Symptoms of Kidney Failure in Cats


Whether you’re a new cat owner, an experienced cat owner or someone who aspires to become a cat owner, it’s important to know how to care for your cat. One very important way to care for your cat is to be aware of health issues that could not only harm your cat but could also become fatal. Kidney failure or renal failure is a big issue for cat owners. Sadly, all too many people have lost their cats to kidney disease.

In fact, it is estimated that up to three percent of cats will get kidney at some point in their lives, and one in every 12 senior cats has chronic kidney disease. Some cats continue to live with kidney disease for many years past their initial diagnosis. However, the earlier the diagnosis, the better the cat’s prognosis will be. It’s important for cat owners to know the signs and symptoms of kidney disease.

Cat Kidney Failure Symptoms

1. Excessive thirst and urination

These two symptoms are generally the first symptoms cat owners notice. A cat that is normally not a heavy drinker may suddenly drink a lot of water in a short amount of time. Owners may also notice large clumps of cat litter caused by excessive urinating. The cat will feel the need to drink more water because of the fluid he or she loses with the frequent urinations. Although, these may be signs of serious kidney failure, these specific symptoms are also proof that the cat’s kidneys are still functioning.

2. Vomiting and Nausea

One of the side effects of kidney failure is that the kidneys are no longer able to efficiently rid of the body of harmful toxins. This can result in an increase of nauseating chemicals in the blood. The nausea often leads to vomiting. The combination of nausea and vomiting may make the cat not want to eat. Fortunately, there are several veterinary drugs available for decreasing nausea.

3. Increased fatigue and lack of energy

Cats that are suffering from kidney disease often develop anemia, which can make them more tired. They’re also going to have decreased energy as well. If your normally playful and active cat suddenly appears to have little energy, a trip to the vet might be in order. This is especially important if the cat is exhibiting any of the other symptoms mentioned here.

4. Decreased appetite and weight loss

As stated above, a cat suffering from kidney failure often feels nauseas and may vomit. As is the same with humans, this feeling may cause a decreased appetite. When they start vomiting, eating is generally the last thing they feel like doing. This can result in decreased appetite and weight loss.

5. Bacterial infections in the kidneys and bladder

Because of the many toxins that can develop in the body from kidney disease, the kidneys and bladder become battle grounds for possible infections. When the kidneys begin to fail, the urine become diluted with toxins that result in bacterial infections in both the kidneys and the bladder.

6. Cloudy or bloody urine

Cats with kidney failure typically develop cloudy or bloody urine from many things. It might be the lack of food, nausea or the start of bacterial infections. Regardless of the reason, this symptom can become something very serious rather quickly and should not be ignored.

7. Weakness

Added to the several other symptoms of cat kidney failure back legs becoming weak and feeling tired a lot is included. You may notice that the cat is having a difficult time moving as quick as he or she normally does this is from the legs feeling weak.

These are just a few of the main or most common symptoms of kidney failure in cats. Here are some additional symptoms you might want to watch out for and mention to your vet at your cat’s appointment. The more information your vet has about the cat, the better able he will be to provide you with an accurate diagnosis. When the vet sees your cat, the vet will take into consideration all the symptoms you’ve mentioned, and these will help with his diagnosis.

Your cat will most likely have to undergo a urine screen and a biochemical profile. These two tests are very important in helping to diagnose kidney failure. As is the case with most diseases, the earlier your vet can diagnose your cat’s kidney disease, the earlier it can be treated and the better the prognosis.

Other symptoms of cat kidney failure may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Dry Coat
  • Oral ulcers on the gums or tongue
  • Bad breath that may smell like ammonia
  • Lethargy
  • Brown-colored tongue
  • Indifference
  • Moodiness

Kidney disease may be one of two kinds: acute or chronic. Acute kidney disease develops quickly in a few days or weeks, whereas chronic kidney disease over a longer period. The causes of acute kidney disease may be low blood pressure with heart problems, accident-related trauma, kidney infection, shock from blood loss or dehydration, urinary tract obstruction and poisons, such as pesticides, antifreeze or cleaning solvents.

Causes of Cat Kidney Failure

The possible causes of chronic kidney failure may be hereditary and congenital conditions, bacterial infections, fungal infections, kidney cancer, certain medications, thyroid problems, repeated urinary infections, autoimmune disorders, and advanced dental problems.

Keeping an eye on your cat’s drinking habits and if they seem to have any pain or discomfort with urination can help you intervene early if there is something awry. Kidney disease can be well-managed in many cases.