Kidney Support Homemade Cat Food

167,248

72

50

Introduction: Kidney Support Homemade Cat Food

About: Teacher, tutor, trainer, author, and creative person; if I can do it or make it myself, I will! Jewelry & websites at http://www.aspiring-arts.com. Oh, and I did an "instructable" on TV once, o...

UPDATE: My dear Tony passed away in January 2015. In the last few months of his life, he suffered from diabetes and progressive liver failure. He lived a good long life, and I tried to manage his conditions with diet, but it reached a point when I just needed to feed him anything he would eat. I hope your cat lives well and healthy. I am updating this recipe with a few things I learned in the last couple of years.

My 15-year-old cat (Update 8/2014: Tony has just turned 18 years old!) has had kidney issues for a few years now. Over the last couple of years, I have managed it well by giving him homemade low-protein cat food made from recipes by established veterinary nutritionists, and under my vet's supervision. I choose not to buy the prescription canned food because of the numerous recalls that have plagued pet food in recent years, plus even though the food I make is expensive, it still costs less in the end than canned food, and I control the ingredients.

The process is time and labor intensive, but I use all parts of what I cook. I hope this is useful for you if you have an ailing cat as well. It may also be useful to you if you want to learn how to slow-cook chicken and use up all the parts of it.

DISCLAIMER: This is not meant to substitute for veterinary medical advice. It is a guide to how I prepare a recipe my vet recommended, along with other holistic wisdom I picked up along the way. Your mileage may vary, but please only proceed under medical supervision.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Ingredients & Supplies

To make the food, you will need:

- Cooked chicken
- Brown rice (careful of the source, try not to get from Southern US)
- Salt
- Salt substitute (potassium chloride)
- Calcium carbonate supplements
- Taurine
- Bone meal
- Multivitamins - I use these: Nu-Cat Senior
- Vitamin K
- A good blender
- Mortar & pestle

Optional but recommended:
Renal Essentials - Kidney Support for Cats
CoQ10

For an explanation of the recipe as well as others for both kidney issues and many others, you can read the book Home-Prepared Dog and Cat Diets, which is the top-recommended resource for this knowledge. My vet originally provided me with recipes from the previous edition, but I bought this edition and have been using it as my guide with my vet's approval.

Step 2: Prepare the Chicken Meat

I use chicken legs instead of chicken breasts because the dark meat has more nutrition, plus my cat was losing too much weight on the breasts; he needs more fat. I buy organic chicken legs from Trader Joe's, which makes them pretty affordable.

My method of cooking is to place the chicken legs in a steamer in a crock pot and cook on low heat. I've found that this tends to keep more of the nutrients in the food. The strainer lets the fat drip down too.

Once the legs are cooked and cooled somewhat, I peel the skin and remove the meat and gristle from the bones. I don't throw anything away. The meat gets put in a bowl. Some might be used today, the rest saved for another day.

If I drop anything, my clean-up crew is right there taking care of it for me!

Since I live so far from Trader Joe's, I only make a trip about once a month. So I buy several packages at once. I may use one package fresh and freeze the rest. I freeze them by wrapping each one in plastic wrap and storing them in a freezer zipper bag.

Step 3: Prepare Other Ingredients

Once the chicken has been taken out of the strainer, I pour the fat into a container to use in the recipe.

The peeled skin gets dehydrated for a few hours and used later. (The dehydrated gristle makes good dog treats if used sparingly.) I dehydrate them to make them keep longer.

I put the bones back in the crock pot with the remains of the drippings, add water, and let cook for several hours to make a broth, also for the recipe.

Brown rice* should be cooked somewhere along the way. I like to cook mine in my rice cooker, often with broth left from the previous chicken batch.

Once the broth is complete, I take the bones out and dehydrate them. When they are dry, I use a mortar and pestle to pound them into smaller pieces, then use a blender to make bone meal. I am also saving other bones to burn and then use in my garden as a source of phosphorus.

