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Animal Doctor: Dealing with kidney failure in cats

Animal Doctor: Dealing with kidney failure in cats

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Dear Dr. Fox: My 15-year-old cat was recently diagnosed with a kidney disease. I had noticed him urinating more and losing weight during the pandemic.

I am having problems getting him to eat the prescribed prescription food (Science Diet k/d). He does not like the dry or canned kinds. He’s accepting Purina Pro Plan NF for now, but doesn’t eat enough.

I am thinking of letting him eat good canned cat food, as he cannot stand to lose any more weight. Is there one you recommend? Pure protein, grain-free, maybe — or is too much protein the problem?

He was brought up on Science Diet’s dry “inside cat” formulas — their dry food in the morning and then a different brand of canned food in the evening. (I have always had a problem with him drinking water after his meals and then later throwing up.) I have even tried taking the water bowl away for a while in order for him to try and digest his food. — M.R., Tulsa, Oklahoma

Dear M.R.: Kidney failure is common in older cats, and so many of them just don’t like the special prescription diets that most conventional veterinarians are dispensing. That only makes the problem of weight loss and other complications more serious.

Try my home-prepared diet, along with meaty Gerber-type baby foods, The Honest Kitchen’s freeze-dried cat food and Fancy Feast canned food.

If your cat is dehydrated (and he probably is) and the veterinarian did not suggest giving subcutaneous fluids — which is cheap and effective quasi-dialysis — discuss this or find another vet!

Dear Dr. Fox: I sent an email to the editor of my local paper, asking them to post a PSA every day during the recent frigid weather about keeping pets indoors. I never received a reply. I wonder if you might have better luck.

Many people think that an ordinary doghouse is adequate protection for a dog in any weather. My parents did. And those who let their cats outdoors have no idea how hard that is on them. — J.W., Red Bank, New Jersey

Dear J.W.: Local TV stations usually do the job of reminding pet owners to keep their animals indoors during extreme cold, often right before or after the weather forecast. The same should be said when there is extreme heat and humidity. Dogs and children alike are at risk if left in vehicles, and dogs from walking on hot sidewalks.

Many animals are terrified of thunderstorms, hurricanes and festive fireworks (which I deplore), and if outdoors, could panic and get lost.

Spring will soon be here, but with climate change, we are going to see more extreme weather conditions and patterns — from floods and tornadoes to droughts and forest fires. All must be prepared accordingly, and that includes having collars and ID tags on dogs and cats, and ideally microchip IDs and holding crates, too.

Send all mail to or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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Dear readers: I feel for the many Texans and others suffering the ravaging consequences of February's winter storms. I feel deeply for the birds, sea turtles and other wild creatures, and the many outdoor horses and farm animals, freezing and starving to death across states where they are not adapted to such conditions.

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