Persian Cats and Polycystic Kidney Disease

Persian Cats and Polycystic Kidney Disease

Persian cats have to be one of the most popular choices of feline family pets on the planet and for good reason. They are very pretty and full of personality which makes them charming characters to have around. Sadly, like so many other pedigree cats, the Persian also suffers from a fair share of health disorders whether inherited or acquired with the most prevalent being Polycystic Kidney disease.

The disorder is passed on to kittens by their parents and can be described as tiny sacs developing in their kidneys which are filled with fluid to form cysts. These “cysts” over time multiply not only in number, but in size too. The result is the cat's kidneys cannot function properly and this leads to total and often fatal renal failure. Unfortunately, nobody actually knows why these cysts start to form on a cat's kidneys, but the one thing that is known is it’s a genetic abnormality that Persian cats are more prone to suffer from than any other breed of cat. With this said other breeds known to inherit the disorder albeit to a lesser extent are British Shorthairs and Himalayans.

Lots of cysts may form on the kidneys or just one large one, but the result is the same with kidney function being severely affected. Kittens that inherit the disorder are born with cysts already on their kidneys albeit extremely tiny ones. However, by the age of 6 months old, a vet would be able to establish if a Persian cat has the disorder. If a cat goes untested, they may not show any symptoms until they are around 7 years old and as such, the fact the disorder goes unnoticed. This is why if you are thinking about getting a Persian cat, it's essential you contact a well established reputable breeder who always checks their breeding stock for any health disorders because it's the best way of reducing the chances of a Persian kitten inheriting Polycystic kidney disease from their parents.

Symptoms to Watch Out for in Persian Cats

When a cat is born with the condition and as they get older, there are some symptoms to watch out for which shows a Persian may be suffering from a kidney problem. These include the following signs:

  • An increase in the amount of water a cat drinks which leads to them needing to go to the toilet more often
  • Cats tend to have less of an appetite as the condition worsens and as a result cats lose weight sometimes quite rapidly
  • Nausea and vomiting are other signs a cat may be suffering from the condition
  • Cats tend to be lethargic

Diagnosing the Problem

The only real way a vet would be able to establish a Persian or other cat is suffering from the condition is to perform an ultrasound on them because even a genetic test would not establish just how badly a cat's kidneys are affected by the cysts. Sadly, because so many cysts tend to form, there is very little chance of a vet being able to drain all of them and even if they could, the chances are the cysts would just fill up with fluid again.

Treating a Cat with the Condition

The only real way of treating a Persian cat with the condition is to manage it rather than actually treat it. Vets normally recommend that owners monitor their pet's food carefully and that a cat should be given fluid therapy along with specific prescribed medicines with the end goal being to keep the cat's kidneys functioning properly for as long as possible.

Carrier Cats Should Never be Used for Breeding

The only real way of decreasing the number of Persian cats born with this dreadful kidney disorder is to ensure that no cat that's known to be a carrier of Polycystic kidney disease is ever used in a breeding programme. Vets can carry out a test to ensure that a Persian cat does not carry the gene responsible for the disorder and any well established breeder knows the importance of having this test carried out on any cat they use in their breeding programmes. They would never use a Persian cat known to carry the gene.


Like many other pure breeds, the Persian cat has become one of the more popular cats on the planet because they boast such lovely natures and striking looks. However, they also suffer from quite a few genetically inherited health disorders one of which is a devastating condition that seriously impacts their kidney function. Polycystic Kidney disease affects Persian cats more than any other breed although the British Shorthair and the Himalayan are also known to suffer from the condition too. If you are thinking about getting a Persian kitten, it cannot be stressed strongly enough how important it is to only contact reputable breeders who test all their breeding stock before using them in a breeding programme. This is the only way you can be sure your kitten has less chance of inheriting the disorder which sadly all too often shortens the lives of many Persians quite considerably.



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