Acute/Chronic Renal Failure (CRF) – aka Kidney problems

Bam Bam, resident evil, is a renal failure cat. You wouldn’t know it looking at him, but he was diagnosed with acute renal failure (instead of chronic, which we understand, is a little bit of blessing – he was almost curable, unlike CRF cases. For references on the differences, scroll to the end). Now he gets the foie gras feeding treatment each night: we got to get a half Fortekor pill in him to help blood flow through those damaged cashews of his.

How did we know he was having kidney issues? We didn’t, at least not until he showed us – one day in August last year, he refused to eat and was listless and moody. When we did the fur test, pull up a bit of skin and see how fast it returns to original condition, it just stayed pulled for ever. So we rushed him to the vet. And he was warded for a week. Ever since, he’s had to go for a blood test every 3-6 months, and he was supposed to eat only Science Diet k/d, ‘special’ pet food formula for kidney patients. But he hated it, and if you smelled it, in comparsion to Natural Balance, the usual house rations, you’d understand why.

We spoke to the vet, and settled on giving him a NB-k/d cocktail. Food was important to his health, as with any cat (hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease) where the liver starts to function abnormally might result even after just a day or two of not eating, and can be life-threatening) .. or human. The WHAT SHOULD I FEED MY CRF CAT? section here gives a bloody good perspective.

Bam Bam doesn’t want homecooked food (what it may say about our culinary skills, I don’t know – I’ve not cooked meat for a long time), so we stuck with the commercial pet food. He still would pick out the k/d and discard them if he was feeling prissy.

The thing about commercial renal failure formula is that there are only 2 options here in Singapore: Science diet k/d or Walthams. If you’ve read our little primer on petfood, you’d know the concerns we have with those – borne out by Bam Bam’s dislike of the by-products filled so-called special formulas.

We spoke to our vets about it, because patients must eat to sustain themselves and aid recovery, or for Bams’ case, his continued well-being. it was a great relief when they supported our decision to give him non-k/d formula. According to them, unlike UTI cats or cats with crystals in the urine, where the diet’s impact is 90%, the impact of diet on renal failure cats is only 10%. In this case, the best food for a cat like Bams was the food he would eat.

So it was back to the drawing board – we were looking for a food that he would eat which had the minimum likelihood of adding to his problems. Finally, on TANYA’s FELINE CHRONIC RENAL FAILURE INFORMATION CENTRE , a support site set up in memory of Tanya, and Thomas, renal failure victims gave, among other easy to understand for the layman stuff, very good info on WHICH FOODS TO FEED. AND WHICH TO AVOID. The key requirements for a renal failrue cat’s diet is low protein (now debatable, given that they are obligate carnivores), low phosporus and high potassium.

On a site (I don’t recall it right now) which listed quality commercial pet food that are good alternatives for the ones who reject the special formulas, like Bam Bam, we found good news. Natural Balance is noe of the non-special formulas that is equitable for a renal failure cat’s diet!

The key thing is, renal failure is irreversible, but it need not result in ongoing suffering and unhappiness for your cat. Some cats lived years of quality life. It’s up to us to ensure that.

Another good renal failure primer site: Chronic Renal Failure (CRF) in cats
One for the green-thumbed or if you have a garden: Beware Lilies – Kidney Failure Cause! And other plants poisonous to cats

EDIT 4 May 07: Just realised has very good primers for symptoms, causes and treatment of both Acute (ARF) and Chronic (CRF) Renal Failures: Kidney Disease Causes, Diagnosis & Signs, Treatment

(Created: 24 May 06. Updated 4 May 07)


16 responses to “Acute/Chronic Renal Failure (CRF) – aka Kidney problems

  1. Hello,
    I am trying to find info on overseas immigration (usa to australia) with my sweet CRF, elderly kitty. Might there be a site that has info?


  2. Hi Robyn,
    Sorry I can’t help you with that, being in Singapore ourselves.

    Perhaps you can contact the site owners of the references sites listed in my post?

    Another avenue I can think of is through official options. Have you tried calling the relevant authorities or seek help through diplomatic channels, ie the embassies?

    Best of luck!

    (PS I also sent a email with the same contents)

  3. My vet told me my cat Kaydee Mae had kidney failure, and it was 90% bad. He said they don’t do kidney transplants in cats or dialisis. He said I could give her a pills to take but she was bad. she would slowly die. She was only 4 years old. We put her to sleep yesturday. I feel so robbed. my heart break is horrendis. he said there was nothing he could do. I feel so robbed !! Kaydee was only 4 years old. I have been looking at other stories and their cats lived from taking some certain medicine. and foods. Kaydee stopped eating, but drank water. The vet gave me some feline K/D. She ate some the first day,but threw it up. but never ate anymore or anything else. He gave me amoxcillin too, but she threw it up everytime. I am so lost and feel so robbed.I hope to hear your opinion. Thank-you Lynda Nagel so heart broken.

  4. Lynda,
    Sorry to hear of your loss, but please do not be so hard on yourself. Kaydee Mae will not want you to feel so badly. Look at it this way: she is free from the pain and will not suffer anymore. That is your comfort right there.

    I cannot give you any opinion of note as I’m not a vet myself, only a cat parent who has a penchant for blogging and info googling. I share what I know and have encountered, but beyond that, any animal parent who reads this or any blog, or onlnie reference should still refer to your baby’s vet. But I will say that at times, a second opinion may be needed.

    Take care, Lynda.

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  6. Hi,

    We are just arrived in Singapore with our CRF cat and I am wondering if you might recommend your vet? Also, I picked up a few bags of fluids to give our cat and was shocked at the price – have you found any affordable places (even online?) to get CRF supplies?

    Appreciate any advice you might have.


  7. Mel,
    Have sent you an email with the info via email.

    Best of wishes for you and your kitty

  8. My question is my cat was just diagnosed two weeks ago. Was in the hospital for 5 days and got much better. Although, when we took him back in hs creatine level back up and down and he still is acting funny sleeping in the bathtub, cring alot. Does this mean he is not getting better or does it take some time?

  9. Hi, chanced upon this site cos I was searching for other CRF cat-owners in SG. I’ve got a CRF kitty diagnosed about 3 yrs ago; after repeated suggestions from the vet at Mt Pleasant to put my kitty to sleep, I decided to transfer him to ARVC.

    In reply to Mel — buy the fluids from a hospital pharmacy (may need to obtain prescription from vet). So far, I’ve found that Mt Alvernia has the best price for fluids & TTSH for needles.

    I have one issue that has been bugging me, that’s why I’ve been searching for other CRF cat-owners in SG. I give Azodyl to my kitty, which is not sold in SG anymore. Is there anyone else who gives Azodyl to their CRF kitties ? Hope we can connect — my email:

    Thanks, calsifer, for this site.

  10. Hi Carol,
    Thanks for the info. I will email your comments to Mel. Hopefully, she will get in touch with you.

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  13. Hi Lynda,

    Will you please advise which vet(s) Bam Bam is seeing now? I am looking for vet(s) who support CKD treatment and non-prescription feeding.



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