Step 4: Mixing: First Steps

I have found that unless I really blend the rice thoroughly with the food, my cat will find a way to leave lots of bits of rice over. One way to make this happen, if you don't have a Vitamix blender is to let the rice soak for a while (especially if you have cooked and refrigerated it) and then blend it in liquid, either broth or water, until it makes a nice blended mush.

Since I am making a double batch this time, I use 1-1/3 cup of cooked rice. The recipe calls for 2/3 cup per batch.

Warning: If you are going to take this on, you will need a good blender. My affordable workhorse, after I burned through a Magic Bullet and a Cuisinart blender, is a Ninja Master Prep blender set. It works well, though I still long for a Vitamix.*

Next I crush up the crushable supplements in my mortar and pestle.

Update 3/2012: I picked up a refurbished Blendtec last fall - you know, the kind that Starbucks uses to make their blended drinks. Best $180 I've spent in ages. Now I don't bother with the mortar and pestle, but pulse a few times with the Blendtec to grind the supplements, and then let it blend for a while. The result is smooth, creamy, and totally edible, according to Tony. He has gained weight and improved health-wise in the last few months; his latest test results showed some kidney function improvement. Yay!

I picked up this old postal scale at a yard sale for $5. Great investment. This allows me to see how many ounces I am measuring for the recipe. This recipe calls for 3 oz of chicken per batch, and I'm making a double batch, so 6 oz.

The first scale photo shows that I zero the scale with the empty container on it first.

Step 5: Mixing: Next Steps

Once the chicken and rice are blended, I add:


- 5 tsp of fat per batch. The recipe suggests canola oil, but cats digest animal fat more easily, so I use my chicken fat, unless I run out. To help my cat retain weight, I also throw some extra pieces of fatty dehydrated skin in there. In response to certain commenters who suggest corn oil, by all means do your own research and work with nutritionists. I have heard from a number of people that cats don't digest vegetable oil well, and I have concerns about rapeseed (canola) oil and won't use it myself.
- 1/4 tsp potassium chloride salt substitute per batch
- 1/8 tsp salt per batch
- 1/4 tsp bone meal powder per batch
- 1/8 tsp calcium carbonate/baking soda per batch
- Vitamins & renal supplements according to bottle directions per batch*
- Taurine, 1000 mg per 1/4 tsp: 1/4 tsp per batch
- Vitamin K, 100 mcg per tablet: 1 tablet per batch

*One portion makes about two meals for my cat; your mileage may vary.

Why is the final blended food greenish? For a while I tried adding Very Green to his food, and I thought I saw some improvement in energy, eye clarity, and a reduction in urination. His tests improved, too. Then at the last checkup, his kidney values were worse again, so I took this addition out. I may add it back in again, though, since he seems to be getting worse since I stopped it (more urination, more fur loss, throwing up some).

Food-making time is an exciting event for the furry members of my home. It always draws an audience.

Step 6: Experimental Additive

Since my cat was losing weight, I observed him carefully, and I noticed that he would go two to three days without pooping. In that time, as he became more constipated, he would eat less; then as soon as he eliminated, he would eat a lot. So I decided to try an additive: chia seeds. These amazing little seeds are a super food that contains lots of Omega 3's (also recommended by my vet) and tons of fiber, as well as helping with hydration, which my cat really needs. I gave him maybe 1/2 tsp per food bowl. (I drink a teaspoon of these every morning myself in orange juice, along with a teaspoon of Very Green.)

Sure enough, before too long, he started becoming more regular and having a better appetite. He did not lose weight in the last six months, which is amazing given the extent of his kidney failure. I haven't been able to find any research on the use of chia in cats, but I told my vet, and he okayed it.

Update: I have since stopped the chia seeds and added Slippery Elm powder, okayed by my vet, to help remedy constipation. This really helps too.

