Cats rely mostly on their body language to express if they have a problem especially one that has to do with their health and wellbeing. There are a few tell-tale signs where you would be able to identify what is the problem with your cat. Besides that it will enable you to understand your fellow pet more and also to create a closer bond. Understanding and learning your cat’s everyday behavior and routine, you will be able to identify immediately if your cat is ill, or a little under the weather.
- Hair loss is a very common problem if you’re not giving your pet a proper diet. Meat based is high in protein but they may not provide your cat with sufficient nutrient. Under serious condition you should consult a veterinary advice.
- Cat getting overweight is a serious issue if no action is taken, there is few common condition that might lead your cat overweight such as neutered cat are much more easily to be overweight and the food that your feeding contains too much fat.
- Cats have a common problem of throwing up hairballs and grass but there is little to worry as the grass helps them to throw up the hairball which is accumulated inside of them. But you have to watch out for the grass that they ingested as it may contain weed poison, grass eating habits should not be encouraged.
- When your cats skin or coat is dry and flaky this is the first sign of malnutrition, this is usually caused by the meal that they are consuming is lack of omega-3 fatty acid.
- If your cat is having diarrhea it might be caused by the sudden changes of the feeding diet. If you wanted to change their diet, it is best to do it by gradually increase the amount by mixing with the previous diet.
- Dental problem among cats are the most common issue. During their lifetime, almost 90% of the cats will experience this. There are signs that show a cat is experiencing this problem such as bad breath, red and swollen gum, refusal to eat and constant pawing their mouth. It can be reduced by giving sufficient dental care throughout the cat’s lifetime.
KIDNEY FAILURE IN CATS
The kidney is the powerhouse of the internal body system. Its ultimate job is to filter contents coming into the body such as blood & oxygen, water, amino acids, minerals & vitamins while directing it towards the various organs for processing and absorption. All excess material or dead cells which are deemed no more useful to the body are sent to the ‘waste depository’ which ends up in the litter box! The kidney is a very crucial element in a body’s internal health system because in addition to filtering and disposing it also secretes a hormone called erythropoietin that stimulates the bone marrow to produce red blood cells.
Kidney Failure can occur within cats in an acute manner, whereby your cat has a sudden & severe gush of illness due to poisoning, high blood pressure, drugs or clothing disorder etc. with no pre warning signs to help owners. It could also occur in a chronic manner, whereby the disease develops over a period of time, giving owners multiple symptoms and unexplainable changes in their cat’s behavior.
Kidney Failure can be caused by many issues and it can stem from a very young age in cats. Commonly, kidney failure is experienced with older cats due to various reasons, some of which would be a long unchanging diet of dry kibble with no sufficient water intake or age deterioration but it can also be experienced by cats which are born with abnormal or dysfunctional kidneys that are weak and would never function properly. Kidney failure could also be hereditary through the gen for some cat breeds and in most cases; kidney failure is due to a cat’s outdoor environment which places high risk to a cat’s immune system.
Symptoms of Chronic Kidney Failure :
- Increased thirst and urination
- Leaking urine (especially at night)
- Lack of appetite
- Weight loss and overall body weakness
Symptoms of Acute Kidney Failure :
- Fractures resulting from weakened bones
- High blood pressure
- Itchy skin
- Bleeding into the stomach
- Bruising of the skin
- Oral ulcers.
- Possible seizures
Cats who are suffering from kidney failure would tend to consume more amounts of water. By instinct, this is the body naturally trying to cleanse the internal system of the blockage, and unwanted toxin build up. As a result, cats would go to their litter box more frequently because the kidney is naturally trying to expel and remove the defected area within itself.
Treatment for Kidney Failure
It may be difficult to determine a specific cause of kidney disease. Emergency treatment and hospitalized care may be needed depending on the stage of kidney failure a cat is in. Acute kidney disease can sometimes be caught early on, when there is minimal damage to the kidneys. In some cases, long-term supportive treatment is beneficial. The following are possible treatments:
Medical Treatment :
- Treatment of underlying cause of kidney failure (e.g. antifreeze toxicity, infection)
- Drugs to enhance urine production
- Therapeutic diet
- Management of electrolyte abnormalities
- Fluid therapy
- Correction of anemia
- Medication for high blood pressure, vomiting or gastrointestinal problems
- Kidney transplant
Holistic Treatment :
- Herbal Therapy
Nutrition for Cats with Chronic Kidney Failure
All things must be done in moderation and this is true for everything we do in life and for our cats there is no exception. As a cat owner it is of top importance to feed your cat the right amount of nutrients and minerals to ensure that any ailment or prevention of ailment would be possible.
It is important to do your own research and to be well informed and not misguided in your feeding options for your cat. This is especially true in today’s profit driven world and with information at your fingertips, cat owners would be able to ask the right questions and understand and know the right answers. The proper content of high quality protein is important.
Cats receive their water content predominantly from their food intake and it is recommended to mix their meals with both Dry Kibble Cat Food and Wet Cat Food. Cats which are suffering from Kidney Failure would best switch their diets to more moisture filled food to maintain a stable amount of liquid within their bodies to help eliminate kidney malfunction. Most importantly, cats with kidney disease must continue to eat. Unlimited access to fresh water should always be provided.
