How Diet Can Help A Kitty Cat With Heart Failure

Cat lying down on bed

How Diet Can Help A Kitty Cat With Heart Failure

I received this plea for advice and help from an understandably distraught owner who was caught off guard by her cat’s sudden diagnosis with a serious heart condition. Linda wrote to me:

“My seemingly healthy 10 year old cat was diagnosed with advanced hypertrophic cardiomyopathy with congestive heart failure (with atrial fibrillation) last week. I’m absolutely devastated. She is currently taking furosemide, enalapril, clopidogrel, and atenolol and is responding well to them. Are there any other meds or treatments that you could suggest we look into? Also do you know of any cats that have actually lived another year or more with these conditions?”

I really felt for Linda because I know how frightening it can be when your middle-aged pet, who seems to have only lived half her life, can suddenly be diagnosed with a life-limiting illness. I immediately reached out to Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkins, my co-host on the Radio Pet Lady Network show CAT CHAT® to ask whether this medical regimen seemed appropriate and complete and whether there was anything else Linda could do to improve and prolong her pussycat’s life. I was so relieved and thankful that Dr. Elizabeth gave “paws up” to the choices Linda’s vet had made in treating the condition. Dr. Elizabeth said:

“Sounds like her vet is fairly well versed on how to manage this disease with medication so that is good. Kitty should be on a high quality diet (high protein, low carbs) of course to minimize any negative nitrogen balance that would further harm the heart. So many heart diets are poorly accepted by sick cats and don’t have enough quality protein in the first place so she wants to be sure the kitty eats well and eats plenty of good protein. And a low stress lifestyle, of course.”

I wanted to be able to steer Linda away from any dry food (all of which I call “kitty crack” because of the harm of highly processed carbohydrates to any cat, even one who is well) and to suggest the highest quality protein/lowest carbohydrate canned cat foods. I was fortunate that Dr. Donna Spector (my co-host on our radio show THE EXPERT VET, also on the Radio Pet Lady Network has helped to formulate some of the very low carb cat foods for Halo Purely for Pets, where she is their expert vet! She took the time to let me know which Halo foods have less than 10% of calories coming from carbohydrates–making these foods great for every cat to maintain natural health, and to assist those with medical challenges. Dr. Donna also mentioned that Linda should watch her kitty’s sodium (salt) intake and keep it stable to help ease her kitty’s signs of congestive heart failure.

4 Extremely Low-Carb Halo Cat Foods:

Spot’s Pate Whitefish [1.95% calories from carbs], Spot’s Pate Chicken [3.65% calories from carbs], Spot’s Pate Turkey & Duck [4.76% calories from carbs], and Spot’s Pate Salmon [1% calories from carbs].

8 More Very Low Carb Premium Halo Cat Foods:

Spot’s Stew Succulent Salmon [9.29% calories from carbs], Spot’s Choice Shredded Turkey [9.62% calories from carbs], Spot’s Choice Shredded Chicken [8.76% calories from carbs], Impulse Pate Rabbit & Garden Greens [7.27% calories from carbs], Impulse Pate Quail and Greens [7.51% calories from carbs], Vigor Turkey & Quail [9.39% calories from carbs], Vigor Salmon & Venison [9.82 % calories from carbs], Vigor Chicken & Trout [6.77% calories from carbs].

Unfortunately, no one can give Linda the news she wants most of all: to know that her pussycat is going to live to a healthy, ripe old age. However, by feeding the right kind of food she will be providing important nutrition in a feline-appropriate diet. In addition, I wanted to assist in the “low stress” part of Dr. Elizabeth’s advice. In order to help maintain an emotionally happy and peaceful environment for Linda’s kitty, I am sending her a Feliway diffuser and refill, so that she can put pheromones into the cat’s environment to keep the stress low and happy thoughts high! Feliway is a synthetic version of a cat’s natural cheek gland secretions, which they rub on things in their environment to mark them in a positive “it’s all good” sort of way — a chemical communicator to the cat’s brain that “all is well” — which I certainly hope things will be for them.

–Tracie Hotchner

photo credit: kevin dooley via photopin cc

Halo and Feliway are sponsors on Radio Pet Lady Network, by our invitation.