Kidney Problems in Cats, Symptoms, Treatment, Diet, Prevention

Kidney Problems in Cats
Kidney Problems in Cats

Kidney problems in cats is one of the leading causes of feline death in the world. It is reported that 16 out of 1000 felines are tested, and they suffer from acute or chronic renal disease.

The kidney diseases can affect felines of any age but are most common in older cats. Veterinary assume that certain breeds of cats such a Marine Coon, Persian, Siamese, and Abyssinian are prone to developing chronic kidney disease.

Functions of the Cat’s Kidney

Blood is frequently filtered through the kidneys so as to eliminate all toxic waste substances of the body metabolism. The kidney filters water from the urine and recycles it back the body to prevent dehydration. The kidney is essential to the body as it:

  • Maintain water balance.
  • Produce hormone erythropoietin which in turn stimulates the bone marrow to produce red blood cells.
  • Eliminating toxins from the blood and retains serum proteins in the blood.
  • Retaining the stability of the body acid levels.
  • Maintaining equilibrium on the body salt levels.
  • Maintain a normal blood pressure by regulating the amount electrolytes such as sodium, calcium, potassium and vitamin D in the body.
  • Kidney also helps in producing enzyme renin that helps to regulate the blood pressure.

Causes of Kidney Problems in Cats

Cats can be diagnosed with kidney problem for a number or reasons. However, the causes of kidney problem depend solely on the type of kidney failure in the felines. This type includes acute renal failure and chronic kidney disease.

Acute renal failure often develops unexpectedly within a few weeks or months as it affects felines of all ages and the major causes are.

  • A poisonous substance such as antifreeze, cleaning fluids, pesticides, certain human medication and toxic plants such as lilies.
  • Trauma such as a busted bladder or a broken pelvis.
  • Kidney infection.
  • Blockages in the urinary glands that alter the flow of urine.
  • Development of kidney stones and another impediment that alters the flow of blood in the kidney.
  • Heart disease such as low blood pressure that results in reduced blood flow to the kidneys.
  • Immunological disease.

With an early diagnosis, acute renal failure can be cured, but if the cat is diagnosed with a chronic kidney problem, the diseases are incurable.

Chronic kidney disease is often found among middle-aged and older felines as the diseases develop over the months and years. It occurs as a result of the accumulation of injuries on the kidney functional units the nephrons.  The injuries can be due to

  • Advanced dental diseases.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Cancer
  • Thyroid problems.
  • Infections in the kidney and blockages that wear down the kidney function over the years.
  • Hereditary or congenital diseases such as the polycystic kidney disease that is an inherited disorder common in Persian cats.

Signs and Symptoms of Kidney Problems in Cats

It is usually very difficult to out rightly spot the signs of kidney problems in the cat as the symptoms are also present in other diseases. Most cats do not outwardly show the definite symptoms and signs of kidney failure until the diseases are at an advanced stage.

Therefore, accurate and timely diagnosis is vital.  As they show the early signs such as frequent urination and excessive drinking cat owners misguide this as a sign of proper function of the liver.  Kidney disease signs in cats include:

  • Severe decrease in weight.
  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea and vomiting.
  • Mouth ulcers particularly on the tongue and gums.
  • Brownish colored tongue.
  • Bad breath that smells like ammonia.
  • Constipation
  • Bacterial infections that affect the kidney and bladder, as a result, the cat produces bloody and dilute urine.
  • Severe pain while urinating or abnormally urinating in unusual places.
  • Depression or lethargy.
  • Excessive drinking of water. An indication of the cat is replacing lost fluids during urination.
  • Excessive pain around the kidney.
  • Frequent urination. Most cat owners often misread this sign as an indication of the kidney working well. In fact, this indicates that the kidney cannot hold on to water.

Diagnosis of Kidney Problems in Cats

Diagnosis by a professional vet is critical as it helps to determine the severity of the kidney diseases in the body.

