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The Best Cat Food for Kidney Disease

The Best Cat Food for Kidney Disease

The diagnosis of Chronic Disease is a hard one to swallow. I cried for days that I was going to lose my sweet baby boy. The great news for our family is that with lots of love and patience, this horrid disease can be managed. While I know envitably I will lose my cat to this horrid disease I appreciate every extra day I get with him. Just like with humans the first and foremost part to staying healthy is diet. So let’s dive into the best cat food for Kidney Disease. If you are looking for treats vs. food for kidney disease we have a whole post covering treats as well.

What to Look for in Cat Food for Kidney Disease

There are two keys things that people are looking at when picking cat food for Kidney Disease. The first is moderately low high-quality protein content. Of course, cats are obligate carnivores so this makes things tricky. They need meat and protein to survive.

The next is keeping the phosphorus content as low as possible. This is because high phosphorus accelerates renal failure. So in order to counteract that we try to restricted phosphorus. A great rule of thumb is to avoid foods that contain ground bone and instead use ground egg shell.

When looking for food how do you know if you are in the guideline of where you need to be for phosphorus? First off you need to find the foods nutritional information on a dry mater basis. Then you are looking for food ideally below 0.5% phosphorus.

Unfortunately a prescription kidney diet is the only way you will achieve this since minimum cat food standard state that on a dry matter basis phosphorus must be at least 0.5%. This means you are going for as close to that 0.5% as you can. As a rule of thumb I avoid anything that has a phosphorus over 1%. Where your max lies may be different depending on your cat. I know we will need to seek out lower phosphorus percentages as his stage of kidney disease progresses.

Lastly, it’s best to stay away from fish. We unfortunately do not follow this rule. The best way to get our boy to chow down on a whole can of wet food is to have some tuna in it. It’s always a mix we don’t have him have full fish flavors but we do let him have the combo variations. So why no fish?

To quote Dr. Lisa A. Pierson, DVM

Fish can be high in mercury, high in PBDEs (fire retardant chemicals linked to hyperthyroidism), high in phosphorus (not good for older cats’ kidneys) and can be very addicting.  It is best to feed poultry-based diets to cats.

DisclaimerThe food listed below DOES NOT mean we are recommend it for your cat. These foods are chosen mostly due to its phosphorus and protein content. Check the ingredients of any food, and consult with your veterinarian before feeding any food, especially if you have any doubts or questions.

The food numbers on these lists are based on food data from the manufacturers and are as up to date as we know. We are not responsible for errors or unexpected changes by the manufacturers, who can change recipes without notice.

Cat Food Options for Kidney Disease

Prescription Kidney Cat Food

This is the most commonly handed out recommendation by a vet for cats that have kidney disease. A vets go to is traditionally to place a cat one of the various commercially available prescription food.

When we got to pick up our boy from hospital, we were first given a whole sampler box from Royal Canin of Renal Diets for Cats. While this can be a good option as it checks the boxes for low protein low phosphorus food it’s not the highest quality of food we find out there.

Plus some pet parents just find their cats turn their nose up at the stuff. My food hog did the same he loved their dry food but wouldn’t touch the wet… which the more water the better with Kidney Disease. So we sought out alternatives for him.

Prescription Food Options

Here is a list of options that are going to require a prescription from your vet to obtain.

Wet Food

Food NamePhosphorus (DMB%)Protein (DMB%)
Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care Chicken & Vegetable Stew0.49%30%
Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care Vegetable & Tuna Stew 0.49%30%
Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care Early Support Chicken, Vegetable & Rice Stew  0.59%34.1%
Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d Feline with Chicken, Pate0.49%30%
Renal Support D Morsels in Gravy Canned Cat Food0.44%34.21%
Renal Support E Loaf in Sauce Canned Cat Food0.46%33.59%
Renal Support T Slices in Gravy Canned Cat Food0.51%31.64%
Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets NF Kidney Function Advanced Care Formula0.39%27.80%
Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets NF Kidney Function Early Care Formula0.43%39.49%

Commercial Cat Food for Kidney Disease

There are dozens of option you can find out there but I am going to take some time to focus on some of my favorite. The ones I feed my boy with has Chronic Kidney Disease.

