What are the final symptoms of kidney failure in cats?

Updated February 21, 2017

Cats with chronic renal failure, or CRF, have a poor long-term prognosis, though they can enjoy a few good years, if they receive proper treatment. CRF causes toxin levels in the body rise, causing the cat to feel unwell and eventually die. Correctly identifying the final symptoms of feline kidney failure can help owners make the right decision about their pet's treatment.


A build up of toxins in the bloodstream can cause nausea, stomach irritation and other digestive problems. Cats with kidney problems may lose their appetite, thus losing weight. Vets may recommend a special diet which reduces toxin build-up and supplies your pet with proper nutrition. Unfortunately, in many cases, nausea persists and gets worse, as the disease progresses.


Kidney failure can lead to loss of muscle mass in cats. This loss contributes to weakness and a lack of energy. Cats suffering from end-stage kidney failure may seem lethargic or depressed. In very serious cases, your cat may actually become so weak that it falls into a coma-like state. Excessive urination, as the body tries to flush out the toxins, may increase weakness and lead to dehydration.


Discomfort and a general feeling of being unwell, are commonly associated with end-stage kidney failure in humans. Though it is not possible to ask your cat how it feels, it may show discomfort and malaise, through inaction.

In many cases, fluid therapy and aggressive treatments can decrease your pet's discomfort and nausea, for a time.


Cats in the end stages of kidney failure may suffer from convulsions or seizures. Build up of calcium and other substances which are normally filtered from the kidneys, affect the internal organs and nervous system. Once toxins begin to affect the brain, seizures may result. Also, the same toxin build-up process may lead to hypothermia.

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About the Author

G.D. Palmer is a freelance writer and illustrator living in Milwaukee, Wis. She has been producing print and Web content for various organizations since 1998 and has been freelancing full-time since 2007. Palmer holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in writing and studio art from Beloit College in Beloit, Wis.