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Q: How do I know when it is time to say goodbye to my cat that is suffering from kidney disease and what are some treatments to consider?  

Original Question: "My cat has been diagnosed with Stage 3 renal failure and I need a second opinion. What are some signs to watch for that he is deteriorating? I will not permit him to suffer. He is drinking a lot and voiding and I am totally aware that these are signs. He is now on a kidney diet and seems to like it. I just want to ask you, when will I know it is the time to euthanize? I don’t want to wait until he is at his worst. Please just tell me, when will I know. I understand he is not in pain, is this correct? In February of this year his blood work was ok and 6 months later he is in 3rd stage. With this info, will he go downhill fast? Like in a month? Please give me your honest and best scenario. I need to know. Thank you. Ps. My cat was a stray that I rescued and the vet thought he was about 7 years old. I have cared and loved him for 5 and so he is now 12 years old although who really knows. He is so sweet and I have never cared for a cat before and only had dogs in my life. Please advise me. Thank you. Also, what treatments would you suggest other then the diet change? I will not do anything aggressive or put my cat through any aggressive treatments. Thank you so very much." - Connie


Vet Certified Answer | Answered: September 5, 2017

Hi Connie,

Sorry to hear about your cat's condition. Kidney disease is unfortunately progressive and disheartening to address as not every patient will do well. It sounds like his case is a bit more advanced and progressive than anyone would like. There is no simple answer as to when it is time to say goodbye. Often I advise people that when your pet is no longer having a good quality of life or doing the things they like to/used to do, then you will know it is time. You can look at some of the various Quality of Life scales from Pawspice or the Ohio State University vet school. Other treatments you could consider might include subcutaneous fluids, antacids, and medications to help reduce protein loss through the kidneys and blood pressure. These are simple options to talk with your veterinarian about. I wish you the best of luck and hope you treasure the time left with your cat.

I hope this helps.

Dr. Ryan Llera


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