This site is dedicated to my three CKD cats:









Site Overview

Just Diagnosed? What You Need to Know First

Alphabetical Index


Feline CKD Research, Including Participation Opportunities

Search This Site

Share This Site: A Notice for Your Vet's Bulletin Board or Your Local Pet Shop




What Happens in CKD

Causes of CKD

How Bad is It?

Is There Any Hope?

Acute Kidney Injury




Phosphorus Control


(High Blood Pressure)



Pyelonephritis (Kidney Infections) and Urinary Tract Infections

Metabolic Acidosis

Kidney Stones




Nausea, Vomiting, Appetite Loss and Excess Stomach Acid

Maintaining Hydration

The B Vitamins (Including Methylcobalamin)


Potassium Imbalances



Ways of Assessing Food Content, Including What is Dry Matter Analysis

How to Use the Food Data Tables

USA Canned Food Data

USA Dry Food Data

USA Cat Food Brands: Helpfulness Ratings

USA Cat Food Brands: Contact Details

USA Food Data Book

UK Canned Food Data

UK Dry Food Data

UK Cat Food Brands: Helpfulness Ratings

UK Cat Food Brands:

Contact Details



Coping with CKD

Tanya's Support Group

Success Stories



Important: Crashing

Alphabetical List of Symptoms and Treatments

Fluid and Urinary  Imbalances (Dehydration, Overhydration and Urinary Issues)

Waste Product Regulation Imbalances (Vomiting, Appetite Loss, Excess Stomach Acid, Gastro-intestinal Problems, Mouth Ulcers Etc.)

Phosphorus and Calcium Imbalances

Miscellaneous Symptoms (Pain, Hiding Etc.)



Blood Chemistry: Kidney Function, Potassium, Other Tests (ALT, Amylase, (Cholesterol, Etc.)

Calcium, Phosphorus, Parathyroid Hormone (PTH) and Secondary Hyperparathyroidism

Complete Blood Count (CBC): Red and White Blood Cells: Anaemia and Infection

Urinalysis (Urine Tests)

Other Tests: Ultrasound, Biopsy, X-rays etc.

Renomegaly (Enlarged Kidneys)

Which Tests to Have and Frequency of Testing

Factors that Affect Test Results

Normal Ranges

International and US Measuring Systems



Which Treatments are Essential

Fluid and Urinary Issues (Fluid Retention, Infections, Incontinence, Proteinuria)

Waste Product Regulation (Mouth Ulcers, GI Bleeding, Antioxidants, Adsorbents, Azodyl, Astro's CRF Oil)

Phosphorus, Calcium and Secondary Hyperparathyroidism (Calcitriol)

Phosphorus Binders

Steroids, Stem Cell Transplants and Kidney Transplants

Antibiotics and Painkillers

Holistic Treatments (Including Slippery Elm Bark)

ESAs (Aranesp, Epogen etc.) for Severe Anaemia

General Health Issues in a CKD Cat: Fleas, Arthritis, Dementia, Vaccinations

Tips on Medicating Your Cat

Obtaining Supplies Cheaply in the UK, USA and Canada

Working with Your Vet and Recordkeeping



Nutritional Requirements of CKD Cats

The B Vitamins (Including Methylcobalamin)

What to Feed (and What to Avoid)

Persuading Your Cat to Eat

2007 Food Recall USA



Oral Fluids

Intravenous Fluids

Subcutaneous Fluids

Tips on Giving Subcutaneous Fluids

How to Give Subcutaneous Fluids with a Giving Set

How to Give Subcutaneous Fluids with a Syringe

Subcutaneous Fluids - Winning Your Vet's Support




Heart Problems



Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)


Dental Problems





USA Online

USA Local (Fluids)




The Final Hours

Other People's Losses

Coping with Your Loss



Early Detection


CKD Research in Other Species

Canine Kidney Disease

Other Illnesses (Cancer, Liver) and Behavioural Problems

Diese Webseite auf Deutsch



My Three CKD Cats: Tanya, Thomas and Ollie

My Multi Ailment Cat, Harpsie

Find Me on Facebook

Follow Me on Twitter

Contact Me



Hello, and welcome to my website, though I am sorry you need to be here.


