When to Put a Cat to Sleep With Kidney Failure

Kidney failure in cats, or renal failure, is when the kidneys stop functioning. This can happen due to disease or damage to the kidneys, whether from a cat’s genetics or from an environment full of toxins. Once the kidneys have failed, there isn’t much you can do to restore them. The disease will run its course and lead to kidney failure in cats.

Most cats are fastidious and usually tend to exercise so they are not so likely to be overweight. Their preferred diet is very high in protein. It is the excretion of the waste products from the metabolism of this fraction of the diet that is the responsibility of the kidney cells.

As these cells age or their blood supply is impaired, they eventually cease to function. They cannot be repaired or replaced, as some liver cells are, and it is the animal’s compensatory measures that are the first obvious signs of kidney disease.

Occasionally the onset of symptoms may be dramatic when large numbers of kidney cells are damaged at once. This can happen as a result of the spread of an acute infection from a badly infected wound. More often the signs of kidney failure in cats are much less dramatic.

Kidney failure in cats when to euthanize

When a cat develops kidney failure, it’s time to talk with your vet about euthanasia. This is a decision you should make carefully and thoughtfully, but it will help you know when it’s time to put your cat down.

Treatment for kidney failure can be very expensive. It can cost up to $1000 a month to care for a cat on dialysis, and that’s just the beginning of the financial commitment.

Once you’ve made the decision to euthanize your cat, you’ll want to make sure there are no other treatment options available. There may be natural remedies that can help your cat live longer, like acupuncture or herbal supplements. You might also be able to find someone who does low-cost acupuncture for cats if money is an issue.

If you’ve ruled out any other treatment options and your cat is in pain or suffering from stress, it will be time to consider putting him or her down.

What are the symptoms of a cat dying of kidney failure?

Signs of kidney failure in cats include:

  • The cat begins to become fussier with its food.
  • It starts to eat less and although apparently hungry will leave its food after only a few mouthfuls.
  • It usually has begun to drink more water and this may go unobserved until the cat starts leaping into the sink or the bath to lick the moist surface.
  • It starts to lose weight and its skin becomes dry and the coat no longer is smooth and shiny.
  • As the disease progresses the cat becomes less lively, preferring to sleep in a secluded spot.
  • It develops a brownish scale on its teeth and its gums bleed easily.
  • The breath is unpleasant and can have a distinct smell of ammonia.
  • In the advanced stage of the disease, toxic products of protein and fat metabolism accumulate in the blood and the cat refuses all food (many start to vomit) and wishes only to hang over its water bowl.

Can a cat recover from kidney failure?

Unfortunately, treatment of kidney disease is difficult as it is usually only begun after considerable numbers of kidney cells are already damaged. Attempts to reduce the overall protein level of the diet is not usually successful as most low-protein foods are unpalatable to the cat.

If it is keen on milk, increased amounts can be fed as this is a good source of energy without high-protein levels. Liver and kidney should be avoided and, in general, white meats are preferable to red meats. Of course, any active infection must be treated with antibiotics.

Prevention of kidney disease is well nigh impossible. It is a degenerative condition and as an animal ages one of the body’s systems must eventually fail.

Premature damage to kidneys may occur because of infected wounds (prompt treatment of cat bites lessens such a risk) and the desexing of male cats.

Supplying a supplement, which contains vitamins, minerals, and anabolic steroids, to an older cat may also be of value in delaying the onset of kidney degenerations.

Do cats suffer when dying from kidney failure?

Kidney failure in cats is a serious condition in which the kidneys lose the ability to remove waste and excess water from the bloodstream. When kidney failure occurs, the cat’s body becomes flooded with toxins, causing a number of symptoms. The kidneys work like filters in the blood system, removing toxins and excess fluid. As kidney failure advances, waste products can begin to build up in the cat’s bloodstream.

As the condition progresses, the cat will become more lethargic, lose its appetite, and experience vomiting and diarrhea.

In advanced cases of renal failure, the animal will go into a uremic coma; this is a symptom where the animal becomes so dehydrated it stops drinking water altogether, as well as becoming unconscious due to severe brain swelling.

If your cat is experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important for you to consult with your veterinarian about treatment options as well as euthanasia.

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Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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