Breeds most commonly affected by Kidney Failure
The Persian is the most affected breed. Since this breed is and has been the most used breed for outcrossing, we are seeing kidney disease cases in other breeds as well. The breeds who have been outcrossed with Persians are: the Exotic Shorthair, the Selkirk Rex, the British Shorthair, The Scottish Fold, the Birman, the Ragdoll, the American Shorthair, the Devon Rex and the Maine Coon. In the past Persians were also used in the Norwegian Forest cat, the Sphynx, the Oriental Shorthair, the Cornish Rex, the Abyssinian, the Somali, the Manx and the Burmese, that is why we also see kidney disease in these breeds.
BLAME IT ON THE ‘SALT’ NOT ON GENETIC ANOMALY!
It’s an age long debate on salt content and cat health; from kidney disease in cats to dehydration & salt toxicity. Where is the fact & truth when it comes to salt? Why are people blaming the salt and not looking at their cat’s hereditary bloodline?
Salt is placed in all commercial pet food firstly as a preservative for both dry and wet food. Salt acts as a dehydrator, absorbing water from foods, making the environment dry to prevent harmful mold or bacteria. This way salt helps dry food stay crisp and wet food stays fresh longer after opening. Secondly, salt acts as a taste enhancer and if not added within pet food is apparent from the natural ingredients within the pet food. All pet food, wet or dry, undergoes strict and controlled guidelines before receiving approval and safe agreements to be distributed to your cats. Depending on the origins of production, pet food companies are required to follow guidelines issued by The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), The European Pet Food Industry Federation (FEDIAF), or National Research Council (NRC).
The common miss conception with salt is the dehydrating factor it has on cats, which by nature do not consume as much water as they should. By eliminating the important points like hereditary illness, minor defect from birth and the environment in which each cat is raised, consumers have come to believe that salt is the culprit when it comes to their cats kidney problems. Why not turn the tables? Why not eliminate the salt and look at the facts.
Salt or Sodium
Salt or more commonly seen on packaging; sodium chloride, is necessary for your cat’s body to function properly. Salt helps your cat’s cells move nutrients and waste products where they need to go, and it helps the stomach make the right amount of acid to digest food properly. Sodium is found in the blood and in the fluid that surrounds cells. Sodium maintains the cellular environment and prevents cells from swelling or dehydrating despite consumer’s common misconception. Sodium is also important for maintaining proper nerve and muscle cell function. Meat, poultry, fish, and eggs are good sources of sodium. In commercial pet food, Salt appears in the form of table salt (sometimes listed on the ingredient panel as salt or sodium). The accurate amount of salt is as important to animals as it is to animals. Depending on the guideline AAFCO requires 0.2% Salt, FEDIAF requires 0.18% & NRC requires 1.5%.
Kidneys are the most important part of the body system as it acts like a filter. The kidney segregates the useable nutrients from the waste and leads all into their proper lanes. As blood travels through the kidneys, waste materials from the blood are removed and the good substances like serum proteins in the bloodstream are sent on. The kidneys basically run the entire body system. Imagine kidneys as a police academy, it lets the good free into the body and the bad matter gets removed, it also helps stimulate the production of blood cells by the bone marrow.
Genetic anomalies are irregular or malfunctioning within the cells from passing down of the bloodline via interbreeding. In the case of chronic kidney disease, kidney failure in later stages of a cat’s life could stamp from malformation of the kidneys at birth, congenital polycystic kidney disease, where sacs of fluid grows on the kidney walls; chronic bacterial infections of the kidneys, high blood pressure, immune system disorders such as systemic lupus, exposure to toxins, an acute kidney episode that can damage the organs and lead to a chronic kidney problem and chronic urinary tract obstruction. Even with all the potential triggers for kidney disease, often the exact cause can’t be identified.
What you need to know?
A veterinarian visit is always a must when you own, are planning to own or thinking about owning a cat. It is important to gain as much information about your cat’s family history, breed & birth health. What about a stray cat? Family history is quite difficult to track for stray cats but a full body checkup and the necessary vaccinations will help build your cat’s resistance.
- Firstly, read your labels! Dry Cat food has more content in salt to preserve it to stay fresher longer. Wet Cat food has less salt content because once opened needs to be consumed quick. Don’t forget your treats as they have salt in them too. Depending on your cat’s veterinarian checkup you will know the state of your cat’s health. With this information you will be able to choose a proper food source for your cat.
- Secondly, over-feeding your cat is not a good option. Yes your cat may look cute when it’s a little chubby, but this is not protecting your cat from health complications. An obese cat is at risk for diabetes, arthritis, and urinary tract disease and just like humans obesity harms the internal organs as well. Through professional recommendation, to keep cats at a normal, healthy weight, 240 calories per day is the recommended serving.
From the chart below you will be able to feed your cat its proper diet.
Food Type Measurement Calories Quantity Dry Food 1 cup 300 calories Wet Food 6 oz can/ 170g 250 calories
- Thirdly, we know that a cat’s sensitivity to thirst compared to a dog is not the same and because cats naturally produce highly concentrated urine, they are more prone urinary tract problems. Cats are designed to get their water with their food and it is a recommended 60%-70% of water that is required for a normal active cat.
Now that we understand all the facts, making a decision on proper diet for your cat is made easier!