Low Phosphorus Cat Food for Kidney Disease: Reviewed

Written by Abdulmumin Akinde
Updated: May 27, 2024
© Lia Kos/Shutterstock.com

Advertisement


This post may contain affiliate links to our partners like Chewy, Amazon, and others. Purchasing through these helps us further the A-Z Animals mission to educate about the world's species.

Kidney disease is common among cats, impacting up to 20% of all cats and as many as 30% of all cats over 10 years old. When contracted, the kidney (often both kidneys) loses its functions gradually. This disease can be fatal if not treated promptly. Some pet parents do not realize their cats have contracted the disease until too late. Once the kidney is diseased, there will be a dangerous accumulation of toxic waste products in the cat’s body.

After consulting a veterinarian, part of the treatment regimen is nutrition. Placing the cats on a low phosphorus and protein diet can help manage and control the disease progression. Also, the diet needs to be rich in fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins.

A veterinarian’s prescription is needed before using cat food for kidney disease, since a diet with low phosphorus and protein can be detrimental to healthy cats.

With the huge number of companies in the pet food industry, there are plenty of choices in the market. However, to ensure the well-being of your cat, it is essential to buy only quality food. This review will help you make an informed decision.

  1. Hill's Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care Chicken & Vegetable Stew
    • Clinical approval
    • Increases the appetite of cats
    • Added vitamins and minerals
    • High quality protein
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  2. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets NF Kidney Function Advanced Care
    • Quality at the best price
    • Controlled protein level
    • Need a prescription from a veterinarian
    • Added antioxidants
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  3. Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet K+M Kidney + Mobility Support
    • Contains real chicken
    • No grain
    • Contais glucosamine, chondroitin, and DHA
    • Cats love the taste
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  4. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Renal Support E Loaf in Sauce
    •  Stimulates the cat's appetite
    • Contains antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids
    • A controlled amount of protein
    • Energy-dense formula
    Check Chewy Check Amazon

A-Z-Animals’Top Picks for Low Phosphorus Cat Food

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

We found Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care Chicken & Vegetable Stew to be the best low phosphorus diet on the market. One of the most prevalent symptoms among cats with kidney disease is the loss of appetite. According to reviewers’ observations, Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care canned cat food is the best cat food low in phosphorus and suitable for cats with kidney diseases. The food has been clinical proven to have the ability to improve the lives of cats with kidney disease.

The formulation of this food with Enhanced Appetite Trigger increases the appetite of cats with kidney disease, thereby preventing muscle mass loss. The food is low in phosphorus and sodium content but high in vitamins and minerals needed to maintain a good state of health. The major downside reviewers observed is the inability of the adult cats to eat the food comfortably due to the tiny size of the kibbles. Also, this means they could consume an excessive amount of the food in one serving.

A veterinarian’s prescription is required for purchase of this food.

Pros and Cons of Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care Canned Cat Food

ProCons
This low-phosphorus wet cat food enhances cats with kidney disease to eat, thus preventing muscle mass loss.The kibble is tiny, which makes it difficult for some adult cats to eat comfortably.
It’s low in phosphorus and sodium but high in the vitamins and minerals your cat needs to maintain their health.Because the kibble is so small, adult cats could consume an excessive amount of the food in one serving.
A veterinarian’s prescription is required for purchase of this food.
Best Overall
Hill's Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care Chicken & Vegetable Stew
  • Clinical approval
  • Increases the appetite of cats
  • Added vitamins and minerals
  • High quality protein
Check Chewy Check Amazon

2. Best Value for Money: Purina Pro Plan Vet Diets NF Kidney Dry Cat Food

Purina Pro Plan Vet Diets NF Kidney Dry Cat Food is a cat food low in phosphorus that gives quality at the best price. It has a low sodium level, a controlled protein level, and contains omega-3 fatty acids. The presence of antioxidants in the food helps eliminate toxic radicals in the cats’ bodies. The food meets the standard requirements for food used in controlling and managing kidney disease in cats. However, before you can purchase this food, there is a need for a prescription from your veterinarian. According to reviewers, their cats’ overall health improved after placing them on this diet.