I used to add a few pieces of holistic kibble on top or mixed in. The reason for this is that my cat lived on kibble his whole life prior to this kidney failure. I did not know that cats are desert animals accustomed to getting most of their liquid from their food, and that I was damaging his health by feeding him kibble. Therefore, he became conditioned to thinking "food" means "kibble," so it wasn't really feeding time for him unless he heard the sound of the kibble box. Then he happily devoured his whole meal. Now he happily consumes his kibble-free meals.

Feel free to ask questions, and I will modify this article if I've left anything out.

Green Living & Technology Challenge

Participated in the
Green Living & Technology Challenge

4th Epilog Challenge

Participated in the
4th Epilog Challenge

Pets Challenge

Participated in the
Pets Challenge

Be the First to Share

    Recommendations

    • Declutter Speed Challenge

      Declutter Speed Challenge
    • First Time Author Contest

      First Time Author Contest
    • Leather Challenge

      Leather Challenge

    50 Discussions

    0
    GardeningWithSoule
    GardeningWithSoule

    25 days ago

    BLESS YOU! I have been looking for hours for a truly home made cat food for Kinja (the Kitty Ninja) and you give a great recipie, how to, and a book to get more ideas with. THANK YOU!

    0
    marthacinch
    marthacinch

    1 year ago

    I have 2 cats a 15 yo orange tabby and 16 yo Maine Coon. The tabby was diagnosed with CKF and I don't know what to do. He throws up less than before I started feeding him home cooked food. My vet wasn't very helpful he gave me vitamin B complex and he throws up all the time. I bought him real food to bake it and feed him with that but I know he needs vitamins and minerals. I live in Canada and I'm not sure we have the stuff you list in your recipe. I've bought organs (beef liver and kidney and chicken gizzards) but don't know how to cook them or what to make any more. My Maine Coon, Clyde is just a skeleton with fur and hasn't eaten by himself in over a month I (force feed him just to give him some energy with a syringe and spoon) I'm a nurse with real passion and feel helpless. I have asked for help online but I don't get any replies. Do you think you can give me advice? Before I lose them both, I want to make them well again. They both weigh under 4 kgs. I think Clyde is only 2 or 1kg now he's so skinny. He drinks and pees less than once a day and hasn't deficated in a month. Please help me!

    DSC_0859.JPG1555859334083.jpg
    1
    jennifermorgan
    jennifermorgan

    Reply 5 months ago

    Hi there,
    I’m not sure how your kitties are going but just in case, I thought I’d tell you what I did for our Bella! She was diagnosed with advanced Renal failure at 16 and she passed away last year at the age of 23! There was a lot of advice that we were given by vets that we eventually ignored because I felt that it wasn’t right for her and seemed to be making her worse. We had also had a number of cats die young from renal disease under the care of vets - I decided to experiment with Bella - we had nothing to lose really - she had been given 2-3 months to live, so we were either going to make her better or not! I’m not a vet - so use your own judgement if you decide to try any of this & research it for yourself as I did - the information is out there!! I’m also not bashing vets - we still take our pets for regular visits and follow their advice but sometimes their advice is what is in vogue & not necessarily right for your pet.
    The first thing I did was stop giving her any dry food as her main source of food - she got a few biscuits once every few days as a treat because she loved them but no dry biscuits were left out for her daily.
    We also stopped the vet from giving her yearly vaccinations- current research suggests that after their initial series of vaccinations most cats are set for life & if you are unsure you can get titer blood tests to check for antibodies! We had 2 cats go rapidly downhill immediately after getting vaccinations- they were both 16 & had early stages of renal disease & both died within weeks of each other, a few weeks after the injections. There have been studies done about the link between vaccinations & renal disease in cats with mixed results but if your cats has had regular injections it’s whole life, I don’t see any harm in stopping now, to give your cats kidneys a break!
    We fed Bella whatever wet food she would eat - regardless of how much protein was in it! She was a fussy cat and would go on hunger strikes before she would eat food she didn’t want - particularly the vet prescribed renal food! A starving cat is not going to be a well cat! I would add a teaspoon or 2 of boiling hot water to whatever tinned food was her favourite on the day, in the hope of making it more palatable/another way of getting more moisture into her food!! I also included a teaspoon of aloe Vera juice (make sure it has no sodium in it)! The aloe Vera juice reduced the amount of creatinine in her blood- we have the blood tests to prove it. Google it - there are heaps of blogs on it. I would also make her a very soft-boiled egg for her every second day - I’d mash it up with a knob of butter - i made it so the yolk was very runny but the whites were just set - it was basically a buttery egg soup (she had very few teeth left & loved it)
    Also, if your cat hasn’t pooped in 3 days it is going to have a very hard time pooping at all & will likely need an enema - your vet can do this for you! Bella would let me give her an enema - she was grateful for the help!
    Some other foods that we gave her that she loved was a fresh fish fillet that had been scraped with a spoon ( so it looks like fish mince) & chicken broth made from cooking a couple of chicken legs with the flesh cut thru every couple of centimetres and cooked in 6 cups of water for hours and then reduced to 4 cups or there abouts - I just reduce it till it looks soupy & smells yummy! I don’t add anything else to it just the chicken and water!
    You can also try a little human grade sardines in olive oil - some cats love them and the oil is lubricating - but not all cats go for it & you probably shouldn’t give it more than a couple of times a week.
    As I said earlier, these were all the things we tried against the vets advice but they worked for her & we really had nothing to lose because according to the vets she wasn’t going to survive for very long anyway.
    I wish you good luck with your babies - watching a cat die from renal disease is awful!!

