Fear-Free Kidney Care

The Nichol family really loves its kitties, Tony and Gaston. They tap into the same part of our hearts as children but there are differences. They haven’t said a word about college. And they don’t speak a human language, which is usually OK. They’ll never blab our personal business but it can be hard to know when they’re not feeling well.

Cats are innately tight lipped in the Wild Kingdom. If they appear vulnerable they could become somebody’s lunch. That makes it their caretaker’s responsibility to keep them alive and happy. It takes more than good food and an abundance of love. Older cats, in particular, also need modern medicine.

Every feline kidney with an AARP card faces advancing mortality. Unless some other medical malady arrives first, all senior kitty kidneys will wear out. Without tailored treatment they will fail. Early diagnosis and continued monitoring are essential to having several more happy birthdays.

Dr. Jean Hall, a veterinary internist and professor at Oregon State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital, is a recognized expert on kidney disorders of cats and dogs. She teaches how disease can be recognized in its early stages with blood and urine screenings. Kidney failure can be pushed way into the future but we have to pay attention.

The big challenge veterinarians face in helping senior kitties to live long and prosper is getting them to show up. Most cats hate the experience and, by extension, so do their people. Fear Free ® handling and a dab of a safe antianxiety prescription gel called Sileo between a cat’s lip and gum makes it better. She’ll be feelin’ fine but do NOT let her get behind the wheel.

A slow and gentle exam and blood draw at the veterinary clinic go well for Tony, my fuzzy senior. Routine kidney monitoring is even easier. Your cat’s urine can arrive at the doctor’s office without her if you use Kit4Cat Hydrophobic Litter for at-home urine collection.

Don’t wait for poor appetite, vomiting, weight loss, lethargy, oral ulcers, drooling, or constipation. Keep the party rolling at your house with early medical management. Life is short. Keep it sweet.

Each week Dr. Jeff Nichol makes a short video, blog, or a Facebook Live to help bring out the best in pets. Sign up at no charge at drjeffnichol.com. Dr. Nichol treats behavior disorders at the Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Centers in Albuquerque and Santa Fe (505-792-5131). You can post pet behavioral or physical questions at facebook.com/drjeffnichol or by US Post to 4000 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Albuq, NM 87109.