Protein and calorie effects on progression of induced chronic renal failure in cats

Am J Vet Res. 1998 May;59(5):575-82.


Objective: To determine effects of dietary protein and calories on progression of induced chronic renal failure in cats.

Animals: 28 young adult female cats.

Procedure: Renal mass was reduced surgically, and glomerular filtration rate (GFR) was determined. Cats were alloted to 4 groups of 7 with similar mean GFR (1.52 to 1.55 ml/min/kg of body weight). Diets were formulated to provide: low protein and calorie (diet A), low protein and high calorie (diet B), high protein and low calorie (diet C), and high protein and calorie (diet D) intakes. Cats were fed their prescribed diet for 12 months, then blood and urine biochemical variables were measured, after which kidney specimens were examined microscopically.

Results: Protein intake by cats of groups C and D (9.0 g/d/kg) was substantially greater than that by cats of groups A and B (5.3 and 5.2 g/d/kg, respectively). Caloric intake by cats of groups B and D (73 and 71 calories/d/kg, respectively) was greater than that by cats of groups A and C (58 and 55 calories/d/kg, respectively). Renal glomerular lesions were mild and not affected by protein, calories or their interactions. Nonglomerular lesions, though mild, were significantly influenced by calorie intake, but not by protein or calorie-protein interactions. The GFR did not decrease in any group. Urine protein-to-creatinine ratio increased significantly in all groups after reduction of renal mass, but values from all groups remained within the reference range (0 to 0.3).

Conclusions and clinical relevance: Diets replete in protein were not associated with increased severity of glomerular or nonglomerular renal lesions, increased proteinuria, or decreased GFR. Diets replete in calories were not associated with increased severity of glomerular lesions, but were associated with mild increase of nonglomerular lesions. Factors other than protein and calorie intake must be considered potential causes of progression of renal failure in cats. Results raise questions about the practice of restricting quantity of protein in the diet of cats with chronic renal failure, with the intention of ameliorating development of further renal damage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue
  • Animals
  • Blood Chemical Analysis / veterinary
  • Body Weight
  • Cat Diseases / diet therapy
  • Cat Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Cats
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Disease Progression
  • Energy Intake*
  • Female
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate / veterinary
  • Glomerular Mesangium / physiopathology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / diet therapy
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / physiopathology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / veterinary*
  • Urinalysis / veterinary


  • Dietary Proteins