Cat renal disease: dealing with kidney problems in cats
Your cat’s kidneys are a hardworking organ that play an important part in keeping your pet healthy. As well as removing toxins and helping to produce the hormones needed for the production of red blood cells, the kidneys even help to maintain your cat’s blood pressure. With so much to do, it’s common for a cat’s kidneys to stop working properly as they get older.
Kidney failure in cats
As you might expect, kidney failure simply means the cat’s kidneys no longer work properly. Like many conditions, it falls into two categories: acute – meaning it flares up quickly and may be intense – and chronic – meaning slow to develop, but persistent.
Kidney failure can be caused by your cat’s age, by infection, a tumour, or even because your cat’s eaten something poisonous to them, like antifreeze. It can cause serious damage to the kidneys, that may be either permanent or reversible, depending on the cause.
Chronic kidney failure – sometimes called chronic renal failure, or CRF – is one of the most common causes of illness and death in cats aged seven and older. Younger cats can also develop the condition, though this is less common.
When a cat first starts to develop kidney disease the healthy parts of her kidneys compensate for any damage or wear and tear by working harder. As the disease gets progressively worse, the healthy parts of the kidneys start to shrink. Eventually they simply can’t keep up, and the symptoms worsen.
If you notice your cat weeing more and drinking more to compensate for the lost fluids, this may be a sign that her kidneys are struggling to work properly. Kidney disease can also put her off her food, she may be sick and she can become tired and lethargic as a result.
Kidney disease in cats isn’t always curable, but in those cases that aren’t it can often be managed with a special diet and medication for any associated conditions. Your vet will talk you through the options to improve and extend your cat’s quality of life, as it is very important to choose the right diet so that all aspects of this complicated disease are managed
“Chronic kidney failure – sometimes called chronic renal failure, or CRF – is one of the most common causes of illness and death in cats aged seven and older.”
Advice on kidney problems in cats
For expert advice and treatment on kidney disease and kidney failure in cats, contact your local vet. To find your nearest recommended vet or pet clinic, use our Find a Vet page.