Kidney disease in cats – holistic prevention and management

Alina Rastam shared this excellent article:


In short:

Dr Dennis Thomas’ suggestions for preventing chronic kidney disease in the cat are:

1.     Feed a wholesome, balanced diet that is not heat-processed.  Avoid dry kibble.
2.     Minimize immunizations.  I do not recommend giving core vaccines (FVRCP and Rabies) more frequently than once every three years.
3.    Avoid using any insecticides on your cat.  If you have problems with fleas or ticks, there are natural products that can be effective.

His suggestions for cats that have already been diagnosed with kidney failure:

1.     Don’t believe that your cat is going to die.  Your belief system has a lot to do with your cat’s ability to heal.
2.     Follow your veterinarian’s recommendation with conventional treatment and support.
3      Find a holistic veterinarian that can help your cat using alternative modalities.
4.     Feed a balanced, wholesome diet that is not heat-processed.

Since kidney disease is so common, and often so devastating, we are wise  to look for treatments that hold true promise.  In my practice I have seen first-hand how taking a holistic approach to kidney disease can offer possibilities that standard veterinary treatment cannot.

More about dry kibble:

From a preventative perspective, we must first look at possible causes for this disease.  Recent research has indicated that there are a few things we can do to help prevent kidney insufficiency in cats.  One factor that has been linked to kidney disease appears to be feeding dry kibble.  The water regulatory system in the cat depends on the cat obtaining its water from its food.  Cats are not designed to go to the water bowl for their water. This is why it can be difficult to get a cat to drink.  Many caretakers have to make it a game in order to get the cat to drink: turning on a faucet, etc.

Dry kibble consists of only 10% moisture whereas the ancestral (or wholesome) diets contained about 70% moisture.  It appears that cats, eating dry kibble only, spend most of their lives sub-clinically dehydrated.  Therefore, the kidneys, which are responsible for water regulation, work overtime in order to preserve as much water in the system as possible.  The long-term dehydration and stress on the kidneys is a direct factor that predisposes chronic kidney disease. Simply switching the cat’s diet to a canned food, or preferably, a non-processed, wholesome diet can support the kidneys throughout the cat’s life.

More about immunization/vaccination:

Another factor that has been linked to kidney disease points to immunizations.  Most vaccines that are given to a cat are what we refer to as “modified-live” vaccines.  The problem is that these vaccines are manufactured in a laboratory using viruses that have been modified in a way so that the cat’s body will react to form immune protection without showing symptoms of the actual virus.  For the modified viruses to live, they too require nutrition so kidney protein is often used to manufacture these vaccines.  Some researchers suggest that cats may develop auto-antibodies to kidney tissue when given these vaccines.  This means that the cat’s immune system is developing antibodies against the kidney protein in the vaccine and the cat’s antibodies soon start to attack its own kidneys.  If this is the case, we certainly want to be careful immunizing our cats.

Using Traditional Chinese Medicine:

Given the two suspected causes just mentioned, another approach to heading off chronic kidney disease in cats is to look at alternative perspectives when it comes to disease.  In my practice, I use a Traditional Chinese Medicineperspective in most of my patients and it is a very good method for picking up early signs of kidney imbalance.  By identifying these imbalances before the disease has occurred, we can often alter the direction of the insidious changes and prevent the occurrence of the physical disease.  In Chinese Medicine, the kidney element (water) is one of the five elements.  The kidney is a yin organ and its yang counterpart is the urinary bladder.  The kidney is not only responsible for water regulation but is responsible for development, for bone health, for a healthy neurological system, and for hearing.  For example, patients with arthritis have an underlying kidney imbalance.  Hearing loss is also due to kidney imbalance.

To assist healing, Chinese medicine pays close attention to energy bodies. The energetic body is often referred to as the blueprint of the physical body, so if we can pick up the energetic imbalances and correct them, we often can prevent the physical manifestation of the disease.  Homeopathy, and other energy-based alternative modalities, will also do the same thing.

I learnt about this years ago when Indy was ill and it was suspected that he had kidney problems. A TCM vet advised me not to feed dry kibble to all my our cats. At that time, Indy also kept drinking a lot of water and the allopathic vets immediately suspected kidney problems. However, as it turned out, Indy did not have kidney problems at that time. The TCM vet later explained that some cats are just “hot cats” and they need to drink more water than others.

So, yes, Indy is a HOT CAT!


Anyway, this is my cats’ staple food:

mini-Monge Their favourite flavours are Tuna with Chicken, Atlantic Tuna and Chicken.

According to the CEO of Avant Pet, who has visited the canning factory of Monge in Thailand, Monge is prepared in this way: The fish meat is plucked out, placed in the cans, then the toppings (which is chicken and rice, in the case of Tuna with Chicken) are placed. The cans are then sterilised and sealed. That’s it. There are no preservatives or additives. It’s as natural as it can be.

Sometimes I give my cats steamed fish, but not all 13 of them like it. So, it’s Monge as the staple diet. I don’t give them chicken anymore unless it’s real kampung chicken. One would worry about the hormones and antibiotics in commercially farmed chicken. Cats don’t do too well with such chemicals in their food, as explained in the article above.

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