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Chronic Renal Failure

Chronic Renal Failure

Renal failure is caused when the kidneys fail to eliminate waste products from the blood causing a accumulation of toxins. This is a condition that is common in cats. There are two types of renal failure chronic and acute.

Chronic renal failure (CRF), sometimes referred to as kidney disease, occurs when there is long-standing, irreversible kidney damage that impairs the kidney’s ability to filter and remove waste products from the blood. It is a progressive condition that can continue for months or even years without detection.

Chronic renal failure develops gradually and can cause severe damage that prevents the kidneys from functioning properly. In the early stages, no symptoms can be detected, however in later stages you may notice your cat drinking and urinating more frequently. As the disease progresses, symptoms may include vomiting, depression, loss of appetite, weight loss, dehydration, mouth sores, and diarrhea. Chronic renal failure is one of the most common forms of kidney failure and one of the major causes of illness and death in older cats.

Acute renal failure affects cats of all ages but is more prevalent in younger cats. Causes include kidney disease, kidney trauma, congenital disorders, cancer, infections, leptospirosis, lyme disease, and poisoning caused by the ingestion of toxins that attack the kidneys, such as antifreeze and poisonous plants. Low blood pressure, low blood volume, heart failure, and certain medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories and drugs used to treat cats with heart disease, have also been linked to renal failure. Diseases that cause the build-up of toxic chemicals can also affect kidney function.


  • increased water intake
  • frequent urination
  • poor appetite
  • weight loss
  • depression
  • sores in the mouth
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • lethargy

Additional Support

Never attempt to self-diagnose your cat. Visit your vet regularly and any time you notice changes that may indicate a problem or suggest an existing problem is getting worse. To help prevent renal failure, keep your cat away from poisons including antifreeze (ethylene glycol), aspirin, grapes, and raisins.

Feeding your cat a high-quality, well-balanced diet will also help keep your cat's kidneys functioning properly and help avoid health issues, including renal failure.

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