Weruva OMG, STEW, and PLAY Food

I am so thankful these guys came out with such a wide variety of options that is actually okay for my cat to have. He went from eating anything to being fussy when it came to textures. For our snowshoe cat we have to stick to gravy and stews, a pate is out of the question. The more liquid, the more he loves. Just to be the high maintenance feline he is, he also makes us cut up the food bites if the chunks get too big.

Here are some non fish options from Weruva to check out. For full Weruva Nutritional Information they list on their website here. Or you can read our full list of Best Weruva Low Phosphorus Cat Food. Below we have a small sample of the low phosphorous options in their gravy line of food.

Weruva Low Phosphorous Cat Food Gravy Options

*Note: we are only adding the options that are 0.85% and under in phosphorus on a dry matter basis. There are more food options from Weruva.

Live N’ Love0.71%42.9%
Stir it Up0.72%42.6%
Devour Me0.72%62.6%
Shine Bright0.72%42.1%
Charge Me Up0.73%43.8%
Text Me0.73%42.2%
Cloud 90.73%44.3%
Start Me Up0.75%61.4%
Chase Me0.75%61.5%
Tell Me0.75%61.1%
Dream Team0.77%42.6%
Be Happy0.77%42.3%
Baby Cakes0.78%62.9%
Lights Out0.78%60.70%
Charm Me0.79%67.8%
Luv Ya0.83%62.8%
Crazy 4 U!0.84%59.7%

Another bonus about this company is the food is easy to find in a pinch. We of course have our cat’s favorites on Chewy autoship to help save us some money every month but we can also find at our local pet stores. We can pick it up at Petco and a small family run shop here in Florida. They do have a store locator on the manufacture website if you are having trouble locating it.

Halo Cat Food

Unlike most pet foods, Halo uses real WHOLE meat, poultry, or fish, and no rendered “meat meal” of ANY kind. For more nutritional information you can go to Halo’s website and look up the whole breakdown.

Food NamePhosphorus (DMB%)Protein (DMB%)
Halo Grain Free Turkey and Chickpea Recipe for Senior Cats0.70%39.30%
Halo Holistic Gluten Free Turkey and Quail Recipe for Indoor Cats0.70%41.20%

Tiki Cat

There is a new line of Tiki Cat wet food that is made just for older cats, with high-quality proteins, essential fatty acids and antioxidant nutrients. Like the velvet line below the phosphorus is a little on the high end but the two whole food options do have under 1% of phosphorus. If you are looking to try this out they have a small sampler pack on Chewy here.

Tiki Cat Silver Phosphorus (DMB%)Protein (DMB%)
Mousse With Salmon & Pumpkin in Broth1.3%54.8%
Mousse With Chicken & Pumpkin in Broth1.18%56.5%
Mousse & Shreds Chicken, Salmon & Chicken Liver Recipe in Broth1.08%57.69%
Mousse & Shreds Chicken, Duck & Duck Liver Recipe in Broth1.09% 58.2%
Whole Foods Chicken Recipe in Chicken Broth0.9%64.58%
Whole Foods Tuna & Mackerel Recipe in Tuna Broth0.88% 59.45%
Born Carnivore Silver Senior Health Chicken & Herring Meal Recipe1.25%47.7%

This one is pretty high in phosphorus (1.01% DMB). They are a great brand since they focus on providing your cat a natural prey diet. In their line up in the a secret weapon called Velvet Mousse. When a cat is not feeling great and refusing to eat breaking out the Tiki Cat Chicken and Egg formula does wonders. Even though my cat isn’t a pate lover he can slurp down a pouch of this with little issue. Use this one sparingly as the phosphorus and protein percentages are pretty high.

