Posts Tagged ‘feline treatment at home for CRF’
– Some Special TLC for Feline Renal Failure –
Contrary to what many (alarmingly) seem conditioned to think, euthanasia of your sweet, ill cat is not the only option when it is diagnosed with chronic renal failure (CRF). (Now renamed CKD – chronic kidney disease)
With special feline treatment at home for your cat’s kidney disease and your commitment, your cat can live several months to even years with diminished kidney capacity, depending on the cat and the progression of the disease. Each of our cats surprised us with their will to go on and survived with quality days, beyond what was expected.
Providing prescribed treatment and comfort at home for your cat with CRF(CKD) and other stages of feline renal disease can give both you and your beloved cat the opportunity to spend more quality time together. Each of our cats enjoyed additional months of love, special attention and stroking and responded with loving licks and demeanor. But as with any sick individual, us included, comfortable, stress-free, quiet seclusion from the hub and din of the household is preferred and sought, and should be provided for your declining cat.
A comfortably warm, separate room (or separate area of a room that can be blocked off from other household intruders and noise/commotion) with all necessities – ie. litter box, bed, water, light blanket if necessary – should be provided for your failing heart throb. A rarely used spare bathroom can be a possible sanctuary. Assure that your cat is comfortable and unafraid to be left in the room if it is not used to being there. Help your special fur baby to accustom itself to the room with your presence, cuddles and gentle petting, and then check in regularly to reassure your loving cat.
Keep her warm (but not hot), provide plenty of fresh water — always — and if needed, add additional water or broth to food. While a high quality protein diet is the recommended current protocol, if your cat won’t eat, feed it what it will eat. Getting enough nutrition is a priority, since cats with feline renal failure often lose their appetites. Obviously, don’t feed anything that you know will do harm. (Special canned food is available from your vet for cats diagnosed with feline renal failure, but it is often low protein… see below*. But if your cat will accept and eat this, which many will, then proceed to use as a ‘pump primer’ until their metabolism and interest stabilize enough to add more of your planned high protein regular food, should you choose that over the low-protein protocol.)
You May Need to be Creative
Cats with feline renal disease often cease to eat or eat very little . When you don’t feel well and possibly even have nausea from the accumulating toxins in your system, food will not appeal. Once you get your cat on supportive treatment, getting their digestive systems up and running again is important.
Often, trying a new food with more aroma can spark the cat’s interest. I have used meat-based baby foods to arouse interest, but note that your cat should not be fed this solely. It is not optimum cat food. If it is all you can get your cat to eat, then fine…feed on – she needs nutrition and calories. But it is best used as a mix with regular high-quality cat food, or better, as an ‘appetizer’. (Check that any foods DO NOT contain onion (can cause anemia) or garlic — DO check, since many baby foods include them. ‘Gerbers’ usually carries flavors without those ingredients. If the onion or garlic is found far down on the label list, then small amounts may do no harm if not given regularly. Avoid chemical food additives as well. Again– ‘high quality.’ Read the labels!).
Yoghurt, cottage cheese and some high aroma specialty premium quality cat canned cat foods or fish flavored soft canned foods can also appeal to acat with feline renal appetite problems. Liver, pulverized in the blender has aroused interest in some of our declining heartthrobs (Raw liver is often recommended for cats to help build health, but in this weakened state, I opt to cook slightly – or zap in the microwave – to avoid any additional bacterial problems) These foods can be machine blended if necessary and additional fluid (or unseasoned, unadulterated chicken or turkey broth) to more easily syringe – feed your ailing sweetheart.
This natural liver pate may be a convenient way to serve your ill cat with healthy, nutrient-dense organ meat. Liver is a natural way to boost calories and nutrition for your cat.
And although milk is not recommended for cats…at least not regularly, if that is all your cat will eat, or if it can be encouraged to eat with a ‘treat’ such as this, then indulge as needed in small amounts. (The additional amount of phosphorus in milk products should not be substantial, as you are using them as ‘appetite encouragement’.
