Kidney Failure in Senior Cat Advances

Blood Pressure control becomes Key to Long Term Success

Mungojerrie, the 14 year old kitty whose story graced this page last week, had become a heavy drinker and a world class urinator. His lab work led to a diagnosis of stage II kidney failure. Treatment with Hill’s k/d diet plus daily warm subcutaneous (under the skin) fluids would remain the foundation of his management but he needed more.

Feline anatomy is veterinarian-friendly. We can actually feel cats’ kidneys by gentle external palpation, able to differentiate those of normal shape and size from a pair that’s shrunken and lobular. During Mungojerrie’s follow-up exam I discovered that his had advanced to the second category. He could lose weight, meaning that he would forfeit his normal fat (energy reserves). Anybody with organ failure needs all the support we can muster. It was time to gather more information.

We submitted a sample for a urine protein to creatinine ratio. This accurate measurement of protein loss by Mungojerrie’s kidneys indicated that his were starting to leak. The next step for most cats would have been blood pressure measurement by Doppler but not for Mungojerrie-an easily panicked and quickly defensive kitty. Holding him still to apply and inflate the cuff would cause significant stress and a potentially dangerous blood pressure spike. I had to do more for this boy despite the lack of full diagnostic data.

Mungojerrie needed protection from a common threat with kidney failure–damage by hypertension. Once daily benazepril was added. We plan to monitor this kitty closely, rechecking his lab values every 3 months. Today, he’s active and playful, enjoying life as he always has. If he could sing he would quote the late, great James Brown and cry out, “I feel good!” He and his family are counting on several more good years.
As medicine evolves, many different opinions and options are emerging. The Dog & Cat World Summit is a free online event; each audio interview will be accessible for 48 hours. This summit will share helpful tips and information on different philosophies and perspectives of veterinary medicine from a variety of fields including my contribution on behavioral medicine.  The Dog & Cat World Summit starts October 1. The registration link can be accessed at