How Serious is Kidney Disease in Cats?

Kidney issues in cats are a prevalent concern among pet owners, with various factors contributing to their development, some of which can be prevented. Understanding the intricacies of kidney disease in cats is paramount for pet parents looking to help mitigate the risks and ensure their feline companions’ well-being. To learn more about kidney diseases in cats, continue reading below.

Feline Kidney Anatomy and Function

Similar to humans, cats possess two kidneys located on either side of the abdomen. These organs play a crucial role in filtering waste from the body, regulating fluid balance, and maintaining electrolyte levels. Additionally, kidneys aid in conserving water and protein, regulating blood pressure, and facilitating red blood cell production in feline physiology.1

Types and Causes of Kidney Diseases in Cats

Kidney disease in cats manifests in two primary forms: acute and chronic.

Acute Kidney Disease: Characterized by a sudden loss of kidney function over a short period, acute kidney disease can result from various causes, including viral, bacterial, or parasitic infections, toxin ingestion, low blood pressure, obstructive uropathy, and tick-borne diseases.1

Chronic Kidney Disease: This progressive condition leads to the gradual deterioration of kidney function over time. Contributing factors may include immune-mediated diseases, high blood pressure, clotting disorders, cancer, abnormal protein deposits, cyst development, congenital defects, and the aftermath of acute kidney injury.1

Common Symptoms of Kidney Diseases in Cats

Symptoms of kidney disease in cats can vary but may include dehydration, increased thirst and urination, vomiting, diarrhea, cloudy urine, oral sores, halitosis, weight loss, decreased appetite, fever, lethargy, and discomfort in the lower back area. Some of these symptoms can be minor and can appear similar to the symptoms of multiple other conditions.2 It’s crucial to consult a veterinarian promptly if any of these signs manifest in your cat, as they may indicate underlying health issues.

Prevention Strategies for Cat Kidney Diseases

The prognosis for cats with kidney disease depends on various factors, including the stage of the disease and the effectiveness of treatment. While complete recovery may be challenging, diligent management of diet and medications can help slow disease progression and ensure a good quality of life for affected cats. Preventative measures such as limiting exposure to toxic substances, conducting regular health check-ups, and being vigilant for signs of kidney problems can help reduce the risk of kidney disease in cats.2

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  1. “Kidney Disease in Cats,” PetMD,, May 9, 2022.
  2. “4 Must Know Tips for Preventing Kidney Failure in Cats,”, accessed Jan. 22, 2024.

The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.

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