The best cat food for urinary health, if you ask us, are hard to find. That is because there are so many products in the market and so many of them claim to be the best, that is tough to recognize and differentiate the good ones from the bad ones. Again, there is a factor of age. Usually, adult cats tend to be more afflicted with urinary tract issues than kittens, because with age, the will and thirst of cats to drink water decreases. And you must remember, their thirst-drive is naturally low. But even if you have your kittens have urinary issues, you can’t feed them all the same food unless generalized by the manufacturer otherwise.
For different urinary tract issues, there are different urinary tract issue-addressing cat food. While one attends to crystals, others tackle urinary stones. There are some cat food that is good for the overall urinary health of cats. Such versatile (and in some cases specified) food will be talked about in today’s article, so read on to learn in details about urinary issues and how you may deal with them. Or your cat should.
- Best Urinary Health Dry Cat Food Comparison:
- Role of Dry Cat Food in Urinary Health
- Best Dry Cat Food for Urinary Tract Health
- 1. Purina-One-Urinary Tract Health Formula for Adult Cats, in the flavor “Chicken”
- 2. Royal Canin-Veterinary Diet-Urinary SO formula
- 3. Purina Pro Plan-Focus-Urinary Tract Health Formula for Adult Cats, in the flavor “Chicken and Rice”
- 4. Hill’s-Science Diet-Urinary Hairball Control Formula for Adult Cats, in the flavor “Chicken”
- Role of Wet Cat Food in Urinary Health
- Best Urinary Health Wet Cat Food Comparison:
- Best Wet Cat Food for Urinary Tract Health
- 1. Purina Pro Plan-Focus-Urinary Tract Health Formula for Adult Cats, in the flavor “Chicken”
- 2. Hill’s-Science Diet-Urinary Hairball Control Formula for Adult Cats, in the flavor “Savory Chicken”
- 3. Royal Canin-Veterinary Diet-Urinary SO Formula
- What is Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease
- Signs of FLUTD Developing in Your Cat
- When Should I Have It Diagnosed?
- Possible Causes of FLUTD
- Urinary Stones
- Infection in the Tract
- Obstruction in the Urethra
- Interstitial Cystitis
- How is a Cat’s Diet Related to FLUTDs?
- How We Picked the Best Cat Food for Urinary Health
- Buying Guide for the Best Cat Food for Urinary Health
- The Cat Needs
- What You Want to Look For
- How Good are Vet Recommended/Prescription-Branded Cat Foods?
- Make Your Cat Drink More
- Supplements You Can Feed Your Cat
Best Urinary Health Dry Cat Food Comparison:
Role of Dry Cat Food in Urinary Health
Now you may be thinking, since urinary issues are naturally associated with the kidney, which in turn is associated with pee, which finally depends on your water intake (besides some other factors), why on Earth will we include dry cat food when we definitely want out cats to drink more water? The answers are simple and multifold.
First off, there are some cat parents who despise, because their cat despises, the gooey wet food.
Second, because to increase the moisture content in wet cat food, the nutrient content is sometimes, sadly, sacrificed.
Third, if you have younger cats whose teeth you want to make stronger and sharper, free of plaque and tartar; or for some good old reason want to feed them dry kibbles simply because the cats like them/the formula is tasty and beneficial; you can hit two birds with one stone by buying dry cat food for both the cats. It is as simple as giving one of them the kibble and the other, the kibble mixed with water, soaking them to make your own wet food. Budget-effective plan, isn’t it?
This is why, other than selecting wet cat food only, we brought together the drier version of the wet foods, just in case. And since you are feeding dry food for the sake of wellness, please make sure the cat is drinking enough clean water, in ready form, before it has to seek for it.
Best Dry Cat Food for Urinary Tract Health
Here we will discuss the best cat food for urinary health available in the form of dry kibbles. From the different manufacturers present in the market, the likes of Royal Canin, Purina and Hill’s Science are popular options. And since urinary issues can often lead to severe problems, we gave you some tried and tested products instead of introducing new ones. Consult with the vet if you are bringing a change in the food type.
1. Purina-One-Urinary Tract Health Formula for Adult Cats, in the flavor “Chicken”
The first urinary tract cat food that we are going to discuss is from Purina. Purina is a really popular name in the cat food industry, developing both dry and wet versions of the food in different product lines that address different needs. This is from the Purina One line. It is a formula specially created for the cats suffering from urinary health issues. The food works great on urinary stones and crystals and has said to solve the issue of cat parents buying expensive prescription food by delivering just the same, if not less, nutrition and meeting the dietary needs of cats. This especially works well for male cats since they are more prone to developing urinary diseases than the female ones, and it is recommended by long-time cat parents that you start feeding that urinary health formula before they hit the age and chance of going through that.