    0
    marthacinch
    marthacinch

    Reply 3 months ago

    Thanks for the advice both of my cats died in April and May. The one with renal failure was 15 and died in May 9 days after his adopted brother. I'm doing things very differently with my 2 new 10 month old kittens now.

    0
    jennifermorgan
    jennifermorgan

    Reply 3 months ago

    I’m so sorry you had to go through that! Best of luck with your new babies! ❤️

    1
    SondraNJ
    SondraNJ

    Reply 4 months ago

    Wow! So much information. Thank you! I am new to this site, my Queenie is 18 yrs old. She is a rescue that I've had for 3 yrs, I adore her. My vet just told me that it was time to start her on a Low Protein Diet because of her kidneys. I am not a fan of the commercial brands like Royal Canine so I am looking for organic homemade recipes to make for her. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge

    0
    jennifermorgan
    jennifermorgan

    Reply 4 months ago

    So long as she’s eagerly eating what you give her and happy that’s all that matters. If she’s not digging the low protein diet and it’s making her miserable, I see no point in pursuing it but that’s just my opinion! Queenie sounds like she’s very lucky to have such a caring friend to look after her!! Good luck with everything!! ❤️❤️❤️

    1
    amiles0026
    amiles0026

    Reply 1 year ago

    I’m going through the same thing with my Blazey. The vet prescribed food and she tore it up at first, but now I’m having to force feed her by wrapping her in a towel and using a syringe. Have you tried meat baby food? The only thing I can actually get her to eat is the liquefied baby food and I’ll usually mix with water. I’m going to try homemade recipes, hopefully my baby will gain weight.

    0
    v-ray
    v-ray

    Question 1 year ago on Step 6

    Do you have the link for where you get these ingredient?


    - Salt substitute (potassium chloride)
    - Calcium carbonate supplements
    - Taurine
    - Bone meal ( can you buy this or you recommend making it fresh?)
    - Vitamin K

    Thank you!

    0
    SondraNJ
    SondraNJ

    Answer 4 months ago

    Have you checked Amazon?

    0
    amiles0026
    amiles0026

    Answer 1 year ago

    I second this question

    1
    marisomma
    marisomma

    Question 12 months ago on Step 6

    Hi there, thanks for this article! My cat has early signs of kidney disease and not liking the prescription options. I am wondering if you are able to vacuum seal and freeze for future use? Or are you able to can it in jars to stock up for emergencies?

