Paws for Thought | Early diagnosis vital for failing feline kidneys

THIRST: Kidney failure is a common issue with older cats so if your cat is drinking more water than normal, urinating more and losing weight, you should consult your vet.
THIRST: Kidney failure is a common issue with older cats so if your cat is drinking more water than normal, urinating more and losing weight, you should consult your vet.

It is estimated that one in four cats gets some degree of kidney failure as they get older.

Kidney failure is usually a chronic issue which means that over time kidney function has deteriorated. It is often not until a high percentage of the kidney has deteriorated that the problem is diagnosed.

So it is important to have regular vet checks as your cat gets older including a basic clinic exam, and blood and urine tests to help diagnose the problem early and hopefully slow its progression.

Unfortunately for most cats, kidney failure is irreversible with no real cure. Our aim for these cats is to make them as comfortable as possible and if caught early enough, try to reduce the stress on the kidneys to halt the deterioration.

Cats with kidney failure will usually be prescribed a specific diet as well as medications in the form of tablets and powder to reduce this stress. With this regime they often live a longer, more comfortable life. Usually regular testing of the kidney enzymes is needed.

Signs there is pressure on the kidneys are:

Increased thirst - drinking more than normal, often seeking water where they would not have before eg the shower or bath.

Increased urination - as the kidneys are not filtering as well as normal cats tend to pass a lot more urine. You may notice a need to change litter more often.

Weight loss - as these cats usually lose protein in the urine they lose weight, often quite quickly.

We recommend regular health checks for all pets to enable early detection of disease and appropriate treatment. Annual checks are a good idea for pets under seven years and six-monthly for those more senior.