Analyzing the top five ingredients in the list, we saw that they were chicken, corn, corn meal, rice and wheat flour. While we are impressed with a quality protein source and no presence of fish-related ingredients here, we wished there were less of a meal and starch ingredients in the list, especially this early in the list. But as we have said already, it has won the hearts of many cat parents for providing ingredients that helped with the kidney issues of their cats. Another thing is that, the magnesium content in this food low, which is what we want from urinary formulae.
In order to have a smooth transition from the previous food to this one, just simply have patience. Decrease the old food and keep increasing the new one in content as time passes. Feed in small amounts as you start. This is to make sure that your cat’s stomach doesn’t become upset.
2. Royal Canin-Veterinary Diet-Urinary SO formula
This one by Royal Canin is said to be one of the best cat food for cats with urinary crystals. This is a more expensive option compared to Hill’s Science Hairball Formula we just discuss minutes ago. But does the expensiveness stand up to the quality? Let us find out.
Royal Canin’s SO formula is built specifically to stop the formation of oxalate and struvite stones and also stop crystals from forming. It also tries to keep the pH of the urine above the harmful level.
To analyze any food, we need to observe what the first five ingredients present in the list are. Because if we know about the first five ingredients, we will be clear what type of food that is, what ingredients are present in the maximum quantity, whether the food is harmful/beneficial and if it has unrecognizable elements in it. While analyzing the ingredients of Royal Canin’s SO, we saw that the first five ingredients were chicken, rice, cornmeal, corn and chicken fat.
Since the first ingredient is chicken, real chicken, to be specific, there is a quality protein included in the food. This is what we love about it. But after that, the fact that there are corn and corn meals makes us a little upset. Because not all cats can tolerate corn. So cat food should contain minimum grains and gluten. But this being present in the first five is a matter of concern. But it is safe if your cat can digest it. Because many cats had good results from taking it. Besides these, the food contains supplements sourced from vitamin E, vitamin B12 and other trace minerals; making sure that it is just not urinary issues they are trying to address, but the overall feline health.
3. Purina Pro Plan-Focus-Urinary Tract Health Formula for Adult Cats, in the flavor “Chicken and Rice”
We have another one from Purina here for you. But as we have mentioned already, this one is from a different product line of Purina, Purina Focus. However, it also addresses urinary tract issues with a targeted formula to help solve the issue in afflicted cats. The urinary tract health formula is created such that it can reduce the pH level of your cat’s urine.
You know sometimes how choosy cats can be. It becomes increasingly hard for some parents to feed cats wet food because they don’t like it. This increases the dehydrated condition in cats. But sometimes, cats like the dry version of the same food or maybe another, and the thirst from eating and crunching on dry kibbles makes them want to drink. This is one such food. The formula is said to be so delectable that even the choosiest of cats will like to eat it and then drink water for a full meal. It solved problems related to urinary crystals in most cats and even solved digestive problems in some cats that had upset stomachs and diarrhea.
Analyzing the ingredients of the food, we saw that the first five included almost the same ones as the above, with changes in other following ingredients. The pack features low magnesium content and Linoleic acid, that is known to work for soft coats in cats. The crude protein content being above 30 percent does make us happy. But we wish there were more to it. One last thing is that we wished it didn’t have corn, because some cats are allergic to it. But you can’t have one universal product for all cats suffering so we are guessing it’s okay. Most cats have reported a thumbs up for this food.
4. Hill’s-Science Diet-Urinary Hairball Control Formula for Adult Cats, in the flavor “Chicken”
This happens to be one of the most expensive ones on the list. But you shouldn’t mind a little price for the premium quality that you are getting. Hill’s is one such brand that makes premium quality cat food and has been doing so for a very long time, meeting the needs of adult cats with/without health issues.
The special formula is created for cats with hairball issues. As you know, cats love licking themselves. In that process, they own swallow their own furs. As a result of this, all the fur being swallowed accumulate in the stomach and make a ball-like shape. This isn’t something you find out via ultrasounds. Cats often for the discomfort throw up and the ball due to digestive discomfort. And issues related to the kidney are associated with digestive discomfort. This is what this formula is made to attend to. It will not only remove hairball formation in cats, but also take care of the bladder and lower urinary tract of cats.
