What Causes Kidney Disease In Cats?

Did you know that kidney disease is one of the most common illnesses that affect cats? That’s right – our feline friends are just as vulnerable to this condition as we humans.

As responsible pet parents, it’s crucial to understand what causes kidney disease in cats so we can take steps to prevent it and keep our furry companions happy and healthy. The kidneys are essential organs that filter out toxins and waste products from the blood, helping maintain a cat’s overall well-being.

When these vital organs start malfunctioning, they become unable to perform their duties effectively, leading to a dangerous buildup of harmful substances in the body.

There are several potential causes of kidney disease in cats, including viral infections, poisoning, genetic predisposition, age-related decline, and chronic medical conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

Even something as seemingly minor as a urinary tract infection can eventually lead to kidney problems if left untreated.

By learning about the various causes of kidney disease in cats and being aware of its symptoms – such as increased thirst or urination, weight loss, vomiting, and lethargy – we can catch the condition early on and provide appropriate treatment.

So, let’s get started now.

Age as a Factor

Research indicates that approximately half of all cats over the age of 15 will develop this condition. As cats grow older, their kidneys begin to lose their efficiency at filtering waste products from the blood.

This can lead to a buildup of harmful substances in their bloodstream and ultimately cause damage to their kidneys. In addition, decreased blood flow to the kidneys can also contribute to further damage.

It’s imperative for cat owners to be vigilant about the signs of kidney disease, particularly as their feline companions age. Common symptoms include increased thirst and urination, weight loss, and a decline in appetite.

Detecting these symptoms early on and seeking veterinary care can slow the progression of kidney disease and improve their quality of life. Preventative measures are also crucial in protecting aging cats’ kidneys.

A healthy diet that is low in phosphorus and high in moisture can reduce strain on the kidneys. Regular check-ups with a veterinarian are equally vital in monitoring kidney function and detecting any potential issues early on.

It’s worth mentioning that certain breeds of cats are more susceptible to kidney disease than others. Persian and Siamese cats, for instance, are at a higher risk than other breeds.

Genetics can also play a role, as some breeds may be predisposed to inherited forms of kidney disease. Allergies and exposure to household chemicals like cleaning agents and pesticides can also contribute to kidney disease in cats.

To prevent potential harm, it’s essential to keep these items out of your furry friend’s reach. To conclude, age is indeed a significant factor in the development of kidney disease in cats.

However, with proper care and attention, older cats can still lead long and healthy lives despite the increased risk.

Breed Predisposition

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One crucial aspect of this is understanding the risk factors for kidney disease in cats, with breed predisposition being a significant factor.

Certain breeds, such as Persians, Siamese, and Himalayans, have a higher likelihood of developing kidney disease than others. Shockingly, studies have found that up to 30% of Persians will develop kidney disease at some point in their life.

But why is this the case? Genetics play a critical role in breed predisposition to kidney disease.

Certain genes can make some feline breeds more susceptible to developing the condition. For example, the Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) gene is prevalent in Persians and can lead to cysts forming on the kidneys, ultimately resulting in kidney failure.

However, it’s not only Persians who are vulnerable. Breeds such as Abyssinians, Burmese, and Maine Coons are also prone to kidney disease.

Nonetheless, it’s important to note that regardless of breed, any cat can develop kidney disease. Some breeds are just at higher risk than others.

So what can you do as a cat owner to protect your furry friend from this debilitating disease? Regular check-ups with a veterinarian and routine bloodwork are essential for detecting early signs of kidney disease and allowing for timely intervention and treatment.

Additionally, proper nutrition and hydration play a vital role in delaying or preventing the onset of kidney disease in cats. If you have a cat predisposed to kidney disease, there’s no need to panic.


It turns out that certain breeds, such as Persians and Siamese, have a higher risk of developing kidney disease due to their genetic makeup.

Specifically, these breeds are more likely to inherit the Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) gene, which causes cysts to form in the kidneys. PKD is a serious inherited condition that affects both kidneys, causing them to enlarge and lose function over time.

Researchers have identified mutations in the PKD1 or PKD2 genes as culprits behind the disorder. These genes produce proteins that regulate kidney cell growth and development, so when they mutate, cysts can grow uncontrollably.

Amyloidosis is another genetic disorder that can lead to kidney disease in cats. This condition occurs when amyloid protein accumulates in the kidneys and interferes with their normal function.

While amyloidosis can be inherited, it can also develop later in life as a result of underlying diseases. It’s worth noting that not all cases of kidney disease in cats are due to genetics alone.

