Felines face a number of common ailments that can make life very uncomfortable. From obesity, to diabetes, to the feline immune virus, cat owners are aware of many of the health issues that frequently occur in their kitties. However, among these are some unfortunate life-threatening diseases that many pet owners are uninformed about. One such example is renal failure, which is one of the 5 top diseases that kill domestic felines.

Kidney disease can lead to renal failure, which is another of the most common causes of death in senior cats. Renal failure is diagnosed in two specific forms: chronic renal failure, or acute renal failure. The former occurs due to a continual deterioration of the kidney, while the latter is classified by an abrupt interruption to the kidney’s function.

Causes and Symptoms

The disease can be brought on by age, weak genetics, or ingesting poisons and toxins which strain the kidneys. Felines over the age of 7 years have a higher susceptibility to suffering from renal failure.
If your pet cat is entering the elderly years of his life, stay on the lookout for some of these tell-tale symptoms of renal disease. They include:

  • Urinating often
  • Dehydration
  • Digestive issues (constipation)
  • Lost appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Low energy

(Some cats may also vomit frequently, grind their teeth, or smell like ammonia.)

By taking the cat to the vet, the professionals can diagnose the disease and determine how far along your cat may be, as well as what the treatment options are. Urinalysis tests, renal failure tests, and blood tests can accurately ascertain the blood urea nitrogen levels, which is a primary warning sign of kidney failure.


Tragically, renal failure is an incurable disease. However, it is not all doom and gloom! Studies have found that felines are able to sustain themselves while using a minimum of 5-8% of the renal tissue. This means, that by implementing the right medications and hydration therapy, as well as closely monitoring the cat’s diet, that a pet with renal failure might be able to live much longer than expected. If you are concerned about your cat, bring him to the vet as soon as possible to begin treatments and extend his life.