Feline Kidney Disease Symptoms

Feline kidney disease affects a large number of cats every year. There are two key forms of kidney disease:

  • Acute Renal Failure (ARF)

  • Chronic Renal Failure (CRF)

Any cat can develop feline kidney disease. Most cases occur in older cats, but cysts, injuries and poisoning in younger cats also lead to kidney problems.

Kidney disease and dehydration go hand in hand. Because cats with kidney disease often vomit excessively, dehydration sets in quickly leading to death if not treated immediately. It's extremely important to monitor your cat's behavior and watch for the signs of kidney disease.

Acute Renal Failure vs. Chronic Renal Failure in Cats

ARF occurs when the blood supply to a kidney is shut off. It might be a cyst or tumor restricting blood flow. Poisons and toxins also cause ARF. The symptoms for ARF show up quickly, therefore treatments are sought more quickly. Whether a cat survives depends on the toxin or cause of the renal failure.

CRF is the most common form of kidney disease. The disease progresses slowly making it hard to diagnose in the first stages. Because the symptoms do not occur until much later, many veterinarians recommend having your cat's blood and urine tested once they reach middle age.

Causes of Feline Kidney Disease

Elderly cats are especially prone to feline kidney disease. However, there are specific cat breeds also prone to kidney disease, particularly CRF:

  • Abyssinian

  • Burmese

  • Maine Coon

  • Persian

  • Russian Blue

  • Siamese

Many case of feline kidney disease have underlying disease. Diabetes, thyroid issues and heart disease are often linked to kidney troubles.

Other causes of kidney disease include:

  • Cysts

  • Poisoning

  • Trauma (such as being hit by a car)

  • Tumors

Be Alert for Feline Kidney Disease Symptoms

Signs that a cat has kidney disease can be subtle. Some cats seek cool areas to lay like a bathtub or tile floor, but this does not always happen. It's important to pay close attention to key signs, such as:

  • Cat starts eating less

  • Dehydration

  • Excessive urination

  • Increased water intake

  • Lethargy

  • Pale gums

  • Vomiting

  • Weight loss

Many of these symptoms are present with other diseases too, so it's important to contact your vet if your cat's behavior changes and you have concerns.

Veterinary Care for Kidney Disease

Some bacterial infections, parasites and viral infections also trigger kidney disease. If your pet shows any signs of a kidney infection, a veterinarian will run a full range of tests and make sure the animal is on IV fluids to prevent dehydration while waiting for test results to come back.

Your vet may require x-rays, ultrasounds and blood tests. They can be expensive, but uncovering the case of the kidney disease is important for proper treatment.

Poisonings require medications to remove or flush out the toxins from the body. Tumors or cysts often require surgical removal. Diabetes will require a special diet and insulin to return blood sugars to normal.

Post-care for Cats with Kidney Disease

If your cat survives the kidney disease, you will need to change the cat's diet in many cases. You'll also be required to bring your pet in for twice yearly health exams, including a urinalysis that catches kidney problems early.