Blood urea nitrogen analysis

Often cats consume proteins in large molecules and are usually broken down for body use. The by-product is nitrogen urea solution, and the kidney usually disposes of it as urine. If the kidneys are damaged, then it does not filter the waste product, and they accumulate within the blood stream. It is recommended that 10 hours before performing the test the cats should not consume any food.

Creatinine analysis

Creatinine is a useful substance for measuring the kidneys filtration rate. The kidneys only excrete the product, and if there is high or low concentration, then the kidneys have malfunctioned.


Vets perform tests on the urine samples to check the concentration (ph.) of urine, blood cells, bacteria and protein levels.


X-rays helps to check the shape and size of the cat’s kidney. Small kidneys are a sign of chronic kidney problem while large kidneys are an indication of acute or cancer issues.

Treatment of Kidney Problems in Cats

Even though there is no specific cure for chronic kidney disease, treatment can help improve, lengthen and manage the cat’s life with the disease. Rehabilitation of cat’s kidney problem is geared in the direction of minimizing the accumulation of toxic waste substances in the bloodstream.

The process also helps to control blood pressure, maintain a balanced nutrition, sustain adequate hydration, to regulate the concentration of electrolyte and reduces the development of the disease within the cat.

The treatment therapy is encompassed towards neutralizing the kidney disease as it revolves around.

Food for Cats with Kidney Disease

Vets recommend that therapeutic nutrition is an important aspect towards neutralizing the effects of the disease on the damaged kidney. The key ingredients to healthy and prolonged cat life should concentrate on limiting the intake of sodium content, protein, fiber, phosphorus, water soluble vitamins and anti-oxidations.

Diets ensure that the kidney has low workload so as to reduce the production of waste in the blood.

The transition to dietary nutrition is hard to cats suffering from chronic kidney issues. Therefore, it is advisable that cat owners introduce the diet slowly and gradually. The cats should eat regularly in small portions.

Fluid therapy

Fluid therapy is used to add additional waters on the cat’s kidney for the production of urine and eliminate toxic waste substances in the body. The first stage of fluid therapy involves providing fresh water for the cat. If the cat’s kidney is severely affected, then a more advanced fluid therapy is used.

The therapy involves injecting fluids of a uniform solution of electrolyte.   Depending on the state of kidney damage vets can recommend on intensive intravenous fluid medication that allows the cat to be injected and hospitalized for three to four days.

The injections are used to the cat’s skin, and cat owners can perform the procedure at home. Felines are believed to respond well to the treatment as it reduces the adversity of certain symptoms.


Medicine acts as an alternative to help in lowering the blood pressure, reduce the levels of phosphorus, enlarge the blood vessels and increases the blood cells count.

Kidney transplant

A new organ can be surgically implanted to the cat’s kidney by removing the damaged kidney. Cats can function with one kidney.

Safety Measures to Take to Prevent Kidney Failure in Felines

Though completely reducing the likelihood of cats having being diagnosed with chronic kidney problem is minute cat owners can try and prevent

Limit the felines contact to toxic products

Ethylene glycol antifreeze is a toxic substance to the cat’s kidney. Therefore, cat owners should completely avoid the uses of the products in homes.

Avoid the use of over the counter medication especially human and veterinary drugs without the approval of a professional vet.

Ensure that the cat movement outside the house is monitored as outdoor cats are prone to toxic substance exposure.

Have a profound knowledge on the cat’s genetic connection

Certain specific species such as Persians, Abyssinians, and Siamese are believed to have a hereditary tendency of developing kidney disease. Therefore, cat’s owners should consult a veterinary for further test.

Understand the signs and symptoms of kidney problems in cats

Accurate responsiveness of the clinical symptoms of kidney diseases is important for the cat’s health in the foreseeable future. The acute renal issues such as frequent urination, excessive waters intake, weight loss or loss of appetite are warning signs to consult a veterinary.

Schedule regular visits to the vet

Regular appointment to the vet is important as the doctor can diagnose the disease at an early age to prevent alleviate kidney damage. Screening at least every six months is healthy for the cat’s quality shell life. Cat owners are advising to regularly check the cat’s weight.


Kidney or renal disease. Cats protection. Veterinary Guide 6.

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