Shop Tiki Cat

Velvet Mousse NamePhos % Dry Matter Basis
Chicken with Egg1.32%
Chicken & Wild Salmon1.38%
Tuna & Chicken1.41%
Tuna & Mackerel1.43%
Wild Salmon1.52%
Chicken Kitten1.20%
Chicken Senior1.19%
Salmon Kitten1.34%
Salmon Senior1.27%
Light Chicken, Turkey & Pumpkin 0.98%
Fussy With Duck Liver & Egg0.98%
Skin & Coat Salmon Recipe 1.20%

If you’re curious on the phosphorus in other Tiki Cat flavors read our full list of their entire line of cat food – A Look at Tiki Cat Phosphorus Levels.


If the name didn’t give it away these are sold in tiny portioned packets. It’s great if your kitty isn’t eating big meals at any given time but they are only sold in pouches and the price does add up fast for these flavors.

Wellness® Core® Signature Selects

Shredded White Meat Chicken with Chicken Liver Entrée in Sauce0.93%44.53%
Shredded White Meat Chicken & Beef Entrée in Sauce0.99%45.53%
Shredded White Meat Chicken & Turkey Entrée in Sauce0.96%43.94%
Chunky Beef & White Meat Chicken Entrée in Sauce1.01%40.63%
Chunky White Meat Chicken & Wild Salmon Entrée in Sauce1.05%34.53%
Chunky Turkey & White Meat Chicken Entrée in Sauce0.96%39.37%
Flaked Skipjack Tuna with Wild Salmon Entrée in Broth0.90%55.96%
Flaked Skipjack Tuna with Shrimp Entrée in Broth0.93%56.54%

CORE® Tiny Tasters

Chicken & Beef0.92%43.64%
Chicken & Turkey0.97%44.85%
Tuna & Salmon0.97%66.21%

Healthy Indulgence

Morsels Chicken & Chicken Liver0.55%37.87%
Morsels Chicken & Salmon0.56%39.86%
Morsels Chicken & Turkey0.61%37.12%
Morsels Salmon & Tuna0.60%42.70%
Morsels Tuna0.61%39.87%
Morsels Turkey & Duck0.62%38.35%
Gravies Chicken & Turkey0.93%34.21%
Shreds Chicken & Turkey0.81%32.26%

Dr. Elsey’s

Another good option that is low in phosphorus and moderate in protein is the Dr. Elsey’s food lineup. The downside to this food is it’s ONLY available online via Chewy, Amazon, Target or Walmart. If you want to avoid having to invest in a whole case of food just to try it I would reach out to the Dr. Elsey’s direct and inquire about getting a sample for your cat to taste test.

Dry Kibble
Chicken Recipe63.45%0.90%
With Salmon Recipe58.35%1.20%
Canned Wet Food
Clean Protein Chicken49.167%1.121%4.958
Clean Protein Whitefish60.633%1.179%4.908
Clean Protein Rabbit & Turkey52.738%1.242%3.108
Clean Protein Pork48.113%0.975%4.679

Fussie Cat

This is a new brand to me but they come at their food with an interesting angle that as owners of CKD I am sure we all can appreciate. They understand that cats are notoriously fussy when it comes to their food.

Each recipe always starts with meats rich in complete proteins as the main ingredient. Then they tailor the taste of our recipes based on actual feline feedback to ensure it’s equally delicious.

I would say this food is not ideal for end stage kidney failure. Be sure to look at the protein it gets extremely high in the canned food, especially in the tuna flavors.

Dry Food

Salmon & Chicken0.8%40.7%
Chicken & Turkey0.9%40.4%

Wet Canned Food

Premium Chicken with Sweet Potato0.9%47.0%
Chicken & Vegetables0.9%57.5%
Chicken in Gravy0.9%59.5%
Chicken with Duck1.0%57.6%
Chicken with Egg1.0%60.7%
Chicken & Beef in Pumpkin Soup1.1%80.7%
Chicken with Liver in Pumpkin Soup1.1%47.0%
Tuna with Chicken Liver1.0%104.3%
Tuna with Clams0.9%93.7%
Tuna with Mussels0.9%93.7%
Tuna with Smoked Tuna0.7%86.6%
Tuna with Threadfin Bream0.8%87.9%
Tuna in Aspic0.8%87.2%
Tuna with Chicken0.9%106.7%
Tuna with Oceanfish1.0%93.7%
Tuna with Prawns0.9%96.4%
Tuna with Salmon0.9%98.1%
Tuna with Shrimp1.0%97.8%
Tuna with Anchovies0.9%106.7%


This company focus’ on a selection of natural, limited ingredient diet cat foods that provide all the essential nutrients your cat needs with as few ingredients as possible. Build the perfect plate for your cat with dry recipes, wet recipes, and beneficial broths.

