What is feline kidney disease?

Cats can get a number of different diseases of the kidney. Generally, the symptoms for problems with the kidney are an increased thirst coupled with an increased desire to urinate. Those are the early stage symptoms. As it progresses, the cat will seem lethargic and depressed, and it will vomit and behave as if it is sick in general.

   

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First is cat kidney stones. These are not as serious as other kidney diseases in most cases because they can usually be treated without long term damage to the kidneys, but you do need to take the cat to the vet for either a special diet or surgery.

Second, chronic feline kidney failure. This is very serious, and you need to have it treated immediately - the longer it goes on, the more permanent damage there is to the kidneys, and at some point enough tissue is damaged that the cat's kidneys no longer function. You can read about it in more detail on that page, but the basics are that in older cats the kidneys will sometimes wear down and stop functioning - the cat drinks more, pees more, and eventually they break down and it starts acting ill in general.

Third, polycystic kidney disease. This is a genetic kidney disease specific to Persian cats. They basically start to grow cysts all over their kidney in old age, and that stops the kidney from functioning. Not all Persians get it, but it is something to watch out for, especially if the parents of that cat had kidney problems. You can read more about it here.

Fourth, tumors. The cat can get cancer on the kidney just as it can on other parts of its body. This is obviously serious, and it can be more serious than other diseases if the tumor spreads to other parts of the body.

Fifth, bacterial infections. Many germs will infect the kidneys of cats, and that can cause short term problems with it - antibiotics are probably your best bet here.

Sixth, there are various drugs and toxins that can cause kidney failure as a side effect or as a result of the cat being poisoned. This isn't really a disease, but it causes similar effects.

Seventh, dehydration can also cause kidney problems in cats. Water is needed for the kidney to function - it normally removes waste from the blood and puts it into the urine. Without water, the toxins and waste build up in the kidney, causing damage to the cat .

Eighth, dietary problems. Sometimes cats don't get enough of important nutrients in their diet - potassium is a big one that a shortage of can cause feline kidney issues.

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