While analyzing the ingredients, we learned that it is made with all-natural ingredients that make easier to digest the food for the cat. Now, this is definitely something you would expect, since cats having hairball issues or kidney issues already don’t want difficulty digesting. But thank God because it is made of natural ingredients, cats are safe. The real chicken used as the number one ingredient helps to build muscle mass in your cat. The first five ingredients were chicken, wheat, corn’s meal, pork fat and cellulose. It also contains vitamin supplements added in the food and omega fatty acids for healthy skin and outlook of the cat. Another thing is that they use ingredients sourced from all over the world to ensure topmost quality.
Role of Wet Cat Food in Urinary Health
When developing urinary issues, the trouble cats face is their pee and hence body becomes acidic. In that case, taking enough water restores the acidic pH level to an optimal, neutral one for cats. One plain and easy way to do that is to feed it with more water, as one would normally do. But as we mentioned earlier, the case with cats is that they do not like to drink water so often. Quick rescue? Feed them wet cat food!
Wet cat food tends to contain 80% or more water in them. The moisture content, when fed in three separate meals a day, gives your cat the hydrated body it needs to function properly. And needless to say, it removes the uncomfortable feeling while it pees.
But to warn you, wet cat food sometimes lacks in nutrition. So invest in the best ones to get both the right moisture and the right nutrition for your cat.
Best Urinary Health Wet Cat Food Comparison:
Best Wet Cat Food for Urinary Tract Health
Here, we will make an attempt to give you reviews on the same premium brands we mentioned in the previous sections, this time with their wet food versions. Since these have been around for quite long and worked for most cats, we only hope it’ll do you cat good.
1. Purina Pro Plan-Focus-Urinary Tract Health Formula for Adult Cats, in the flavor “Chicken”
You may have seen this one from the dry cat food reviews that we gave earlier. This is just the wet version of that. Wait. Saying that it is “just” a wet version of Purina’s Focus range with the urinary health formula is a grave insult. Because as everyone puts it, this is the best canned cat food for urinary crystals. There isn’t one person we met yet that has complained about it, except for some unlucky few. So if you are someone who is against feeding dry cat food to cats suffering from urinary issues, but loved everything about the dry formula except the part that it is dry, good news for you is that it has a wet version. So you can feed the best formula to your cat without feeling bad for yourself and the cat.
Analyzing the ingredient list makes us so happy it’s hard to tell as you are reading and not actually not seeing our faces. The pack features a low dietary magnesium content. As you will read later, or you may know already if you have done enough research, urinary issues are often linked with high doses of magnesium in the food. So they should be kept as low as possible, which has been achieved here. Also, the top five ingredients being used here are water, meat by-product, chicken, wheat gluten and modified corn starch. There should be water as the first ingredient, but we would be happier if it were chicken. But since the cat needs water too, and it is wet food, after all, so no complaints. It also has vitamin A, Taurine and Folic acid in it, besides 25 different vitamins to help with the overall health, heart and vision of cats other than the urinary issue.
The dish comes in a gravy-like form so even toothless cats or cats that have chewing issues or weaker gum and teeth can easily have it.
2. Hill’s-Science Diet-Urinary Hairball Control Formula for Adult Cats, in the flavor “Savory Chicken”
Hill’s Science has a wet version of the dry formula we have discussed earlier. The good thing about it is that now it comes with enough moisture content to tackle the urinary crystals and other similar issues.
We have heard stories of cats who were so dehydrated they were pooping blood. We have had countless issues where cats either suffered from urinary crystals or urinary stones and the cat parents had trouble dealing with the hospital charges and high-end prescription/ vet recommended food. This also happens to be a vet recommended food, But compared to the over the counter ones, this is quite cheap. It came as a blessing to cat parents who couldn’t afford the high cost of the whole issue. This food also worked on cats who have special needs, as we observed from reviews. A special needs human needs to be treated with so much care and he can somewhat express what he is feeling. Imagine having a special needs cat that can’t even communicate the issue. For those cats and for every adult cat that has to go through the problem of urinary crystals, this is a great meal.
The first five ingredients, as mentioned by the manufacturers included water, chicken, turkey liver, pork by-product and pork liver. So there is a quality source of protein and a huge source of nutrients from the liver. And the great news is that it has water as number one. The fiber content of the food is also high.
3. Royal Canin-Veterinary Diet-Urinary SO Formula
This is also one of the best wet cat food for urinary crystals developed by Royal Canin and this is the exact wet version of the previously mentioned one. This is also the most expensive canned cat food as present on the list today.
Royal Canin was made to address the skin and cat issues in pets. But now it has extended its scopes and as seen here, will address urinary issues. Besides urinary health, it also targets weight management in cats. Let us explain that. One of the major causes of having a lower urinary tract disease is diabetes, (we will talk about it later). And you know that if some people have diabetes, the insulin level increases with the blood sugar level, which causes health complications like gaining weight. Maybe that is why it is trying to address the root cause of the issue by tackling two problems at once.
