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Hi, i`m Richard, a Veterinarian from the UK. Hopefully I can help today.
Are you saying his stools are small and firm and he struggles to pass them?
It sounds like he may be a little constipated. You can add 1-2ml of food grade mineral oil to his food twice daily and this can help lubricate the passage of feces through his digestive system. This can happen with any diet change and can simply reflect an upset in the balance of his digestive tract.
However, it can be seen with cats with dehydration which can often be seen in cats with renal failure. Is Buddy peeing more than usual?