into her food bowl. Either your little eating machine gobbled it up or your finicky feline gave you a look of disdain, sniffed politely and slunk away. The latter scenario can be frustrating as you desperately try to cajole your cat into eating the food that could extend her life. The more you try to force the issue, the more stubborn she will become. Unlike dogs, who will eat when hunger pangs take over, cats will starve themselves if they don't like what's in the menu, putting themselves at risk for further serious health complications. Variety is on your side, though.
Stocking Kitty's Personal Buffet
Several low-protein diet options are available by veterinary prescription. Hills brand k/d provides its original formula as well as a newer variation with chicken. Iams offers multi-stage renal formula, and Purina's prescription line includes NF. These products are produced in both canned and dry kibble formulations. For cats that enjoy chunks with gravy, try Royal Canin's Renal LP in pouches. Whichever brand your kitty favors, it is important to feed prescription food exclusively for your cat to reap the benefits. Not all veterinarians stock every brand of low-protein diet in their hospitals, but they can order special diets for you.
Love, Patience and a Smorgasbord for Life
As your cat's kidney disease progresses, your fussy fur ball may show increased reluctance to eat. You may need to devote a cupboard shelf to housing many of the available brands and formulations of low-protein diets to coax her to dine from one day to the next. You can entice her to mealtimes by warming canned foods prior to serving, which will bring out the aromas to spark her interest. A low-protein diet, combined with your dedicated care and following your veterinarian's other recommendations to control your kitty's illness, can improve her quality of life.
- Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images