Kidney Disease in Cats 

Chronic kidney disease in cats occurs when renal function progressively diminishes over time. This situation happens when the kidneys cannot function adequately and will progressively lead to kidney failure at a later stage. 

This condition may spell panic when a loving cat owner gets the diagnosis. However, with the proper supports, many cats continue to live a great, long life.

Let’s take a closer look at feline kidney disease, its causes, and treatment.

Kidney Disease in Cats

The kidneys perform essential functions in the body, including maintaining fluid balance, regulating blood pressure, filtering waste to excrete through urine, regulating electrolyte balance and hydration, and stimulating red blood cell production and vitamin D. 

When toxins build up in the bloodstream a condition called azotemia occurs. Without intervention, toxins are released into the body. 

Symptoms of kidney disease in cats can include: 

  • Weight loss
  • Unkempt fur, coarse hair
  • Excessive drinking/urination
  • Increased vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Nausea
  • Anemia
  • Bad smelling breath
  • Increased blood pressure

If the kidneys are not functioning properly, it isn’t always chronic kidney disease. There are other problems that can mimic feline kidney disease, like toxicity/poisoning, infections, tumours, and polycystic kidney disease. 

Diagnosis and Treatment 

To diagnose kidney disease, your veterinarian will do a thorough physical examination and lab tests, such as blood work and urinalysis will be ordered. Through these tests, looking at the levels of creatinine and urea, we can diagnose chronic kidney disease. If kidney disease is suspected , we will also test for conditions that can form as a result of the disease, such as anemia and heart disease. 

Depending on what stage of the disease your cat is in, there will probably be a few different ways we treat this chronic condition. Because there is no cure, we can extend the life and quality of life of your pet through supportive therapies. Many times, your pet will require IV therapy to encourage hydration. 

Medications, supplements, and prescription diets will also be called for. We typically recommend omega-3 fatty acids and potassium to your cat’s daily vitamin and supplement routine. 


Chronic kidney failure is a progressive disease, but one that can be slowed down in order to extend life. Many cats will continue to lead vital, happy lives post-diagnosis and with the right approach to treatment.

Please call the team at Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates if you would like more information about kidney disease in cats, or to schedule an appointment.