Kidney failure is a chronic disease that attacks the cat’s kidneys. With the progress of care and knowledge about our domestic felines, they live longer. It’s a good thing, of course, but in return, they are increasingly affected by kidney failure, which mainly affects older cats. It is important to know how to recognize the symptoms and act accordingly, because this disease affects more than a quarter of the world’s feline population, and is the leading cause of death.
Knowing How To Recognize The Symptoms Of Kidney Failure
The main problem is that kidney failure does not cause noticeable symptoms when it starts. It begins to destroy the kidney as soon as it appears, but the cat behaves as usual while a third of its kidney is still functional. It is only when the last third of the kidney is attacked that the first symptoms appear in cats.
The first thing that can be alarming is noticing the condition of his litter box. If it’s wetter than usual, talk to your vet. It is not necessarily kidney failure, but it can be a first sign. He may urinate a lot: this polyuria may be a first sign of kidney failure.
When the disease is a little more pronounced, the cat will start drinking a lot more than usual (polydipsia), and will be very tired, so he will sleep a lot more than usual.
If the disease is not taken care of in time and it lasts for several months, the cat will feed less and less, or even not at all. He will lose a lot of weight, not only because of lack of food but also because of dehydration. The cat will also be anemic (decrease in red blood cells, a consequence of poorer blood filtering by the kidneys), and may have ulcers in the mouth, and therefore smell bad.
A cat that drinks and urinates a lot can also have diabetes, so these are not necessarily symptoms of kidney failure. However, whether it is for diabetes or kidney failure, it is best to consult a veterinarian.
Diagnosis Of Kidney Failure
The diagnosis of kidney failure will be made by a veterinarian. He will take a blood test from the cat to find out the doses of certain molecules in his body. In fact, as the kidney no longer functions, certain molecules normally eliminated by the kidney, such as creatinine and urea, are present in too high a quantity in the blood.
However, the diagnosis is difficult to make at the right time, because at the beginning of the disease, the parts of the kidneys in working order manage very well to compensate for the non-functional parts, the toxins are therefore always eliminated, and the disease remains undetectable. It is only when the majority of the kidney is affected (approximately 70%) that the functional part can no longer compensate, so it is from this moment that we can really detect renal failure.
Treatment Of Kidney Failure
Although part of the kidneys is irreversibly destroyed, it is quite possible for the cat to live normally. The veterinarian may need to prescribe medication, but the most important thing is to offer your cat an appropriate diet. Indeed, a cat that has suffered kidney failure must absorb less protein and minerals than a cat with functioning kidneys, to limit toxins in the blood, such as phosphorus.
For this new food, there are ranges of kibble and wet food, which are called “veterinary food”. Several brands make this type of food, but it will only be found at a veterinarian or in certain pet stores, impossible to find in a classic supermarket, because this is called medicated food.
It will also be necessary to stop giving him treats that may increase the toxins in his blood.
However, the cat can sometimes have urea attacks, it will be necessary in these moments to take him urgently to the veterinarian to have him perfused, and thus filter the toxins too present in his blood and rehydrate him.
How Can I Prevent Kidney Failure In My Cat?
The best way to prevent kidney failure in cats is to take them to the vet regularly. From the age of 8, try to take your cat to the vet once a quarter for a blood and urine test (once a month is best to be on the safe side, but this can quickly become expensive for you and very painful for your cat). The veterinarian will thus be able to detect as soon as possible if kidney failure is triggered, and thus take charge of the treatment and the change of diet as soon as possible, which will prevent your cat from having too violent attacks.