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kidney problem

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
My poor Furball, a Persian I rescued a little over two years ago, is sick. I am not sure of his exact age, but he is estimated to be around 6 years old. I noticed that he was going to the bathroom outside of his litter box, he wasn't eating much, and he wasn't drinking as much water as usual. Also, he wouldn't play, even with catnip, and he no longer greeted people at the door. This has been going on for about a week or so. Furball's regular vet comes to us, but when I called her, she said she thought he needed bloodwork done and recommended a clinic. I took him in there today and this vet, seeing him for the first time, felt around on him and said there was something really wrong with his left kidney. She thinks it's a tumor. Urine tests didn't show much, the blood work results should be in tomorrow. She wants to open him up for surgery if he is stable enough to do so. Should I seek another vet opinion before allowing this? Can't they do an ultrasound or x-ray or something to have a better idea of what is going on first? I'm scared to death. I've been crying all day. Can someone please give some advice?
post #2 of 31
The bloodwork is going to tell you quite a bit all by itself. Surgery would NOT be my first choice for looking at the kidney. The best way to have a look is ultrasound. Since you have started with this vet, I would mention the ultrasound and see what the response is. If you don't feel comfortable with the answer, I would get a copy of the bloodwork and urinalysis and seek another oppinion.
Don't get too worked up just yet. Although Kidney disease of any form is hard, most of the time it's managable enough to give you some quality time with them.
post #3 of 31
Thread Starter 
The results from the blood test indicate that the kidneys are not fuctioning properly. We have an appointment for tomorrow morning with a different vet to do the ultrasound on him. He is currently taking antibiotics. Also, it was mentioned today about the possibility of taking him to the university for their specialists. We bought special cat food for the kidneys, but Furball is not interested in it. He has lost two pounds since the last time he was weighed, which was July of last year. He seems to be feeling okay today, and he is very social and loving and playful. One other thing, his front leg is really swollen. We have no idea why. So I guess my questions would be: what would cause the leg swelling, would it be kidney related or something else? Do you think that the university specialists would be able to save him? Do you have any suggestions for getting him to eat and drink more? (They gave him fluids under the skin yesterday and today to help him feel better.) My last question, assuming this is the worst case scenario, how much longer do we have? Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Furball is my baby, and my husband and I love him dearly. This is breaking our hearts. Please help.
post #4 of 31
I don't have anything to add except that I hope poor Furball feels better soon, it might help to do a forum search on kidney problems to see if anyone else has had a similar experience.
post #5 of 31
I wish that there was a way to tell how long they can go with Kidney disease. As with people, they manage it the best they can by treating the symptoms. The ultrasound is going to also give the Dr's a better idea of the situation by looking at the size of each kidney.
The swelling in the leg could be unrelated, but it could be that was where they drew the blood, or possible high blood pressure.
One of the things you can ask your vet about is Cyproheptadine, it's an antihystamine, but it's used in cats to stimulate the appetite. Depending on his Phosphorus levels, if they are high, it can make them sick to their stomachs, so you need to get him on a phosphorous binder to help with that.
One of the best websites I have found is :
I really hope all of this turns out well for you guys. It very tough having a kitty with kidney problems
post #6 of 31
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much for your kind words and suggestions. That website looks very helpful, thank you. I'm so torn up about this. I'm also feeling horrible for the times I was too busy to cuddle with Furball when he wanted to cuddle. When he would jump on my lap while I was on the computer and I would move him because I was too busy. Or the times when he wanted to play, and I was too tired or busy. My heart is breaking.

I have the abnormalities of Furball's blood work in front of me, if anyone could help me understand it a bit better. BUN 112; Creatinine 4.7; Potassium 5.2; Phosphorus 12.7; ALBG 2.5; Cholesterol 165; Red Blood Ct 4.66; Hemoglobin 7.0; Hematocrit 22.7; NEUT 24; LYMPH 17. I know these are the abnormal numbers, but I don't really understand much about what it means.

