As the companion of a cat who is living with feline kidney disease, there are many small things that you can do on a daily basis, that will help your furry friend feel better, and be more comfortable. This can do a great deal to improve his overall quality of life, and help extend your time together.
– Try to protect your cat from stressful situations, and give him a calm and warm place to stay. Provide him with blankets and a warm sofa or bed to lie on. If you have a fireplace, he will most likely gravitate to it when you light a fire. Make sure that he doesn’t get too cold, and please keep him safely inside the house!
– Handle your cat gently. Cats with chronic kidney disease tend to feel nauseous, so soft and light hugs and strokes that won’t jar his stomach are best.
– A cat who is not feeling his best may not groom as much as he should. You can help by brushing and combing him regularly, but always remember to be gentle, especially if he is receiving any injections or subcutaneous fluids.
Food and Water
– Watch how much your cat eats and drinks each day. This will be useful for your vet to know at your next appointment.
– If your cat doesn’t seem to be eating enough, it may help to place his food in a part of the house that is quiet and peaceful, so that he can relax while he eats.
– Canned food will be more appealing to your cat if you warm it up a little in the microwave before serving, especially if it has been stored in the refrigerator.
– If your cat is older, he may have problems chewing his food. You can help by shaping his food into more of a mound, rather than leaving it flat in his dish. This makes the food easier for your cat to access.
– Clean the food dishes well each day. The smell of stale food can be very unpleasant, especially to a cat that is not feeling well.
– Since drinking enough water is crucial for the health of a cat with kidney disease, you can help by having two or more bowls of fresh water in different part of the house. Make sure that the bowls are cleaned and refilled every day, since water can collect dust, bacteria, and dead insects if it is left standing for too long. Depending on the quality of the water in your area, you might consider giving your cat bottled water instead, since it won’t have as much of the chemicals that are often found in tap water.
– Cats often prefer to drink running water. He may be attracted to the sink or toilet bowl. If this is the case, please make sure that these are kept spotlessly clean. Also, do not use chemical cleaners or deodorizers that can poison your cat. You may want to get an automatic water dispenser that delivers a steady stream of flowing water. Some cats seem to prefer these, and it can encourage them to drink more. If your cat has an upset stomach from the kidney disease, serve the water at room temperature rather than cold.
– As feline kidney disease progresses, your cat’s potassium level might become low. This can make it difficult for him to jump into his favorite places, or even to climb stairs easily.
– You can help by placing small boxes, ramps, or “pet stairs” next to the sofa, bed, or windowsill, so that your cat can still access his special spots.
– If your cat has difficulty climbing into his litter box, look for a new one with lower sides, so that he can continue his regular routine more easily.
– Encourage your cat to play if he is still able, but keep in mind that he probably gets tired faster. Play with him as much as he is able, but be careful not to overdo it!
And mostly, give your cat plenty of affection and love. Just be there for him when he needs you, and let him know that you care. Value every precious minute that you can spend together!