Epakatin, a natural supplement that your vet may prescribe (ask if it hasn’t been) will bind phosphorus and keep it from rising to harmful levels. CRF (CKD) cats often develop high levels of phosphorus with this disease, so your vet will likely have addressed that with Epakatin. Note that meats contain phosphorus as well, but a low protein diet for carnivore cats, even with CRF is increasingly thought to be the wrong diet for cats with kidney disease. – Read more about low protein diets for feline renal disease below *.)
I often needed to ‘prime the pump’ with some of the other ‘treat foods’ mentioned above to rev up their taste buds and interest in eating, after which they would eat more of their prescribed fare for the day. Note that what works one day, may not work the next. So your patient creativity may be called upon.
Low Protein vs. More High Quality Protein Diet for Chronic Feline Renal Failure (Chronic Feline Kidney Disease)
* The most up-to-date advice from an increasing number of cat care experts recommends that MORE protein, not less be given to cats with feline renal failure (and to senior cats as well). The ongoing recommendation has been to feed cats with renal disease LOW protein diets with low phosphorus. Highlighted research has indicated that it is the phosphorus in foods, not the protein that has really caused the problem. ( And the idea now, too, gaining acceptance, is that the low quality of the protein used over the past decades ( and still continues) in pet food also contributes to many problems. Such hodge-podge protein is not readily assimilated by domestic pets and the results may create various issues)
The protein MUST be very high quality, human grade, with meat that you can’ recognize’ easily on the label. No generic names, such as ‘poultry’ or ‘meat’, since any bit or piece of anything on or in an animal could be used, and is a tell-tale mark of low quality cat food. The high quality protein must be easy to digest and assimilate by your cat, and rendered bits and pieces with whatever other feathers, beaks, diseased parts or odd body parts that pet food manufacturers are allowed use in their boiled up ‘brews’ does not fit the bill per more current thought. It lowers the cost of the’ food’…but oh what a price we are paying in the health of our animals — thinking that we are feeding them well.
You will most likely need to shop for healthy food at a local pet supply specialty shop, which carry a number of lines of premium foods. I have found some organic, good quality cat food at a grocery store, much to my surprise, but they now no longer carry it. People raid the shelves for the cheap ‘junk food’ that their cats crave due to the well-researched flavorings the manufacturers add to keep cats attracted. Hmmm… just like our junk food, what?…
I keep some meat based Gerbers baby food (since that is the only brand I’ve found without the added garlic or onion) on hand as ‘tempters’ (after making sure there is NO onion or garlic flavoring on the label..but if it is fairly far down on the label, small amounts may do no harm…), some cans of tuna, which should never be fed regularly to a cat, (regular use can cause further problems for your cat) but the additional strong aroma can help get your cat interested.
Some organic chicken liver is kept in the freezer, defrosted and blended. Then, cooked slightly to zap bacteria due to the cat’s weakened state, even though raw is best. A tsp. to a TBS. a couple times a week are good for the cat if she will accept it..and they usually love it.
Also, some of the ‘Fancy Feast’ premium food in the VERY small cans are a bit better than the rest, and used only as ‘enticers’ to get an ailing CRF cat eating again. If it’s all I can get down them for the day, I chalk up a success and work towards getting their systems up and running to accept the food they REALLY need. And it can take time, but if your cat isn’t on the brink of leaving, there is usually good success.
You can also blend into a paste some regular chicken breast or chicken from your stock and offer that, but it will need to be made quite moist to help them get it down. But feeding just this meat alone regularly is not enough, as it lacks the other organs and enzymes and vitamins that would be found in nature and supplemented in good cat food. But it certainly won’t hurt them to get this additional meat and calories.
If you should continue to use low quality food, then it is recommended that you feed them less of it. And do avoid dry kibble. The loss of fluids is serious in cats with reduced kidney function, and moist canned food, often with the addition of more broth or water is the best course for their welfare, and the most easily digestible. Over-feeding of dry kibble (along with the poor quality base meat, colorings, additives, enhancers and the like) is now thought by more animal care experts to be one of the reasons so many animals are suffering more types of disease more often.
