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cat only has one kidney

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Okay, I've come to this forum from time to time, but never posted anything...

But yesterday my 9 month old kitten had to have surgery, and during surgery they discovered that she only has 1 kidney! I was wondering if this has happened to anyone else or if anyone has any diet/nutrition recommendations for me.

The only information I have really gotten is to make sure she gets an adequate supply of probiotics to keep her intestines healthy so she can eliminate waste efficiently, but I was wondering if there is anything else I should add to her diet to keep her kidney working the best it can! I haven't gotten to talk to my vet about it yet and hopefully she will have some info for me, but I am trying to cover all my bases.

Anything helps and I definately appreciate it! This baby (Isobel) we got right after we had to put one down who had an inoperable heart condition, and its very important for me to keep her in the best health possible.
post #2 of 13
Oh my, I have never heard of that! I'm sure others on this site can help you out.

My sweet Metallica had one kidney for nearly 6 months, but that was because of CRF. Her kidney failed and the vet pretty much told us that cats are like humans and can live with one kidney.

Don't quote me, but I think if you help your kitty with medicines or whatever the vet tells you I think your kitty could live a long and happy life.
post #3 of 13
Make sure that she is given plenty of fluids and put on a wet food diet. Kibble is bad, bad and more bad for the kidneys. Also make sure that the food is low in phosphors. Don't buy low grade grocery store brands with 'by-products' and 'meal' listed in the ingredients. Products that contain them are low grade and may lead to more kidney problems in the future.

Diet is very important for your kitten to live a long healthy life.
post #4 of 13
I would ask your vet and I would also learn more about chronic renal failure - learn how it's detected, what the associated health issues are, how it's treated re diet and more. You can learn a lot about supporting kidney function I think by understanding what happens when little function is left.

My favorite site is:, and I'd suggest you read over the top messages especially in the stickied thread at the top of this forum on crf.

I would def. encourage water consumption (a pet fountain works well for some kitties), and consider a wet food diet that is of the best quality you can afford.

I would ask your vet if he or she feels checking kidney function is something to do yearly, and I'd ask if you need bother with watching the phosphorous content at this point (young cat, normal kidney). If they say no, you could still choose from the lower range of phos content in what foods are out there (the link to jmpeerson's food lists in the stickied thread, will give you an extensive list of canned foods and the stats for those foods re fiber, protein, phosphorous content etc.)
post #5 of 13
I'm sure that cats, like people, can live just fine with only one kidney. I do agree that keeping your kitten on an exclusively canned diet would be beneficial to maintaining good renal health. I would also talk to your vet about setting up a yearly schedule to do bloodwork to monitor renal function. This can be done by a simple blood test. If your kitty's blood work comes back within normal limits, you shouldn't have to do anything. But yearly bloodwork would let you know quickly if anything starts to go wrong, before visible symptoms begin to show. Like others have suggested, I would also provide lots of fresh water, to encourage good water consumption, which will also help maintain renal health. Pet fountains are an excellent way of doing this. Hopefully, kidney problems will never be in your kitty's future. I will certainly keep you and Isobel in my prayers.
post #6 of 13
Melody only has one kidney-but that was due to a spay gone wrong. I am curious-what breed is your kitty? The reason I am asking is because the last vet I worked for had a Ragdoll breeder that was our number 1 client and we started noticing that when we spayed the females that some only had one kidney(they also then would have only 1 uterine horn). I was just curious if maybe yours could be part ragdoll as this seems to be a problem with the breed. Melody had her kidney removed over 3 years ago and has been better than ever-I feed her a diet of both canned and dry food and I don't give her a thing, no food additives or medicine. I have yearly bloodwork run to keep an eye out for any signs of trouble, but my vet said she can live a long and healthy life. I will keep your kitty in my thoughts for a speedy recovery from his/her surgery-by the way what was the surgery for???
post #7 of 13
The other s covered what I would say .. Cept Foods with named meat meals are very good and youll find them in 90% of premium foods ...

Hydration will be extremely important for your kitty
post #8 of 13
Its called Renal aplasia... its not common, but it does happen. Its a congenital defect where the second kidney just doesn't form. Luckily, all mammals are born with a huge excess of renal tissue, and as long as you and your vet are very careful with that one remaining kidney (we call it "save the nephron club" in vet school) your cat should live a normal healthy life. Make sure every vet you ever see knows your cat only has one kidney, as many drugs are hard on kidneys. Keep your kitty on a healthy diet, and a canned diet would be an excellent choice as plenty of fluids will help those nephrons work efficiently. I would also suggest getting a kitty water fountain, and keeping it meticulously clean as this will encourage your cat to drink the maximum amount of water. Read the threads on renal failure, because most management techniques for renal failure are not to stop the disease, but to make the remaining healthy nephrons last as long as possible.

It is possible that the other kidney is also malformed, called renal dysplasia, but I think that is more of a dog thing than a cat thing. Ask your vet what they think, they may have to do some reading too.
post #9 of 13

Took "64" to get spayed last week, she's about 5 months old, she has one kidney and had one ovary...I too have one kidney.....we are meant to be....I love this little girl more and more and I know how much she needed us to find her out on the interstate so many months ago....I will do everything in my power to make sure this little kitty has a great life. She has bought nothing but joy to ours....*



post #10 of 13

Please would you say which foods are the best for a kitten / cat with one kidney? my Ragdoll kitten (amazed to discover here that it is not uncommon in this breed!) has been in the vets for 10 days, he nearly died but now seems to be improving. But he has terrible diarrhoea – probably due to the drugs in the drip – and can't leave until it's better.

Elsewhere on this forum cats with diarrhoea problems improve with Purina Naturals. I just want to give him the best to keep him alive and healthy.

Fresh meat, perhaps?

Thanks for any help – he's not safe yet...

post #11 of 13
So I found this post and I thought I'd pose another question... My friends cat is being fed a high fiber diet due to the fact that he only has one kidney. She said it was vet recommended; but my issue is that it is a vegetarian diet. Is it ever possible to feed a cat a vegetarian diet for that? He is acting and seems very healthy. He's playing all the time and he's fully grown, and he seems so healthy.
post #12 of 13

Frankly, that sounds crazy to me. Neither vegetarian diets nor high-fiber diets are generally good for cats, and I can't imagine what the vet is trying to accomplish by doing that. Why would having only one kidney require a higher fiber diet? 


Plant based proteins are harder on a cat's kidneys than meat - they are made to deal with animal based proteins. This sounds like a recipe for disaster for a cat that already has only one.

post #13 of 13
Ugh so I have a three year old black cat named Jackie. My mom found him outside on a hot day while visiting Louisiana. He was just a tiny kitten and the owner was moving and leaving him behind. Horrified, my mom grabbed him and brought him home to VA.

He has always consumed insane amounts of water and I was afraid he was diabetic. One day he started vomiting green foam and was lethargic. The emergency vet said he had renal failure and wanted to put him to sleep.

My mom went the next day to put him down and surprise, he wasn't going down that easy! He meows for a drink and was walking around. Mom took him home.

Long story, but an ultrasound has shown he has one kidney. The other is shriveled up which she says is probably a birth defect. He is an outside kitty and I worry perhaps he got into something? The vet put him on a low phosphorus kidney diet but he won't eat the wet food or the dry. We also give him IV fluids under the skin almost every day. He keeps bringing in and eating rats.

We got him a fountain but he still meows for the sink. He only eats this special food that is mackerel and pumpkin.

Sorry for the long story but I am so worried his weight is declining rapidly even though he is energetic and has an appetite. And I have a Ragdoll kitten and I hope he doesn't have this problem.
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