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Keeping an old kitty healthy

Share advice for keeping your aging cat happy and healthy

  
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Wilbur

Match made in- Heaven
 
 
Purred: Tue Jan 10, '12 5:55pm PST 
After losing my first cat to kidney failure in 2006, I wondered how she could have lost her renal function. I know 12 is a typical age for the kidneys to shut down, but she was an indoor cat who only ate real cat food - and it was not the stuff that had to be recalled, just regular senior Hill's Science Diet. Age apparently was her only risk factor.

The cause of her death made me wonder if renal failure is preventable and I just did not know how to do that. Is there anything I can do to keep an old cat's kidney function good until it dies naturally?
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Alex (sweet- angel girl)

Angel on a- mission!
 
 
Purred: Wed Jan 11, '12 12:53pm PST 
I hate to tell you this sweetie but Hill's Sciece Diet is the farthest thing from real cat food you can find. There's SOOOOO much corn, gluten, by products, grains, etc. that it's a miracle to find any meat in there at all. We've all been there thinking the brands that are pushed by vets are the best but in reality they're far from it. A good high quality, grain free, wet food diet is the best or even raw food is better. Grains are nothing but sugar and lousy carbs that rob the body of the nutrients they need and stress out the pancreas and other organs. And if she was on a dry food only diet, that's not a healthy diet either I'm afraid. There's no moisture at all. If we as people only ate dry foods and just drank water, that's it, we'd have a short life too. Their organs need moisture just like ours do. It's a learning process sweetie, one that my beautiful angel girl had to learn the hard way and so did I by losing her because of food like that. frown
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Rocky Ann- Forever

Hello Kitty
 
 
Purred: Wed Jan 11, '12 1:26pm PST 
Wilbur I agree with Angel Alex. I also ate Science Diet for a large part of my life and I also got Kidney Disease. I was 16yrs old when diagnosed and lived with it to almost my 19th Birthday.

Mommy has learned so much since and is alot smarter with Zack and Zoey (2 yrs old now). They eat only canned grain free food. And they love it.

To keep an older kitty healthy I would recommend grainfree canned cat food or raw feeding. A water fountain is a good idea to make sure they are hydrated enough. Also with the food for Z & Z, Mommy trys to keep to canned foods that aren't the highest on the list with phosphorus and sodium. Some flavors in some good brands are very high. Good to read the ingredients information just like with people food.

US Canned Food Data

little angel
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Wilbur

Match made in- Heaven
 
 
Purred: Wed Jan 11, '12 6:34pm PST 
Alex, the problem with Emily was she would not eat anything else. I am currently feeding Patricia much better cat food with real meat by Blue Buffalo but that was not available in my area until a few years ago so Emily never got the chance to try it. I learned about the company when it recalled some cat food during the melamine scare in 2007.

I used to think waterers were a waste of money because we can fill the bowls ourselves in a few seconds. They make your electric bills go up. Then a vet talked about giving Wilbur fluid injections, so I asked her if a waterer would help. She said yes - too late. His CRF had advanced so fast he was dead three weeks later.
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Athena (In- Memory)

Purrs and Love- to Mom and- Toulouse

moderator
 
 
Purred: Wed Jan 11, '12 6:37pm PST 
I sent both Wilbur and Patricia an invitation to join a Catster group called the Olde Furts. (The invite will come through your email).

Not just for kidney failure, but lots of information on keeping the senior cat comfortable and healthy, from people who have nursed their cats through all sorts of illness.

Merlin- >PAWS<- [In Loving

713682
 
 
Purred: Thu Jan 12, '12 10:22am PST 
The sad fact is that there is no way to prevent kidney failure; it inevitably comes with age - feline and human as well. And "dying naturally" is caused by organ failure - kidneys, liver, heart, whatever; if we could prevent organ failure, we could theoretically physically live forever. Can it be postponed? Well, I guess that depends; sometimes, genetic things occur in spite of whatever we do. There's a lot to be said for staying fit and healthy, but old age eventually catches up with all of us, human and feline. Feeding good quality food is definitely worthwhile,as it may postpone the inevitable, but no matter what you feed, eventually some organ will fail with age.
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Kaci- Sunshine - Beloved- Angel

Sugar 'n Spice
 
 
Purred: Thu Jan 12, '12 11:40am PST 
Wilbur, I only partly agree about diet and think Merlin also has a very good point. Genes, environment, diet and the aging process all come into play as a cat ages. The cause of chronic feline kidney failure is unknown at this time. Sadly, old age catches up to all of us.

Every cat should eat quality food no matter their age and or when they start. However, even when a good diet is started later in life, it doesn’t seem to make any difference in preventing CKD and other diseases. We wish it did! It might delay the onset but won’t prevent it.

And look at all the cats who eat crummy diets all of their lives, live long lives and don't get these diseases or only develop them very late in life. Genes definitely play a role. You mustn't blame yourself for your other cat's kidney disease!

A good diet (grain free wet food or raw) does prevent and help control diabetes, pancreatitis and IBD/IBS, but doesn't seem to matter with diseases like CKD and hyperthyroidism.

My sister and I were over 9-1/2 years old and had eaten Friskies wet and dry foods all of our lives when we were adopted in January 2006.

Mommy completely changed our diet during the first few months. She consulted a holistic vet and read everything she could about feline diet. She weaned us from all dry food. By June 2006, we were eating quality, grain free wet food only and never looked back. We even tried a raw diet!

Yet I have had hyperthyroidism for over 3 years and CKD for about a year and a half. My sister got cancer, heart disease and CKD.

Eating better food didn't help us. It hasn’t prevented other older cats we know from getting diseases like CKD and hyperthyroidism even though they eat quality wet food or raw diets.

If diet alone is the secret to avoiding kidney failure and other common feline diseases, then you need to eat a quality diet from kittenhood or a very young age.

Edited by author Thu Jan 12, '12 11:46am PST

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Alex (sweet- angel girl)

Angel on a- mission!
 
 
Purred: Thu Jan 12, '12 12:26pm PST 
I do agree and believe that just like people, genes have so much to do with it. Plenty of kitties eat junk food all their lives and live to be a very old age. But some have issues right from the time they're kittens. I just meant to say that you can at least TRY and help things along with diet. Dry food in particular does a number on kidneys and that doesn't help matters any. All we can ever do is learn from what happened with our other babies and try and do our best in the future, and hope for the best. smile
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Kaci- Sunshine - Beloved- Angel

Sugar 'n Spice
 
 
Purred: Thu Jan 12, '12 1:01pm PST 
I agree with you Alex! It's a combination of factors and dry food does have an adverse effect on the kidneys. We should try to feed our cats the best food possible. Diet is a major role in the health of humans and animals. And when a kitten or cat already has health issues, a healthy and appropriate diet is essential. You're right . . . all we can ever do is the best we know how, learn from our mistakes and hope for the best! smile
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Wilbur

Match made in- Heaven
 
 
Purred: Thu Jan 12, '12 2:02pm PST 
Sunshine, the worst part was learning from my mistakes. I feel like an idiot when that happens. Fortunately, I did not have to deal with that guilt when Wilbur got sick because he had a history of dental disease, steroid shots, obesity, and allergies and did eat grain-free wet food.
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