Male cat with urinary crystals - food help

Fellow cat owners, your assistance please! My boy Ludo was treated for urinary crystals for a second time in 6 weeks, and the vet is recommending a new wet food that is by prescription. I am all for changing the food to keep my boy healthy, but I am also in favor of exploring comparable alternatives. I know the key is low ash content and high protein.

Vet is recommending Royal Canin Urinary SO. My research so far has yielded Blue Wilderness as a positive result, which is a little less expensive and doesn’t require a prescription.

Your thoughts, experience?

Had the problem with my cat 13 years ago. I have fed him Walmart’s Special Kitty Urinary Tract Protection dry food ever since, and have not had the problem recur. He is an inside cat, BTW.

I would go with whatever the vet recs at first PLUS get him to drink MORE water.

After my neutered male got crystals and UTI I went with the vet’s Rx wet food for a while then switched him to one can of Fancy Feast Classic mixed with a can of water twice a day. This has prevented recurrence for 2 years so far.

The price of unblocking a male cat with urinary obstruction is $600+ in my area, not to mention the agony it puts the cat thru. Wet food is cheaper by far and the cat loves it.

I put my cat on the prescription food and it makes a world of difference. I’ve done it a bit differently though, in that he gets the prescription dry food and whatever wet food I have access to (sometimes it is the prescription food, sometimes not) and as much water as I can convince him to drink. It has been many years and he hasn’t had another issue since so this seems to work for him.

We had this issue with our male cat, as well.

We initially went with prescription dry food (Science Diet C/D), but that wasn’t doing the trick, and we switched to canned (wet) C/D. It definitely seemed like part of the issue was that the cat wasn’t drinking enough water, and the canned seemed to help this (no recurrence of the crystals since we switched to canned).

However, last year, my wife started doing some reading about the Science Diet foods, and wasn’t happy with what she learned (the “Seafood” version, for example, lists pork bits as its first two ingredients). As it’s also an expensive food, she did a bunch of research on what other options are out there.

We tried a number of canned foods that we found at PetSmart, primarily looking for low ash content, high protein, and low-ish fat content. Some he liked, some he turned up his nose at. We settled on one of Blue’s foods, Freedom, as the one he likes the best, but we rotate in a couple of other Blue Wilderness varieties as treats for him (they have higher fat levels, so we don’t give those to him every day). We also put in a little bit of water (mashing it up with the food) every day, just to try to get him a little more water.

I buy off-the-shelf Urinary Tract Health Formula from, I think, Nine Lives; it’s a purple bag. Lenny has been on it for years, following two hospitalizations for urinary crystals. It’s more expensive than regular pet food (even name-brand stuff) but less expensive than the prescription stuff his vet wanted us to buy. He seems to be managing OK (knock on wood).

I called the vet again to ask about other options, they recommended Science Diet C/D urinary health, which is also by prescription. I think at first I’ll start with the prescription stuff since he was so recently sick, and after a while look into some other options.

My cat was at the vet for just this problem last week. I used to feed him Royal Canin Urinary SO and he did well on it for years. Now I feed him Fancy Feast, plus a no-grain dry food. The vet said the high protein flavors of FF will acidify the urine and that’s what you want.

Also, I suggest you ask your vet about putting your cat on cosequin or dasiquin (you can get them from amazon-- capsule, you sprinkle it on his food. My cat loves it. Helps make the crystals less painful so he will keep peeing.) and a prescription called methionine, which also acidifies the urine. My cat gets two doses of methionine daily (I crush it and also put it on his food and he loves it) and probably will for the rest of his life.

My vet is a renowned cat specialist who has written textbooks and he is treating this very aggressively. The cat has had two sonograms in the last six weeks and I’ve seen the thickened bladder wall and the crystals. The cat has had urinary problems since I got him from his former owner in 2007 (elderly gentleman who move into a nursing home).

Don’t just rely on food to fix this. Ask your vet about the meds.

Yes, thats the one my vet put my cat on immediately after his urinary problems. Dont get the seafood flavor tho, since Ive read that its (ironically) not good for urinary conditions. Im not on board with Science Diet tho and switched him to canned Fancy Feast which is the best of the grocery store canned for UTIs imho.

My vet friend prefers Purina and has all her animals on that brand.

eta: good to know this also ThelmaLou, thx!

BTW, as for the methionine, Max is getting 500 mg twice a day. Eek! They are huge pills-- they would be big even for a person to take. Thank goodness, when I sprinkle the crushed pill on his food, he just keeps right on eating. At first I was giving him the pill in pill form, but hunting him down twice a day was just to traumatic for both of us. The vet told me that keeping him on that will eventually dissolve the crystals and the thickness of his bladder wall should return to normal.

The reviews at that amazon link are very informative.

It’s not so much the ash content as the potassium and magnesium levels, I think. Which sucks because most brands don’t list that.

My guy is on Pro Plan’s Urinary diet (this one) and I give him 1/4 to 1/2 a can of plain old canned food every night. Some cans have more juice than others, so sometimes I add a bit of water, or broth if I have any. I also have water sources everywhere, there’s one in every room and one out in the cats’ yard. Knock on wood We haven’t had a problem in a couple of years…

Yes I should add a correction, that I learned it’s the magnesium not the ash content that is important to be low.

Let 'em live wild. Birds and small game don’t have these chemicals that mess them up.

This is what my cat went on initially after his second bought. After the first I went from an all dry diet to a mixture of dry and wet prescription food, but he was back in the emergency vet again in several months ( and this was a very young male cat ). After the second it was an all wet diet and kitty fountains to provide extra water as needed.

The fountains were a bust for me - the only water he seems to like is warm post-shower water licked from my tub :dubious:. But it is a good idea in general. Hydration is your number one ally in keeping the crystals manageable.

As for the food itself, though I did go with the RC food above exclusively for the first few months after the second event, I didn’t really care for the ingredient list much and eventually started transitioning back to so called “ultra-premium” wet foods, feeding a mix for an extended period of time. At any rate in my case it seems an all wet diet alone was sufficiently preventative. He has been blockage-free for more than five years now with no prescription food.

But I’m sure every cat will respond differently. I’d stick to the all wet food diet, provide plenty of water ( and fountains work well for most cats ) and the prescription stuff at least for the time being and see how he responds.

No, but cars and coyotes certainly will mess them up.

My edit.

:eek: I was in suspense until I saw how that sentence was going to end!

I happen to run a private cat sanctuary for feral cats I trapped in the nearby state forests and have dealt with this. I had two males with crystals, with both cats blocking and requiring emergency care. I took them to veterinarians, specialists, holistic vets, etc. The holistic vet recommended Tinkle Tonic - a herbal combination remedy available online. It works!

However to prevent further episodes, I had to change their diet completely. They get wet food twice a day (I make my own) with extra water mixed in to increase water consumption. I also mix probiotics into their wet food right before serving. No grains, no by-products, and meat-based. If I only had a few household cats, I would feed wet food exclusively, but I do supplement with kibble - I use Diamond Naturals Active Cat - which has no by-products, no wheat, corn or soy.

Since changing their diet, I have not had a single cat with FUS/FLUTD in the past 15 years! I am currently caring for 40!