Preventing Kidney Disease in Cats

Photo: Missy M.

Did you know that kidney disease is a common problem in cats affecting about 1/3 of the older cat population? Although there is no way to fully eliminate the possibility of your cat contracting kidney disease, there are some things you can do to make it less likely.


  1. Maintain a clean litter box. Be sure to clean it on a regular basis so that your cat is not discouraged from urinating.
  2. Visit your veterinarian regularly. Routine examinations by your family veterinarian make it more likely that you will catch any signs of ill health before they develop into serious conditions, such as chronic kidney failure. 
  3. Encourage your cat to drink lots of fluids. If your cat takes in plenty of water, it’s more likely that his or her kidneys will stay healthy for years to come.
  4. Watch your cat’s weight. Obesity in cats can lead to diabetes which can lead to kidney failure.

Chronic Kidney Failure presents itself in slow changes over time. Often the earliest signs, an increase in thirst and urination with a need to urinate at night, are missed by owners. Other subtle signs that there may be a problem include variable weight loss, poor hair coat, lethargy, and selective appetite. As the condition progresses, more signs appear. Many times, the condition is found in older pets and is due to age.

It is often caused by an underlying illness, congenital, or hereditary conditions. But surprisingly, the main cause of chronic kidney failure in dogs is dental disease. Bacteria associated with advanced dental disease enter the bloodstream and invade multiple organs, causing irreversible damage to the heart, liver, and kidneys. For information on how to keep your pet’s mouth healthy, check out Braxton’s blog, “Does Your Pet Have Bad Breath?”

With early treatment, pets with kidney disease can go on to live happy lives, so that is why it is important to keep those regular veterinary appointments. Keeping track of your pet’s weight as well as his eating and drinking habits is essential to helping him remain healthy.

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