From the ingredients analysis, we also came to good conclusions. Most cat food contains acid and related ingredients to dissolve struvite stones. But the more dangerous oxalate stones remain unattended. This food works for both. The first ingredient being water increases the moisture of the food, causing the cats to urinate more often and feature a high-protein, low-carb combo optimal for cats. It also contains fatty acids that prevent inflammation in the cat and improves its coat and skin.
But you will need a prescription before purchasing it. So you can’t just expect to walk to a store and buy it.
As most good things, it has a bad side too. In the pros and cons below, we discuss what we like and not about the food.
What is Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease
By the lower urinary tract, the urinary bladder and urethra have been referred here. When felines develop diseases here, it is said to be afflicted with FLUTD. Factors such as a stressful environment for your cat, lack of outdoor activities or even indoor exercises, excessively dry diet, emotional issues,a sudden change in lifestyle, obesity, etc. can lead to the buildup of FLUTDs. Although any cat from kitten to senior can have this disease, it is mostly common in middle-aged, adult cats.
Signs of FLUTD Developing in Your Cat
If you observe the following signs in your cat, there may be a possibility of urinary health issues. But don’t rush to the doctor or bring a sudden diet change if only one symptom matches. Consult with the vet before taking important steps.
The common signs include:
- difficulty to pee
- pain while urinating
- peeing very frequently all on a sudden
- peeing very little or not at all
- seeing blood in the cat’s urine
- peeing on cool surfaces to alleviate the burning sensation
- excessive body licking
Some signs here may be more seen in male cats than females. Because they tend to have a longer urethra, they can have prolonged pees or may need longer time to pee. Make sure you are checking whatever is the case.
When Should I Have It Diagnosed?
Before you plan on having your cat diagnosed for urinary health problems, check yourself some common, telltale signs. If your cat has started to pee outside of the litter box, there are a number of issues happening that you need to address, that is causing it to abandon it. Bad diet, medical issues, anything can be the case. Be sure to check for things that we mentioned as signs earlier, if not every week then at least once or twice per month.
If something is fishy, it is time for a quick checkup.
And since there can be many different causes of FLUTD, the checkup may not be so quick, as doctors will need to test for bleeding, crystals and inflammation. If the situation worsens, and we hope not, your cat will need to do tests for urine culture, similar tests, x-rays, etc.
Possible Causes of FLUTD
The medical term is actually Urolithiasis. Your cat can develop urinary stones inside the lower urinary tract, at one or both places. These stones aren’t stones that your cat somehow digested, but in fact, minerals accumulated in the bladder, forming the shape of a stone or more. The most common culprits are Calcium Oxalate and Magnesium Ammonium Phosphate.
Since it is inside the body, doctors will need to perform X-rays to detect if your cat has stones in the bladder/urethra. In the case of Calcium Oxalate, surgery will have to be done. For the latter, a diet rich in struvite stone-dissolving minerals can help the cat.
Infection in the Tract
UTIs are dreaded and probable in cats just as much as they are in humans. Bacteria, Viruses, Fungus and parasites are responsible for any infection of anyone ever. Bacteria somehow happens to take the lead.
But your vet will not directly address bacteria, but try to find what caused the infection to happen. Because it is not always the bacteria, sometimes the cat’s diabetic history and the stones are to blame.
One good thing amidst this bad news is that the acidic content in kitten urine prevents the possibility of such infections in their urinary tract. These infections are common in older cats that stand a risk of diabetes and poor urine condition. It can be treated by diet or through therapy depending upon the intensity of everything.
Obstruction in the Urethra
Urethral blockage is seen less in female cats than in male cats. And this also happens to be the most serious one amongest all the FLUTDs. Because can you imagine your urethra blocked wholly or partially? Cats hardly urinate or don’t at all when they have this disease. They might even have difficulty pooping.
This lethal disease can be caused by the first-mentioned urethral stones or by urethral plugs, which are made of the same minerals and more, and tend to be softer.
As we said already, male cats have a narrower pathway and so are on increased risks of urethral blockage. If you suspect your cat has this problem, do not wait for seeing other symptoms but consult the vet immediately. The blockage throws off the fluid and electrolyte balance of the cat’s body, making it unable to remove toxins and so death occurs in less than 48 hours. And needless to say, it won’t help with diet unless it’s in the budding stage.
While infections and inflammations are for cats older than 10 years, this is a disease that commonly comes to cats with an age less than 10. And this is a disease that affects and associates itself with more than the urinary system alone.
