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Your Cat’s Kidneys Called

Jul 15, 2014 · Updated Jul 21, 2014 · ·
  1. Anne

    Your cat’s kidneys called - they say we don't talk enough so pick up the phone

    This is going to be the most different article about cats and their kidneys that I’ve ever written.

    Imagine there is a room full of cats. Sophisticated cats living within the world of C.S. Lewis’s

    “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe”. The cats are filling up the aisles and are seated,

    waiting for the keynote presentation at their international public health conference to begin. The

    Steve Jobs of the cat world is going to talk tonight. There is an air of excitement, change and


    Persians have filled the first three rows, having bought their tickets six months in advance from

    their agent in Dubai. In rows four to eight, everyone is shuffling so they don't have to sit behind

    the Maine Coons. Everyone remembers how their big heads and fluffy butts blocked the stage

    last year. The sleek alley cats fill the backbench, with their green eyes just visible through a

    haze of smoke. Even though they were frisked at the door, they still managed to bring in enough

    green grassy stuff in their pockets. They don't pass the ‘nip to the Ragdolls, who already look

    like they had enough last night at the meet and greet. The cats who eat “Whizkaz” food

    stand in the aisles closest to the toilets. They are constantly running back and forth from the

    john, wondering if they too are going to end up with the rumoured “crystals of pee”.

    Huffing and puffing up and down the aisles, serving drinks and running the coat check are all

    the youtube cats who burned out after their 15 viral minutes of fame. One says to the other “If I

    could only make a new reality video. Anyone have a piano?”

    These sophisticated cats are presenting their own pressing social issues, and the top discussion

    goes like this:

    “The humans don't check my kidneys.”

    “Top ten ways to get a human to check your blood kidney scores”

    “I’m Twilight's Edward and you’re Bella - Take my blood if you love me”

    There is a nervous tension in the room. The cats know that for every 10 of them in the room, 3

    on average will have undetected kidney issues that can steal years from their lives. From the fat

    cats to the viral YouTube kitties, it doesn't matter where they have been or what row they are

    sitting in. It affects them all.


    Your cat has new requirements to maintain optimum health and maximize its longevity if you

    detect CKD (chronic kidney disease). While many people come into the clinic looking for the

    health check with a possible vaccination, I really want them to have a health check with a

    possible blood sample. Above kittenhood, it is that much more important to me. If you find CKD,

    the body is requesting some changes. The earlier you are aware of this request, the better the

    outlook for your cat, and they can still live for decades. My own cat is 19 with his CKD, and is

    doing great as can be seen in the video!


    It can look like everything and nothing at all. Cats with CKD can look perfectly normal at one

    end of the spectrum, but it can also be responsible for weight loss, excessive thirst and peeing,

    lack of appetite, vomiting, constipation, lethargy, and changes in their coat for starters. It can

    cause anemia, and be associated with hypertension. It can effect a whole host of other

    physiological or electrolyte issues in the body.

    The key here is not to freak out. If you find CKD in your cat, it doesn't mean he’s then got to be

    given drugs forever or life support. In fact, if you find it early, you will be ahead of the curve for

    satisfying the body’s new requirements. Solutions come in the form of nutrition, supplements,

    antacids, SQ fluids, medications and eliminating predisposing factors. Your work together with

    your vet is to find your cat's combination of requirements. They can live a very long time.

    I kind of hate the term CKD as it can make people feel hopeless. Others call it chronic renal

    failure which I despise even more as it only fits a clinical syndrome certain cats go through (and

    it implies that you can’t do anything about it). I often call it “chronic renal insufficiency” when

    caught early. As in “Hey, we found this on your cat's annual bloodwork, and his kidneys, while

    they are working, have become less efficient at their job”. I don’t regret finding CKD - because I

    view it as an opportunity to help them live long.


    You need info. Lots of good, proactive info. I want you to become an expert on the subject.

    Each cat has a unique combination of requirements for CKD. For my 19-year-old cat (and many

    others like him), success has come in part by giving him SQ fluids. Look at the SQ fluids video

    and all the information in it. This covers just one aspect of extending the quality of life and

    longevity of a cat with CKD. A separate video could be made for each and every one of the

    issues they could face. As people who are invested in the health and longevity of our cats, your

    best success will come from learning and implementing.