My name is Helen. I have had three cats with CKD, Tanya, Thomas and Ollie (their photos are above). I created this website because I know first hand the shock and fear of the diagnosis, and how helpless it can make you feel, and I wanted to give people the detailed, practical information which would have helped me the first time I received the CKD diagnosis.


People arriving here usually fall into one of two camps. If your cat has just been diagnosed with CKD, you are probably feeling shell-shocked and frightened. Your cat may be in the midst of a crisis, perhaps on intravenous fluids (IV, or a drip, or a flush) at the vet's. If your cat has high bloodwork values, you may not even have been offered any treatment, but instead told that there is no hope and you should just put your cat to sleep.


Or maybe you've caught things early, but are anxious to find out all you can about this disease so you can do all you can to keep your cat stable. Alternatively, perhaps your cat has had CKD for a while, but you are now realising that you need to become more proactive if you want him or her to remain well. 


Whatever your situation, please take a deep breath and don't give up hope, because it may well be possible to help your cat.


This website is extremely comprehensive, which is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand it will answer 99% of your questions about kidney disease in cats, but on the other hand it may seem a bit overwhelming to start with. Try not to worry, just read the Key Issues section and dip into the other sections that interest you. it will eventually start to make sense. And above all, get food into your cat.


I am remodelling this site and some pages may be missing or unavailable. Please visit my sister site for the current version of any missing pages: http://www.felinecrf.org

My Books

My famous US cat food data

in order of brand and

phosphorus content.

This website in book form.

Aims of the Site

This site shares all the information and tips I know, in great detail, in order to help your cat feel better and hopefully extend his/her life. I am not a vet myself, just an ordinary person who has educated herself about CKD in cats.


If you are a vet visiting this site because your client has mentioned it to you, I can imagine your heart is sinking about now. It may reassure you to know that wherever possible I do try to offer veterinary information to support what I say; and that many vets do recommend the site, including a number of vet schools and veterinary specialists (see the reviews below).


I try to share the information I have using layman's language. My goals are to:

  • describe the symptoms which you may be seeing now or which you may see in the future;

  • explain what these symptoms and your cat's test results may mean;

  • discuss treatments which can often help, many of which are not very expensive (the most commonly used treatments can usually be obtained for around US$5-10 a week in total);

  • cover the emotional aspects of living with CKD and help you to cope with it, including at the end of your CKD journey. 

The site provides information on an international basis, aiming to help you wherever you happen to live, although in practice much of the information relates to the USA and Europe since these are the areas where the most information and treatments are available. 

What is Kidney Disease?


There are two main kinds of kidney disease:

  • Chronic Kidney Disease, abbreviated as CKD; and

  • Acute Kidney Injury, abbreviated as AKI.

Kidney disease used to be known as kidney failure, and you may therefore see references in some of my links to Chronic Renal Failure (CRF), or Acute Renal Failure (ARF). I used to use these expressions myself, but these days the academic literature prefers the less scary and more accurate expression, kidney disease, so that is what I use throughout the site.


AKI is a serious condition which usually comes on suddenly and which is often triggered by a particular event or "insult", such as your cat eating something poisonous. Lilies and antifreeze are both extremely toxic to cats and may cause AKI. AKI is usually treated with intravenous fluids (IV fluids, also known as a drip) and other medications at the vet's and, although it is hard to treat, if the cat survives the initial crisis, he/she can often regain much or sometimes all of his/her normal kidney function.


CKD may also manifest itself very suddenly and require IV treatment at the vet's, but in contrast to AKI it is an ongoing disease in which it is not possible to regain lost kidney function; so the goal is to keep the remaining function for as long as possible.


This site is primarily designed for people with a cat with the chronic form of the disease (CKD), but may be of some use to those with a cat with AKI. Please visit the Acute Kidney Injury page for more information.


