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How Many Kidneys Do Cats Have? Vet-Reviewed Facts

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

By Rachael Gerkensmeyer

cat sleeping with its belly up on a cat bed

Vet approved

Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Cats are fascinating creatures that can do amazing things, like climb up the curtains on our windows at home. They don’t eat the same way we humans do, as they are obligate carnivores that require only animal protein to stay healthy throughout their lives. On the other hand, we humans are omnivores and require just as many fruits and veggies as animal protein to stay healthy.

So, you may wonder whether cats have the same organs as humans do. One thing people often wonder is how many kidneys cats have. Are cats designed like we are to brave this mighty world? Yes, for the most part, they are, which means that most cats have two kidneys. They are built like most other mammals on this planet. Read on to learn more!

hepper-cat-paw-dividerMost Cats Have Two Kidneys

As most mammals do, cats have two kidneys to help remove waste from their bodies. Their kidneys work the same way that ours do, so it is vital to ensure that they stay healthy as time goes on. Feeding your cat a quality diet and keeping them away from known toxins (like certain cleaning products) is a great way to support good kidney health in your pet.

red scottish fold cat on a dark background
Image Credit: Alexander Sobol, Shutterstock

Cats Sometimes Have Only One Kidney

While rare, some cats are born with only one kidney. Sometimes, cats develop health problems that cause one kidney to fail, leaving them with only one good kidney left to keep them afloat. However, cats can live long and healthy lives with just one kidney to rely on. Clean water, dietary management, fresh air, and a relaxed environment are essential for cats with one kidney.

A veterinarian will likely prescribe a special diet and specific lifestyle guidance to help ensure that a cat living with one kidney can live a long life. However, it is up to the cat owner to ensure that extra precautions are taken to keep a cat with one kidney healthy. Sadly, cats with either one or two kidneys can develop kidney disease.

Cats are Susceptible to Developing Kidney Disease

Up to 30% of cats develop kidney disease after the age of 10. Modern technology and healthcare have made it possible for cats with kidney disease to live longer and happier lives, but the disease is irreversible and requires regular medical attention. Because so many cats suffer from kidney disease, it is important to understand the signs that all owners should keep an eye out for, whether their feline family members are 5 or 15 years old.

Veterinary clinic examining a radiograph of a Persian cat
Image Credit: 135pixels, Shutterstock

Signs of Kidney Problems in Cats

Cats tend to show some signs of kidney disease once the disease sets in. Discovering these signs early on will give your cat a better chance of surviving and even thriving in the coming years.

The most important signs to keep an eye out for include but are not limited to:
  • Decreased urination
  • Increased interest in drinking water
  • A loss of interest in food
  • A general display of lethargy
  • Gastrointestinal distress
  • Seizures
  • Mouth sores (ulcers)
  • A disinterest in being social

If your cat displays any of those signs, it is important to see your veterinarian as soon as possible. Letting the signs fester may likely harm your pet more and result in the development of worse signs.

hepper-cat-paw-dividerAnd Finally…

Cats have the same number of kidneys that humans do, cats on a dry food diet tend to develop kidney disease more often. Therefore, it is important to keep kidney health at the forefront when creating a care plan for your furry loved one. Make sure they drink plenty of water and include wet food in their diet to prevent kidney disease. Your vet can help you understand the chances of your cat developing kidney disease, help you create a plan to keep your cat’s kidneys healthy, and provide you with the support you need to care for your kitty if they do end up developing kidney disease.


Featured Image Credit to: Jim Black, Pixabay

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