Reduced Protein Cat Food Recipe
Reducing protein in the raw meat diet is effectively achieved by diluting the overall meat content in the diet by adding non-meat, non-protein ingredients, which nonetheless have food value and are able to provide the cat with energy. It is not possible to simply dilute protein content by adding filler, because the cat would need to eat more to meet her caloric and nutritional needs, and by doing so, possibly end up consuming the same overall amount of protein.
My recipe below consists of a base “Meat Mix” to which a separate “Vegetable Mix” consisting of fats and carbohydrates is added with the intention to stretch the meat portion over a larger volume of cat food. The portions fed to the cat will remain the same size, but since the recipe makes more portions with the same base amount of meat, the meat content per portion is reduced and partially replaced by ingredients made up of fat and carbohydrates.
Diagnosis: kidney disease
Sadly, the diagnosis of kidney disease (e.g. kidney dysfunction or renal failure) has become much too common in companion cats today. Kidney disease is largely unapparent in its early stage without laboratory tests; a reason why most cases are only detected when damage is severe. Severe loss of kidney (or renal) tissue is permanently disabling, but cats can lead a near normal lifestyle for many years with only some normal kidney function. Renal failure occurs when about 70% of healthy kidney tissue has been destroyed.
Causes of kidney disease can include bacterial or viral infection, acute or chronic dehydration, urinary infection, accumulative exposure to toxins, acute poisoning, high blood pressure, immune system disorders, or potassium deficiency. Any of these can cause inflammation of kidney tissue, leading to scarring and permanent impairment of normal kidney function.
Symptoms of advanced kidney disease include increased water intake and urination, vomiting, loss of appetite, and weight loss. Blood and urine samples will reveal elevated Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) and Creatinine, indicating that the kidneys do not sufficiently filter toxic metabolic by-products from the blood. Levels of other blood constituents like potassium, calcium, phosphorus, glucose, total protein, and albumin can tell us about the kidneys’ regulatory function. The presence of an infection or inflammation can be detected with a complete blood count. A urinalysis provides additional information on the extent of kidney damage and also tells of the cat’s ability to concentrate urine, and whether an infection is present in the urinary tract.
Test results will differentiate between kidney dysfunction and renal failure. Kidney dysfunction does not necessarily imply renal failure but rather impaired function. In cases where only one kidney is damaged due to a past infection, an accident, or a birth defect, the other kidney – if healthy – will adequately compensate. Cats with kidney dysfunction normally do not require a modified diet or medication. However, regular laboratory testing of blood and urine is recommended for cats with kidney dysfunction to monitor whether the dysfunction is progressing to a more serious disease state, e.g. renal failure.
The objective of treatment for cats with kidney disease is to control disease progression. In most cases there is no cure. Hindsight is 20/20, but prevention is the best cure, especially with a heart-wrenching diagnosis of kidney disease, because in most cases, damage is not reversible. A modified diet reduced in protein, phosphorus, and sodium reduces many of the cat’s symptoms and may also preserve the remaining healthy kidney tissue. Fluid therapy might be necessary to relieve severe symptoms. Cats with advanced kidney disease will feel nauseous, inappetent, and vomit frequently. However, caregivers should make an effort to get the cat to eat regular meals to prevent the body from metabolizing its own muscle tissue, which will worsen the cat’s discomfort. At times this may mean bribing the cat to eat anything as opposed to nothing. Of equal importance is to keep the cat well hydrated. Because most cats dislike drinking plain water, it is best to feed moist food and avoid dry products. Foods can also be watered down and unsalted broths may also be offered. Regular, in-home subcutaneous fluid therapy might become necessary if the advanced disease state makes the cat very uncomfortable.
It is imperative that the ailing cat is no longer subjected to toxic substances including most flea treatments. Regular laboratory testing of the cat’s blood and urine, especially for levels of Blood Urea Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium can be very helpful in monitoring whether the therapeutic measures are effective in halting the progression of the disease or even improving the condition.
My recipe for cat food reduced in protein and phosphorus for cats with renal failure is a modification of my original recipe to contain less phosphorus, approximately 36% less protein, high levels of essential fatty acids, and calories from fat. Increased levels of B vitamins and potassium compensate for urinary losses of these nutrients. In addition, your Veterinarian may prescribe various medications for your cat to block phosphorus absorption, treat possible anemia, stimulate appetite, or increase dietary potassium intake. Maybe your Naturopathic Veterinarian will suggest therapeutic alternative medicine.
Recipe for a Cat Food reduced in Protein and Phosphorus
by Natascha Wille
For private use only unless credit is given.
400 mg Vitamin B Complex
400 IU Vitamin E
4000 mg Taurine
4000 mg Salmon oil
Cod liver oil = 20,000 IU vitamin A
4500 mg Calcium Carbonate
2 raw egg yolks
236 ml (1 cup) cold, distilled water
900 g (2 lbs) ground meat WITHOUT BONE of your choice.
Skinless, if using chicken
450 g (2 cups) canned pumpkin or cooked, pureed squash or yam
220 g (1 cup) unsalted butter
Yields 14 x 130 g (½ cup) portions.
- As suggested in the recipe, use Calcium Carbonate and no other type of Calcium. Calcium Carbonate helps block Phosphorus.
- When using canned pumpkin, make sure it is NOT pumpkin pie filling!
- Butter is a highly digestible animal fat containing essential fatty acids and naturally occurring vitamins – to add healthy, easily accessible calories for energy. Although butter is derived from milk, it is 81% fat and 18% water. It contains only 0.05% carbohydrates – presumably lactose. Lactose in amounts that minuscule are of no concern.
Combine all supplements from the “Meat Mix” with the distilled water and egg yolk using a whisk. Add meat and combine thoroughly. Set aside.To make the “Vegetable Mix” warm canned pumpkin on low heat in a pot, making sure it does not burn, and melt butter in it. Stir until creamy. Alternatively use fresh squash or yam. Peel, steam-cook, and puree vegetable. Butter can be added will pureeing hot vegetables.Combine Meat Mix with Vegetable Mix. Make sure that the vegetable mix has cooled to at least body temperature. Stir until an even blend is achieved.
Divide into desired portion sizes, and freeze in favorite containers for storage.