Kidney problems in cats – a common ailment
Unfortunately, kidney problems are a common ailment in cats. Older cats, in particular, suffer from kidney problems. In this blog, we discuss the most common type of kidney ailment – chronic kidney problems. If your cat has chronic kidney problems, the symptoms will usually only become visible long after the kidneys have stopped working properly. Chronic kidney failure is incurable. With the right treatment, however, a cat with kidney problems can live a fine life.
How can I tell if my cat has kidney problems?
Cats often only experience issues after their kidneys are functioning at less than 30 percent. This loss of function can result in various symptoms. It is usually a combination of several symptoms that makes chronic kidney problems in cats easy to recognize.
- More frequent urination and drinking: Since the kidneys are no longer able to properly concentrate the urine, the cat must urinate more often and, as a result, also drink more. Naturally, the urine itself will also appear very light in color.
- Loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting: Properly functioning kidneys break down waste products, such as creatinine, in the body. Failing kidneys cannot adequately remove this waste. This may cause ulcers in the gastrointestinal tract and mouth. This is particularly unpleasant for your cat. And, it may cause nausea and vomiting. Ulcers in the intestines may also cause diarrhea.
- A dull coat and general malaise: Dehydration (too much urination and drinking) and poor waste elimination leave your cat feeling generally unwell. It may be less active, and its coat may appear dull (loss of interest in cleaning).
- Anemia: If your cat’s kidneys no longer function properly, they will not be able to produce enough of the hormone EPO. This can cause anemia, resulting in lethargy.
If you recognize just one of the above symptoms, it is best to contact your veterinarian, since there may be something else wrong besides the kidneys. If your veterinarian shares your suspicions, then blood and urine testing can confirm them.
A cat with kidney problems: Could diet be the cause?
This depends on what exactly we mean by “diet”. If a cat develops kidney problems, then pet food, developed specifically for cats, is usually not the cause. Although cats can develop kidney problems from eating poisonous substances, such as lilies (the flowers), or drinking fluid from refrigerator cooling elements (ethylene glycol). Oddly enough, ethylene glycol actually tastes quite sweet, so if a cat somehow gets the opportunity, it will lap the toxic fluid right up. And the consequences of that are never good… The actual causes of kidneys problems in cats can vary widely, from congenital to bacterial causes and from tumors to trauma.
What can a cat with kidney problems eat?
If your cat has kidney problems, that it eats is more important than what it eats. Normal cat food contains protein and phosphorous. This promotes the formation of creatinine and urea, waste products that are difficult for the kidneys to process. As for the question, what can a cat with kidney problems eat… The answer is as little protein and phosphorous as possible. Fortunately, there is a special diet available for cats with kidney problems.
Cat food for cats with kidney problems
Because kidney problems are a common ailment among cats, a special cat food has been developed to support kidney function. This special food contains low levels of phosphorous and protein to minimize the burden on the kidneys. Cat food for cats with kidney problems should contain extra vitamin E to prevent further damage to the kidney cells. Extra fish oil is also recommended to improve blood flow to the kidneys and to lower blood pressure. And, if at all possible, the food should be delicious – the main thing is for your cat to keep eating well. A good example is SANIMED Renal. This special food is available from many veterinarians and veterinary pharmacies. Find a dealer near you.
In conclusion: The right diet can help your cat’s kidney problems.
If your cat is diagnosed with chronic kidney problems, your veterinarian will design a treatment plan. A key part of this plan will be a special kidney diet. In cases of kidney problems, the right diet can help cats live longer and more enjoyable lives. That’s why it is essential to minimize the intake of protein and phosphorous, minimizing the burden on the kidneys. Further details on the treatment for your feline friend will depend on factors like the cause of the problem and the condition of the damaged kidneys.