Feline Symptoms of Kidney Failure

There are many feline symptoms of kidney failure. The signs do not usually start showing until the condition is advanced. Although it's possible to manage the condition, it's not possible for your cat to regain the kidney function it has lost.

What Is Feline Kidney Failure?

Feline kidney failure is a condition that occurs when your cat's kidneys stop functioning properly. The kidneys work by filtering out toxic substances from your cat's bloodstream. When your cat eats, the food is converted into energy by certain cells in the body. The waste product from this are called urea and creatinine, and they are toxic to your cat.

Normally, the kidneys would filter these waste products out. If the kidneys are not working properly, they can't do their job. If these waste products reach a certain level, they can be very harmful to your cat's health, and will eventually cause death.

There are two types of kidney failure.

  • Acute renal failure is usually caused by an infection, injury or urinary blockage. It occurs when the kidneys shut down suddenly and, although in some cases it is manageable, it requires urgent and immediate attention from a vet.
  • Chronic renal failure is caused when the kidneys lose their function over a period of time. The most common cause for this type of condition is old age. Although the degradation can happen over a long period of time, in the beginning the condition might not present any symptoms. This kind of kidney failure is usually manageable with the right treatment.

Symptoms of Feline Kidney Failure

The most common symptoms of kidney failure are:

  • Excessive urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Swelling of the abdomen or legs
  • Fluid retention
  • Excessive sneezing and coughing (if your cat's kidneys are not functioning properly he will be more prone to coughs and colds)
  • Blood in urine
  • Urinating or excreting outside of the litter tray
  • Lying down in the litter tray
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Deterioration in the condition of the coat
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Bad breath

Not all of the above symptoms may present themselves if your cat suffers from feline kidney disease. Individually, they can all be signs of other conditions. If your cat exhibits any of the above, it's important to take him to a vet to rule out any serious health problems.

When Do Symptoms Show?

The symptoms of kidney failure don't start to show until the kidney function has been reduced by about 75%. This means that even if your cat has chronic renal failure, the symptoms might appear suddenly.

Although feline kidney function cannot be regained after the kidneys are damaged, you can manage the condition and help your cat lead a long and happy life after it has been treated.