Cat diagnosed with CRF

This forum is for cat lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your cat.


Member Since
Purred: Sat Mar 9, '13 6:48pm PST 
Hello everyone. I'm here because today my 8 year old female, indoor/outdoor(yard) cat was diagnosed with CRF. Here's the story:
It all started in mid-January when I noticed my cat, who once was told to be overweight at 10 lbs, started losing weight. She looked skinnier, but her healthy attitute was still there: eating, drinking, pooping and peeing normally, playing, sleeping, etc...Also, it's still summer over here and some days have been terribly hot, I thought it could be related to that. I called her vet and asked if it was normal she had dropped from 9 lbs to 6 lbs during this time, and he said yes. Since she was her normal self, I didn't worry that much. But this last monday or tuesday (can't really tell) she stopped pooping, still peeing though. She pees and poops once a day normally. Wednesday she stopped eating. She started looking lethargic. So her vet came to see her Thursday and said it was probably a hairball that wasn't allowing the poop to come out. I wasn't satisfied with his answer, so I looked for another vet, a new one, recommended by him, since he was out of town. I took her there Friday and the vet was really worried, said she was extremely dehydrated and that it was probably CRF. I couldn't believe it. I kept my cool while being there, but when I got home I cried because I've read info about CRF and it doesn't look very good. Also, she's only 8, most cases I've read are about much older cats. Anyway, he started IV treatment on her, took blood samples and removed her poop. Also, he told me she has gingivitis.
Today I went to see her and she looked very good, her eyes were bright again, she looked like her old happy self, but with an IV. He even removed a rotten tooth. But the vet didn't have good news: she was diagnosed with CRF. Her creatinine and BUN levels are high, which he tells me means she has kidney failure. He prescribed Hill's k/d (dry or/and wet), which she was eating and seemed to love, and told me she could mantain a healthy life even with this condition.
I can't deny the blood tests results, but he told me that cats with CRF pee a lot, and my cat didn't pee that much, only two or three times a day in the last two days. Also, I understand that cats who pee a lot change places to pee because their litter is dirty with pee. Not the case here.
Does any of you guys have a cat with CRF? What are your experiences or thoughts? I was also reading about cats who eat toxic plants that experience high levels of creatinine. Perhaps my cat lost weight because she had a rotten tooth? Any ideas?
Thanks so much.


If your lap is- available, I'll- be there!

Purred: Mon Mar 11, '13 12:58pm PST 
Sounds like your second vet is 100 times better than your first vet.

If her kidneys aren't damaged too much the CRF can be controlled fairly well with the proper diet. I can't help you much beyond that, Danny, but I highly recommend that you create a page for your cat here on Catster. It's free and once your cat is a member of Catster you will have access to various Catster groups who have the knowledge and experience in all types of health issues.

Catster is an extremely safe website, you remain anonymous and Catster members get to look at your beautiful kitty's picture.


Mighty Huntress
Purred: Tue Mar 12, '13 3:56pm PST 
The weight loss could be from a number of things, for sure, BUT losing one-third of her body weight is serious business. And the blood test tells the tale: she has kidney insufficiency. My vet told me that the cat shows no symptoms until 70% of the kidney function has been lost. That being said, there are ways to keep the cat going; how long depends upon a number of things, genetics being one.

The standard treatment is IV fluids; you can do this at home quite easily after your vet or a vet tech demonstrates for you; don't be afraid of it! If she's eating the kidney diet, fine, but if she stops (and she probably will), feed her whatever she'll eat - most likely, Fancy Feast. I've been through this, so please - no one jump on me with the knowledge that FF is not a premium food; I KNOW that! I repeat: feed her whatever she'll eat; if she'll eat a premium brand of food, feed that - canned! Feed only canned food, for you have to get as much fluid as possible into her. It's pointless to prolong the kidneys if the cat is going to starve to death, so feed her what she'll eat - advice that came directly from my vet.

If you do start on IV fluids,here's a couple of tips. First, warm the fluid before injecting it. I used to keep Merlin's fluid bag on a heating pad set to Low and covered with a hand towel. Secondly, do NOT use one of the cat's favorite places to place her for the injections; if you do, it will stop being a favorite place and you will have denied her a pleasure. I used to put Merlin on a table at a window and hang the bag from the curtain rod - and read poetry to him while the fluid was going in. smile

You have to realize that kidney function once lost is never regained; there is no cure, no 'magic bullet' to cure the condition. You can, however, give the cat extra months - or even years - with careful management. Veterinary medicine has advanced, and there is even a synthetic enzyme now available to help with the anemia that accompanies CRD. Also, watch for constipation, which sometimes accompanies the condition. Your vet (I'd use the second one - the first one telling you that it's normal for a 9-pound cat to lose 3 pounds isn't to be trusted.)

Some guardians have even opted for kidney transplant, but even that, from what I've read, is not always the greatest. It's prohibitively expensive for most of us, and you must adopt the donor cat, giving you two cats with one kidney each. I'm not familiar with the long-term results of a transplant.

My heart is with you, for I've been where you are. In fact, I've been there twice - once with acute kidney disease (Willie was only 5 years old) and with the chronic variety (Merlin). I know you're scared and hurting; I sure was! Feel free to PM me if there's anything I can do. My prayers are with you.


Purred: Tue Mar 12, '13 6:04pm PST 
Not sure if I can post another website for Crf. It was one that helped. me years ago with my kitty kyawa who had Crf. I know Catster is a wonderful knowledgeable group and has been very helpful to me.


If your lap is- available, I'll- be there!

Purred: Tue Mar 12, '13 7:37pm PST 
Yes, Goose, you may post another website. kitty


Purred: Tue Mar 19, '13 1:13pm PST 
Keep you chin up it need not be a death sentence. My cat was diagnosed with CRF when she was 8 we immediately swapped her food to Hills KD diet and our vet started her on Fortekor (ace inhibitor) she is 19 now has never needed fluids. She has been really well up until a week ago when she had a bit of a set back and has been a bit sick & wobbly on her back legs, we are waiting for her latest bloods to come back. I would suggest that diet is one of the most important things to help control the CRF and make sure they always have plenty of fresh water. We constantly monitor Daisy's water intake and bowel movements as they can get constipated.
Daisy has lead a completely normal life since being diagnosed.
There is a bit of controversy with treating cats with ace inhibitors and I was initially concerned when my vet suggested them, however our personal experience has been fantastic & I'm sure Daisy would not be with us at the age of 19 had we not have taken this route of treatment.
We will keep her happy and comfortable without invasive treatment until such time that her quality of life deteriorates.