Addisons disease and kidney failure

by Belinda Smith
(Sydney NSW Australia)


My cat, Felix (8 yr old), has been diagnosed with Addison's disease and kidney failure. I would like to know what I can feed him. I've tried both renal brands (Hills k/d & Royal Canin) but he isn't happy!

Can I cook for him? Have I taken away his only pleasure in life? What is his estimated life span?

Dear Belinda,

I'm sorry to hear about your kitty's health difficulties. As far as estimated life span, no one can tell you for certain, and I could not even begin to estimate without seeing your kitty in person and all his medical records. Also, Addison's Disease is so rare in cats, there isn't as much data to go on compared to many other diseases.

As far as feeding, you absolutely could cook for your cat and in fact, it may be healthier for your cat overall. Just be sure to follow very specific cat diet recipes, complete with the proper vitamins and minerals that cats need in their diet. Cooking "people food" for cats without meeting their very specific nutritional requirements can create serious cat health conditions.

K/D and the Royal Canin diets were recommended because they are lower in protein than other cat foods and there is some evidence to suggest that feeding a lower protein diet can be beneficial for cats with kidney disease. Therefore, if you cook for your kitty, you will also want to keep the diet lower in protein than the typical cat food level. Your veterinarian may have a recipe. There are also numerous sources on the internet that provide low protein recipes for cats with kidney disease.

You may really enjoy and find even more useful information about cat diets on, an excellent site for information on cat nutrition.

It is also very important to have regular rechecks by your veterinarian. As kidney disease progresses, there are changes in such things as potassium, red blood cells, phosphorus, blood pressure and other values and by monitoring these closely, treatment can be adjusted to keep your kitty as comfortable as possible for as long as possible.

I wish you both nothing but the best.

Dr. Neely

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