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Cats-Renal Insufficiency

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Lionne posted 6/28/2013 15:14 PM

My girl is about 15. When we found her she was about 3 lbs, already spayed and declawed, wet and cold. She hated the outdoors, loves to snuggle and purr.
She had a serious bladder infection last year and was not using the litter box. This year there were no signs of a problem until she just stopped being herself one day.

Fortunately, she responded to the antibiotics within 12 hours and began acting normally. She hadn't stopped eating or drinking at that point, but doesn't like the kidney diet, and now has lost a pound. She's coming around, though, she has an appetite and this is the only game in town. We have been giving her sub cutaneous fluid injections as well. This week, her bloodwork looks better, but apparently she still shows signs of renal failure, the vet isn't sure how much her kidneys will recover.

My question is, for those of you who have lived through this, what can I expect? I know this is ultimately deadly, but how soon and do they suffer? She isn't one to do well with a vet stay, and i don't want her to suffer, she's tolerated our ministrations well, so far, but, well, let me just say that, I know we all have to let go some time...but what can I expect for the next few months?

[This message edited by scaredyKat at 3:15 PM, June 28th (Friday)]

metamorphisis posted 6/28/2013 15:41 PM

I just had a cat with a urinary tract blockage. It was only partial. He went in for flushing by catheter, and we bought the special (very expensive) prescription food. A few weeks later he was still peeing outside of the box and there was very visible blood in his urine.

I did extensive research on my own and I will tell you what I have learned.

NO DRY FOOD. It is so bad for them . It causes stones, and dehydration and diabetes and urinary tract problems. They need need need more water and aren't natural water drinkers. I have one who will drink from the fountain but I never see the other one drink. So I switched to a grain free, low carb, high protein wet food. I even add water to it. And the problem is GONE. Now renal failure is a different set of circumstances and of course you should discuss anything of this nature with your vet but one thing I can recommend is to try to make sure she's getting as much water or moisture in her food as possible.
Cats can live a long time in renal failure from what I've read but obviously the best nutrition possible will help that.

Here is the resource that I came across. Hopefully it will be helpful to you and your kitty

[This message edited by SI Staff at 4:05 PM, June 28th (Friday)]

Lionne posted 6/28/2013 17:04 PM

I hear you. The thing is, she LOVES water. Plays in it, begs for drips from every sink and tub, loves to drink from little dishes I leave around the house, (to discourage her from messing in the plants) I worried about diabetes, but her sugar levels and the rest of the blood work is good.

Up to now, the dry food (I buy the premium) has kept her teeth in good shape, so that is a point in their favor. She just isn't even liking the canned version of the kidney diet.

But we will persist. She is an amazing friend, very friendly affectionate and attentive. Despite being rather old and feeling sick, she's been playful and funny, and her old self, amazingly tolerant as we hold her down to give her these sub-Q shots.

Pets are such a joy. I can't imagine being without one again.

Thanks for your information. I'm hopeful we can keep her healthy for awhile.

Nature_Girl posted 6/28/2013 17:22 PM

My furbaby developed kidney failure. I opted to treat it with a holistic vet at first, with periodic check-ins with our regular vet who referred us to the holistic vet. For almost a year she lived a mostly normal life with one pill a day of some herbal concoction, plus Pepcid, and 1x weekly subq's. The last five months were when she went downhill and we added in some meds from the regular vet (I forget what). I fed her whatever she wanted since lack of appetite is a big struggle with kidney failure.

Eventually, though, she was unable to control her urination, so she was smelly and I couldnt let her go freely around the house. She grew to resist the subq's, resisted the daily pill, and that's when I knew it was time. I didn't want to make the remaining days of her life a constant battle to medicate her.

Kajem posted 6/28/2013 20:50 PM

I expect to be looking at this in the not to distant future with my furbaby.

Thank you for the information.

I hope your furbaby is doing better.



woundedwidow posted 6/29/2013 08:42 AM

I've had two cats go into renal failure. One was 16, and the other 15 years old. The 16 yr. old would try to drink from the shower enclosure after we were done showering; the 15 yr. old would literally sit and HOWL at the toilet knowing that there was water inside. Neither had ever exhibited these behaviors previously. Both had plenty of clean water available and only ate quality canned food. I eventually had to euthanize both of them because they were obviously suffering. I wish your kitty all the best; you are taking such good care of her! ((Hugs))