    0
    SondraNJ
    SondraNJ

    Answer 4 months ago

    Hi, My Brindle puppy 11 yrs. old was diagnosed with cancer and given 8 months to live. I researched and started making his food in batches, I did vacuum seal and dated each batch. That worked out fine for me, I can't imagine that there would be a problem with this recipe. I am planning to use if for my 18 yr old female who has the beginning stages of KD. I hate the commercial brands. Good Luck

    0
    jennydisini
    jennydisini

    Question 4 months ago on Step 4

    Can I get calcium carbonate and taurine at the drugstore?

    0
    SondraNJ
    SondraNJ

    Answer 4 months ago

    Hi, you can purchase both on Amazon. I am planning to start my 18 yr old baby girl on this diet. She is just entering the stage where she must east low protein food and I am not a fan of the commercial brands. Good Luck

    0
    Mims1901
    Mims1901

    Question 9 months ago on Step 6

    Dear Susan
    Thank you very much for posting this recipe. Could you please clarify these points :
    - is the 3 oz cooked or raw chicken?
    - can bone meal be replaced by eggshells powder (less phosphorus)
    - how much would tony eat per day, given his weight
    - Was you beloved cat under other medication
    - Is it ok to give salt ?
    I am struggling alone trying to ease my little Yurie life . She is 7 years and disabled (lost the use of her hint legs at 6 months) , the vet at that time suggested to put her to sleep but we have managed to make our way through ....Now he is suggesting commercial food which I believe is not safe.
    I hope you are still on this blog.
    I thank you in advanced.

    0
    HsuB
    HsuB

    Question 1 year ago on Step 5

    My Vino just got diagnosed with CKD 2 days ago with a creatinine reading of 4mg/dL...and I was sent home with a bag of commercial renal kibble. I was horrified to read all the junk in the ingredients list....after advoctaing a grain free mainly wet diet for so long. I just don't like the idea of pushing my already poorly baby to eat this rubbish which is virtually made out of cardboard! How can he keep hydrated if he is strictly on this kibble diet?So any ideas / pointers would be greatly appreciated as I am at a loss as to what to do here. These are several things about this recipe that confuses me. ...
    -Wouldn't the addition of bone meal up the phosphorus content of the food? I thought CKD cats have to keep protein and phosphorus levels low.....isn't it better to add crushed egg shells instead?
    -And why dehydrate the chicken skin then add it to the mix again? Can i just use the whole cooked chicken leg, ie meat and skin together? What about leaving out the skin and adding salmon oil instead?
    -Any idea what is the protein and phosphorus content of this home cooked chicken meal per portion?

    0
    amiles0026
    amiles0026

    Answer 1 year ago

    I don’t know if this will help or not but there is wet prescription food for kidney too, that’s what my baby is on.

    0
    MistyS29
    MistyS29

    Question 1 year ago

    My 15 yr old kitty Belle isn't quite in kidney failure yet, however her creatinine is slightly elevated. My vet thinks it would be a good idea to get her on a Kidney Diet now to help prevent further issues and to have a longer quality of life.
    I found your recipe to make her, but was wondering how to modify it to prevent weight loss, since she is at her ideal body weight. Also, does Brand of supplements matter? Like they do with us humans? Since some aren't very good and don't digest or dissolve well in the system. What Brand do you reccomend?
    Thank you.

    0
    Michael Shurack
    Michael Shurack

    Question 1 year ago on Introduction

    Hi, my 15 year old cat was just diagnosed with 2nd stage kidney disease. I would like to use your kidney disease diet recipe but was wondering if I could substitute chicken thighs for chicken legs? The reason for this is that I already make a homemade cat food recipe for my 2 other healthy cats that calls for chicken thighs. The diet was formulated by Dr. Lisa Pierson from the website of www.catinfo.org. I tried to get a consultation with Dr. Pierson for her professional opinion but unfortunately there is a notification on her website that states; Attention: Dr. Pierson is taking a break from her consulting service for an undetermined period of time. Any input that you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    Mike S

    P5100082.JPG