Dry Food

Turkey Dry1.0%30.5%
Salmon Dry0.9%32.5%
Rabbit Dry0.9%31.5%

Canned Wet Food

Important note: There has just been a new production run with very minor changes to our formula (for example, we upgraded to a higher quality sunflower oil to optimize our omega fatty acid ratios) and we are waiting to get the final nutrient values back. I do have the values for our previous production run and we hope the new values are really similar.

I’ll list the previous values below to give you an idea of where they landed. If your cat has a health issue that requires really specific values (such as kidney failure), I’d encourage you to check back for the new values to make sure they line up before feeding the food since nutrition can make such an impact. I’m hoping to have those final values back fairly soon.

Turkey Wet 0.65%40.9%
Salmon Wet1.06%40.9%
Rabbit Wet0.86%40.9%

Raw Cat Food for Kidney Disease

EZ Complete

Another success for us was raw food. This seems to be another one for the irresistible food column! My girl with kidney disease, after rotating through many of the options above ended up settling on the fact that all she would eat was raw food. In order to help us save money but yet not have to deal with grinding up organs we have resorted to using something called EZ Complete.

EZ Complete is a powder mix, that you mix with your own ground meat, preferably tendon meat (like chicken thighs). We started out with use using our kitchen aid mixer but over time have upgraded to a full blown meat grinder. If you want a look at our full step by step process you can read it here.

Darwin’s Pet Intelligent Design™ KS Kidney Support Formula for Felines 

Intelligent Design™ Veterinary Formulas for cats are specialized meals designed to provide extra support to cats facing certain health issues. These highly palatable and nutritious meals use only hormone-free (no added hormones), antibiotic-free, and pesticide-free meats, with no grains, added fillers or chemical preservatives.

Note you will need to get a veterinary prescription to order this food. It technically breaks the rules of this listen but there are so few pre made raw options I felt like it was worth mentioning.

Order Darwin’s Pet

Dry Cat Food for Cats with Kidney Disease

Young Again Zero Mature Health

If your cat just can’t break their kitty kibble cravings there is always Young Again Zero Mature Health. It’s the lowest it can go for food at an exact 0.5% phosphorus on a dry matter basis. I gave this kibble a try because we needed a backup dry food.

I know you will hear me say go with wet or raw food. However, I appreciate that dry food can be left out if you are going to be out of the house for almost the whole day and it also provides a midnight snack so we can sleep through the night.

This brand has the right focus of providing a carnivore’s diet. Containing less than 1% starch and packing in the right maintenance levels of key nutrients. You can learn more and buy here.

Hill’s® Science Diet® Adult 11+ Chicken Recipe

Hills is a readily available brand, meaning you can drive to your local pet store and pick it up unlike the brand listed above. The phosphorus isn’t as low as the Young Again offerings but not too bad at 0.69% phosphorus on a Dry Matter Basis. If chicken isn’t your cats jam this same product comes in a standard recipe as well with basically the same phosphorus content.

Shop Chewy

More Great Resources for Dealing with Cats with Kidney Disease

CKD Facebook Group

If you are the owner of a cat with chronic Kidney Disease you are going to want to join this private Facebook group. They have been my guiding light and support as we fight kidney disease in our cat, Olaf.

If you want to hear more way we have been attempting to combat Kidney Disease in cats read all about the Homeopathic Treatments I Give My Cat with Kidney Failure. As always remember to check with your vet before making any sudden changes to your cat’s treatment.


Friday 19th of May 2023

Please check with the food manufacturer yourself to double check the phosphorus and protein content in the food you’re interested in. The phosphorus and protein for one I was interested in is actually much higher than noted in this article.

