Phosphorus Can Be Key for Cat Kidneys: Part Three of Three

Recognizing that raw cat food diets are not high in protein is important. They have appropriate protein levels for an obligate carnivore. No studies have conclusively demonstrated that severe restriction of protein alone will prevent worsening of renal failure. All of the studies have restricted the protein and lowered the phosphorous levels and restricted salt.² It is now thought that lowering the serum phosphate concentration is much more important in management of renal failure in cats, due to their nature as obligate carnivores and their high requirement for protein. The renal diets studied have also all been supplemented with potassium, B-vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids.³

So, how do we achieve this with raw food for cats? Interestingly, a natural diet is almost perfect for cats in renal failure. It is highly digestible, with good-quality protein and lots of natural essential fatty acids from wild caught prey. It’s high in B-vitamins due to the organs in the diet and has low phosphate levels due to the raw meaty bones being naturally low in phosphates compared to a cereal-based diet. If you are feeding your cat farmed meats, it may be a good idea to add some omega-3 supplements, as farmed meat is lower in this essential fatty acid.

A raw cat food diet is ideal and fits the requirements of an obligate carnivore. If we consider that the majority of cats are in a state of chronic dehydration due to dry commercial diets, it is not surprising that older cats have a tendency to renal failure. Getting these renal cats onto high-moisture raw food can be a real turning point for them.


Dr. Lyn Thomson trained at the University of Bristol in England and is studying with the Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine. A dedicated and experienced advocate of bio-appropriate nutrition, Lyn practices in Auckland, New Zealand.

1. M Funaba, Y Oka, S Kobayashi, M Kaneko, H Yamamoto, K Namikawa, T Iriki, Y Hatano and M Abe, “Evaluation of Meat Meal, Chicken Meal and Corn Gluten Meal as Dietary Sources of Protein in Dry Cat Food,” The Canadian Journal of Veterinary Research vol. 69, 2005, 299-304.

  2. KC Bovée, DVM, MMedSc, “Mythology of Protein Restriction for Dogs with Reduced Renal Function,” Supplement to Compendium on Continuing Education for the Practicing Veterinarian vol. 21, no. 11(K), Nov 1999, 15-20.

  3. SA Brown, VMD, PhD, M Rickertsen, BS, S Sheldon, DVM, “Effects of an Intestinal Phosphorus Binder on Serum Phosphorus and Parathyroid Hormone Concentration in Cats With Reduced Renal Function,” International Journal of Applied Research in Veterinary Medicine vol. 6, no. 3, 2008, 155-160.

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