One of the most common causes of Feline Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) is what your cat eats. A feline diet that is too high in carbohydrates and magnesium, and low in protein can lead to FLUTD. When their cat is initially diagnosed with FLUTD, feline owners will usually first try to get their kitty to eat the prescription food recommended by their vet.
But what if the cat rejects their offering? As an alternative, there are specific, non-prescription cat foods available to maintain your cat's urine pH balance at 6.6. A high urine pH value indicates struvite crystal formation in your cat's urinary tract. The challenge is to find the right cat food that appeals to kitty, contains the proper amount of protein and magnesium, and has few or no by-products.
If you turn out to be one of those owners who has to find an alternative cat food, then here's five things to evaluate when selecting cat food to prevent future FLUTD occurrences in your kitty:
1. What's the Most Common Ingredient?
The first and most common ingredient that should be listed is protein - meat or fish. Read the label carefully - here's some variations you could see:
Canned cat food:
Dry cat food:
Some other good ingredients that will help your kitty maintain good urinary tract health are blueberries and cranberries. Vegetables such as carrots are good, and rice is a good grain
for your kitty to consume.
2. Are There Any By-Products?
Are by-products listed as one of the ingredients? If so, put that food back on the shelf and keep looking. By-products are filler material, and have limited nutritional value for your kitty. By-products are typically carbohydrates, and since cats are carnivores, they need protein, not carbs, for proper nutrition.
Here are some examples of by-products:
Canned cat food:
Corn gluten meal
Ground yellow corn
Dry cat food:
Ground Yellow Corn
Chicken By-Product Meal
Corn Gluten Meal
3. How Much Moisture Is In the Cat Food?
What's the percentage of moisture in the cat food you're evaluating? The higher the number, the better for your kitty. More moisture means your cat will urinate more. Increased urination will flush out any crystals that may be trying to form in your cat's urinary tract. Canned cat food has a higher moisture content than dry.
4. How Much Magnesium Does the Cat Food Contain?
An excess of magnesium will contribute to struvite crystal formation (FLUTD). Some magnesium is necessary, but generally look for cat food that has a maximum of 0.025% magnesium to prevent struvite crystals.
5. Does the Cat Food Contain DL-Methionine?
DL-Methionine is an amino acid with sulfur, which helps regulate ammonia formation in urine. This amino acid helps maintain your cat's urine pH balance around 6.6, which is normal and does not encourage crystal formation.
And...since cats are cats (which means they are in charge!), be aware that what you select for them may not be what they want to eat, if they don't like the taste. If this happens, you'll need to start over again until you find a wholesome, nutritious cat food that merits two paws up from your feline!
Keep these five factors in mind when shopping for cat food to maintain your kitty's urinary tract and prevent FLUTD.
And remember, when you're considering changing your cat's diet, consult with your vet. She or he will give you expert guidance and information to make the transition easier for you and your kitty.