Chronic Cat Kidney Failure

picture of 2 cats washing eachother

Chronic cat kidney failure or renal failure is a common problem in aging cats.

Kitty has two kidneys. Their function is to filter his blood and remove toxic waste products from his body. If his kidneys fail, these waste products build up.

Treatment is essential for long term survival.


Cause, Signs And Treatment

1) Cause

The most common cause is simply aging. The earlier it's recognized and treated, the greater the chances of considerably improving the length and the quality of Kitty's life.


2) Signs

Signs don't appear until both of the cat's kidneys have lost about 70 percent of their functionality. The cat's body copes quite well up to this point, but then suddenly can't any more. For this reason, the signs often appear suddenly, and may include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urine production - both frequency and volume - which may cause feline incontinence because the cat doesn't make it to the litter box in time
  • Lethargy
  • Bad breath
  • Fur becomes unkempt
  • Weight loss (this may be gradual, and therefore not noticed at first)
  • Decreased appetite
  • Cat vomiting and sometimes Cat diarrhea
  • Cat dehydration
  • Feline anemia

The disease is confirmed by a blood test.


3) Treatment

The build-up of waste products makes Kitty become very run down. His muscles weaken, he can't absorb nutrients very well, his tissues start to break down and his immune system weakens, making him more prone to infection. Initial treatment by your vet will try to address these problems, so may include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Vitamins
  • Administration of fluids - via an intravenous drip, or injected under the skin, if necessary
  • Anabolic steroids, to try to prevent further tissue breakdown

Once Kitty comes home, his diet is a really important factor in keeping him healthy. Your vet will advise you on this. Click here for advice on health insurance for your cat.


If your kitty has just been diagnosed with chronic cat kidney failure, you're no doubt frightened and worried about the future. Try to take heart from the fact that with the correct treatment, there's a good chance your cat's life can be prolonged considerably and be of a good quality. And you're not alone. Many aging cats suffer from this disease. There's a really good website that's dedicated to chronic cat kidney failure. It goes into much more detail than I have, and can act as a great support network for cat owners faced with this situation. To visit it now, click here.


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