Excess inorganic phosphorus can be harmful to cats. New palatable, low phosphorus feline palatants for your pet food are available.
Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for cats. It is a key component of skeletal health and is involved in several metabolic processes. This mineral is naturally occurring (organic) in many of the ingredients used in commercial pet food.
Organic phosphorus is found in protein-rich sources like meat, fish or bone meal, and in plant ingredients like wheat or bran. Inorganic phosphorus is added to the diet to balance mineral content or for other technical properties such as pH stabilisation, processing, or palatability.
Safe upper limit
There is currently no established safe upper limit for dietary phosphorus. However, research has demonstrated that excess inorganic phosphorus can have a harmful effect on cats with existing renal disease. Recent studies suggest there may also be a link between high dietary inorganic phosphorus and renal function in healthy cats.
In response, the European Pet Food Industry Federation (FEDIAF) has added a specific footnote regarding recommended nutrient levels for cats as it pertains to inorganic phosphorus: High intake of inorganic phosphorus compounds (such as NaH2 PO4) may affect indicators of renal function in cats (Alexander et al. 2019, Dobenecker et al. 2018a, Dobenecker et al. 2018b). More research is needed to clarify potential risk.