Felines are susceptible to suffering from kidney disease, or renal disease. They either contract acute renal disease (which usually has a single cause, and develops over a short period of time) or chronic renal disease (which is a gradual process usually occurring in elderly cats, due to slow kidney failure).  Whatever the case, renal disease is particularly tragic because the symptoms are only evident when the majority of the kidney (between 50-75% of the organ) has been compromised and is malfunctioning. Because of this fact, the sooner you can detect any evidence of renal disease, the better. Here are a few of the symptoms of a failing kidney.

Changes To Look For

Urination variations. Since the kidney is necessary for waste management and processing through toxins, one of the first patterns to observe is the cat’s urination. Are they eliminating more or less frequently?  If a cat is recently incontinent, or frequenting the litter box more often than usual, than there may be reason to see the doctor.  Likewise, if your cat seems to be urinating drastically less than usual, it could also be a sign of acute renal disease.

Greater thirst. Hydration fluctuates when the kidneys are compromised. A cat might suddenly show a fascination with water, or seem much thirstier than usual.  You might find his water bowl empty often,  or see your cat pawing at the faucet, or running toward you whenever he hears water filling a glass. Cats will become more and more desperate to drink water the weaker their kidneys become.

Weakness and exhaustion. Imagine going for a long jog, and then failing to drink any water for hours.  You’d feel cotton-mouthed, dizzy, nauseous and very low-energy. When a cat’s body is unable to retain sufficient water, he will lose interest in exercise and play, and may be moody, despondent or and exhausted. Strong kidneys function as the body’s filter, and with the buildup of toxins and lack of water, there will be a noticeable difference in your cat’s attention span and vitality.

Depleted appetite. When a cat loses interest and energy, or just begins to feel poorly all the time, his appetite will be less prominent. Eating becomes a chore, as the weakness increases, which can lead to stomach cramps, weight loss, and poor appetite. Pet owners notice that cats with renal disease suffer from stomach ulcers, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and gastrointestinal irritation, which contributes to their lack of motivation when meal time comes around.

Other symptoms:  Mouth ulcers (causes by over production of acidity in the mouth), difficulty standing/walking/jumping, desire to be left alone, whining/crying, sudden collapse, etc.

If your cat is showing one or more of these symptoms, take him to the vet immediately to receive the care he needs to battle renal disease.