    I diagnose or discuss kidney issues in cats every single day. Approximately 30 % of the cat

    population has this issue. This is VERY surprising for people, who are often devastated with the

    knowledge that some illness was brewing all along, and they were the last person to know. The

    irony is that even though you know your cat better than anyone else, they are really good

    at hiding their issues from the ones they love the most (just like people). If a cat could write a

    diary about their kidney function, it would have a titanium padlock on it!

    We are going to pick those locks open. We can give our cats what they need to live longer and


    Dr. Kris


    Have questions about kidney issues in cats or SQ fluids? You can ask Dr. Kris in our special expert forum to be hosted on July 21st, 2014. The link will be posted here when we open the forum for questions.

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  1. Misshollywood408
    My cat is 12 years 11 mo mo just diagnosed stage 1 to 2 what supplements will not effect her hypothyroid meds and get good results and what kind of foods should she be eating ?
  2. paw-in-hand
    great video ! would love to know what foods he was also feeding
  3. zoneout
    Dr Kris, your blog, video, and attitude rocked the house!!!!   I signed up for your mailing list and am stoked to learn more from you.  You are right about CKD... it can look like everything and nothing.   In June, my 14 yo looked better than ever one week and the next she succumed from likely CKD that was presenting like IBD.  Unfortunately we started pred and it did not go well.  Thank you for your efforts to educate us on this awful disease.
  4. Anne
  5. wasabipea
    Just an update from someone with an elderly (18) kidney cat with probable cancer, and age related issues. She does better with fluids, I think we are to the point where a small amount every 2 days is about right. Anyway, I've been taking her in to the vet's alot because I couldnt find the confidence / gumption to stick the cat and was terribly disappointed with myself and felt cowardly.
    Your video helped me gain the confidence to finally do it - I'm a visual thinker, and the bit about "this is the tent and this is where you go in" with the arrow is what I kept thinking when I did it for the first time yesterday! Thank you, from myself and my Roni. :-)
  6. lunariris
    Very interesting article on kidney health, look forward to hearing more.
  7. wasabipea
    Thanks for responding  :) -- I'm going to try to make the expert forum, I'll have to mark it on my calendar... I can be forgetful, but do have questions I'd love to be able to ask a real, virtual veterinarian! *wink*
  8. dr kris
    Hey Guys! I will definitely be here to help next week - definitely some good things to talk about here (anesthesia with kidney issues, needle size etc). Im on the road this week and im horrible at typing on the iphone....
    PS...Im saving the tabbies for a sequel (or prequel)!
  9. Anne
    @Wasabipea excellent questions! I'm afraid I'm not sure Dr. Kris will be available to answer them here. It's best to save them for the expert forum (only five days to go!)
  10. wasabipea
    Great video. Watching this a few more times might give me the confidence to do this at home. Just wondering if I should suck it up and use the 18 gauge needles, or try for smaller? My probelm is poking the cat. Do smaller needles go in easier or do you have to push harder? Even tho she's a good traveler, I'm sure she'd appreciate not having to go in and I think she needs every other day at this point. Thanks for the video, I wish my vet were as patient as you!
  11. Anne
    @Surreygirl - Dr. Kris will be available for questions next week in the expert forum. He's not online much this week so I'm not sure if he'll see your question here and respond or not.
  12. surreygirl
    My cat has kidney "failure" do not know what else to call it. He is in Sun q´s and also a renal diet and Ipakatin, I also give him Vit B and Vit B12 to counteract the anemia. However he is now scratching a lot and so I have started him on 5mg of cetrizina. Three weeks ago I took him to the vets to have his blood work done and also for them to look at the areas that he was scratching and they told me that it was because of high levels in his blood, however he has always had a problem at times not all the time of scratching and I tried to get to the bottom of it, but each vet has said something different, however I want the vet to run a few more tests on my cat but the problem is he needs to be anesthetized because he cannot be handled without it and I am afraid of the risks involved of having yet another round of anesthetics within a few weeks. I would be grateful for your comments.
  13. stephenq
    Great, even hilarious and yet informative article and fantastic video!!!
  14. oneandahalfcats
    Great intro on the upcoming presentation on Kidney issues in cats. Very much looking forward to this .. But hey, I didn't read anything about Tabbies being in attendance! I must voice my protest, as I am a cat momma of two. *smile*.
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