Ironically, the only negative review had to do with this food’s increasing cost.

Pros and Cons of Purina Pro Plan Vet Diets NF Kidney Dry Cat Food

ProsCons
This low-phosphorus cat food offers quality at a great price.A veterinarian’s prescription is required for purchase of this food.
It’s low in sodium, has a controlled protein level, and contains omega-3 fatty acids.The only negative review had to do with this food’s increasing cost.
Antioxidants help eliminate toxic radicals in cats’ bodies.
This food meets standard requirements for controlling and managing kidney disease in cats.
Best Value for Money
Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets NF Kidney Function Advanced Care
  • Quality at the best price
  • Controlled protein level
  • Need a prescription from a veterinarian
  • Added antioxidants
Check Chewy Check Amazon

3. Premium Choice: Blue Buffalo Vet Diet Kidney + Mobility Dry Cat Food

Among the best low phosphorus cat foods is Blue Buffalo Vet Diet Kidney + Mobility Dry Cat Food, which is a premium choice and suitable for adult cats with kidney disease. The food has low phosphorus and sodium content with a controlled protein level, making it one of the best foods for cats having kidney problems. (The phosphorus content of the food is between 03% and 0.7%, while that of sodium is 0.3%.) Chicken is the primary source of animal protein, and the food does not contain grain. Cats with problems with their kidneys and mobility are best placed on this diet.

The presence of adequate supplements supports the healthy growth of the cats. The food does not contain any poultry by-products, and it is packed with the necessary nutritional requirements such as glucosamine, chondroitin, and DHA. However, the major downside of using this product is its exorbitant cost, although the product is worth its price. Also, the food is not suitable for all varieties of cats as some cats refuse to eat the food.

A veterinarian’s approval is required to purchase this food.

Pros and Cons of Blue Buffalo Vet Diet Kidney + Mobility Dry Cat Food

ProsCons
This cat food has a low phosphorus and sodium content as well as a controlled protein level, making it ideal for cats with kidney disease.It’s expensive.
This grain-free formula includes chicken as its primary source of animal protein.Some cats refuse to eat it.
It’s free from poultry by-products.A veterinarian’s approval is required to purchase this food.
This recipe is packed with nutrients such as glucosamine, chondroitin, and DHA.
Premium Choice
Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet K+M Kidney + Mobility Support
  • Contains real chicken
  • No grain
  • Contais glucosamine, chondroitin, and DHA
  • Cats love the taste
Check Chewy Check Amazon

4. Best Appetite Stimulating: Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Renal Support E Loaf in Sauce

The “E” in Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Renal Support E Loaf in Sauce stands for “enticing” cats with kidney disease and decreased appetites to eat. This soft pâté texture encourages them to eat smaller portions of this delicious, energy-dense recipe.  

This formula helps to promote kidney function with a precise complex of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids from fish oils. The food contains low phosphorus levels and targeted protein levels; the phosphorus content of the food is 0.44%, whereas that of protein is 30%. The major downside of the food is that, in true finicky cat style, some felines refused to eat it.

Like the other foods in this review, you must obtain a veterinarian’s approval in order to purchase this food.

Pros and Cons of Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Renal Support E Loaf in Sauce

ProsCons
This renal support cat food is formulated to encourage cats with kidney disease and decreased appetites to eat.Some cats refuse to eat it.
The soft pâté texture is energy dense and delicious.You must obtain a veterinarian’s approval in order to purchase this food.
It helps promote kidney function with a precise blend of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids from fish oils.
The food is low in phosphorus and meets targeted protein levels.
Best Appetite Stimulating
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Renal Support E Loaf in Sauce
  •  Stimulates the cat's appetite
  • Contains antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids
  • A controlled amount of protein
  • Energy-dense formula
Check Chewy Check Amazon

Choosing the Best Low-Phosphorus Cat Food: What to Look For

When choosing low phosphorus cat food, there are some factors to consider which can help you make a good choice. They include price, type of food, and your cat’s disease stage.