This is the info I received from Wellness manufacturer:

Wellness® Healthy Indulgence Gravies with Chicken & Turkey Protein: 34.21% Dry Matter Basis

Phosphorus: 0.93% Dry Matter Basis

If you’ll look above in the article it’s listed as having much less and that is incorrect!!

Sandy P

Sunday 30th of April 2023

I have a senior tabby aged 17 years who is quite fussy. Just recently in the last month Weruva has introduced a low phosphorus food called Wx Phos Focused. Information on Dry Matter Basis on their website. Ranges between 0.38 to 0.42. The protein level may be above what is recommend by vets but for a fussy cat who refuses any vet food, I am happy to have her just eat. I do try to offer other brands but for now this is her favourite.


Monday 28th of February 2022

I found your website this morning and I am grateful that you have taken the time to put together such varied and valuable information. I just found out a month ago that my cat (13 years of age) has CKD. For years I have been researching the loss of function of both liver and kidney in cats and dogs and it has become a personal quest of mine to try and pin down the source of this since we all know neither canines or felines are just "naturally predisposed" to these diseases. Hence, if one were to go a step further, then one would have to acknowledge that it is something that "we" as humans are contributing to these onsets. Is it the foods? Is it the vaccinations? No one really wants to look (in much the same way that people tend to turn a blind eye to Global Warming or the destruction of our humans).

my heart and soul goes out to each and every one of you who are experiencing CKD with your beloved companions; and going through treatments and medication that cause other symptoms that require more treatments and other medications.

I ended up finding Kidney Support Gold and am trying this in lieu of pharmaceuticals because what I initially received from my veterinarian to induce appetite had such disturbing results. Yes, it did encourage her to eat more, BUT, alongside that came an abrupt unsettling change of personality, as though she was unsettled and restless and constantly being vocal as though she was trying to tell me something..

Here in Quebec I have only seen some of the foods recommended, but as my vet told me, whatever she wants to eat at this point, is enough because the importance of eating at all is of the essence. My apartment looks like a truck-stop diner with bowls of food lining the floors as though we are doing a taste-testing of sorts.

My heart is heavy of course (hers I am sure is worse...:-( ) but to all of you, and of course especially to Thecrazycatlady, I wish you strength and love...and minimal suffering (though I know the latter is not possible).

Best, Leslie

Robin Griffin

Monday 28th of February 2022

Ah you must have had her on Mirtazapine (spelling?) we did the same thing our cat (an already vocal boy) went nuts of course in the middle of the night. Called the vet the next morning and after chatting with her we got him switched off the pill form to the transdermal ear form. You are able to give much smaller doses via transdermal. Your cat had that reaction because she was given too much medication. If it really worked and boosted her appetite I would give it another shot.

I too have the secret cat food cabinet, with a host of flavors for the day someone decides they no longer eat whatever flavor they used to only eat. But your vet is 10000% right an eating cat is most important!

Raw food (specially made for CKD) seems to be the #1 favorite food for my two CKD cats and well lets face it all six of my cats. Second to that its the Weruva lineup if you are able to purchase that. Also the kidney restore powder mix from amazon is a bacon flavor and the topper made food more enticing for our CKD girl. We have even seen her try to lick it out of the jar when we weren't paying attention prepping her plate.

Timothy B

Thursday 23rd of December 2021

What about Hartz Deleçtables Bisque or Stew cat treats?


Monday 10th of January 2022

@Robin Griffin, I feed with Blue Prescription Kidney dry food and feed only 1.4oz pouch daily with added water. Numbers in phosphorus , sodium, are to high for ckd cats

Bisque Phosphorus: 0.129% or Phosphorus: 0.0516 g Sodium: 0.090% or Sodium: 0.036 g

Robin Griffin

Sunday 2nd of January 2022

This is not recommend to be fed as main food it's not balanced as a cats main meal, only intended for treats.


Wednesday 6th of October 2021

Hi Robin! I wanted to point out that under Dr. Elsey’s, you list protein first then phosphorus where in all the other listings phosphorus was first. I thought I’d mention it as it might cause someone confusion. Thank you for your information! I thought it was concise and informative and I appreciate it very much!