Kidney Failure in Cats: What You Can Do

Medication can help extend survival time iin many cases and improve quality of life. Your veterinarian may prescribe drugs that will stimulate your cat’s appetite, reduce nausea, maintain normal concentrations of phosphorus in the blood and control levels of parathyroid hormone.

All drugs have potential side effects. Your cat may need regular blood work to monitor concentrations of certain hormones and minerals as well as kidney and liver function. Always ask your veterinarian to discuss the risks and benefits of any drug protocol so that you can make an informed decision.

Additional Tips

As kidney disease progresses, signs can change. Keep a close eye on your cat, and report any changes in habits, behavior, or attitude to your veterinarian.

Inserting the large needle of a fluid bag beneath a cat’s skin is scary at first. Practice on an orange or lemon a few times before you go live with your own cat. If you’re just not up to it — and no one will blame you if you aren’t — ask your veterinary team about other options for administering fluids. Some vet technicians can come to your home and administer fluids as needed.

Gently hold your cat and talk to him softly while administering fluids. If necessary, have an assistant help you, or wrap the cat in a towel to help him stay calm and still.

Before giving fluids, warm them to 95 to 98 degrees Fahrenheit — comfortably warm on your own skin — by placing the bag in warm water in the sink. Don’t submerge it, and don’t heat the fluids in the microwave.

End the session with a treat, so your cat associates something positive with getting his daily fluids.