Perhaps the most common latent disease that cats unknowingly suffer from is kidney (Renal) disease. Though most of us think that our feline friends are immune to this condition until middle aged or older, such is not the case. Frequently, in our practice, we diagnose cats as young as three of four with some form of kidney disease. Periodically there have been toxins found in foods that have caused Acute Kidney Injury, a disease which if not treated early enough may result in Chronic Renal Disease. This is but one of many causes of this potentially fatal disease and probably occurs more often than we can verify. Cats may also contract urinary tract infections which may not be obvious to the owner. Serious urinary tract disease may result from infections which go undiagnosed and untreated for several weeks. Unlike our canine companions, cats tend to have less obvious signs of illness when affected with renal disease. This likely is where the “legend of cats and nine lives” originates. It is usually obvious to the dog owner when their pet has urinary disease. Accidents in the house, asking to go outside more frequently and emptying their water bowls all serve to tip off the dog owner. Not so with cats.
So as cat owners what should we look for in suspecting our pets have a serious urinary problem? Though a difficult task (especially in multi cat households) vigilance and careful observation can go a long way in keeping our pets safer. Do you see your cat at the water dish more than usual? Do you notice that you have increased frequency of litter box cleaning and changing? Do any of your cats approach the litter box and then walk away without using it? Is your cat spending a long time in the litter box and perhaps vocalizing? Are you finding an occasional wet spot somewhere in the house that is unaccounted for.
These are a few of the not so obvious symptoms that may indicate a urinary problem occurring in your feline household. If you notice any of these signs call your local vet and schedule an appointment as soon as possible. We are continually learning how to more effectively treat Renal Disease in cats. Early intervention may be life saving.