Feline Kidney Disease Prognosis

Kidney failure typically occurs in older cats.
Kidney failure typically occurs in older cats. (Image: Black Cat image by Chris Kincaid from Fotolia.com)

Kidney disease is the leading cause of feline death, especially in older cats. Kidney disease typically does not exhibit noticeable symptoms until 60 to 75 percent of renal mass is gone, but with proper therapy and medical treatment, cats can live comfortably for a few months or a few years.


A few of the first noticeable symptoms a cat may exhibit due to kidney failure include increased thirst, decreased appetite, weight loss, vomiting, more frequent urination, foul breath and oral ulcerations.


The prognosis for a cat experiencing kidney disease is dependent on the amount of damage done to the kidneys, and the amount of function that the kidneys have left, according to Net Pets. The earlier the kidney failure is caught, the better chance a cat has of living a happy and comfortable life, according to Net Pets. As a cat ages, it is important to have him examined regularly by a veterinarian. As the disease progresses, the cat may become more uncomfortable, however, Feline CRF states that there is no significant pain to the cat until the end stage of the disease. It is the owner’s decision as to when the quality of life has decreased too far to continue treatment.

Acute Renal Failure

Acute renal (kidney) failure can occur very rapidly and at any age. Acute renal failure is typically caused by toxins that the cat has ingested, especially anti-freeze. This type of kidney failure can be fatal, however, if it is treated promptly and aggressively the kidneys may regain their full function and the cat can live a normal life. If you think your cat may have ingested something toxic, do not hesitate to get him to the veterinarian immediately.

Chronic Renal Failure

This is the most common type of kidney disease. Most cats who live a long life will eventually develop some sort of kidney failure. Age, disease, genetics and environment are factors that may contribute to renal failure, according to Feline CRF. Chronic renal failure does not exhibit many symptoms until a majority of the kidney function is lost. This type of kidney failure is aggressive and will typically need a kidney transplant to save the cat’s life, however, there are things that you can do to improve the length of life for the cat living with kidney failure.


A combination of diet, medication, and hydration therapy may help treat kidney disease. Fluid therapy involves administering injections of a saline solution. You may be able to give it at home to avoid stress to the cat by taking her to the veterinarian for the injections. A veterinarian can advise you on a diet that will be best for your cat depending on how advanced the kidney failure is.

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