Thanks again for helping me through this very difficult time.
post #7 of 31
So sorry about furball.
Glad you are having an ultrasound done- enlarged kidneys in an older Persian could mean polycystic kidneys (which one of my Persians has)
I think taking him to a University Specialist would be a good idea- taking mine to a Specialist cost a bit- but at least they didn't mind me (or my vet) ringing them afterwards with questions.
http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/in.../bc/230100.htm has the normal values for blood test- click on biochemical table- but all laboratories have slightly different normal ranges.
Can't answer your other questions- but my thoughts are with you and Furball
Best wishes
post #8 of 31
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much for all your kind words and suggestions. The websites that have been suggested to me have been very informative. Furball has his appointment in just a few hours for his ultrasound. I keep praying to God for a miracle. My baby is only 6 years old! I know others feel the way that I do. I just feel so heartbroken.
post #9 of 31
Thread Starter 
Furball had his ultrasound today. He has polycystic kidney disease, common in Persians I've learned in the past few days. The ultrasound showed that both of his kidneys are affected. The left one is very enlarged and has a massive cyst on it, which they can't do anything about. They gave me the things I needed to start him on sub-q once a day, 100. They gave him a Procrit shot for anemia, and gave me two more needles to give him the shots myself this week. We will take him back one week from today for another round of blood work to see how those numbers look.

So it looks like we can do what we can to make him happy, and keep him feeling good. Everyone says how you know when they are done fighting and when they want to die. I hope so, because I would hate to see him suffer. They really didn't give me any sort of a timeline, just said that some don't make it more than a couple of months, while others last for a couple of years. I'm praying for as much time as possible.

The only other thing that I am aware of to consider would be a kidney transplant. The nearest university with those capabilities would be somewhere in Wisconsin (we live 3 hours south of Chicago). Has anyone had any experience with transplants? It looked like they had an 80-90% success rate. It could give him a normal healthy life for a lot longer than he would otherwise live. If anyone has any information on this (good or bad), I would like to hear it.

Thanks again for you kindness.
post #10 of 31
I really don't have any information on the transplants, other than most people opt not to do it because of the cost, and it's not available everywhere.
I really do wish you guys the best. I know first hand how hard it is to go through kidney failure of any kind. I have not had to say goodbye to my girl yet, but keeping her symptoms at bay is worth it, and I know she will let me know when it's time. No matter which way things progress, just enjoy every minute you have together
post #11 of 31
Was the surgical specialist in Wisconsin by chance Surgical Options, LLC in Madison Wisconsin? Don't worry, I haven't heard anything good or bad about them....they may (depending on funds) be perfoming a surgery for one of the cats at my local cat rescue. He has a hernia on his right side caused by a serious injury. He had surgery to try to repair it, but the mesh wouldn't hold, and needs a special kind of mesh.....this surgery is estimated to cost between $1400 - $1800....it's pretty costly, but we all love Kit Kat at the rescue....he's VERY sweet and quite the little chatterbox. I'm just warning you that a transplant may be quite costly, but you need to do what is best for your situation. In any case, it sounds like Furball has a good home and a mommy who loves him very much. I'll keep him in my thoughts. Don't forget to update us.
post #12 of 31
Sympathies- having a cat with PKD I can understand how you feel but I am very lucky that my also adopted cat is 10 and blood tests are still just OK.
I've had a lot of time to think about what I will do when her kidneys start to fail- at the time of diagnosis 2 years ago I was told it could be weeks or years.
I wouldn't put my cat through a transplant- apart from the surgery there is daily medications for the rest of the cats life.
There is also the donor cat to think of- I understand you will be expected to give that cat a home.
2 years ago when I was very upset about the diagnosis I posted on another site- was sent a wonderful PM by a Persian breeder telling me it was not a painful end- to just spoil her rotten and spend my money on treats instead of vets.
A good site to find out about the PKD is
There is also a support email list connected to that site

My advice is read everything you can find- and make the decision that you feel comfortable with.
best wishes
post #13 of 31
I'm sorry you didn't get better news about furball. But at least you know what you're both fighting now, I hope you have many happy years left ahead of you, just spoil furball rotten, as people on this site have said many times before, he will let you know when it's time to let him go.
post #14 of 31
Thread Starter 
We are not sure about the transplant idea. We are leaning towards just giving him all we can here in the time that he has left. The stress of a 5 hour car ride (to the University of Wisconsin) would be bad enough, but then just leaving him there for weeks...he would be scared to death, thinking we abandoned him. I don't want him to feel scared. Also, I am terrified that if we went that route, that he would die there, scared and without even his loved ones there to comfort him. I would hate myself forever. It is probably best for him to stay at home getting sub-q treatments and whatever else we need to do for him to keep him as healthy as possible for as long as possible. He seems very healthy now, he's playing and wanting to go outside to sit on the back patio in the sunshine with me. He's even eating some of his kidney food with a little encouragement from me.

