It is probably fair to say that the experts don’t know why CKD is so common in domestic cats. And it is worrying. We know the causes of chronic kidney failure but I think that’s a different topic than knowing why it is such a common domestic cat disease. My personal feeling is that it is to do with the lifestyle that we impose upon the domestic cat including the food that they eat. And the environment in which they live i.e. the human home, which contains a lot of invisible dangers such as carpet preservatives and fire retardants in furniture. Nobody is really studying these nasty chemicals and the effect that they have on companion animals.
I have a feeling that humans don’t create the greatest of conditions for domestic cats as they are designed for humans. I think that we can do better. The causes of chronic kidney failure include: nephritis and nephrosis (failure of the renal tubules), infectious diseases especially feline infectious peritonitis and feline leukaemia, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) especially during hypotension which is low blood pressure and which occurs for instance during anaesthesia, various toxins including antibiotics which are poisonous to the kidneys when given over a long period of time in high doses. Also, heavy metals including mercury, lead and thallium are toxic to the kidneys.
Most elderly cats develop chronic kidney disease. The Internet tells me that up to 50% of cats develop CKD. And it appears that CKD and hyperthyroidism go hand in hand because they are both present in elderly cats. When veterinarians treat hyperthyroidism, they might find that there is an underlying CKD condition as well.
I feel I need to throw my hat into the ring, so to speak, on this topic. I have a slight issue with the chemicals in the human environment as mentioned above. In 2017 I wrote an article about feline diabetes being caused by fire retardants in carpets, curtains and upholstery. Well, we know that kidney failure is linked to feline diabetes, so there might be a connection between fire retardants and CKD. I don’t know because I am not a veterinarian.
And also, in 2017 I wrote an article about the surge in human thyroid cancer because of flame retardants in sofas and mattresses. Hyperthyroidism is almost always associated with a cancer. So, is there a connection between flame retardants and hyperthyroidism in cats? We don’t know? Even the experts don’t know the cause of feline hyperthyroidism, at least officially as stated by Cornell University.
I might be exaggerating or fooling myself but I do have a concern about carpet chemicals. This is because cats lie around on carpets a lot particularly now there are more full-time indoor cats than years ago. Carpet chemicals preserve carpets but they are pretty toxic. They protect against parasites, mould and fungus. They increase the life of carpets but do they decrease the lifespan of cats?