kidney failure in cats

Kidney Failure in Cats

Just like humans, your cat’s kidneys are a vital organ that plays an essential role in their overall health. Kidneys are there to support blood pressure, produce valuable hormones, regulate their bloodstream, manage enzymes and red blood cells, and are known to remove metabolic waste within the blood. So, if their kidneys are not doing their job correctly, then it can lead to some significant and quite possibly life-threatening issues for them down the road. 

It is a widely accepted statistic that 1 in 3 cats will develop some type of kidney disease at some point in their lives. As for chronic kidney diseases, that is closer to 3 out of 10 and tends to target ferals more frequently.  Though as advanced as medical science has come, unfortunately, there is no reversibility when there is chronic damage done to the kidneys. But with treatment plans and knowing the signs to catch it early, they will be able to live an extended amount of time, ranging from several months or even years.

What Causes Kidney Failure in Cats?

Kidney failure stems from chronic kidney disease, which is more often than not caused by natural aging processes. This is why many cases are seen in cats over the age of 7. Some other reasons include inherited defects (which is why ferals tend to get the short end of the stick here), infections, cancer growths, urinary stones, and some viral diseases.

Overall, when kidneys are not working correctly due to any of the above causes, it can affect your cat, such as producing a buildup of waste toxins, which damage their other body tissues. It can also lead to high blood pressure, excess fluid in their urine, and loss of critical minerals their body needs to thrive properly.

Early Warning Signs

Something you should be aware of is that many of the signs that you will see listed below will not show up until your cat has already reached about 75% kidney damage. Because of this, it is essential you be mindful of any red flags, as there is not much leeway to give once you begin noticing signs occurring. Also, make a note that the symptoms can vary, so even if you see some but not all, you still should take immediate action and seek vet support.

  • Excessive thirst
  • Little appetite and weight loss
  • The fur coat is in poor condition
  • Vomiting
  • Bad breath
  • Lethargic
  • Depressed
  • Passing more urine than normal

Diagnosing and Treatment Options

When you take your cat to the vet to make a formal diagnosis, the vet will begin by testing your cat’s blood and urine to see if there are any elevated levels of waste products in their system. Again, the sooner you get this done, the better. In fact, many vets make scanning for this a checkup routine even before signs begin to show, as catching it early can optimize your cat’s life expectancy. 

If the tests come back that your cat does have kidney failure, then next, you will need to understand the treatment options that your cat may be subjected to. For instance, depending on the severity and stage, treatments can include fluid therapy to rehydrate your cat, medications that can control protein loss in the urine and lower blood pressure, long-acting injections to reduce more damage, and dietary plans to improve and increase life duration. Once this is set into place, your vet will want to set up a regular check-in with your cat, performing continuous blood and urine tests to monitor their kidney disease progression.

Conclusion – Non-Curable, but Certainly Manageable 

Being a cat owner is undeniably a wonderful experience and one that you may never trade for the world, but it also means you are risking the heartache of them potentially getting sick with something you cannot 100% fix. With that being said, yes, sometimes cats get chronic kidney disease that will inevitably end up in full on kidney failure. Though this can be extremely upsetting, there are ways you can reduce the rate at which the condition advances, and really give your cat an amazing, happy, long life. You can always take it a step further and give your cat a natural herbal detox remedy that will boost their health and quality of life even more. 

Remember, this may not be curable, but it is certainly manageable. So, before you assume the worst when you hear your cat has chronic kidney disease, know that by taking the right steps with vet assistance, they will live an incredible life regardless.