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Ask the Veterinarian/early renal failure


QUESTION: Hi Jana, I have a 15 year old female shorthair that is in early renal failure, which I understand is pretty common for that age; my question, is there any other food out there besides the Hills K/D? (she hates it!!) ...she will pick at it,,,but screams for her "Friskies party mix treats" ..and will eat those all day if I let her. Any suggestions?..thank you!..Nick

ANSWER: Picking at K/D is common because what they do eat is very satisfying and full of the nutrients she needs right now. I have used K/D on two cats just as you are. One cat I started on it at the age of 10 for preventative measures and he lived to be 19.

She will get plenty of nutrients from the K/D. Keep the treats away from her as they are only going to make her kidneys work harder.

Just leave out the K/D, about a half a cup a day and see how much she really is eating. It does come in canned too that you can give as a side if you really see that she isn't eating enough. Some people also pour low-sodium chicken broth over the dry (sprinkle it on actually) to entice her with the flavor but I have used this diet for 30 yrs and I know how cats eat it.

Don't forget that just the nature of her condition makes her feel dumpy and not wanting to eat as well.

Hang in there and watch her. Start with a half cup (measured!) a day and give her more if the bowl is empty by 3 pm.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: ...Thank You for your more thing,,she is very thin, yet very active for short bursts,,,then sleeps a lot to recharge her batteries I am guessing; she does gobble the treats though,,,I will try to entice her to eat more of the K/D with that topping you mentioned..thank you again

All of that is normal, unfortunately, for a cat whose kidneys are only working on about 15% capacity. Just keep the K/D out and get her some canned as well. Being thin is normal too, but obviously not desirable.
So if she'll eat the canned she could use the calories.  

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Jana Connell RVT, CVT


PLEASE READ BEFORE SUBMITTING TO ME: I am NOT a vet and do NOT diagnose diseases. That is only for a licensed Veterinarian to do. I will give you suggestions and steer you toward calling your vet for help. You can call the vet's office and talk to the technician there or the vet at times. Don't be afraid to call them! If you have a serious issue with your pet please post it to one of the veterinarians in here- I will tell you the same thing in my answer. IF your pet is injured or in an emergency situation, CALL YOUR VET- Do not wait and post in here. Just call the vet's office and get them in to see the vet right away. Critical treatment time is lost if you seek answers here when you should have your precious pet at the vets!! Don't sit at home waiting for an answer when your pet is critically ill or injured!! I can answer most questions about small animal and wildlife care as well as small animal nutrition. I can also answer questions about all phases of dental care for small animals. I DO NOT answer questions about birds (unless it is wildlife or songbirds) or HAMSTERS/GERBILS/CHINS/GUINEA PIGS/REPTILES/FROGS/RABBITS/PET BIRDS OF ANY KIND so please submit these questions to the appropriate sections. I, as well as other experts in here, do NOT do homework questions- that is for YOU to do! Please respect these rules for all of us. Thanks!


I have over 42 years experience in the field of veterinary medicine. I specialized in small animals and did wildlife rehab for over 25 years, mostly raptors, squirrels and opossums. I am a Small Animal Nutritional Consultant with 6 certificates from Hills Pet Foods, CNM and Purina. I also specialized in Small Animal Dentistry which is a field I truly love. I also Teach Veterinary Technology to working technicians who are studying to take their California Tests to become Licensed Technicians. They have to take both the VTNE (Veterinary Technician National Exam) and the California boards.

Audubon,World Wildlife Federation, American Society of Veterinary Dental Technicians.


Licensed with California and Oregon, RVT and CVT. Certified Veterinary Dental Technician Have over 1500 logged hours of Continuing Education Credits(that means I keep up to date!).

Awards and Honors
Nominated for Expert of the Month for the last 5 years.

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