Where to Start


This site is extremely comprehensive, as you can see from the number of links in the sidebar on the left. But don't panic, you won't need to learn about every single aspect.


Most people who arrive here for the first time have three overwhelming concerns:

  • they want to know how severe their cat's case is

  • they want to know how best to help their cat, and quickly

  • in particular they want to know how to get their cat to eat

I therefore recommend that you read these pages first:

These pages will get you started quickly so you can hit the ground running. Then, later on, you can gradually get up to speed on CKD in more detail. The Site Overview - Finding What You Need page provides a brief summary of the contents of each page, so if you're not sure where to find something, check here, or just check the sidebar on the left.

If Your Vet Has Recommended Immediate Euthanasia


Please read the Just Diagnosed? What You Need to Know First page urgently. Unfortunately, some vets are not overly familiar with the latest treatments for CKD, and may recommend euthanasia prematurely. You need to educate yourself and work out how severe your cat's case is before you make this irrevocable decision. 


Oh, and do not panic if your vet says your cat has lost 70% of kidney function - it's actually normal for CKD not to be diagnosed until this much function has been lost. What matters is how well your cat can manage with the function that is left, and a lot of cats do well.

My Three CKD Cats


This website is named in honour of Tanya, who was my first CKD cat. Unfortunately Tanya did not receive as much proactive care as Thomas and Ollie, because at the time that she was diagnosed (1998), I did not know about the treatment options described on this website (and of course many of them were not available back then). I tried desperately to find information to help her but I was not online, so my options were limited. Once I got online, I vowed that nobody else should have to go through that, so I created this website.

Thomas, in contrast, had much more severe CKD yet survived longer than Tanya because he received more proactive treatment.

Ollie was a somewhat different case: he came to me a week before his sixteenth birthday with relatively mild CKD but with a host of other health problems which ultimately took him from me.

You can read more about all of them here. You can also read some Success Stories here, some of whom survived for years with CKD. I can't promise the same success for your cat, but in most cases it's certainly worth a try.

Other Urinary Tract Problems


I sometimes hear from people whose cats have lower urinary tract problems rather than kidney problems. Lower urinary tract problems are relatively common in cats, but do not automatically lead to kidney problems. So please be sure your cat has kidney issues before deciding this is the website to help your cat, because treating for the wrong condition is at best pointless and at worst dangerous.

If you are not sure, ask your vet if your cat has CKD or another condition that would fall into the category of Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD).

Is Chronic Kidney Disease Terminal?


Sadly, yes, CKD is terminal. BUT that does not necessarily mean death is imminent: it is often possible to buy the cat months or even years of quality life. In fact, with appropriate treatment, quite a few CKD cats not only live for a long time, they eventually die of other causes, with the CKD firmly under control at the time of death.


An analogy used by my vet is that a CKD cat is approaching the edge of a precipice: the cat may approach the precipice very slowly, taking years to reach it; the cat may approach quite quickly; whichever way the cat approaches the precipice, it may be possible to grab the cat and pull him/her back even after he/ she has started to fall over the edge, and this could be done several times if you move quickly enough.


The good news is there are almost certainly a few things you can do to help your cat. This site is geared towards slowing the progression towards the precipice, and may also be able to help pull your cat back if he/she has started to fall over the edge, while simultaneously trying to make the cat's remaining time more comfortable. CKD cats can look very ill at diagnosis, but improve dramatically with treatment, so I strongly recommend trying treatments for a few weeks before considering euthanasia.


Good luck on your CKD journey.




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Tanya's CKD Support Group


Need help and support? Available online now,

the support group allows you to talk to others fighting this disease

who can offer help and support as you make your CKD journey.

Join now, it's quick, easy and free.


To join, click here


or enter your e-mail address in the box below and click Subscribe.


Once you apply to join, you will receive an e-mail asking for your name, country of residence, cat's name and age and reason for joining the group - you have to respond to this before your membership will be approved.


You can read more about the group and how it works here.


Any problems, please contact the group moderators






I have no financial interest in any products or services mentioned here, nor do I accept advertisements.


