Cadmium (Cd), a widely distributed heavy metal, is extremely toxic to the kidney. Vitamin E (VE) is an important antioxidant in the body. It is known that VE exerts a protective effect on renal oxidative damage caused by Cd, but the effect and mechanism of VE on apoptosis are not fully understood. Thus, we conducted this study to explore the protective effect of VE on Cd-induced renal apoptosis and to elucidate its potential mechanism. Thirty-two 9-week-old male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into four groups, namely control, VE (100 mg/kg VE), Cd (5 mg/kg CdCl2), and VE + Cd (100 mg/kg VE + 5 mg/kg CdCl2), and received intragastric administration of Cd and/or VE for 4 weeks. The results showed that Cd exposure significantly reduced the weight of the body and kidney, elevated the accumulation of Cd in the kidney as well as the levels of BUN and Scr in serum, caused renal histological alterations, decreased the GSH and T-AOC contents and antioxidant enzyme (SOD, CAT, GSH-PX) activities, and increased renal MDA content. And the increased number of TUNEL-positive cells by Cd was accompanied by upregulated mRNA and protein expressions of apoptotic regulatory molecules (Bax, Caspase-3, GRP94, GRP78, Caspase-8) and downregulated Bcl-2 expressions. However, the combined treatment of Cd and VE could restore the above parameters to be close to those in the control rats. In conclusion, VE supplement could alleviate Cd-induced rat renal damage and oxidative stress through enhancing the antioxidant defense system and inhibiting apoptosis of renal cells.