There happens to be no specific way to find out if your cat has this, but you can only know when all other possibilities are ruled out of happening. Changing the behavioral issue and diet can help reduce the chronic and frustrating problem to some extent.
Diabetics, injury to the urinary tract, trauma, thyroid-related issues, tumors and abnormalities in cat behavior can also lead to developing urinary health problems in cats.
How is a Cat’s Diet Related to FLUTDs?
From the research on the relationship between diets and diseases in cats, one thing is evident. What was considered good a long time back, isn’t the case so now. Times have changed, and the need for the cat’s food quality has to be attended to first.
Previously, it was assumed that since they cause so much trouble that can lead to life-threatening diseases, Magnesium and Ash should be kept as low as possible. But now food is being made keeping in mind that is does not tamper with the pH balance of 6-6.5 and ingredients have to be selected thus. Again, the protein has to be easily digestible; and Calcium and Phosphorus content should be such that it dissolves easily in the system.
Special diets have been formulated, as have been discussed already, to keep FLUTDs at bay, and treat the ones that can be treated with diet.
How We Picked the Best Cat Food for Urinary Health
We took into consideration the following points before selecting the right food:
- ensured quality protein content and kept fillers and cabs as low as possible.
- checked for phosphorus content
- noted AAFCO specifications, first five ingredients, price, presence of harmful/unrecognizable elements.
- found out if they have by-products and meals in them.
After analysis, we put them on the list.
Buying Guide for the Best Cat Food for Urinary Health
The Cat Needs
You don’t necessarily need to follow whatever is on the list, in fact, you can select your own cat food for your cat. But remember the basic needs of a cat’s nutrition. It needs to have 50-60% protein, 20-30% fat, and 1-2% carbs with other nutrients present as per requirement.
What You Want to Look For
There are 4 main things you need to look for in cat food now that you know the basics.
First, check the moisture content of the wet food. It is of utmost importance since we are dealing with urinary issues.
Next, check for a high-quality protein on top of the ingredient list, a moderate amount of fat and carbs as low as possible. There shouldn’t be harmful chemicals in the first five, at least.
After that, look for omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. If possible, find fish oil, preferably salmon oil in the ingredients.
Then, there should be some form of added vegetables and fruits. If not by themselves, then in the form of supplements, vitamins and minerals.
Or else, you can try to find freeze-dried raw/raw food/cooked/homemade food.
Steer clear from fish-feeding and go for meats, bones, broth, and prey organs. And there also shouldn’t be any fish/meat meals in the list.
How Good are Vet Recommended/Prescription-Branded Cat Foods?
Some say that vet-recommended cat foods aren’t too good. Whereas for some prescription cat food has proved to bring the lost health of the urinary tract back. Because when your cat is suffering from a disease obviously a normal diet isn’t working and there needs to be a change. And if the vet recommended products were actually that bad, don’t you think the vets would lose their job? Although there are some that work and some that don’t. But diet specially prescribed for urinary health problem-ridden cats are useful is dissolving the stones, and happen to be high in sodium content, making the cats thirstier to drink water.
You will have to try out a little before your cat adapts to it. Instead of purchasing vet-recommended or prescription-labeled packages, talk to the vet in person.
Make Your Cat Drink More
Now that you have the right product for your cat, one essential thing still remains for you to do. That is, you have to make your cat drink more water somehow. How will you do that? We can help.
The problem solves 50 percent if you buy him wet/canned cat food. But what about the rest? Cats have super low/zero interest in drinking water, unless they are dying of thirst. But by the time your body reaches dehydrated state, it is already severely lacking hydration. So, instead of pouring water out on a bowl like we have seen cat owners do, get your cat a cat fountain. The moving gush of water at least entices the cat to come near it, play with it and of course, drink it. If this fails, try including broth and other liquid variants in your cat’s diet to attract it to drinking liquids.
Supplements You Can Feed Your Cat
Other than the regular food and water intake, you can add to your cat’s lost health by adding dietary supplements in its diet. You can feed them berries from the Common Barberry shrub that treats the bladders, Cantharis for urinary crystals or Staphysagris for UTIs directly or in other forms.
We hope you are clear on the most pressing questions regarding your cat’s urinary health and will take one from the best cat food for urinary health for your cat. If you are choosing a dry one, remember to include at least one canned meal a day. Also, make sure your cat has access to clean drinking water and regularly check its litter box and behavior for signs of urinary issues.
Once you have decided on the best cat food for urinary health don’t forget to check out our Best Sensitive Stomach Cat Food Reviews and Guide