To make it completely clear, because so many people assume the opposite,

 I receive no income or commission from the manufacturers or sellers of any products discussed on the site,


so you can rest assured that what I say is completely impartial.

I also do not make any money from my support group.


I do, obviously, make some money from the book version of the site, but it contains nothing that is not already included on the website.



 I neither solicit nor accept donations for maintaining this site, because I can afford the running costs, and my time comes free.

If you would like to thank me in some way, please:

  • pay me the compliment of telling your vet about this site, so that other cats may benefit. You can print out a flier for your vet's bulletin board if you wish.

  • If you can afford it, you might also wish to make a small donation to your local branch of Cats Protection (UK) or your local shelter in memory of Tanya, Thomas and Ollie.

  • If you would prefer to make a donation to fund CKD research, please click here.

  • If you would prefer that I benefit directly, you can buy the book version of this website (though please only buy it if you need it).

  • If you do buy the book and like it, please give it a positive review on Amazon.

  • But if funds are tight right now and you need them to pay for your cat's care, please just go and hug your cat (-:



Recommended by

Dr Jessica Quimby

Researcher into CKD in cats

Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine

March 2017




Featured in

Pet Health Network

December 2016




Recommended by

Dr Margie Scherk

November 2015




Recommended by

Dr Mark E Peterson

Animal Endocrine Clinic

May 2015




Recommended by

Professor Daničlle Gunn-Moore

Professor of Feline Medicine

University of Edinburgh, Scotland

May 2013



Recommended by


the newsletter of Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

May 2011




Recommended by

Dr Sarah Caney

Vet Professionals

May 2008


Recommended by the

American Association of Feline Practitioners





Recommended by the

Pet Community Website

August 2008




"You might be interested to know that I refer veterinarians to the information on your site quite often.

It came up recently regarding one of the experimental therapies and

I just linked to your site and said the folks that run that site are knowledgeable and responsible

and if they say it there, it's been researched and is up-to-date.

I consider what you do in trying to help cat owners to be the work of "angels"."


Dr Katherine James, DVM, PhD

Urology and Nephrology Specialist

Veterinary Information Network

March 2007





Recommended in the

International Cat Care Journal

Volume 43(4) 2005



The Best of the Net Award

February 2002.


Recommended in the

International Cat Care Journal

Volume 40(3) 2002




Recommended in

Your Cat magazine

December 2000


Share This Site: A Notice for Your Vet's Bulletin Board or Your Local Pet Shop




Tanya's Comprehensive Guide to Feline Chronic Kidney Disease Web

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Website last updated: 11 May 2017






I have tried very hard to ensure that the information provided in this website is accurate, but I am NOT a vet, just an ordinary person who has lived through CKD with three cats. This website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to be used to diagnose or treat any cat. Before trying any of the treatments described herein, you MUST consult a qualified veterinarian and obtain professional advice on the correct regimen for your cat and his or her particular requirements; and you should only use any treatments described here with the full knowledge and approval of your vet. No responsibility can be accepted.


If your cat appears to be in pain or distress, do not waste time on the internet, contact your vet immediately.




Copyright © Tanya's Feline CKD Website 2000-2017. All rights reserved.


This site was created using Microsoft software, and therefore it is best viewed in Internet Explorer. I know it doesn't always display too well in other browsers, but I'm not an IT expert so I'm afraid I don't know how to change that. I would love it to display perfectly everywhere, but my focus is on making the information available. I am trying to teach myself to use another type of software, in the hope that using it will enable the site to display better in the future.


You may print out one copy of each section of this site for your own information and/or one copy to give to your vet (though it is almost 1000 pages long, so it is probably cheaper and it is definitely easier to buy the book version!), but this site may not otherwise be reproduced or reprinted, on the internet or elsewhere, without the permission of the site owner, who can be contacted via the

Contact Me page.


This site is a labour of love on my part. Please do not steal from me by taking credit for my work.

If you wish to link to this site, please feel free to do so. Please make it clear that this is a link and not your own work. I would appreciate being informed of your link.