Tuesday, 23 April 2024


29 March 2021

Cat owners have certainly experienced the problem of feline renal failure. Usually this condition, which affects our pets, is described as chronic". Where does this come from? And for what reason is uremia a problem primarily for cats (and their owners) and not, for example, dogs?


The answer to one of the above questions, namely why cats, and not for example dogs, more often have problems with uremia, is the specificity of the cat physiology. For reasons that are not here to explain in detail (it would require a separate article) cats are simply much more prone to urinary tract infections. For this reason, every cat owner should be prepared for the fact that at some point these kinds of problems may also occur in his pet.


Basically, the main factor that causes diseases of the urinary system are congenital defects and also chronic inflammation. However, it also happens that uremia in a cat is a consequence of poisoning with chemical compounds, which can happen for example as a result of eating a rodent or a bird (cats which are let outside by their owners are known to hunt). On diseases of urinary system are exposed both young and older cats. According to vets the biggest risk of getting ill is in case of cats which are older than 7 years.


Both in case of prevention and treatment of uremia in cat's diet plays very important role. It's worth being aware that some components (for example, protein or phosphorus) in larger amounts can have a negative effect on the state of the urinary system. Long-term overloading of the animal's body with components that negatively affect its kidneys can lead to the appearance of chronic inflammation, and consequently disease. It all boils down to urea. What is it? In short, it is a substance that is produced by the liver during the assimilation of proteins. So if there is too much protein, the liver also produces too much urea, which the kidneys are not able to remove effectively from the body,


The main symptom of uremia in the cat is that the serum urea concentration is above normal. In most cases, serious problems begin when the blood urea level is at least twice as high as normal. However, even a small "excess" of urea in the serum of our pet should be a warning signal and a prelude to more detailed studies.

First symptoms of kidney disease in cats

Unfortunately, the most visible, specific symptoms of kidney disease in cats usually appear only when a significant area of the kidney has already been seriously damaged. It is therefore worth carefully watching our pet and pay attention to the non-specific, seemingly innocent symptoms such as, for example, decreased activity, lack of appetite or less willingness to play. Two other important symptoms are increased urination and occasional vomiting.


As the disease progresses in the cat, the symptoms described above become significantly worse. Vomiting becomes more frequent and the lack of appetite becomes really pronounced. In addition, the deterioration of the coat and weight loss of the cat is visible. Due to impaired kidney function, metabolic acidosis can develop. Anemia can also occur. Unfortunately, if left untreated, these symptoms may soon lead to the death of our four-legged friend.
This is followed by more frequent vomiting, significant weakness and lack of appetite in the cat. The condition of the cat's coat also deteriorates (it becomes dull and poorly settled). The cat starts to lose weight at a rapid pace. As the kidneys lose their filtering ability, dehydration and loss of electrolytes (mainly sodium and potassium) occur, metabolic acidosis develops. Anemia may also occur due to impaired erythropoietin production in the kidneys. All of this in rapid succession can unfortunately lead to an unpleasant end.

Watch your cat

Because the diagnosis of the disease in its advanced stage often does not give a very good prognosis, it's worth paying special attention to any non-specific symptoms, which may suggest problems with the kidneys. So if our cat is waspish, doesn't want to play as it used to, and additionally happens to vomit - you should take it to the vet, who will carry out tests for urinary tract problems.
Diagnosis of the disease

Diagnosis of uremia in the cat is based on both visual examination, such as blood analysis, urinalysis and ultrasound of the kidneys and bladder. It is important not only to determine the presence of the disease itself, but also to determine as precisely as possible the stage of its development.


The treatment of a cat with uremia consists of several different aspects. Which exact methods of treatment will be implemented, each time depends on the diagnosis of the veterinarian. If vomiting is present, it is important to give fluids and also to use anti-vomiting agents. If the cat develops anaemia, the vet should prescribe appropriate preventive medicine for our cat. It is also standard to use medications that bind phosphorus in the digestive system, so that it is excreted from the body. If our pet's condition improves, the next step will be to take the appropriate steps to prevent a recurrence of the disease.
Cat food for cats with kidney disease
It's worth investing in specialised cat food for cats with kidney disease. Such products are characterized by a reduced amount of protein and phosphorus, so they do not burden the urinary system as much as other types of food.

Proper diet for cats

The fact that excess of protein in the cat's diet may be one of the causes of uremia in no way implies that the protein should be completely eliminated from our pet's menu. It is necessary for the cat at least to be able to regenerate the body devastated by the disease. However the protein should be of high quality and should not be of animal origin.

Why is kidney failure chronic in cats?

The noun "kidney failure" in the case of a cat is almost always accompanied by the adjective "chronic". Why does this happen? It is, unfortunately, quite simple. As mentioned, the specific symptoms of uremia usually appear only when a large part of the kidneys have already been damaged. For this reason, this disease is most often diagnosed only in the later stages of development, when the cat's urinary system is no longer able to either fully work effectively or completely regenerate. So even if the treatment brings an improvement in the condition of our pet's body, its kidneys will still work only partially effectively. This causes, that really the only effective way to keep in health the cat which was diagnosed with kidney failure, is everyday care, proper diet and also regular supervision of good veterinary doctor.