Lionne posted 6/29/2013 09:04 AM

Thanks to all who replied. Lots of animal people here! Obviously, there are a lot of different ways for this to develop and progress...right now she is back to normal, telling at me because she doesn't like the food but eating it anyway. She came bounding up the stairs just now. If she falls asleep downstairs, she missed me, and jumps up in my lap, purring and kneading, happy to see me. Who said cats are aloof?
I'll just keep up what we are doing and enjoy her for a long as we can....

newnormal posted 6/29/2013 16:25 PM

Our kitty had a long journey down, almost a year. Food choices became a big issue of low protein vs quality of life. Once daily vs twice daily sq fluids. Frequent, expensive rehydration iv at the vet. I knew he was dying, but half our family wasn't ready to let this once in a lifetime type cat go. It was hard on us and him. In hindsight I wish we would have let him go sooner. Who were we doing all the needle sticks for, us or him?

The other fear we had was risk of seizures or other event that we weren't prepared to handle. In the end, none of the things you might read online happened. It was just a really slow process ending with that tough last ride to the vet for euthanasia.

Love on your kitty while he feels good.

ming56 posted 6/29/2013 17:50 PM

I feel for you. I have been a total cat person for over thirty years and recently went through the agonizing process of losing three very special friends in a period of 15 months. They were all strays or ferals that I invested huge amounts of time on, and money as they went downhill. Knowing they are declining and trying to balance doing what is right for them with the pull of your heartstrings is a long hard process.

One of my special friends who died last fall had feline AIDS and over the last few months struggled with appetite issues as his body slowly started to stop producing white blood cells. The vet suggested a product by Purina called FortiFlora that worked like a charm for a number of months. It is a powder that you sprinkle on their food once a day and can be purchased from your vet, but Amazon sells it at a reduced cost through various vendors. My guy loved it and reacted almost like some cats do with cat nip when I would open the packet. Good luck and hope your girl is able to maintain good health for some time yet. I am sure she will let you know when she does not want to go on enabling you to do the right thing by her when the time comes.

Lionne posted 6/30/2013 13:14 PM

Thanks, all! I will definitely ask the vet about the FortiFlora.

Hopefully, she'll stay well for a long time. And if not, I'll have the wisdom to realize when it's time to peacefully let her go.

Then, I'll find another stray who needs a loving home. Best friends I have ever had...

HopeFloats2272 posted 7/1/2013 22:36 PM

I'm sorry you and kitty are going through this...

I went through it with 1 cat and 1 dog and I was a vet tech way back when so I know exactly what you are going through.

Lots of times pets won't show signs of an illness until it has progressed to the point that of permanent damage to organs etc. It's a survival instinct; in the wild, if you show signs of weakness then you're going to get eaten. With kidney failure you can sometimes manage it for years with diet depending on the stage of kidney failure but more typical of dogs (they're easier to read than cats : )

I suspect your cats appetite is affected by dehydration. When they're dehydrated they don't want to eat, drink or even move. After sub-q fluids they feel great again. And so on... Eventually you get to a point of quality vs. quantity of life. For a 15 year old kitty, at this point, I think sub-q fluids are beneficial but would probably feed her anything she wanted. Of course, do whatever your Vet suggest but diet isn't likely going to have an impact on longevity. She's 15!!! That's awesome!!!

You'll go through some rough spots and think it's "time" and then she'll have a good day and you'll think "sh*t she's back to normal!" Then she'll have a bad advise would be (and a lot of people won't agree with me) that it is only a matter of time before she is only having bad days and to let her go when she's having a good moment. This also ensures that she doesn't suffer a seizure or some other physical injury while you aren't at home. For me, I just don't want them to be suffering for too long before I make that decision. It's tough. It sucks. My thoughts are with you.

Lionne posted 7/2/2013 22:04 PM

Wow, thanks again for all this. I did call the vet and she said go ahead with the dietary supplement.

And she continues to do well. She HAS just been diagnosed so there isn't any need to rush to make any decisions. She continues antibiotics for 5 more days and then we'll wait a week and do blood and urine tests. That will give us an idea of her kidney function.

She's eating better, the canned food is gradually becoming her favorite and hasn't lost any weight, still drinking the same amount of water (lots) Last night she did her usual hunting, dashing all over the house, window to window, probably spying a feral cat, then she gets her toys out of her basket and chases them all over, howling all the time. Fortunately, she does this around 11 and then comes up to bed.

She's a lot of fun, and I will be sad when she is too sick to go on, but eternally grateful for her presence in my life.

Nature_Girl posted 7/3/2013 01:52 AM

Take lots of pictures of her now, while she still looks healthy & like her normal, happy self.

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