Choosing a Diet for the Geriatric Cat
Nutrition is an important subject at any age. The geriatric cat tends to present a unique set of problems. Cats are by virtue of their nature are an obligate carnivore; they require meat in their diet. Cats do not typically consume carbohydrates which constitute the energy portion of most diets. Cats must therefore create a carbohydrate source by changing proteins through a process call deamination. The end product of this deamination process is urea. Proteins are typically used as a carbohydrate source over their lifetime and will therefore cause greater stress on their kidneys.
The number one disease process in cats as they age is kidney failure. Several diets are now available to prevent, delay or reverse this disease process. The most commonly available diet is manufactured by Hill’s and simply goes by the name of Kd. Kd is the unpretentious abbreviation for “Kidney Diet.” Similar diets are available by Eukanuba, Purina and Royal Canine. The function of these diets is to provide calories for energy via carbohydrate and fats while restricting the protein content of the diet. The older cat’s protein requirements are met but proteins are not present at levels in excess of their dietary needs.
By sparring the kidneys excessive work it has been shown to slow or delay the disease process. Kd as a diet may be rather rich and as a consequence your cat may gain weight.
Kd or a related diet may be used in an adult or aged pet to prevent and delay the onset of kidney failure, especially when a cat’s family has a history of kidney failure.