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10 Best Cat Foods for Kidney Disease (Low Phosphorus) – 2023 Reviews & Top Picks

cat eating dry and wet cat food

Your cat has been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and your veterinarian has recommended a therapeutic diet to help treat this kidney (also called renal) condition.

Harmful waste products build up in the body of a cat with poor kidney function. One of the best ways to manage this problem is with a special diet that’s low in protein, phosphorus, and sodium and high in vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants.

There are low phosphorus commercial cat foods specially formulated for cats with kidney issues. Many kidney care diets require a veterinarian’s prescription, but some don’t.

These reviews will help you find the best cat food for kidney health for your cat. We’ll talk about both prescription and non-prescription options, so be sure to always follow your vet’s exact instructions when choosing cat food.

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A Glance at Our Winners in 2022

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Hill's Prescription Kidney Wet Cat Food Hill's Prescription Kidney Wet Cat Food
  • Contains gravy to stimulate the appetite
  • Supports urinary tract health by reducing crystal formation
  • Chicken is the primary protein source
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Purina Pro Plan Vet Diet Dry Cat Food Purina Pro Plan Vet Diet Dry Cat Food
  • Proper amounts of protein and phosphorus
  • Primary animal protein is tuna
  • With Omega-3 fatty acids + antioxidants
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Royal Canin Renal Support Cat Food Royal Canin Renal Support Cat Food
  • Energy-dense food for cats that eat smaller meals
  • Contains antioxidants and fatty acids from fish oil
  • The main animal protein is chicken
  • Blue Buffalo Vet KM Cat Food Blue Buffalo Vet KM Cat Food
  • Contains real chicken, not by-products
  • Supports kidney health and joint health
  • Good for mobility in older cats
  • Forza10 Renal Support Cat Food Forza10 Renal Support Cat Food
  • Does not require a veterinary prescription
  • Contains no meat by-products or GMOs
  • Lamb is the first ingredient
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    The 10 Best Cat Foods for Kidney Disease (Low Phosphorus)

    1. Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care Canned Cat Food – Best Overall

    Hills Prescription Diet kd Kidney Care

    Phosphorus: .49%
    Protein: 30%
    Sodium: .23%
    Calories: 70 kcal/2.9 oz can

    Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care Chicken & Vegetable Stew Canned Cat Food is our pick for best overall cat food for kidney disease. This popular food requires a veterinary prescription but is widely available.

    It is a palatable wet food with chicken as the primary animal protein. As a kidney care diet, it has the right amounts of phosphorus, protein, and sodium to support your cat’s health.

    Pros
    • Contains gravy to stimulate the appetite
    • Supports urinary tract health by reducing the risk of crystal formation
    Cons
    • Requires a veterinary prescription

    2. Purina Pro Plan Vet Diets NF Kidney Care Dry Cat Food – Best Value

    Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets OM Cat Food

    Phosphorus: .44%
    Protein: 26.5%
    Sodium: n/a
    Calories: 536 kcal/cup

    Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets NF Kidney Function Advanced Care Formula Dry Cat Food is our pick for best cat food for kidney disease for the money.

    Although it is a veterinary diet that requires a prescription, it is a better value than some other veterinary diets. This formula is low in phosphorus and protein for kidney health and contains omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants to help support your cat’s overall health.

    Pros
    • Contains proper amounts of protein and phosphorus
    • Primary animal protein is tuna
    Cons
    • Requires a veterinary prescription

    3. Royal Canin Vet Diet Renal Support Canned Cat Food – Premium Choice

    Royal Canin Veterinary Renal Support

    Phosphorus: .14%
    Protein: 10%
    Sodium: n/a
    Calories: 98 kcal/can

    Royal Canin is a quality veterinary diet that is often the preferred choice of veterinarians. This kidney health prescription diet gets high marks from the owners of picky cats. The D stands for “delectable” and the morsels in gravy formula helps to stimulate your cat’s appetite.

    Pros
    • An energy-dense formula for cats that eat smaller meals
    • Contains antioxidants and fatty acids from fish oil
    • The main animal protein is chicken
    Cons
    • Requires a veterinary prescription

    4. Blue Buffalo Vet Diet KM Kidney + Mobility Dry Cat Food

    Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet KM

    Phosphorus: .7%
    Protein: 26%
    Sodium: .35%
    Calories: 425 kcal/cup

    This is a prescription kidney diet that has controlled levels of protein, phosphorus, and sodium for kidney health. It is grain-free, and the primary animal protein is chicken. It also has the added benefit of joint health ingredients like glucosamine and chondroitin, good for older cats with both mobility and kidney issues.

    Pros
    • Contains real chicken, not by-products
    • Supports kidney health and joint health
    Cons
    • Requires a veterinary prescription
    • Cats need to drink more water with dry food diets

    5. Forza10 Renal ActiWet Renal Support Canned Cat Food

    Forza10 Renal ActiWet Renal Support

    Phosphorus: .13%
    Protein: 6%
    Sodium: .06%
    Calories: 80 kcal/tray

    This is a kidney care diet that does not require a veterinarian’s prescription (check with your vet before buying). It’s made with lamb and contains no corn, wheat, or soy. In addition to having low amounts of phosphorus, protein, and sodium, it also has natural plant ingredients like cranberry for added renal support.

