This question actually a lot more involved then what some may think. Kidney disease is one of the most common diseases in senior cats, it is estimated that 80% of cats over 15 will develop kidney disease. It’s most common in cats 10-15 years of age. What have we learned from all of the cats who have developed kidney disease? The most common symptoms are no symptoms at all! It’s only when the kidney disease becomes advanced that we will actually start to see symptoms. How advanced? Cats have to lose over 66% of their kidneys and that can take a long time.
Most cats are diagnosed with kidney disease on routine senior blood work – which one of the reasons why I recommend blood work yearly for all older cats. The good news is that, if it is caught early, we have a great prognosis for managing the kidney disease and giving your cat a wonderful quality of life.
Now, I want to answer the question of what symptoms you will see if you have a cat with advanced kidney disease. Most often, the first symptom is you will notice is an increase in water intake and urine output. Monitor your cat’s litter box regularly. If you start to see increased amounts of clumps or much larger clumps that could be a sign of kidney disease. As things progress, new symptoms will include weight loss, lethargic, loss of appetite, and being withdrawn.
I will say this in closing: if you think your cat isn’t acting right then take them to the vet to get them checked out. Remember, you know your pets better than anyone…trust that gut instinct!