Kidney disease is leading cause of death in cats. Give yourself a second to let that sink in. There is still a lot to learn about kidney failure and how it affects our felines. The best way to beat a disease like kidney failure is to understand the risk factors and taking the proper steps towards prevention. Kidney disease is not a disease that strikes quickly. In fact, its something that builds over time and once a cat develops kidney disease or chronic kidney disease (CKD); it can be treated but never cured.
There are two types of kidney failure cat owners should be aware of: acute and chronic kidney failure. Acute kidney failure is a sudden onset of kidney disease as a result of toxins or infections within your cat and is more popular in younger cats. Warning signs for acute kidney failure can include vomiting, weakness, dehydration, and changes in urine patterns. Chronic kidney failure is more gradual and can be a result of an accumulation of injuries to the nephrons within the kidney due to excessive exposure to poisons, poor diet, birth defects, and other infectious diseases such as Lyme. To prevent kidney disease in cats, start by ensuring your cat gets a natural, moisture rich diet. Feeding your cat a high quality, well balanced diet is the first line of prevention against CKD. This means your cats’ diet should include a rich protein source that can be digested easily in conjunction with a constant supply of fresh drinking water. Encourage your cat to drink regular and use a mix between wet and dry food. Kidney stress is often magnified by diets that are heavy on dry foods and poor water quality. Give your cat the best nutrition available so it you both can prevent the worse from happening. The second tip to preventing kidney disease is scheduling regular visits to the vet. All cats should be evaluated at least twice a year. Early detection can save your cat’s life and getting the facts on the overall health of your cat is always beneficial to the long-term health of your pet. Regular examinations should include a complete work up of your cats’ physical health, blood work, and a urinalysis. These examinations will help provide you with recommendations to alter their diet and keep you on your toes when providing the upmost care for your cat. Be mindful that some cats have genetic predispositions to kidney disease and should be monitored appropriately. The last tip to prevention is keeping your eyes open. Talk with your vet and understand the signs of possible kidney disease. Many cat owners give their cats a lot of freedom and as a result it becomes easy to not see your cat for days at a time especially if you’re busy and your cat goes outside frequently. Be on the lookout for potential signs and attend to your cat as often as possible. I know they can be sassy and play hard to get, but as owners it’s our duty to protect and take care of them. Kidney failure is a scary and challenging disease for everyone involved. Follow the tips in this article for how to protect your cat and prevent kidney disease.