I feel so guilty. There are so many things I should have done, or should not have done. There were times where Furball would jump up on me when I was on the computer and I would set him off me, because I was too busy, and he would just keep trying about a half dozen times till he gave up and went away. There were times where I got up late and had just a minute to check my email, and he would jump on me as soon as I hopped on the computer, but then I would be done in a minute and set him down to rush off. There were times when he wanted to play so badly and I was too busy getting ready for work or going to bed. There were times he wanted to claim a little cubbyhole, and I wouldn't move stuff out of there for him. There were times where he wanted to go outside so we could sit on the back patio in the sunshine together, and I was just too busy. I didn't brush him every day the way I should have, got too busy with heavy overtime, got out of the habit, and he got matts in his fur, which never completely got out. I gave him treats when I first got him while he was learning to use the litter box, then after that he very rarely got treats anymore. I should have given him treats for being so wonderful. There was a couple of days that I intentionally ignored him, because he was in the habit of not wanting affection from me, so I just withheld it for a couple of days so he would want it again. There were times where I was mean to him, we would sing and dance, and he would be mad and growl. Or when the teddy bear would get him. I feel like a horrible person. I know I love him, and I know he loves me, and I know that we gave him a good home. It's just that now that it's so close to the end I'm so sorry for all those little times and moments that we should have had and didn't, because of ME! I know he's happy, and that's what matters. I feel so guilty also because, why didn't I see this coming? He lost TWO pounds in the course of months, and I didn't even notice until the other day. He was only 10 pounds to start with. He lost 20% of his body weight and I didn't even notice! I am so ashamed. For several days before we figured out something was wrong, he was withdrawn, not leaving his favorite cubbyhole, even to greet us or anyone else at the door like he always does. I just thought he was being lazy, I should have known. All those times Furball wanted to snuggle in bed and I would end up moving him behind my pillow because he was inching me and Sean both off the bed, why didn't I just stay still and cuddle? When it was really heavy overtime at work, and I would get up, go to work, come home, shower, go to bed. Sure, I fed and watered him, but that was about it. He didn't get all the love and attention he deserved, because I was too tired! Even on my one day a week off work, busy busy busy, far too busy to pay attention to my baby.

I didn't even know there was anything missing in my life until he came along. I love him dearly. I'm totally falling apart. Sean keeps telling me to stop beating myself up, that Furball is happy and loves us and we were good parents to him. But I just can't stop. I have never felt so terrible in my entire life. This is the worst thing that has ever happened to me in my life, the second worst thing being the biospy experience I went through. This wins the worst. I am totally heartbroken. Furball is so wonderful, keeps such good company, snuggles when cold, wakes us up when we hit snooze on the alarm clock, makes us see the sunshine, makes us laugh all the time, gives us kisses with his little tiny scrunched in nose so he is so close his whiskers are on each side of our face tickling our cheeks, uses his paws to paw at our face when he is happy and content and being held and loved. He means so much to me, to us. I can't imagine life without him. This has me devastated. I know I will absolutely make sure he gets what he wants, whether it be love, affection, attention, playing, or going outside to sit on the back patio with us in the sunshine. If I have to get up a few hours early, go to bed an hour later every night, who cares? It's just so terribly sad that it took the realization that he is dying to make an extra effort to be good to him. I should have just done it all along. I will treasure every single moment that we have left together...hopefully we will have years of wonderful moments together.

