Written by Vet Nurse Rose from our Papamoa clinic

Kidney disease is a very common condition in older cats. Healthy kidneys filter blood to maintain fluid, acid-base and electrolyte balance, and remove toxins and waste. Cats with chronic kidney disease (CKD) have a persistent loss of kidney function over time. There is no cure for this, but with early detection, good care and a good quality kidney care diet you can help your pet maintain a great quality of life.

The cause of kidney disease can range from congenital conditions, from consuming a toxin, by having kidney stones, an infection, or even possibly neoplasia. However, in older cats, the cause of kidney disease is commonly unknown.

Some cats with CKD may appear and behave normally, whereas other cats may be lose weight, not drink as much and just seem to be not quite themselves. A routine blood test performed by your vet can disclose any potential or underlying kidney conditions your cat may have.

If your cat has been diagnosed with CKD, one of the most effective ways to control its progression and to help maintain a good quality of life is simply through their diet. There are veterinary prescribed diets that are specifically formulated for cats with kidney disease which contain lower protein, phosphorus and sodium levels than normal commercial diets.

These diets help maintain kidney function while also making sure they get enough nutrients to prevent muscle loss and anaemia. You can purchase these diets in dry (biscuit) or wet (tinned) form.

The wet food version is highly recommended as it has a higher moisture content and regular water intake is very important for the CKD cat. Water consumption can be encouraged by ensuring there are several water bowls around the house and that they are regularly cleaned and filled. There are products like circulating water fountains that you can buy to help tempt your pet to consume more water as cats like drinking from running water.

It can be stressful discovering that your cat has a lifelong kidney condition, but with the help of your vet and the nursing team we can tackle it together and ensure the best is done to support you and your beloved pet and help them live a long happy life.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to give us a call!