Your Ailing Sweetheart may Resist Meals
Since a cat with CRF (CKD) will often resist feeding, due to diminished appetite or even nausea, you may need to be gently insistent in hand-feeding. With persistence, your cat will likely respond to feeding, and will even relish it once it starts to eat the meal. Adding Azodyl, a kind of holistic, natural ‘dialysis’, helps to remove toxins from the blood stream that accumulate with chronic kidney disease. These toxins cause nausea and of course make food uninviting. Azodyl is safe, can be ordered without a prescription online or obtained at the vet’s office. Consult your vet about this natural supplement to assure that it won’t interfere with anything prescribed. But Azodyl and can be taken with any other meds usually, but keeping your vet in the loop is best.
Feed in smaller amounts, more times a day. I divided up the day’s fare into four to six portions, to be fed so many hours apart, depending on the cat, how it was faring that day, and how it generally slept and responded to eating, once awakened. Your cat will likely sleep more during these declining days as well.
Please note that if after a few very encouraging attempts, your cat still resists eating, or if it vomits up the small amount you give it initially, please cease to feed for a while. Try again later. Consult your veterinarian, since your cat may be nauseated from toxins and may need additional hydration and/or different or additional medications. Forcing your sweetie to eat would be cruel and miserable if she is nauseated. The stress of trying to force them at this point may do more harm.
And do take time to feed slowly, make sure she has swallowed the food, licked her lips, whatever she needs to be comfortable, before syringing in more. Keep a damp cloth handy to wipe off her chin and mouth …cats hate, of course, to be messy, and left-on food will be smelly – unpleasant for your sweet feline as well as you. (I often use a paper towel as a ‘bib’ and attach it behind the neck with a clip to keep inevitable drips off the fur and clean up easier for both of us. Also, interspersing with a small syringe of fresh water helps as well. And the fluids are always good. Make feeding time as pleasant for your cat as possible. Talk softly, encourage and praise when she accepts the food. Finish with a hug and kiss and tell her what a good kitty she has been. It does matter.
I always start with a small amount, maybe one-half of a syringe, (given in small amounts for each squirt) especially if I have given meds or need to give meds with food. Then wait for a few minutes- maybe ten if your cat is being quite finicky or seems to have some troubles getting it down – before continuing to feed to see if the food stays down. The meds are important to keep in, and you don’t want to risk having them regurgitated.
If your cat seems interested in continuing, try another small portion, and then proceed from there. It will take some time to accustom yourself to the new habits of your ailing furry lovebug, and things may change some from day to day. If your cat should vomit up the meds with food, call your vet to determine whether to re-medicate, or if you should wait until the next dose is due. Do not risk double dosing. On the other hand, you don’t want to under-dose. Your vet should be consulted.
Sometimes a pill can be retrieved from the vomit, (if you don’t want to buy another or have run out) cleaned and re-administered when your cat is ready. Yes..yes…it sounds gross and icky…but it is just a matter-of -fact necessity…and we all have left our share of messies with our mothers to get where we are today. And hands can be easily washed should they be soiled, along with the floor. Paper towels or napkins can be used. It’s nothing less than what we hope that someone will do for us, right? It’s simply a matter of commitment to doing what you need to do to provide your cat what it needs to stay comfortable — and it will all pass. It doesn’t necessarily happen often, but if it should, you should consult your vet about the progress of your cat’s illness. Perhaps medications need to be adjusted, added, subtracted – or – your sweet cat has reached a point beyond which it cannot be further helped.
Remembering all that our special feline babies have given us … with all their special unconditional companionship, love and patient acceptance of all our mistakes, impatience, ignorance and mis-steps – – they are well-worth and deserving of our loving nurture and efforts at this stage of their lives, when they need us perhaps the most.