Thanks for listening.
post #15 of 31
Please don't feel guilty
I'm sure we all feel at times we are not giving our cats enough attention- I know I do.
I'm sure I'm not the only one who cried reading your post- and I'm sure a lot of owners who learn their cats are sick feel the same way.
I've read your posts and thought what a lucky cat to have had some one like you rescue him and love him. He also sounds really special.
Hope you have a lot more time together.
Would love to see a picture of your Furball
((Hugs)) and sympathies
post #16 of 31
You shouldn't beat yourself up over this. The fact that you're feeling so bad speaks volumes about how much you care about Furball, he doesn't love you any less because you were busy sometimes, but he will love you all the more for every cuddle & scritch.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who cried reading your post
Count me in. I'm off to give my Jeep Jeep a cuddle (if she'll let me).
post #17 of 31
So sorry about your babe being poorly. I can only tell you about my experience with kidney disease. Hercules was not a persian, he was a moggy. When he was very young (2 or 3) he had a stroke which was how we found out he had kidney disease they told me he would last for one year. He died at over 17 years old. He was on constant medication and special renal diet but it did keep it at bay. I hope the same happens for your.
post #18 of 31
Originally posted by loverly7
This has me devastated. I know I will absolutely make sure he gets what he wants, whether it be love, affection, attention, playing, or going outside to sit on the back patio with us in the sunshine. If I have to get up a few hours early, go to bed an hour later every night, who cares? It's just so terribly sad that it took the realization that he is dying to make an extra effort to be good to him. I should have just done it all along. I will treasure every single moment that we have left together...hopefully we will have years of wonderful moments together.
I have been following this thread and I agree with what others here have said, don't beat yourself up over this. Cats are very good at hiding signs that they are sick or in pain, and it's their instincts for survival that cause them to do this. Also, cats with kidney disease don't show any clinical symptoms during the early stages of the disease. Many people don't realize their cat is ill until the disease has become advanced.

He seems very healthy now, he's playing and wanting to go outside to sit on the back patio in the sunshine with me. He's even eating some of his kidney food with a little encouragement from me.
Eating a strict diet of only k/d would be to Furball's advantage since this food is formulated to help take the strain off a cat's kidneys, and it can even help stop the progress of the disease, at least in the early stages. As far as I know there are several different brands of k/d, so if Furball doesn't like the brand you are feeding him now, you might want to ask the vet if he has any sample packages of the others you could try.

My cat Snowball was only 10 years old when he was diagnosed with early kidney disease 2 1/2 years ago. Finding out about this was a shock for me at first too, but thanks to a strict diet of k/d, the progression of Snowball's disease has been stopped for now, and he is doing great.
post #19 of 31
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much for all he support and encouragement I have received here. I am so grateful to have others who understand. I tried to post some pictures on here, but they wouldn't upload right. Pictures of Furball can be viewed at: http://community.webshots.com/user/loverly7100 Just click on the Furball link and all sorts of pictures will pop up.

I also have another question. We took Furball in originally because he suddenly stopped using his litter box. His white blood cell counts are fine, so there is no infection. So why is he going outside of his litter box, a few feet away from it? I'm not worried about cleaning up a mess or anything like that, I was just wondering if this was a common problem with CRF kitties?

Thanks again for all your support.
post #20 of 31
He's gorgeous!
Thanks for sharing.
Furball looks like a much loved happy cat.
Not an expert but my understanding is that it is not uncommon for a cat to go outside the litterbox when they are sick.
The first sign that my childhood cat was sick was when she peed on carpet- the first time she'd done that in 15 years- she had hidden her illness very well up until then.
Bibby has peed just outside the box a couple of times when she hasn't been well
Best wishes
post #21 of 31
Just been looking at Furball's photos. He is beautiful. When Hercules had to change to renal support diet he didn't like it either and I was worried to death that he would starve. The vet said I had to perservere (sp) and definitely not give him any other food at all as it would make him very ill as his kidneys would not be able to cope with it. He said that if Hercules realised this was all he was going to get he would eventually eat it. And he was right after a few days he ate it no problem. Good luck with it all How is Furball now?
post #22 of 31
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for your comfort and support. We have got Furball eating mostly on his k/d food. We are still working on it, but having more success than I thought we would. Also, we weighed him at home and he is now up to 8.5 pounds. He had dropped to 7.5 pounds a week ago. His weight when he was perfectly healthy was 10 pounds. We are trying to get him back up to that weight again.

