What is Kidney Failure in cats?

The anatomy of the feline urinary tract.

When there is a situation of kidney failure in cats, the kidneys fail to remove metabolic waste products from the blood stream, regulate the levels of essential nutrients such as potassium and sodium, conserve water and produce urine.

In renal or kidney failure, the kidneys cope with their inability to efficiently remove waste products by producing a larger amount of more dilute urine. As a result, waste products begin to build up in the bloodstream.

Cats of all breeds are susceptible to chronic kidney failure. Studies from the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine reports that the Maine coon, Abyssinian and Siamese breeds are more prone to chronic kidney disease.

chronic kidney failure vs acute renal failure

There are two types of kidney failure in cats: chronic (ongoing) and acute (urgent). Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is the persistent loss of kidney function over time. Problems with kidney function can result in a variety of health problems for a cat, resulting in CKD as the most common death in pet cats.

In acute renal failure, the  failure of the kidneys to perform normal filtration duties is sudden and must be treated immediately. Its causes include urinary tract blockages, abdominal trauma, infection or ingestion of poisonous substances, leading to accumulation of toxins and other metabolic wastes in the bloodstream. 


A sudden loss of kidney function

A loss of function that occurs gradually over months or years

Reversible if diagnosed in the early stages and treated aggressively.

Irreversible as the kidneys lose their ability to filter the blood of wastes. CRF can lead to total kidney failure.

Things that can increase the risk of a cat developing chronic kidney disease include:

  • poor diet
  • prolong diet of dry food only
  • genetics
  • dental disease
  • dehydration

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