Scandalous Situation Regarding Chronic Kidney Disease in Cats

Cat who had chronic kidney disease (CKD)

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

There is a cat health crisis and it is chronic kidney disease (CKD). CKD means an irreversible, long term disease of the cat’s kidneys that leads to death, eventually. Treatment slows the process.

Here are some quotes:

Studies suggest that about 50 percent of cats older than 10 suffer from chronic kidney disease (Colorado State University)

Some experts believe that CRD [Chronic Renal Disease] affects 8 percent or more of cats ten years of age and older (Your Cat by Dr Hodgkins DVM)

[Chronic kidney disease (CKD)] was most common in cats ≥ 10 years of age (7.5 percent [5,498/73,396]) (Banfield Pet Hospital)

The prevalence of CKD appears to be increasing (Banfield Pet Hospital)

Maine Coon, Abyssinian, Siamese, Russian Blue and Burmese cats… prevalence of CKD twice as high as the average prevalence in all feline patients (therefore at 15% of 10 year old and over cats). (Banfield Pet Hospital)

37% of Persian cats have PKD – a form of chronic kidney disease (Michael on PoC – see the page)

The age 10 for a cat is about aged 56 for people.

If 10 percent of people in their mid-fifties had chronic kidney disease that would make around 30 million people in the USA. Do you think there would be an uproar? Do you think the doctors and hospitals could cope?

In people, CKD is also increasing but the amount of CKD is much lower. For people in the age bracket 20-64, 0.5% have CKD¹. Like-for-like at the same age the prevalence of CKD in cats is about 15-20 times higher than for people

I have to conclude that there is a scandalous situation regarding kidney disease in cats. It is not discussed enough and the potential causes are not being assessed adequately. There needs to be far more work on causes and less work on treatments.

Do vets discuss with their clients how to minimize CKD in their cat? No one has discussed it with me.

Without wishing to be a conspiracy theory nutcase, it almost seems that there is a conspiracy of silence about this cat health catastrophe amongst vets, cat food manufacturers and “cat experts”.

Ten years of age for a cat is not that old yet some experts consider cats geriatric at aged 7. It is almost as if the experts have given up.

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

9 thoughts on “Scandalous Situation Regarding Chronic Kidney Disease in Cats”

  1. I don’t understand the premise here. But I wondered if my cat was being diagnosed so that they could charge me the 2-3 visits per month for check-ups which she now requires, the fee for the tubes and bags for under-the-skin hydration which she now requires, their $60 every 45 day supplements and the Royal Canin food which she now requires. My cat now will cost $7,000 a year to keep alive according to their requirements above.

  2. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

    I remember from my vet nurse days kidney disease being the most common cause of illness in older cats, one vet told me it was because cats kidneys are so small and often shrink more with age. I don’t know if he was right or not.
    Kidney transplants for cats are possible now I think but the awful thought is that if it became a common procedure, unwanted healthy cats would lose their lives for the sake of cats whose owners could afford the expense a transplant would cost and maybe the recipient just have a bit longer to live.
    Cats lives are already too short in comparison with ours, but we have to make sure quality not quantity is the most important.

    1. I sense, but have no proof, that kidney disease in the domestic cat is an environmental problem created by people and in purebred cats there is also a genetic inheritance problem through breeding programmes. The root of it could be people. Not sure though.

  3. Yes, dry food seems to be the culprit, together with lack of high quality protein, and inadequate water consumption..

    1. We never feed our cats dried food now, and it’s easy to get meat from a butcher. Most have excess bones and stuff which they will happily sell if you ask. It’s not worth their time to fiddle about getting to all the tricky bits of meat, but your cats will love you for them.

  4. I totaly agree. This whole thing is a bloody scandal and I genuinely fear for my cats lives. I believe its those darn money whores at the big pet food companies who don’t want to change their ways, and the vets seem to be lobbied into position on the issue.

    The problem is dry food and convenience – exacerbated by lack or action or reaction from health proffessionals.


    1. Yes, it is probably big business buying vets’ compliance and vets accepting kidney disease because they can treat it. Think of the bucks that roll in from millions of dying cats aged 10+ from cat caretakers desperate to save or prolong their lives. It’s probably a better money spinner than declawing. But then I am cynical but can anyone blame me?

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