Cat Kidney Failure when to Euthanize

If your cat has been diagnosed with kidney failure, then chances are there is not much time left for it to survive. It can be complicated to understand what effects kidney failure can have on your cat’s body, but also hard to fathom what is to come next in its short life. Euthanasia may be recommended by your vet, but you need to know the right time to euthanize it based on its health. So when should you euthanize your cat with kidney failure?

In this article, we will look into the deciding factors of euthanizing your cat with euthanasia, and other important things you need to be aware of before you take this tough decision for your cat.

cat with liver failure when to euthanize

How long can my cat survive if it has kidney failure?

First and foremost, it is probably ambiguous as to how long your cat may actually live with kidney failure. It can be scary too because watching your cat go through all the pain when you could just put it down to relieve it can be tough.

But many times, cats with kidney failure end up surviving and living a healthy life, so it is important to have an idea of what time range you are looking at for your cat.

Now, we know that every cat is different, and a lot of factors come into play when we talk about how long kidney failure takes a cat’s life.

But generally, if your cat with kidney failure is old, then it may survive for around 2 months, with medications at most.

Kidney failure is very common in cats above 14 years, and their chances of survival significantly drop after that age.

However, the survival period may vary in younger cats, because their other organs are working well and work together to keep the cat alive.

Do note, that no one can affirm when your cat will pass away, vet estimates are the closest thing you can find to accuracy and even then some cats outlive these deadlines, which is a good thing.

Learning these facts will help you analyze whether your cat needs to be euthanized or not.

Signs it is time to euthanize your cat with kidney failure

We will now look into the different signs and factors that will help us figure out if your cat needs euthanasia.

Keep in mind that your cat may show only some of these symptoms, not all, but they should be enough to figure out what option you want to choose.

Kidney insufficiency or kidney failure?

Some vets mention that kidney insufficiency is different from kidney failure.

Kidney insufficiency is when the kidney has not completely stopped working, and when this happens, it can still be revived after a usually long course of medications.

While you can try and prolong the lifespan of a cat with kidney failure, it is likely to pass away much sooner. Hence, vets need to make this distinction with cat owners beforehand.

So if your cat has kidney failure, then it may need to be euthanized.

Dialysis is not an option

Usually, when cats have some sort of kidney problem, they are advised to go through kidney dialysis.

But in these cases, the kidney is only partially affected or only one of them is working, which usually gets the job done.

With kidney failure, dialysis is usually ruled out because the kidneys are not functional unless your cat has kidney insufficiency.

Therefore, the waste material is not leaving the cat’s body and in turn causing toxicity in the body. In a case like this, it is best to euthanize your cat as soon as possible.

Cat too old to bear the pain

As mentioned above, kidney failure is common in cats above 14-15 years of age. At this age, many cats are old and cannot survive with the implications of renal failure anyways.

If you are asked to inject medications in your cat to keep it alive for longer, you can choose to save your cat from the pain and euthanize it.

Dietary changes did not affect cats’ health

When risking kidney failure, or any kind of renal problems for that fact, you may be asked to alter your cats’ diet to suit its current lifestyle.

This means that certain foods may have to go from their daily diet and a healthy version needs to be added so you can prolong your cats’ life.

Of course, the following option is only suggested by vets when they see that the cat is not going through unbearable pain and may survive.

So if the change in diet does not work in your cats, you can try experimenting with different alternatives (with the vet’s permission), and if nothing works, then euthanizing it may be the right option.

Symptoms of the cat not surviving too long show up regularly

Some of the key symptoms that your cat has kidney failure are:

  • Anemia
  • Sluggishness
  • Dull mood
  • Seizure
  • Excess urine
  • Bad odor from its body
  • Extreme loss of appetite

These factors also indicate that your cat may not be able to live for very long, and it may even be in excruciating pain.

Hence, depending on the intensity and frequency of these symptoms, you may have to euthanize your cat.

Signs that your cat does not need to be euthanized yet

Despite all the other signs we have mentioned above, there are still signs that you do not need to worry about euthanizing your cat just yet.

Let’s look into them in more detail.

Surviving well on dialysis

Cats with dialysis may need to rely fully on dialysis treatment, unlike those with partial kidney problems.

This is not very ideal, because dialysis can be painful as well. But if your cat is living a normal, healthy life and is behaving normally as well, there is no need to euthanize it.

Especially if it is on pain killer medications to reduce the pain of dialysis, there is nothing to worry about.

Life expectancy improves because of treatment

Now, we are not claiming that kidney failure is curable, but certain medications and treatments will help cats improve their lifespan.

It does not work for every cat, but when it does, it can significantly improve the health and make the cat healthy without functioning kidneys.

This is a good sign, and as long as you get regular checkups with the veterinarian, and your cat feels healthy, euthanizing does not need to be an option.

Cat feeling healthy and behavior is normal

Last but not least, you need to be in constant contact with the vet and update him about your cat’s situation every few months.

If your cat exhibits normal behavior at home and is back to its normal self again, it does not matter if it is on medications, it does not need to be euthanized.

Enjoy and cherish the time you have with your cat!


In conclusion, when should you euthanize your cat with kidney failure?

There is no definite answer to this question. It depends on what your cat’s situation is and what the state of its health is.

Besides this, many other factors come into play such as the age of your cat and previous health problems which can cause more problems.

Other than that, you need to be aware of the signs and symptoms in your cat that will show you if it needs to be euthanized. Keep a check on your cat and give it timely medications if prescribed.

If you decide not to euthanize it after a vet’s consultation and personal observation, great, but make sure you still visit the vet often to keep him updated about your feline friends’ health.

Lastly, stay strong! Kidney failure almost always takes older cats’ lives away, but you must remember that you saved them from a painful life.

The decision for euthanization for cats with ibd, lymphoma, leukemia, brain tumor, bladder cancer, kidney failure, liver failure, hyperthyroidism, fip or diabetes can be difficult. Multiple expert opinions can actually be best for your cat.

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