Cats & their diets

One of my cats was recently diagnosed with early stage chronic renal failure and my vet recommended royal canin modified renal diet (its a prescription diet only available at the vet) which is fine, she seems to like it but I don’t for a few reasons (1) its only available at the vet – which makes me think he’s probably getting a kickback for selling it and (2) its only available at the vet – which I can’t ever seem to get over there between the hours of 9-12, 2-5 – its not convenient for me (3) royal canin uses byproducts in its food – yuck – yes, this is the main reason, the byproducts – would you eat a beak or claws? – yuck and (4) its got a lot of things in it to make the cats like the taste – dyes and coloring, which tells me its not good for them.

What I’ve been reading so far and I’m not sure why I have to research this and why my vet can’t get me options to the prescribed diet unless he’s getting a kickback for selling it and doesn’t want to give options which is most likely the case.  Anyways, what the problem is that cats shouldn’t be eating dry food, its not natural and doesn’t provide a high-enough moisture content for cats like a rat would. Cats are carinvores, they eat meat. Another thing is alot of cheap dry food has grain, rice, wheat, corn and fillers which drys out the content and isn’t natural either, when’s the last time you saw a cat bring back grain to you?  Cheap dry food also has by-products – when’s the last time you saw a cat eat the tail or a beak? Usually that’s the part left behind..I know gross, but its true. Why would you want to feed your cat food that has that included?

Now naturally you should start your cat on good wet food and not dry food but if you didn’t know when you first started having cats in your life and your cats have always eaten dry food, then switching them to only wet food mid-life probably won’t work. My cats get a combination of dry and wet food daily which has only been a recent thing in the last couple of years when I was hiding medicine in one’s wet food, the others had to get wet food too and now its a daily thing except the cat with CRF doesn’t really like wet food all that much, we’re in trial and error phase, she likes some but not all of it.

From what I’m reading cats with CRF and all cats in general should be eating grain-free, high-moisture content, no by-products cat food preferably wet food better is human grade wet food and the best option would be a raw diet. 

Now here’s an interesting part, my vet said that all my cats (they range from ages 1-15) can eat the modifed renal low-protein diet and it wouldn’t hurt them. Huh? That doesn’t make any sense. Cats aren’t like people and there seems to be a lot of controvesary surrounding the idea of giving cats a low protein diet especially in the early stages and even more so when they are healthy. A low protein diet will not prevent chronic renal failure or any of the other diseases of advancing age. So there is no medical reason to put your senior cat on a low protein diet. (source:

At no time did my vet suggest that having my cats on a dry food diet only cause some of these problems such as my cat with early stage chronic renal failure or my cat that just had major surgery for kidney problem and crystals or the one that had asthma might have been caused by grains (I thinking maybe its time to find a different vet).

If I could have the reader of this webpage take away just one word from this discussion, it would be “water”.  If your cat is on a properly hydrated diet of 100% canned food – and no dry food – Always keep in mind that water flowing through the urinary tract system is the most important factor in keeping it healthy. Note that I said “water” – not “crystals” or “urine pH” – or any of the expensive prescription diets often recommended by veterinarians. A cat’s normal prey is ~70% water.  Canned food is ~78% water. Dry food is ~5-10% water.  Cats have a low thirst drive and do not make up the deficit at the water bowl.  They are designed to get water with their food. (source

Now my cats are used to eating dry food so once again switching them to an all wet food diet probably isn’t a good tactic to do all at once + one kitty just doesn’t like wet food all that much, although she does drink alot of water, she seems to love it, she’ll also sit in the rain. I’ve started becoming one of those strange cat people that reads the labels before I buy their cat food, I’m looking for high-moisture content, no grain and definetly no by-products. I have found that the following products seem to have all the right ratio of carbs, protein and moisture that a cats needs, I choose to site moisture content but cats are designed to eat a high protein (~50% of calories, or more), moderate fat (~40% of calories), and very low carbohydrate (well below 10% of calories) diet (source:

  • Wellness Salmon, Salmon Meal and Deboned Turkey Dry Food has 11% moisture and no rice.
  • Wellness Core dry food is grain-free and has 8% moisture content.
  • Wellness Wet food has between 78% and 82% moisture content and they all seem to like Wellness food.
  •  WeRuVa wet cat food is human grade and they seem to love it, most of them do anyways and it has 85% moisture content
  • BFF (Best Friends Food) wet cat food has a 82% moisture content and again they love this, even my picky one likes some of the flavors

There is alot of information to read about this subject and this site is great it breaks down alot of the information about what cats should be eating and the different types of food: FEEDING YOUR CAT: KNOW THE BASICS OF FELINE NUTRITION

Another thing about some of these prescription diets is that they have BHA/BHT and Ethoxyquin. Ethoxyquin is a pestcide – would you eat it?

So overall, I think I’ll stick with the food I know is better for them, start looking for ones with high-moisture content, maybe we’ll make the transistion to a raw food diet at some point and find another vet.