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Managing Idiopathic Hypercalcemia in Cats: Diet and Diagnosis

Idiopathic Hypercalcemia in Cats:


Symptoms, and

Dietary Management

If you are a cat owner, you want the best for your pet, and nothing can be more concerning than finding out that your cat is sick. One of the most common medical issues affecting cats is idiopathic hypercalcemia, a condition that causes high levels of calcium in the blood.

While the exact cause of this condition in cats is unknown, the good news is that it can be diagnosed, and dietary management can help control the symptoms. This article will explore the diagnosis, symptoms, and dietary management of idiopathic hypercalcemia in cats.


Diagnosing idiopathic hypercalcemia involves conducting a serum chemistry test to determine the ionized calcium levels in your cat’s blood. If the results show high levels of calcium, your veterinarian may perform further tests to rule out other causes that can lead to hypercalcemia.

These tests may include checking for chronic kidney disease, as well as measuring the levels of parathyroid hormone and vitamin D in the blood.


While some cats with idiopathic hypercalcemia show no symptoms, others may experience a range of health issues associated with high levels of calcium. The most common symptoms include weight loss, vomiting, constipation, and the formation of urinary tract stones.

In some instances, cats may develop kidney failure, which can be fatal.

Dietary Management

Dietary management is the primary way of controlling the symptoms of idiopathic hypercalcemia in cats. Several dietary modifications can be made to help reduce calcium absorption, acidify urine, and restrict vitamin D intake.

Here are three types of dietary management that can help:

1. Fiber and Calcium Absorption

Fiber can help reduce calcium absorption, and adding it to your cat’s diet can help reduce high levels of blood calcium.

High-fiber diets that are low in calories and fat are ideal and can be found in many commercial cat foods. 2.

Acidifying Diets and Vitamin D Restriction

Acidifying diets that contain dl-methionine, phosphoric acid, ammonium chloride, organ meats, and fish oil can help balance your cat’s blood pH, thus reducing calcium levels. Additionally, a diet restricted in vitamin D can help control calcium absorption.

3. Simple Dietary Modifications

Switching to canned, high-moisture food can help reduce dehydration and increase water intake, which can help flush out excess calcium.

Also,cooked chicken, which is high in protein and low in calcium, is a good treat option for your cat. Finally, carbohydrates like psyllium fiber can help your cat feel full faster, reducing the likelihood of overeating.


If dietary management alone is insufficient, medication such as glucocorticoids and alendronate can help lower calcium levels. Your veterinarian will determine if medication is the best course of treatment for your cat.

Unknown Cause and Increasing Prevalence

While idiopathic hypercalcemia in cats was a rare condition, its prevalence seems to be increasing. Unfortunately, there is no known definitive cause, making it difficult to prevent.

However, researchers have developed several theories as to why this condition is becoming more common. One of the likely culprits is diet, particularly the high amounts of vitamin D that may be present in some commercial cat foods.

Other theories suggest genetic predisposition or environmental factors.


Diagnosing idiopathic hypercalcemia in cats can be a bit of a challenge, but it is important to get an accurate diagnosis, so proper treatment can be administered. If your cat exhibits symptoms like weight loss or constipation, or you notice blood in the urine, contact your veterinarian immediately.

With proper dietary management and medication, your cat can live a healthy, happy life. Become invested in your cat’s well-being and give them the support they need to live their best life.

Idiopathic hypercalcemia is a common condition affecting cats, characterized by high levels of calcium in the blood.

Diagnosis includes blood tests, and the most common symptoms in cats include weight loss, vomiting, constipation, urinary tract stones, and kidney failure.

Dietary management is the primary treatment method, including fiber, acidifying diets, vitamin D restriction, and simple dietary modifications.

Medications can also be used to manage the symptoms.

The cause of idiopathic hypercalcemia is unknown but theories suggest genetic predisposition, environmental factors, and diet. It is important to monitor your cat’s health and seek veterinary care if symptoms arise.

By understanding the diagnosis, symptoms, and dietary management of idiopathic hypercalcemia in cats, pet owners can help their feline companions live a healthier, happier life.

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