Sadly I have to return to work today, which scares me to death. I have been able to coax Furball to eat and drink throughout the day for the past week, and with going back to work he will have to do that on his own for 9 hours a day. If the overtime kicks up again it will be for 13 hours a day. Also, I work with a lot of people who do not even understand the bonds between people (marriage), let alone the bonds between a person and their pet. I am just not in the mood to deal with those insensitive people and their comments.

Say a prayer for us that Furball eats and drinks on his own through the day, even without us here to coax him. We take him back to the vet early on Thursday morning. Hopefully we will get some good news.
post #23 of 31
Originally posted by loverly7
Also, I work with a lot of people who do not even understand the bonds between people (marriage), let alone the bonds between a person and their pet. I am just not in the mood to deal with those insensitive people and their comments.
I know what you mean...
This board is filled with friendly helpful people. Please continue to talk to us about Furball whenever you need to. We understand, and there is usually someone here any time of the day or night.
post #24 of 31
Furball is such a beautiful baby, such beautiful pictures. But as the others said, don't beat yourself up about not spending more time with him. Our lives are sometimes so hectic (and yours sounds really hectic); we have to work if we want to at least eat, let alone have a roof over out head. And we get tired. Guilt is a natural reaction to a situation like this.

When my beloved bird died, I felt so incredibly guilty. Birds also hide their illnesses very well, until they're too sick to anymore. I spent alot of time with him but there were times he would scream and I'd have to leave because I'd get a headache and had to do other things. I always thought, I'll spend time with him later. And he was alone all day, I had to work, there was nothing I could do. When he showed his illness and had to be euthanized (he was old and could not be helped), I beat myself up big time for months. But I learned something from him - that I would not do that to my next pet.

I got my cat Candy and spend alot of time with her, she's needy and doesn't like to be alone. When she wants to play, I almost always do, even when I'm tired. When I'm tired in the morning, I'll usually get up to feed her when it's too early. I don't ever want to feel that guilt again. And I realize that she is so important to me that most of the time I don't mind too much.

I gave my bird a very good life, much better than he had with his former owner, and don't feel too guilty anymore, I know he would not want me to feel that way. Furball would not want you to feel that way either, you gave him a very good life. Just spoil him rotten now, hopefully for many more years.

I don't think you'll find many people in your day to day life who feel the the same way we do about our pets, I haven't. It's their loss. But you can find comfort on this site.

Jill and Candy
post #25 of 31
Thread Starter 
Thank you all so much for your support. It makes me feel so much better to have people to talk to that truly understand. I cannot begin to tell you how many people have had the audacity to say "So? Go get another cat." People like that don't deserve an animal's love! There are a grand total of 3 people I have encountered at work who understand. (To give you an idea of the size of the place I work, there are currently 1,800 employees.)

Furball's medicine came in today. We went to pick up Transdermal Tagumet. I believe this is supposed to prevent ulcers in the tummy, something to do with the ph level of the urine? Has anyone had any experiences with this?The transdermal just means that we rub the medicine in his ear to absorb into his system, instead of fighting to get a pill in him.

Also, I have noticed he seems to be having trouble jumping onto one of his spots. Is this a sign of his back legs being weak? He has been only making about 3/4 of the jump, then needs help to get the rest of the way. He manages all other jumps fine, and he has no trouble with jumping onto our laps or going up or down the stairs. Just this one jump, and it isn't very high. We have moved one of our lower chairs over near this spot so he can jump on the chair, move up on the chair, then step onto his spot. We will be asking our vet about this on Thursday when we take him in. In the meantime, does anyone have any ideas or suggestions?

Thanks so much for all your help and support!
post #26 of 31
The medication is to prevent them from getting ulcers due to the high levels of phosphorus, and at the moment a few other things escaping me not being filtered through the kidneys.
Hopefully on exam the vet doesn't find anything wrong with his legs. My guess would be that he is just not feeling well, and it takes too much energy to get around like he used to.
post #27 of 31
Furballs photos are lovely. My sister had a peach coloured persian together with his little grey brother. When Oliver fell out of the window (ouch) he acted as if nothing has happened and she took him to the vet who said othingwas wrong. But in the end he had a broken jaw! He still ate and got around etc. I only say this to reassure you that cats, Persians especially are so loving and sweet that they do hide it very well when they are ill or in pain so there is nothing you could of done. You are doing the right thing now - thats what counts. Good luck.
If he is feeling tired it wont make him inclined to jump far. Nice idea to make it a 'stepped' jump for him.
post #28 of 31
Thread Starter 
I was ticked at the vet's office today. Somebody messed up and had Furball scheduled as a drop-off, so he didn't even get to see the vet today. They ran some tests, but no exam. I understand that mistakes happen, but not to my Furball! Anyways, I have the test results here if anyone has any suggestions for me:

