A prospective, randomised, 6-month feeding trial was performed in 28 adult cats with International Renal Interest Society (IRIS) stage 1 and 2 chronic kidney disease (CKD). All cats were assigned to either a control food: Royal Canin Renal Support A Feline, dry or a test food: Hill's Prescription Diet k/d Feline with chicken, dry. Food intake was recorded daily; body weight weekly; and serum, urine, dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) and body condition assessments were performed at 0, 1, 3 and 6 months. Twenty cats (9 control, 11 test group) completed the study according to protocol. Cats consuming control food had significant loss of body weight (n=14; mean, -13.0 per cent, P<0.0001) and lean body mass (LBM; mean, -11.1 per cent, P<0.0001) over the 6-month feeding period, whereas cats consuming test food had a significant increase in body weight (n=14; mean, 5.8 per cent, P=0.003) and no change in LBM (P=0.42). Cats consumed 23 per cent more calories (P=0.05) when fed test food (mean, 207.1 kcal/day) compared with cats fed control food (mean, 168.0 kcal/day). Serum creatinine increased at a faster rate (P=0.0004) in cats consuming control food compared with cats consuming test food. Cats consuming test food had increased caloric and essential amino acid intake, increased body weight, stable biomarkers of kidney function and maintained LBM compared with cats consuming control food.