covers miscellaneous symptoms which you may see in a CKD cat.
complete list of CKD symptoms, or to look up a symptom which is bothering
you, please see the
and Treatments, where all the symptom are listed alphabetically,
with quick links to each individual symptom and appropriate treatment
relatively common for CKD cats to hide, perhaps in a cupboard or under a
bed, or somewhere up high. This is because the cat does not feel well - it
is instinctive for cats to hide when they feel ill so as to minimise the
risk of attacks by predators. As your cat improves with treatment, you
should find s/he will hide less, though a CKD cat may always require more
rest and peace than a healthy cat.
to be aware of is that some cats may take this a step further and go away
from home to hide. Therefore if you usually let your cat go outdoors, I
would be careful or perhaps restrict access until you know your cat is
stable once again.
Seeking You Out
some cats will seek you out, and want to snuggle more. This may even
happen with cats who previously were somewhat stand-offish. This may
simply be because the cat does not feel well and wants you close for
comfort and reassurance.
I am often
asked if CKD cats are in pain. No, the typical CKD cat is not in pain.
Some of the symptoms of CKD can be uncomfortable, e.g. dehydration is
often described as feeling like a hangover, but they are not painful, and
in most cases are easily treatable.
situations a CKD cat may be experiencing pain e.g. from toothache or a
kidney infection or when passing a
kidney stone, or if s/he is having trouble breathing. Again, most
painful conditions can be treated.
are in pain or discomfort are unfortunately very good at hiding it (this
is instinct, in order to protect them from predators). One possible
symptom is restlessness, moving around from one spot to the other.
However, there are a number of other possible causes for
don't panic if you see this symptom.
Vet Click has a pain score chart which in
intended for post-surgery use by vets, but which may also be helpful for
knows that cats purr when they are content or happy. However, fewer people
realise that a purr is not automatically a good sign, because cats may
also purr when they are in discomfort or pain. Some years ago, a cat was
run over by a car in front of my eyes. I ran to the cat and rescued it
from the road but s/he died in my arms within a minute or two - the cat
purred the entire time.
The precise mechanism of purring is not known, but
it is thought to produce endorphins or "feel good" hormones in a cat, and,
in the case of a cat in pain, this may help the cat cope with the pain, or
comfort the cat in some way.
your cat's purr develops a rattle, this can sometimes indicate
So please do not assume that your cat must be well simply because s/he is
Animal Voice discusses whether the purr helps in some way with
Increase in Appetite (Polyphagia)
this is incredibly rare in a CKD cat! If you see it, it most likely is
caused by hyperthyroidism.
Some cats with diabetes
may also have an increased appetite. Alternatively, a cat who has had a
will often feel suddenly very hungry afterwards.
Anagen effluvium in chronic renal failure
(2001) Suwanwalaikorn S, Sivayathorn A, Chiba M, Vareesangthip K, Manonukul J,
Tsuboi R & Ogawa H, Presentation to the European Hair Research Society
Conference 2001, found that the sudden loss
of hair is not unknown in human CKD patients. In all cases, no specific
reason was found but the hair grew back without treatment. The same may
apply to cats, but please also see alopecia below. Sometimes cats will
develop hair loss at the site of subcutaneous fluids; this is not
normally of concern.
food allergies may also lose their hair.
One of our cats, Harpsie, had food allergies, and lost the fur around his
neck in a ring, like a collar. He also lost fur in other areas. You can read more about
reflects the general loss of condition of a CKD cat, and is also
dehydration. The body is
fighting a tough battle with CKD and concentrates its efforts on its more
critical functions; a glossy coat is not one of them. Occasionally spiky fur may indicate a lack of
essential fatty acids, or may be a symptom of
low protein diet may sometimes have this problem.
Coat Colour Change
If you look at the photograph of Thomas on the homepage, you'll notice his
back looks brown rather than black like his head and face. This is partly
because the photograph was taken in the summer, when Thomas loved
sunbathing, which seemed to turn his black coat brown. This is relatively
common in black cats, and is known as "rusting". However, his coat
also changed colour in winter when he was first diagnosed. My vet told me
this often happens to dark-haired cats when they are ill - the body has
more important things to focus on than the cat's coat.
Getting the CKD under control should help with this problem - it did help
Low protein diets may also be a factor in coat colour change, because
tyrosine, an amino acid, is important for the production of coat colour,
but low protein diets contain less tyrosine than normal diets.
The carnivore connection to nutrition in cats
(2002) Zoran D
Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 221
pp1559-67 explains more about
this (see page 3). The addition of tyrosine to the diet may help, but this is not essential, and should not be
done without your vet's approval. See also
Dull coat/dandruff/spiky fur.
If your cat has any Siamese genes, the points may darken as a cat ages.
The coat colour of Siamese and Himalayans (colourpoint Persians) is
actually determined by temperature changes. As cats age, their circulation
often worsens, so their extremities become cooler and their points get
darker. However, sick cats with Siamese genes who have a raised
temperature (e.g. because of an infection) may actually develop lighter
colour fur. In either case, it is normally nothing to worry about.