It is true that kidney diseases are a major cause of cat deaths. In senior cats who are more than 15 years old, at least 80% are suffering from kidney disease.
However, responsible and caring cat owners can prevent or at least delay the onset of kidney diseases in their kitties.
Kidney failure falls into two main categories –
- Acute -
It is a sudden kidney failure due to toxin consumption, infection or shock and can occur in any age. If detected in time, it can mostly be cured.
- Chronic -
It mainly occurs in older cats. It is due to damage to nephrons with old age. If two-thirds of the nephrons get damaged, it results in kidney failure. It may be due to earlier cases of acute kidney failure, genetic reasons, infection or long-term inflammation. If detected early, its progress can be slowed down but is generally non-curable.
Prevention of kidney diseases –
- Keep your cat away from toxic substances -
Physical injury like broken pelvis and burst urinary bladders should be treated on emergency basis.
Prevent dehydration. For example, due to blood loss, extremely hot weather or diarrhea.
Keep blood pressure in check.
Keep diabetes in check.
Genetic susceptibility of your cat breed –
- Prevent using ethylene glycol based anti-freezing agents. It is most commonly used in car coolants. But it is highly toxic if ingested and often results in kidney failure. Instead use propylene glycol based anti-freezing agents as they are non-toxic in nature.
- Human medications for pets should be avoided without consulting a vet. It may be potentially toxic. For example, Ibuprofen is extremely toxic to cat kidneys. So, keep such medicines out of your cat’s reach.
- Lily plants are highly toxic to cat kidneys. So, don’t keep lily plants in the house.
- Keep pesticides out of your cat’s reach. Besides being poisonous, they are linked with kidney failure.
- Keep household chemicals like cleaning fluids, firefighting foam, wax, polish, etc. out of your pet’s reach as they are toxic to kidneys.
- It is always beneficial if you can keep your cat indoors, as outdoor cats gets exposed to many toxic elements.
Abyssinian and Persian cat breeds are more prone to kidney diseases.
Every few months visit your vet for your cat’s health checkup. Early detection of the diseases can go a long away in treating the disease.
Keep watch for early signs of kidney disease -
- Change in drinking pattern or that of visit to litter box.
- Decreased appetite.
- Weight loss.
- Bad breath.
Changes in cat diet and lifestyle that help prevent kidney disease –
- Incline more towards weight food than dry food and make sure that your cat drinks a lot of water.
See - How to encourage your cat to drink more water
- Optimal condition of litter box as it is linked with proper elimination of urine –
High phosphorous levels in blood can damage cat kidneys.
- The golden rule for multi-cat household is one litter box per cat and one extra.
- Most cats prefer non-scented cat litter.
- Deep bin-type litter boxes should be avoided for older cats with arthritis.
- Regularly clean the litter box as a dirty litter box deters many cats.
Obesity is known to cause kidney problems –
- Give your cat egg white and lean meat like chicken and small fish, which are low in phosphorous.
- Avoid both animal and fish liver as it is high in phosphorous.
- Avoid sardines as they are high in phosphorous.
- Avoid cereal grains as they have higher phosphorous.
- Slowly introduce fresh vegetables in your cat’s diet which are high in nutrition and very low in phosphorous. Some vegetables to consider are – watermelon, apple, banana, green bean, carrot, broccoli, zucchini, blueberry.
- Feed your cat Chitosan –
- Chitosan is a naturally occurring molecule which binds to phosphorous. Thus if present in cat food it will leave less amount of free phosphorous molecules to get absorbed by cat intestine.
- Chitosan is present in high amounts in the shells of crabs, prawns, lobsters and shrimps. Separate the shells, dry them and ground them. Store the grounded shell as source of chitin. Add in small amounts to cat food.
- Some over the counter pet medicines have chitosan too.
Feed your cat D-mannose –
- The best way is obviously to make your cat exercise more. Play with her and give her a lot of toys to play with.
- Adjust calorie levels in your cat’s diet. Older cats require fewer calories, even if very active, compared to younger cats. Pregnant cats require many more calories.
- Limit the treats and your own food you give to your cat as they are for pure taste and not cat specific food.
- Check with your vet for any underlying disease for sudden increase in weight.
Feed your cat Omega-3 fatty acid (although this is not prevention, rather treatment, still it is worth mentioning) –
- Most Urinary Tract Infection occurs by E-Coli bacteria. In the urinary tract, E. coli bacteria latch on to the walls, grow and cause infection. D-mannose works by latching on to E. coli bacteria which in turn is not able to attach itself to the urinary tract and gets eliminated through urine.
- Naturally occurring food rich in D-mannose – black currants, red currants, cranberries, apples, peaches, blueberries.
- Over the counter food supplements are also available which are rich in D-mannose.
Prevent a diet that is high in calcium as it may result in formation of kidney stones.
- Uremic itch is a common skin condition in case of renal failure. Red spots appear over the skin throughout the body and these spots are itchy.
- Omega-3 fatty acid is known to provide a relief in this condition.
- Naturally Omega-3 fatty acid is found in fish oil.
- Over the counter food supplement rich in Omega-3 fatty acid is also present.
- Don’t give your cat bone meal as it has calcium hydroxylapatite.
- Don’t give your cat milk as it has calcium lactate. (Moreover most adult cats are not able to digest lactose resulting in diarrhea)
ethylene glycol toxicity
Kidney disease linked with pesticide exposure
Household chemicals are toxic to kidneys
Ibuprofen poisoning in cats
Kidney failure is linked with high blood pressure
Tips for preventing kidney failures in cats
Cat kidney failure symptoms and causes
Certain cat breeds are more prone to kidney diseases
Low phosphorous cat food for kidney disease
Link between phosphorous level in blood and healthy kidney
Link between obesity and kidney health
Prevent obesity in cats
Naturally occurring chitosan
Over the counter chitosan rich food supplement
Naturally occurring food that are rich in D-mannose
D-mannose as pet food supplement
Science behind D-Mannose
Feline urinary and kidney health
Omega-3 fatty acid provides relief in uremic itch
Hyperthyroidism causes high blood pressure
Cat food having high calcium