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Lili’s Battle: Chronic Kidney Disease in Cats

Chronic kidney disease in cats


Lili wet the bed!

Cats are great at masquerading illness.  It all started two years ago after we returned from a “family” vacation with all our cats. Our female cat, Lili, wet the bed out of the blue, and I thought perhaps she was just “leaking”, which some female cats do as they age. Granted, Lili wasn’t old, and I didn’t connect the dots quickly enough.

One day she was active and playing, and the next day she seemed lethargic and just wasn’t herself.  Her appetite was decreasing, too, which finalized the decision to get her to the vet asap.  My husband met with the doctor, and after running initial in-house lab work we were informed that Lili was in kidney failure and needed emergency fluids to try and flush the kidney infection from her body.  She stayed in the hospital for five long, excruciating days, and after lots of TLC, daily visits from us, and IV fluids/meds, she emerged victorious, albeit with the diagnosis of CKD.   That episode cut her kidney function dramatically, and she would need close monitoring for the rest of her life.  We were left scratching our heads trying to figure out what happened.   Apparently she had developed a UTI and probably had it for awhile before she showed any symptoms. 

Homeopathy and herbal medicine are natural ways to treat cats with kidney disease

Lili on IV fluids at the vet’s clinic

What is chronic kidney disease in cats?

CKD is one of the most common ailments that cats acquire and is normally due to lack of hydration because of kibble diets that put lots of stress on the kidneys over the lifetime of the cat.  Cats with CKD have a tendency to get recurring urinary tract infections or inflammation (UTIs), and if not caught soon enough the infection travels to the kidneys, a life-threatening condition.  Lili had eaten kibble for several years before I got smart several years ago, and we transitioned all the cats to raw and canned food.  Water is essential to a cat’s diet.  Most cats don’t like to drink water, so the second best way to get them to consume it is by offering fresh homemade, raw, or canned food.  Our cats love to drink out of their water fountain, too, even though their food provides lots of hydration. 

Since that first scary episode she did have to be hospitalized again last year for three days because she developed another UTI that started to affect her kidneys.  Luckily I had a checkup already scheduled for Rocket that very day (a Friday) I discovered she had an infection, and I was able to take Lili in as well.  She spent the weekend on medicine, and continued to act pretty normal.  Monday morning our vet called to give me the blood test results:  Lili was once again going back into kidney failure, and we had to rush her back to get her on IV fluids and meds.  She was so unhappy to be left there again!   

My go-to remedy for the UTIs

Cantharis 30c effectively treats cats with UTIs

These days I’m always checking her beds and napping spots, and she sleeps next to me each night which makes it easy to monitor any urine leaks.  I have woken up in the middle of the night on three separate occasions, including once this week, since she was hospitalized last fall to find a wet spot in the bed–not a very nice thing to wake up to!   I’ve discovered a GREAT way to fend off these UTIs almost as soon as she is symptomatic:  a single homeopathic remedy called Cantharis 30c.  It takes 1.5-3 days, and the UTI is gone!  (I use muscle testing to determine her protocol and to keep testing every meal time to see if she needs another dose.)

Lili’s wellness checkup

A couple of weeks ago I took Lili in along with three of the other cats for their wellness checkups.  Our vet said Lili looked great!  In fact, she has put on weight, rather than lose weight, which is common with cats with CKD.  Her blood panel showed areas of concern that was not unexpected.  Her BUN was 71 (normal is 14-36); creatinine was 4.2 (normal is .6-2.4).  There was also an indication of some inflammation, and her platelets were a little lower than normal.  I found some wonderful products over the past year or so to supplement her kidneys and urinary system, and I can honestly recommend them if your cat has CKD.  Lili’s new protocol now includes slightly higher doses than previously.  Here’s a quick glimpse at what she’s on:

  • Kidney Support Gold by Pet Wellbeing 6 drops/2x day
  • Feline Renal Support by Standard Process 1 tablet 2x/day
  • Urinary Gold by Pet Wellbeing 6 drops/2x day
  • Renapath by Energetix 5 drops/2x day
  • Phos Bind by Rx Vitamins (from the vet): 1 scoop with each meal
  • Azodyl (specially formulated probiotic for kidneys from the vet) 1 capsule 2x day

Lili does NOT like taking all this medicine, so I have to resort to mixing the drops into baby food to get her to take it!  If I put too much of the powdered products (Phos Bind and Azodyl) in her food she won’t eat it all.  She must be able to taste it somehow.  Did I mention she’s very difficult and picky?  AGH!  Despite all this, I do the best I can; some is better than none!   (Note:  She followed this protocol for a month.  Now she just takes the Phos Bind, Azodyl, and a Renal Support by Rx Vitamins)

She’s obviously still thriving, loves to play with her ball, and is very active despite all these challenges.  One vet told me once, “We treat the cat, not the numbers,” and I think that’s great advice.   If you have a cat with CKD you must be vigilant!  Make sure the food is very high in moisture and avoid all grains and starches in the diet (this includes garbanzos, potatoes, rice, corn, wheat, legumes and soy) as they promote inflammation and cause a host of other health issues.  I also recommend supplementing with natural herbal and homeopathic products that support the bladder and kidneys.  Rechecking blood work twice a year is also a must in order to stay on top of the condition and make any needed adjustments in supplements or meds.  

Need help?

Curious about trying Cantharis 30c next time your cat has a UTI?  Leave a comment below or send me an email, and I’ll be glad to walk you though it! 

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