BUN 78
Creatinine 4.1
Potassium 5.0
Chloride 117
Carbon Dioxide 24
Phosphorus 7.9
Total Protein 6.2
ALBG 2.4

CK 1760 (one week ago this number was only 91...HELP!)
Cholesterol 172

Urine Specific Gravity 1010

Blood Pressure 208/129 200/128 198/127 205/122 (they said this was slightly elevated, but it could have just been that he was stressed during the test)

We were told to up Furball's sub-q from 100 to 200 daily. We were also given 3 Procrit shots for the week to give him for anemia. For some reason, I didn't get a copy of the results involving the anemia. Also, they are running another urine culture for bacteria, which they should have done in the first place. I will find those results out tomorrow.

Furball's next vet appointment is May 3rd for another round of tests.

We have been worried Furball is not drinking enough. It's possible he is drinking more than we realize, but we worry anyways. We invested in those kitty drinking fountains yesterday to try to increase his water intake. We didn't know which kind he would like and use, so we bought two different kinds. So far he is drinking out of one of them about 1/2 the time and a different water bowl the rest of the time.

Thanks so much for all your help and support. If anyone has any extra suggestions for me, it would be very much appreciated. Thanks again.
post #29 of 31
Sounds like you are doing all you can- and it is very encouraging that the blood tests are a bit better
Bibby's CK was a bit high also- local vet couldn't explain it- I wondered whether it was because she had injections into muscle for an ultrasound.
The urine is dilute- which is not unexpected in a PKD cat.
Not a vet but the blood pressure seems a bit high for stress- Bibby went ballistic when hers was done and the high number was 125. Worth asking your vet again whether it is worth rechecking and maybe treating.
I really would suggest the PKD-list on Yahoo. It looks a bit quiet at times- but when I've posted there- about half the replies have been direct emails.
Best wishes
post #30 of 31
Thread Starter 
First of all, I would like to say thank you to everyone on this forum! You are all so wonderful, thank you for being there for us!

Furball had his vet visit today. He is currently on Transdermal
Tagumet, Procrit injections, and sub-q fluids. We have been using
Alu-Caps as well. Here are his test results:

Blood Pressure 210/167 216/154 218/147 224/147 (The vet said
that this is something we need to keep a close eye on, but she does
not want to start meds until he reaches 240, due to the side effect
of them losing their appetite.)

EO 0.61 (Range 2.0-12.0)(I have no idea what this is.)
Hb 6.8 (Range 8.0-15.0)(Moderate Anemia)
HCT 21.1 (Range 24.0-45.0)(Mild Anemia)
RDW 20.6 (Range 12.0-19.0)(Mild Anisocytosis)(What is this?)

BUN 67.1 (Range 17.2-31.1)
Creat 4.2 (Range 0.7-2.4)
Phos 8.5 (Range 2.7-8.1)
Calcium 10.8 (Range 7.4-10.5)
Cholest 192 (Range ????????)
CK 184 (Range 70-703)(Thank God this # went down to normal,
last time it was horrible!)

That's about it for the abnormal numbers. If anyone has any advice
or suggestions for me, I would love to hear it.

Furball seems to be feeling pretty good. He's playful (not as much
as before, but a lot more than he was for a while), he's eating his
k/d food, and he's happy as can be.

I am on the PKD list, the anemia list, the phosphorus list, and the CRF list through yahoo groups. Those groups combined with all of you wonderful folks on here have been such a comfort and an excellent source of information. Thank you so much for all of your help! I don't know where Furball would be without the help of all of you! Thank you,
thank you, thank you! I pray that all of your furbabies are feeling

Amy & Furball
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