    Pros
    • Does not require a veterinary prescription
    • Contains no meat by-products or GMOs
    Cons
    • Your vet may prefer a prescription veterinary diet

    6. Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care Dry Cat Food

    Hills Prescription Diet kd Kidney Care Food

    Phosphorus: .52%
    Protein: 29.8%
    Sodium: .26%
    Calories: 444 kcal/cup

    This Hill’s kidney care dry cat food gets high marks from owners of finicky feline eaters who prefer fish-flavored cat food. Formulated with controlled phosphorus and low sodium for kidney health, it also contains l-carnitine and omega-3 fatty acids to support your cat’s overall health.

    Pros
    • Enhanced Appetite Trigger (E.A.T.) technology to stimulate appetite
    • High levels of essential amino acids
    Cons
    • Requires a veterinary prescription
    • Cats need to drink more water with dry food diets

    7. Royal Canin Vet Diet Renal Support E Canned Cat Food

    Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Renal Support

    Phosphorus: .14%
    Protein: 9%
    Sodium: n/a
    Calories: 151 kcal/can

    This is another Royal Canin veterinary kidney diet option. With this variety, the E stands for “enticing” and it is designed to stimulate your cat’s appetite. It comes in a loaf-in-sauce form and is energy-dense, so it provides more nutritional support for cats that eat small portions.

    Pros
    • Formulated with proper phosphorus and protein levels
    • Contains antioxidants and fatty acids from fish oil
    Cons
    • Requires a veterinary prescription

    8. Forza10 Nutraceutic Kidney Renal Support Dry Cat Food

    Forza10 Nutraceutic Active Kidney Renal Support

    Phosphorus: .8%
    Protein: 26%
    Sodium: .24%
    Calories: 461 kcal/cup

    You don’t need a veterinarian’s prescription to buy this Forza10 kidney support food, although it’s a good idea to check with your vet before buying. Like prescription renal diets, it has low phosphorus, protein, and sodium. It also contains therapeutic plant extracts and omega-3 fatty acids from anchovy for your cat’s overall health.

    Pros
    • Does not require a veterinary prescription
    • Contains natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredients
    Cons
    • Your vet may prefer a prescription veterinary diet
    • Cats need to drink more water with dry food diets

    9. Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d Early Support Dry Cat Food

    Hills Prescription Diet kd Early Support

    Phosphorus: .56%
    Protein: 34%
    Sodium: .25%
    Calories: 536 kcal/cup

    This version of Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d is formulated for cats with early kidney disease. It provides early protection of kidney function and is also designed to stimulate your cat’s appetite. It is low in phosphorus and sodium and contains omega-3 fatty acids, essential amino acids, and l-carnitine.

    Pros
    • Designed specifically for early kidney disease
    • Enhanced Appetite Trigger (E.A.T.) technology to stimulate appetite
    Cons
    • Requires a veterinary prescription
    • Not designed for advanced kidney disease

    10. Purina Pro Plan Vet Diets NF Kidney Care Wet Cat Food

    Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets NF

    Phosphorus: .12%
    Protein: 6%
    Sodium: n/a
    Calories: 164 kcal/can

    A canned veterinary diet prescription-only cat food for cats with advanced kidney disease and kidney failure. Low amounts of sodium, phosphorus, and protein reduce the workload of damaged kidneys and help your cat feel more comfortable.

    Pros
    • Specifically designed for advanced kidney disease
    • Contains added B-complex vitamins
    Cons
    • Requires a veterinary prescription
    • Not designed for cats with early kidney disease

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    Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Cat Foods for Kidney Disease

    cat eating_Shutterstock_Africa Studio
    Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

    What are the key factors to keep in mind when deciding on the best cat food for renal failure? The most important thing is to follow your veterinarian’s recommendations.

    Vets Recommend
    • Most cat food for kidney disease requires a prescription. This is because cats with impaired kidney function have unique nutritional needs that are very different from cats with normal kidneys.
    • Therapeutic kidney diets contain controlled amounts of phosphorus, protein, and sodium, but amounts (and other ingredients) vary from brand to brand. If your vet prescribes a particular food for your cat, be sure to follow the treatment plan.
    • Cats with kidney disease often have small appetites so finding a food that your cat will eat is important. Talk to your vet about alternative foods to try if your cat doesn’t like the first one.
    • You can choose dry, wet, or a combination of both, but be sure to provide plenty of water if your cat prefers dry food. With some patience, you and your vet can find the right kidney diet for your cat.
    There are a couple of other common-sense tips to keep in mind!
    • If you have multiple cats and only one has kidney disease, make sure to feed your cats separately so that they don’t eat each other’s food.
    • Be sure not to confuse kidney/renal care cat food with urinary care cat food. Veterinary diets for urinary health are designed to prevent the formation of crystals in your cat’s urinary tract. It is a different dietary formulation than food for kidney disease.

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    Final Thoughts

     Let’s recap our reviews and top picks!

    Hill’s Prescription Diet and Royal Canin Veterinary Diet are top choices of veterinarians. Each manufacturer has several varieties in their renal support cat food lines. Your vet may prefer one company over the other, but both are very good.

    For best overall cat food for kidney disease, we like Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care Chicken & Vegetable Stew Canned Cat Food and Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Renal Support D Thin Slices in Gravy Canned Cat Food. Both are well-formulated for kidney disease and palatable to most cats.

    Be sure to talk to your vet if you have questions or concerns about your cat’s health and diet.


    Featured Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

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