Cat Kidney Disease: Symptoms & Stages

Cat Kidney Disease: Symptoms & Stages
Joseph Menicucci
Joseph Menicucci


Is there a chance your cat could have kidney disease? Would you know how to recognize it if so? What are the most common symptoms and stages of kidney disease in cats?


In the article below, we’ll help you answer all these questions and more. You’ll find out details about the common symptoms associated with kidney disease in cats, and you’ll learn more about each stage of this condition as well. By the time you finish reading, you should be ready to take your cat to the vet for more specific, individualized information.

Sick cat cuddling by window



Stage One of Cat Kidney Disease

In stage one kidney disease, cats may still be very good at hiding their symptoms. Pet owners may not recognize problems in their cats at this point, simply because the cat is not willing to show that she is feeling unwell. Unless you are very in-tune with your cat’s behavioral and health changes, it may be difficult to catch kidney disease at this early stage.


Symptoms of stage one kidney disease in cats include:


  • Lethargy: Lethargy is a symptom of a variety of health problems in cats. However, it is also associated with kidney disease.
  • Weakness: Cats who are sick with kidney disease may grow weaker, especially if they are less interested in food or water along with the illness.
  • Loss of appetite: A loss of appetite comes along with the pain and general sick feelings associated with kidney disease. If your cat has a loss of appetite that lasts more than a couple of days, take her to the vet to be checked out.



Stage Two of Cat Kidney Disease 

Many cat owners recognize signs and symptoms of kidney disease in cats by stage two. At this point, cats are typically quite sick and may have a variety of symptoms that indicate what’s going on. It is possible to manage these symptoms for some time with the help of your vet, but you must take your cat in for diagnosis as soon as possible.


Symptoms of stage two kidney disease in cats include:


  • Foul breath: A foul smell on the cat’s breath, similar to the smell of rotting fruit, is commonly associated with mid-stage kidney disease. This smell can also be attributed to diabetes and liver disease, and it is almost always a sign something serious is wrong.
  • Vomiting: Vomiting, with or without blood present, may be a sign of kidney disease in cats. If your cat vomits once or twice and seems fine, then she likely doesn’t have kidney disease; vomiting with kidney disease is very frequent.
  • Diarrhea: Diarrhea may also occur and can be a symptom with or without blood. It may occur almost every time your cat goes to the bathroom.
  • Excess thirst and urination: Cats with mid-stage kidney disease are typically very thirsty and may urinate frequently as well. At this point, cats may have trouble making it to the litter box when they need to urinate.



Stage Three of Cat Kidney Disease

Stage three, or late-stage kidney disease, is near the end of the cat’s life. Most pet owners understand that their cats are dealing with kidney disease by this point, as the cat is likely to be extremely sick. You can work with your vet to help keep your cat comfortable and as pain-free as possible during the last part of her life.


Symptoms of stage three kidney disease in cats include:


  • Incontinence: Cats may no longer be able to control their bladder or bowels when dealing with late-stage kidney disease.
  • Hiding: As cats recognize they are nearing the end, they may become more prone to hiding away from human members of the family. This is common behavior in cats, regardless of the cause of death or severe illness.
  • Confusion: Kidney disease, especially in its more advanced stages, typically causes some confusion in cats. Cats may become aggressive when they never were before, or they may stop and stand in the middle of a room, seemingly unaware of their surroundings for a short time.
  • Loss of vision: In very late stages of kidney disease, cats may lose some or all of their vision. This symptom usually signifies that a cat is very close to death, and euthanasia may be the best solution at this point.

sick cat sleeping




As you can see, kidney disease can vary quite a bit from cat to cat. The condition is a very serious one that must be managed with the help of a trusted vet, but it can be difficult to recognize this illness in many cats, too.


By paying close attention to your cat’s symptoms, you can help increase your cat’s chances of living a happy life even with diagnosis of kidney disease. Your vet can give you more information about your specific cat’s needs based on her health history.



Related posts

  • Comprehensive Guide to Dog and Cat Nutrition and Exercise

    Comprehensive Guide to Dog and Cat Nutrition and Exercise

  • Step-by-Step Guide to Collecting a Fecal Sample from Your Pet Dog or Cat

    Step-by-Step Guide to Collecting a Fecal Sample from Your Pet Dog or Cat

  • Pet Wellness with EPIPAWS Age Test

  • Understanding and Managing Environmental Allergies in Pets

    Understanding and Managing Environmental Allergies in Pets