It is estimated that the majority of domestic cats over the age of 10 suffer from chronic kidney disease (CKD). There are many reasons for kidney failure in cats which include bacterial infections, too many vaccines, immune system disorders, exposure to toxins, certain drugs, chronic urinary tract obstruction, etc., but the one issue that we are concerned with here is diet, and how it affects the kidneys over the lifetime of the cat.
Feeding a high-quality, protein-rich diet, as opposed to dry kibble is the best option for many reasons, not the least of which is the moisture content. A feeding regimen of kibble over a lifetime equates to a diet that is completely devoid of moisture, the result being a cat that is chronically dehydrated. Leaving a bowl of fresh water out is essential, however it is not a solution. A cat, under ideal conditions, derives all of its moisture from the prey that it consumes. A wild cat is not a natural water drinker, and indeed may not have access to a water source.
Why do domesticated cats suffer and die from renal failure, when cats in the wild do not appear to suffer the same fate? There are likely many opinions in this regard, but one of the prime reasons for this sad reality is the feline diet. In order to support the optimal functioning of bodily organs a cat must be fed a diet that is rich in natural proteins. In other words, a balanced meat-based diet.
If you suspect that your cat may be suffering from renal failure it is imperative that a diagnosis from a veterinarian be sought. And if the cat does indeed have kidney disease, a pro-active approach is essential. If at all possible, kibble should be removed from the cat’s diet, and replaced with a natural meat diet. Whether or not the cat accepts the new diet, an unlimited supply of water must be made available in order to maintain optimal hydration.
For further details about Chronic Kidney Disease in Cats - Please see this excellent video by Dr. Karen Becker, DVM