Post # 1
Hi Bees! I have always thought of myself to be pretty savvy with taking care of cats but now I feel like I just don’t know what to do. I need some input! Sorry for the long post.
I got my kitty Roo a year ago and have been feeding him grain free food, usually Blue Buffalo, without a problem until now. Two weeks ago he was diagnosed with a UTI after I noticed he was dribbling urine and moaning in his litter box. He was on antibiotics for two weeks and has been looking back to normal. I didn’t suspect any further issues.
Today I took him for his follow up appointment and it turns out he still has some bacteria in his urine and he also has formed crystals, which he did not have 2 weeks ago. I was shocked. The vet wants me to put him on another round of antibiotics and start him on a prescription food to prevent crystals and UTI’s in the future.
Being a cat mommy, this is making me worried. I’ve always been concerned about his diet and thought that grain free food was supposed to help UTI’s from forming. I usually feed him dry food but I do supplement with wet sometimes to ensure he’s getting adequate moisture (he tends to ignore his water bowl some days).
To get to the point, the food the vet prescribed is Hills c/d Bladder Health and I guess it’s acidic to help prevent infections and crystals from forming. And he wants Roo to eat this food permanently for life. When I looked at the ingredients, the first are as listed: “brewers rice, corn gluten meal, chicken by-product meal”. I’m sorry, but that doesn’t sound very healthy. How does feeding grains and adding acid help prevent crystals better than a higher meat grain-free diet? I read online that grain free foods are high in magnesium which can cause UTI’s so maybe that’s what’s happening? I don’t know who to believe (and I know you can’t trust everything on the internet). I just don’t want my poor kitty to be fed crappy food to prevent UTI’s but then get diabetes or something because it’s poor quality.
Do any bees have any advice? Or know of any grain-free UTI specific food? Thanks in advance for the support <3
Post # 3
Food with by products is rarely healthy. However, you should at least try it if that is what your vet has prescribed.
You can also go to a pet store and ask the employees to recommend food for crystals.
Post # 4
Nope nope nope. Hill’s is really bad. Vets make money off of it, and they get talks from Hill’s people about why it’s good, so they’re likely to prescribe it. But it’s seriously bad news. Also, the whole acidic thing has not even been clinically proven to help with crystals, as far as I know.
Go all wet. If we could (as in, if we didn’t have cats with very specific and cray cray dietary needs), we would use Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet wet food. But just look for all wet limited ingredient food that is NOT fish-based–fish-based food is believed to contribute to UTIs also. We use Soulistic (part-time, because of crazy cat needs), which is the Petco brand of Weruva–I’m a big fan of Weruva too.
Also, crystals are not necessarily bad–they’re a natural formation in urine. They’re only bad when kitty is too dehydrated and the crystals get too big and block them from peeing. So don’t freak out necessarily about the crystals–work on getting kitty more hydrated!
As far as drinking, there are lots of things you can do to encourage drinking. Get a fountain, move the water up a little higher, try different materials for water bowls. Our cats strongly prefer to drink out of a plastic bowl (lol, they are classy) that is in the room that DH and I are in at the moment. So basically, we have a little plastic water bowl in every room.
Post # 5
Oh, good luck. 🙁 Snuggles to kitty!
I second the PP, maybe talk to a pet store? Maybe question the vet, though, too?…
Post # 6
Also, here is a website that I like: http://www.naturalcatcareblog.com/2010/12/the-7-best-natural-commercial-cat-foods-so-far/
Some people are all about the raw food, but it’s not for us. But that might be something to consider too!
Post # 7
My kitty was diagnosed with failing kidneys at the age of 17. Her doctor prescribed , Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d and it worked great; her kidney function, a year later, actually improved. With this new diet, she went from eating dry to wet, although she had been a life-long dry-food consumer. She was on this diet for 3 years, until old age finally took her away from me. Here’s a link to an article, fyi: http://www.cat-health-guide.org/catfoodforkidneydisease.html
Post # 8
My cat has the same problem. We were buying him the food from the vet but with 2 other cats it was very expensive.
Now we feed them all the Presidents Choice brand food and it agrees with all of them!
Look for something with cranberries in it or you can buy cranberries and add it to his regular food.