Adding Nutritional Kidney Supplements, Digestive Enzymes and Vitamins for your CRF (CKD Cat
Once my cats were more stable and not throwing up their food, I added small amounts of a daily ration of special cat vitamins, immune system support supplements and cat kidney supplements along with some probiotics and digestive enzymes specially formatted for cats. I checked first with my vet, listing the ingredients of each to be sure they would not cause bad reactions or interfere with the traditional medical treatments. I mixed the cat supplements in with the food, dividing a day’s ration and giving that divided amount with each feeding by syringe.
You need to be careful about putting too much into food, since the taste could be altered in a bad way and make feedings a more negative experience for your cat, causing stress for your little feline. Sometimes, perhaps more often than not, I would load a ration of the supplements and vitamins in a separate syringe, and after the food had been digesting in my little cat cuddle for about two to three hours without incident, I would add some broth or water and mix in the supplements and give separately. This would assure that food was getting into the system, but the supplements would also get into the digestive process. The concern is that your cat will vomit up what you fed them, defeating the purpose of feeding, making them weaker, losing more fluids and negating what you accomplished.
If your cat reacts negatively by throwing up the food or the supplements in whatever way you give them, try another method. Reduce the amount also, since it may take time to build up the cat’s system to be able to accept additional supplements. Just like us, sometimes even a vitamin pill can ‘sit’ poorly in us. In the weakened state of your cat’s entire system, it may not take much to upset it. So go slowly. Just start small and build up as your cat is able to keep the additional nutritional help down.
If your cat isn’t able to deal with anything additional, no matter what you try, then it is best to stop trying it all. Perhaps just give one item at a time, in small amounts, or switch off from day to day. Anything that can be given to help support the kidneys, the immune system and build strength is a plus….unless it causes more problems for your poor little feline patient.
Just be “patient’ yourself…think about how you might feel with such a condition, and you will get the ‘feel’ of how to proceed with your precious furball.
Special Attention – Keeping Up the Spirits
Each cat was taken on short, gentle sojourns outside to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air, (while being kept warm with a small blanket wrap if it was cooler outside) while they were able to appreciate and tolerate the activity. If able to walk stably on their own, they were allowed to investigate the gardens at will while followed under careful supervision, otherwise they were carried on a ‘tour’, held to smell the flowers and leaves, listen to the birds and squirrels, and/or held in the lap or on a blanket to savor the out-of-doors, which they enjoyed.
Since a cat with CRF is in a weakened state, don’t allow your cat to wander outdoors alone. It may become disoriented, fail to remember how to get back to the door or find itself in a dangerous situation and be unable to defend itself among many other possible mishaps. Keep your cat indoors and in a comfortably warm setting. You need to be checking in on it periodically as well as possible, and be sure it is able to get to its water, the litter box (which you may need to reposition, provide one with lower sides for easier access – even newspapers on a rubber mat if necessary– and generally provide a comfortable environment and helpful assists as needed, as we would hope to have when ill and less mobile and not functioning optimally.) Helpful feline renal treatment can become more intensive as the disease progresses, and your commitment, level head and love are depended upon by your special feline friend.
How Cats Fare on Feline Renal Disease Treatment
Each of our special cats usually showed interest in seeing us each day, sometimes with more energy than other times, and always, we were able to tell when they were ready to pass on. They let us know. By knowing your cat, and how it responds to you, you will be in better position to know too.
In one instance, after an unusual , hopeful day of relatively good energy and good appetite, Friendly Franz, one of our handsome tabbies, became suddenly very weak the next day, vomited his breakfast, (the small amount he had earlier resisted – and so I ceased to feed, to try again later) and sought to hide. His condition became worse rapidly, his breathing labored, such that euthanasia became a sad consideration for us for the first time. Before the vet could be reached, Franz curled up in my lap and decided to cross over. Franz sought and fought to stay with us as long as he was able, we are convinced. He received and gave love to the end. For us, fortunately, each of our special heartthrobs passed without due drama in our arms, and we were able to lovingly help them to the other side.
Working closely with a trusted vet, you can provide your beloved cat, who has been such a loving part of your family, special comfort, nurture and more quality days with you of love, joy and companionship despite its diagnosis of feline renal disease.