Environmental factors like diet, hydration, and exposure to toxins can also contribute to kidney disease development. To protect your furry friend’s kidneys, make sure they have access to clean water and a balanced diet, and take them for regular check-ups with their veterinarian.


The kidneys are one of the most vital organs in your feline’s body, responsible for filtering out toxins and waste products from their bloodstream.

However, a diet high in protein and phosphorus can overwork the kidneys, leading to kidney damage over time. Choosing the right food for your cat is paramount, and it starts with reading labels to ensure that the brands you choose are low in phosphorus and protein.

Unfortunately, commercial cat food often contains high levels of these ingredients, putting pressure on your cat’s kidneys. A low-protein and phosphorus diet can help reduce the workload on their kidneys, effectively slowing down the progression of kidney disease.

Ensuring that your cat has a balanced diet that includes all the necessary vitamins and minerals is equally important. Such a diet can support their immune system, maintain a healthy weight, and reduce the risk of other health problems that may worsen kidney disease.

Besides selecting the right food for your cat, access to fresh water at all times is equally vital. Dehydration puts more strain on your cat’s kidneys, so ensure that they drink enough water throughout the day.

Toxin Exposure

Cats are natural explorers who enjoy investigating their surroundings.

Unfortunately, their curiosity can sometimes lead to the accidental ingestion of toxic substances, which is a common cause of kidney disease in felines. Toxin exposure weakens your cat’s kidneys, like Kryptonite weakens Superman.

It’s essential to be aware of potential risks and take appropriate measures to prevent this from happening. Household cleaning products, certain medications, antifreeze, and some types of plants are all common toxins that can cause kidney damage in cats.

These toxins can overload the kidneys’ filtering system, resulting in kidney damage or failure. This is why storing medications and cleaning products out of reach of cats and avoiding the use of antifreeze in areas accessible to them is critical.

Additionally, ensure that any plants in your home are non-toxic to your feline friends. If you suspect that your cat has ingested a harmful substance, seek veterinary care immediately.

Prevention and Treatment Options

As we all know, kidney disease in cats can have a significant impact on their lifespan and quality of life.

That’s why it’s crucial for us to take preventive measures and be aware of the available treatment options. First and foremost, prevention is always better than cure.

One of the most important steps in preventing kidney disease in cats is making sure that they have access to clean and fresh drinking water at all times. Hydration is key to keeping their kidneys functioning properly, so it’s important to provide them with water bowls or a pet fountain that is regularly cleaned and filled.

Another preventative measure that we recommend is feeding your cat a high-quality, low-phosphorus diet. This helps reduce the workload on their kidneys and slows down the progression of kidney disease.

To find the right diet for your cat’s specific needs, consult with your veterinarian. Additionally, regular vet check-ups and blood tests are crucial for early detection of kidney issues.

This way, you can take steps to manage the disease before it progresses into more advanced stages. If your cat does develop kidney disease, there are treatment options available.

The approach will depend on the severity of the disease. In some cases, changes in diet and medication may be enough to manage the disease in its early stages.

However, more advanced cases may require hospitalization and intensive care. Fluid therapy is often used as part of the treatment plan for cats with kidney disease.

This involves administering fluids subcutaneously or intravenously to flush out toxins from the body and maintain hydration levels. Medications such as phosphate binders, anti-nausea drugs, and appetite stimulants may also be prescribed to manage symptoms and improve quality of life.

In extreme cases where end-stage kidney disease occurs, dialysis or kidney transplantation may be considered as treatment options. However, these procedures are costly and not widely available.

If the disease does occur, early detection and treatment can help manage symptoms and improve the quality of life for your furry friend.

Also Read: Can Cats Get Kidney Stones?


As we wrap up our discussion on the causes of kidney disease in cats, we must acknowledge that this is a prevalent issue that can affect felines of all ages and breeds.

As responsible pet owners, it’s crucial to stay informed and take proactive measures to keep our furry friends healthy and happy. Various factors can contribute to the development of kidney disease in cats, including age, genetics, diet, and exposure to toxins.

However, by scheduling routine visits with a veterinarian, conducting regular blood tests, and providing a balanced diet low in phosphorus and high in moisture, we can delay or prevent kidney disease from occurring. Early detection is key when it comes to managing kidney disease in cats.

Treatment options may include dietary changes, injections, fluid therapy or even dialysis or transplantation for severe cases. By taking these steps and being vigilant about our cat’s health needs, we can improve their quality of life significantly.