Post # 9
- Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA
My kitten had crystals + bacteria for a while, poor baby. I second the idea about googling around about food – that one does not sound good. Thecatsite.com and catforum.com have really really helpful “crazy cat people” who will help answer your questions. Their consensus seems to be that any kind of wet food, even Friskies or whatever, is better than most dry foods. We do about half and half inexpensive wet food and grain-free dry food.
Also, yes, a fountain will help your kitties drink water. We have this one (below) and once they got used to it, they use it all the time. They also like to drink out of people cups so I leave a few full ones around the house (omg so spoiled!).
Also, for mine, the crystals were a one-time thing. After we had her on medication (this stuff: http://www.amazon.com/Vetoquinol-Methigel-4-25-oz/dp/B000O5I3LY) for about two weeks, it was gone. Ask your vet if that’s a possibility, rather than it automatically being a lifetime condition?
Post # 10
Thank you for all of the responses! I just don’t understand how giving him a grain free diet with supplemented wet food could STILL lead to UTI’s and crystals. According to his urinalyiss his urine was very alkaline with +2 bacteria and +3 crystals. I thought I was doing everything right! Maybe I will switch to a wet food only diet since he doesn’t drink much water…
@howsweetitis: I did try to put another water bowl in another room but he didn’t pay much attention to it. I have a fish tank and when I do water changes, Roo loves to lap up the old dirty fish water but I’m not sure if that’s healthy either haha. You’re right about the Hills diet being crap… how can a vet recommend a diet when the first two ingredients are rice and corn? It’s sad because I really like the vet, he’s very caring and seems to know what he’s talking about- just not about food I guess…
Post # 11
@Isabelle663: I have no advice, but this post really just makes me think of how much we must all love our pets. My cat is the biggest pain in the butt ever, but if he is sick or just seeming sad I feel so bad for him. I’d do anything for my little guy. I hope Roo starts feeling better soon!
Post # 12
- Wedding: August 2013 - backyard in the woods
Give your kitty wet food only, and get him a fountain water dish that keeps the water flowing. The main reason cats get urine crystals is not from pH but dehydration. Cats are natural predators and in the wild get almost all of their water from prey. They do not normally drink much water to stay hydrated in the wild, but if they do it’s running water, as still water may become stagnant and be dirty- containing bacteria and parasites. This is why your kitty likes the fish tank:) Have you ever noticed that most cats will bat at the water before they drink it? They’re testing its cleanliness. Find a high protein low grain wet food and make sure he has clean, running water and the problem should not re-occur.
Post # 13
While I personally prefer a grain free natural food for my pets, we were feeding one a natural food and he had consistent bowel and digestive issues. Every few month’s he’d get diarhea out of the blue. We switched to Hills GI Tract, and he’s been 100x better. If your Dr recommends it, I’d try it out. It’s better to feed him some by-product if the food helps with his bladder, than to avoid it and put him on medication constantly IMO.
ETA: a PP said this: I second the PP, maybe talk to a pet store? Maybe question the vet, though, too?…
No, don’t believe a pet store over a vet for god sake, pet store employees are not trained in pet health!
Post # 14
We recently found out one of our kitties has the same issue. The vet put him on Hills Presciption Diet c/d. He will have to stay on this food forever the vet said. They also said that the prescription foods have more sodium which encouages the cat to drink more and clear themselves out more often. So far, no issues since he started the new food!
Post # 15
@lolot: Hmm I was just about to look up ways to make the urine more acidic without completely changing foods or decreasing magnesium intake. I wonder if a little lick of that stuff as part of a daily or even weekly regimen would help? I’ll have to ask the vet when I follow up in two weeks, thank you!
And I really should try one of those water fountain things, although something tells me he still won’t drink it. I did start putting a little water in his wet food to help, but I guess it hasn’t done much because he’s still not well
Post # 16
Normally I would say avoid Science Diet like the plague, but for some issues it may be best to follow what your vet recommends – at least for now. I would definitely research what else you could feed that would have better ingredients though. I know there are some supplements (wysong maybe makes them?) that you can add to help prevent crystals.
I personally would switch to feeding an all canned food diet if possible.