The kidneys filter and regulate the blood, and create urine. When the kidneys stop operating at peak efficiency, bodily wastes and by-products are no longer eliminated. When bodily wastes build up in the bloodstream, a cat begins to feel ill, and may become withdrawn or seem depressed or lethargic. If left unchecked, the build up of wastes in the bloodstream begins to harm other internal organs, and a fatal downward spiral of the cat's health will begin.
Regardless of your cat's age, the following symptoms may indicate that kidney insufficiency is developing:
Diminished appetite, loss of appetite, or aversion to foods that were once favored
Extra water consumption, or spending time just "hanging out" by the water bowl
Increased vomiting, perhaps of just clear fluid or foam
Oh No! My Cat Has CRF! What Can I Do?
A blood test will determine if your cat has CRF. If the diagnosis is made, you will be faced with two options: One - care for your cat and manage the condition for a period of time, or Two - arrange for your cat to have a peaceful crossing over the Rainbow Bridge. (Actually, there is a third option - kidney transplant from a donor cat - but this is usually impossible for most pet owners due to financial considerations. Talk to your vet about this.)
Many pet owners choose to care for their cat after a CRF diagnosis. Most cats will adapt to their owners efforts, and can maintain a state of health and happiness long after diagnosis. In some cases a simple change in diet will suffice in the initial stages. Later, most cats do need more help, such as medications or subcutaneous fluids.
Although at present there is no "cure" for CRF, it is by no means an automatic hopeless situation. If upon diagnosis your vet tells you that your cat is doomed to a swift death, or if your vet does not offer you any assistance in managing CRF, please find a vet who is up on the latest advances in veterinary medicine.
Also, dont get too freaked out if your vet says that your cat has only 25% of kidney function left. Almost all CRF cats have only 25% or less of their kidney function. The fact of the matter is, by the time any cat shows any symptoms at all of kidney failure, approximately 75% of kidney function is gone. My understanding is that 25% functionality is still very acceptable functionality. Please dont let this fact cause you more tears. Okay???
My Personal Journey With Jolie & CRF
picture to the left is my beloved furbaby Jolie. When she
was 14 years old she was diagnosed with CRF (April 1999).
We provided her the most loving home health management we
could offer, with our vet's guidance, of course. Jolie
lived for a little over one year after diagnosis, and
sadly passed away on April 18, 2000. I can say that her
life was happy and mostly normal during almost all of
that year, and it was not until the very end when she
began to rapidly decline.
How Jolie & I experienced CRF together
Do animals have souls? Maybe?
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If you live in the Portland, Oregon, area, and are looking for a vet, please consider mine. She is knowledgable, compassionate, and very gentle with your pets. She takes the time to make sure that pet owners are fully aware of their pet's state of health, as well as all treatment options available (when necessary). Please call the Valley Vet Hospital at 503-649-6900, and ask for an appointment with Dr. Jennifer Leddy.