Price

Your budget is a major determining factor when looking to buy low phosphorus food for your cat. The pricing of these foods largely depends on the brand and the ingredients used. A quick review of the average prices of low phosphorus cat foods should help determine the best choice for you.

Type of Food

There are two major types of low phosphorus cat foods: prescription type and non-prescription type. Generally, prescription foods tend to be more expensive than non-prescription meals. In addition, they have to be prescribed by a vet and have more precisely calibrated proportions of ingredients. That’s why all of the options in this review require a veterinarian’s prescription.

Disease Stage

If your cat’s kidney disease is still in the early stages, you could go for non-prescription recipes that fit the bill. However, if the disease stage is advanced, it might be better to get prescription low phosphorus food from a vet due to their carefully selected and prepared ingredients.

The Different Types of Low Phosphorus Cat Food: Pros and Cons Compared

When deciding the best low phosphorus food for your cat, you should know that there are different types. These types can be classified by their format and whether or not they require a prescription.

Format:

  • Wet Low-Phosphorus Cat Food: This type of low phosphorus cat food comes in canned packages and doesn’t need to be refrigerated unless opened.
  • Dry Low-Phosphorus Cat Food: This type usually comes in bags and is the more common type.

Based on whether or not they require a prescription:

  • Prescription Type Low-Phosphorus Cat Food: This type of cat food contains ingredients in carefully calibrated proportions. You need a veterinarian’s prescription to be able to purchase these types of cat food.
  • Non-Prescription Low-Phosphorus Cat Food: This type of cat food is generally not intended for cats with kidney disease. However, due to their ingredient formulation, they are eligible for use for such conditions.

Let’s look at the pros and cons of each type:

Prescription Type Low-Phosphorus Cat Food

ProsCons
These have specially formulated proportions of ingredients beneficial to cats with kidney disease.They tend to be more expensive than most cat foods.
These are the best options since you also get a professional’s opinion on them.You need to get a veterinarian’s prescription to purchase them.

Non-Prescription Type Low-Phosphorus Cat Food

ProsCons
These could help you save money if you have more than one cat.You might not be able to make an informed decision about which choice would be the best for your cat.
They are easier to get since you don’t need a veterinarian’s prescription.

Wet Low-Phosphorus Cat Food

ProsCons
These do not require you to refrigerate unless opened.They tend to be more expensive.
They hydrate your cat in addition to providing superior nutrition.They tend to spoil faster once opened.
Their flavor is usually better.

Dry Low-Phosphorus Cat Food

ProsCons
They are affordable.They don’t provide hydration.
They last longer.Their protein content is usually low.
They are beneficial for cats with dental problems.

Conclusion

Kidney disease can result in the death of cats if not promptly and adequately managed. Apart from using medications to treat and control the disease, veterinarians usually advise cat owners to switch their cats’ foods to low phosphorus formulas. The adoption of low phosphorus food relieves the kidney of the massive workload of excreting phosphorus since it is the primary excretory organ for the mineral. Seek veterinarian advice before switching your cat’s food to low phosphorus types as it might not be beneficial for healthy cats.

About the Author

Abdulmumin is a pharmacist and a top-rated content writer who can pretty much write on anything that can be researched on the internet. However, he particularly enjoys writing about animals, nature, and health. He loves animals, especially horses, and would love to have one someday.

Low Phosphorus Cat Food for Kidney Disease: Reviewed FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What type of food is bad for cat kidneys?

While dry food has some benefits, it could cause some harm to a cat with kidney disease, including dehydration. If your cat doesn’t drink enough water and isn’t getting additional hydration from wet food, this could add stress to your cat’s kidneys.

What are the symptoms of a cat experiencing severe kidney failure?

The cat could start to experience weight loss due to a loss in appetite. It could also show symptoms of diarrhea. Some extreme signs that could occur include seizures or “circling.” These extreme symptoms are a result of the buildup of potentially deadly blood toxins.

Is phosphorus beneficial to cats?

Yes, it does have its benefits. However, their intake must not exceed the recommended proportion as it could cause or exacerbate kidney disease.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.