Get Your Senior Cat Checked for Kidney Disease
Kidney disease seems to be a common problem in older cats; it is best to get them checked yearly from age 7 and older, if not you could run into the unfortunate situation we went through with our cat Katie.
Katie was a happy, healthy and fairly active, twelve-year-old cat. We spoiled her, along with our other cat Artemis. Back in late March, early April, she started eating less and lost some weight.
She did not really seem to have any of the early signs, excessive thirst and urination, the first thing that told me something might be wrong was that she was losing weight. Katie always fluctuated around fourteen or fifteen pounds; she was a little on the heavy side, so when she went down to thirteen pounds, I was not too worried but started keeping a close eye on her. Next thing I know she lost another two pounds down to eleven.
We took her to the vets, thinking maybe it was her teeth or something, he checked her out, asked the symptoms and asked if she had eaten any of the recalled food. As far as I can remember, neither her or Frisky had any of the recalled food.
The vet suspected it could have something to do with her kidneys, but he was not 100% sure, he wanted her back on Monday for a full blood test, we had taken her in on a Friday.
While we were waiting for Monday, her condition started to get worse, she stopped eating, didn’t drink much, lost another pound (down to 10 pounds) and just wanted to lay around and sleep, although she mostly just layed around and seemed uncomfortable.
Monday finally came, and she went for her tests and then more waiting for the blood tests to come back. It seemed like a very long day.
Then on Monday afternoon, the test came back and confirmed what the vet thought, it was her kidneys, and she was not doing well. Almost all her levels that were checked from the blood test came back ten times higher than they should be.
As the vet put it, if she was a dog, they would have recommended putting her to sleep, but since cats have a better chance at rebounding, he wanted to start treatments on her. She is getting IV treatments, and they will also feed her with a tube to try and help get her weight back up. She had to stay there for two days with the IV treatments and then he wanted to test her blood again and go from there.
We were all sad and worried about Katie We were able to visit her while she spent time in the hospital and the kids even made get good pictures of her. She was the comfort kitty, the one who will lay with you when you do not feel good.
Artemis, our other cat, kept walking around the house looking for Katie, it is easy to see he missed her too, Katie was like a surrogate mother to him.
After the second set of tests came back, the vet said it did not look good; he would suggest putting her to sleep. I could not deal with that; I was not ready to let Katie go. We contacted another vet and took her in and explained the situation; they wanted to start her on a special food for weight gain in cats and start SubQ treatments. They showed us how to do the treatments, gave us some other medicine for her and sent us home.
For the first few days, it was going well, I was getting her to eat off of a spoon and gave her the treatments, and she seemed to start to perk up a bit. The vet had said the most important thing was to get her to eat, which she was doing.
Then on May 11th (the Friday before Mother’s Day), she refused to eat. I gave her the treatment and tried to get her to eat again, she refused. She meowed, as if in pain, when I picked her up. I let her lay on the little bed we had made up for her and decided that we would take her straight to the vet when my husband came home, which was in about an hour. Unfortunately, Katie did not make it that long, she passed away before she got home. I do not think that it would have made a difference even if we had gotten her to the vet.
While going through this, I did much reading on kidney disease in cats; I was shocked to find that only 30% of kidney function is needed for normal function, meaning a 70% loss of kidney function will happen before any symptoms show up, that is scary!
Please, if your cat is exhibiting excessive thirst or urination, please have them checked out.
Early Symptoms of Kidney Disease
Nausea and gagging
Grinding or cracking sound of jaw
Vomiting (both clear/foamy liquid and food)
Hunching over the water bowl
Stomach irritation (gas)
Loss of appetite
If your cat exhibits these symptoms, please don’t hesitate and have them checked out before it is too late. While is not on the list, going to the bathroom just anywhere could be a sign too, Cuddles did this for a while, and we thought she was just being lazy and didn’t want to use a dirty box.
We have since had Artemis tested, and he checked out just fine, he will get yearly tests to make sure that if he gets it, that it can be caught early and still lead a normal life and will be around for a while.
This was our first Christmas without Katie, and while everyone did OK with it, I found myself thinking about her a lot, especially the way she liked to lay under the tree like a present. Some people may not understand, but pets are members of the family too, and it does hurt a lot when you lose them.
If your cat is having any of these signs, please take them in to be checked. Hopefully, it will be nothing, but it is better to be safe and possibly catch it early enough that you can have a few more years with your precious pet.