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Healthy Cats

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Kidney Failure in Cats

11 Signs Your Cat’s Kidneys May Be Failing

  • Frequent peeing. While you might think this is a sign your cat’s kidneys are working well, it actually means she’s no longer able to hold water. Peeing outside her litter box is another signal.
  • Drinking a lot of water. This means your cat is trying to replace the fluid she’s lost through peeing.
  • Bacterial infections of the bladder and kidney, which develop more easily in the dilute pee produced by failing kidneys.
  • Weight loss and decreased appetite.
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, and bloody or cloudy pee.
  • Mouth ulcers, especially on the gums and tongue.
  • Bad breath with an ammonia-like odor.
  • A brownish-colored tongue.
  • A dry coat.
  • Constipation.
  • Weakness and indifference.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Your vet will do blood and pee tests. X-rays, an ultrasound (an image of your cat’s insides), or biopsy (tissue sample) might also be needed to make a diagnosis. If kidney disease is found, treatments can range from surgery to remove blockages to IV fluids to a special diet and medications. You may also be able to inject fluids under your cat’s skin at home. Talk to your vet about the best options.

A kidney diet is low in both phosphorus and protein, and is enriched with vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. Remember that it’s important to introduce your cat to new foods gradually. Your vet can advise you how to make this transition an easy one.

With a carefully managed diet; plenty of fresh, clean water; a serene environment; and regular check-ups, you can help your cat live her best life possible.

WebMD Pet Health Feature

Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM on October 05, 2014
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