Saturday, February 18, 2012

"Everything's gonna be all right"

There are moments when I wish I knew Latin, so that I could swear like Batiatus (my favorite whiny man, from Spartacus) and say things like, "Finally, the gods see fit to remove c**k from @$$," which is fantastic in plain English and is grandiose enough to vent with. But for true vexation and petulance, only Latin will do, although I understand that Japanese is a close contender.

Last week, we found out that Noodle, like the Tweeb, has chronic renal failure (or, in more PC parlance, "chronic kidney disease"). It's a bitter, albeit not unexpected, pill to have to swallow: Noodle's kidney values were elevated at last spring's dental, so we all decided that a six-month checkup would be a good time to confirm or refute the findings. Alas, the findings were confirmed: Noodle's kidney values moved from "high-normal" to "high", and since then we've been feeding him the same prescription diet as the Tweeb has been getting. Luckily, Noodle will snarf anything, and I don't think he's noticed the change in his food.

As a quasi-public-service announcement, though, I'd like to point out that neither Noodle nor the Tweeb displayed any symptoms of renal failure prior to their blood tests. They did not drink excessively, the number of pee-balls in the litter box hasn't changed, they were not reclusive or lethargic (although, being cats, I must admit it is hard to objectively qualify what counts as "reclusive or lethargic"). In most cats, by the time symptoms of CKD start to appear, they only have 25-30% renal function left, and by then they usually only have a few more months before crossing the rainbow bridge. We caught both Noodle and the Tweeb well before that point, and indeed, besides an occasional bald patch (where they shave the fur before drawing blood), there's no indication at all that they are sick.

The point is, if you have a cat that's getting up there in years (10, thereabouts), please consider getting them tested for chronic diseases (CKD and diabetes), even if they show no signs of disease. We intend to get Shadow a blood test at her next visit (she'll be 8 years old!) just to see how things are, and every few years after that. Catching something as insidious as CKD early on might make a world of difference between simply changing their food and having to administer subcutaneous saline and a battery of pills every day. The Tweeb has been with us for five years since she was diagnosed, and at the rate she's going, it won't be her kidneys that kill her. We're hoping that the same will be true of Noodle. Of course, every cat is different, but early detection and good management will maximize your kitty's chances.


  1. One of my cats got sick, and one of the tests came back indicating they may be getting this. It's good to hear someone who is managing their cat's kidney disease so well. My cat will have to go back in a month to get rechecking; I really hope the tests come back normal. He's not a 'people cat' meaning he doesn't see much use for people except to dispense food and sometimes a random petting, so if he does get sick giving him sub-q fluids and pills every day would be very hard.

  2. Sending good thoughts to your kitty. A word of advice: perhaps you might consider getting a urinalysis done as well. Borderline values could be due to something as simple as not having had enough water or stress, and a urinalysis would have to be done anyway. It's not a big deal, although it can certainly look like it--and if it saves you a third trip to the vet and even more stress for the cat, it could be worth doing.

    I hope everything works out well for you, and it turns out that your cat was just a little stressed and dehydrated.