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Renal Disease in Cats: Recognizing Signs and Saving Lives

Renal Disease: Causes, Signs, and


Our furry friends kidneys play a critical role in their health and well-being. When their kidneys are not functioning optimally, it can lead to serious health issues.

In this article, we’ll explore the causes, signs, and treatments of renal disease in cats.

Acute Renal Disease

Acute renal disease usually occurs remarkably and has an immediate effect on a cat’s health. The causes of acute renal disease include antifreeze poisoning and kidney infection.

Ethylene glycol, the primary ingredient in antifreeze, can cause severe renal damage. A cat who accidentally ingests it requires immediate veterinary attention.

Kidney infections, which are usually caused by bacteria, may lead to sepsis if left untreated.

Chronic Renal Disease

Chronic renal disease, also known as chronic kidney disease (CKD), is much more common in older cats. It develops over time and gradually leads to the loss of kidney function.

CKD affects 30-50% of cats over 15 years old. There are many contributing factors, but genetics, inflammation, and diet play significant roles in the onset of the disease.

Changes in Urination

One of the easiest signs of renal disease to detect is changes in urination. Some of the symptoms to watch out for include:

-Dilute urine

-Frequent urination

-Litterbox avoidance

-Urinary accidents

If you notice any of these signs, you should take your cat to see the veterinarian as soon as possible.

These symptoms indicate that something is wrong. A urinalysis will reveal if there is an underlying issue that requires medical attention.

Increased Thirst

Another early sign of renal disease is increased thirst. You may notice that your cat is drinking more water than usual.

This symptom is common in cats who are dehydrated due to renal problems. If you suspect that your cat is experiencing renal disease, you should provide plenty of clean water for them to drink.


Lethargy is a common sign of renal disease, especially in cats who are in the later stages of the disease. They may be low on energy and appear to be more tired than usual.

Other symptoms can include anemia, feelings of sickness, jaundice, low-grade fever, or loss of appetite.

Poor Appetite

Cats with renal disease may experience metabolic changes that lead to a loss of appetite. They may lose weight and avoid eating their regular foods.

Gastrointestinal irritation can lead to vomiting, nausea, and oozing blood. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should take them to the veterinarian immediately.

Gastrointestinal Signs

Cats with renal disease may exhibit gastrointestinal signs. This can include vomiting, ulcers, diarrhea, and constipation.

They may feel nauseated and have difficulty passing stool. Its crucial to monitor your cat’s bowel movements and contact a veterinarian if there are any signs of a blockage.


Renal disease treatment depends on the stage of the disease. The primary goals are to control symptoms, prevent complications, and minimize further damage to the kidneys.

Treatment may include:

-Dietary changes to reduce protein intake and increase nutrition

-Medications to control nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

-IV fluids to rehydrate the cat and maintain electrolyte balance

-Phosphate Binders to prevent the buildup of phosphate from eating

-Anemia medications to stimulate the production of red blood cells if necessary

-Antibiotics to treat any infections

In conclusion, renal disease can be a serious health condition in cats. Being observant of your cat’s behavior and bodily functions can help you notice early signs of the disease before it’s too late.

If you notice any signs of renal disease, seek veterinary care right away. With the right treatment and care, a cat with renal disease can live a happy and healthy life.

Advanced Renal Disease Symptoms and


Renal disease is a widespread problem in cats, and it becomes increasingly severe as it progresses. If not detected and treated early, it can progress to Stage IV renal failure, which could lead to death or euthanasia.

In this article, we’ll take a more in-depth look at the advanced symptoms of renal disease and the treatment options available.

Sores in the Mouth

Advanced renal disease could lead to mouth sores. Cats with this disease may have a weakened immune system, making them more vulnerable to infections.

Due to their severe dehydration, they may also be more susceptible to oral health issues such as gum inflammation, gingivitis, or stomatitis.

Reclusive Behavior

Due to the discomfort and pain associated with advanced renal disease, your cat may become reclusive. They may lose interest in their surroundings, fail to play, or avoid interaction with their owners.

They may also refuse to eat or drink.

Sunken Eyes from Severe Dehydration

Dehydration is a prevalent symptom in advanced renal disease. This condition causes electrolyte imbalances that can lead to sunken eyes.

Dehydration causes a decrease in the body’s fluids, and fluids are a critical component of the eyes. When there isn’t enough fluid in the body, the eyes may start to appear shrunken and dull.

Difficulty/Inability to Stand or Walk

As advanced renal disease takes hold, cats may have difficulty standing or walking. This is because renal disease affects the cat’s balance and motor function.

Some cats may experience muscle atrophy, making it increasingly challenging to stand, climb, or jump.

Crying out from Discomfort

Advanced renal disease is painful and causes a lot of discomfort for cats. Cats that cry out or meow may be expressing their discomfort and pain.

Owners must pay attention to their cats to notice the signs of discomfort and seek medical attention.


The advanced stage of renal disease could cause cognitive impairment. Confusion, forgetfulness, and dementia could occur.

These symptoms can make cats more at-risk, especially if they go outside, and could increase the likelihood of wandering away or getting lost.

Problems Breathing

In advanced renal disease, fluid buildup in the body can put pressure on the lungs and lead to breathing difficulties. This condition requires immediate medical intervention, as it could lead to respiratory distress.


Advanced renal failure can cause seizures.

Seizures can be a severe symptom requiring emergent medical intervention.

Owners must seek medical attention if their cats are experiencing seizures.

Sudden Collapse

As renal disease progresses, cats may experience sudden collapse. This could occur at any time, and it requires immediate veterinary intervention.


Bleeding may occur in cats with advanced renal disease. This could occur both internally or externally, and it is a severe symptom that requires medical attention.

Treatment and Prognosis

Early detection and treatment of renal disease is the best way to manage the condition. Early treatment is essential, as it could prevent the progression of renal disease.

If caught early, acute renal failure can be curable. With proper treatment, many cats with chronic renal disease can live a happy and healthy life.

There are many treatment options for advanced renal disease.

Treatment often focuses on managing the symptoms of renal disease and maintaining the cat’s quality-of-life.

The goal is to maintain the cat’s hydration, electrolyte balance, and blood pressure.

Treatment options may include medication, fluid therapy, dialysis, or a renal transplant.

In conclusion, advanced renal disease can be a severe and life-threatening condition. It’s essential to pay attention to your cat’s health and behavior to catch the warning signs early on.

If you notice advanced symptoms of renal disease, it’s crucial to seek medical attention immediately. With the proper treatment and care, cats with renal disease can maintain their quality of life and live a happy and healthy life.

Renal disease is a common and serious health issue in cats. The symptoms of renal disease progress as the condition worsens, and advance renal disease can be life-threatening if left untreated.

Early detection and treatment are essential in managing the condition and improving the prognosis.

Treatment options aim to manage the symptoms and maintain the cat’s quality-of-life.

Pay attention to your cat’s behavior, and seek medical attention if you notice any warning signs. With proper treatment and care, cats with renal disease can live happy and healthy lives.

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