I was thinking about posting this in any case, but see that TigersMom gave me an opening by commenting on my last post. TigersMom gave me permission to tell this story but, TM, please jump in and fill in the gaps as you find them. First, I don’t remember what made you actually — like — question your veterinarian and start looking for answers on your own? I would love to hear what made you venture out of the bounds of comfort and go against your vet’s recommendations.
Well, however it came about, TM contacted me with some diet questions about two years ago. Her kitty, Tiger, was saved by TM’s quick recognition of trouble by rushing him to the vet when she recognized the signs of a urinary blockage. He was treated at HUGE expense, which she certainly didn’t need, and sent home with a dry kibble prescription diet.
She tells me that the vet is surprised that Tiger has not had a relapse since he finds that cats who have had this before are more likely to experience it again. I have a different theory: some cats are more prone to developing urinary crystals in the first place, so of course they will be back for treatment with the same issue if their diet is not attended to properly. Her vet also told her that if Tiger gets blocked again, he will likely need THE Surgery. ‘THE Surgery’ is called a ‘perineal urethrostomy,’ and is essentially partial amputation of the penis to allow for a larger urethral opening. Right! Like THAT’S a great idea, when this whole issue can probably be prevented in the first place.
AGAIN, I’m reminded of an old poem I’ve always loved about a town arguing whether to put a fence around the edge of the cliff, or an ambulance down in the valley.
There are two kinds of urinary crystals/stones, and I don’t know which kind Tiger had. The more common and more easily dealt with are struvite crystals, the other is oxalate stones. Struvite crystals can be prevented by feeding a prescription diet formulated to regulate the PH of the urine, however this has been known to push the PH of the urine over into the range where oxalate stones can develop and the stones often require surgery.
I believe that both struvite and oxalate crytal/stones are uncommon in cats on a WET diet AND a diet consisting primarily of ANIMAL protein. This means NO dry, and it also means no fruit, no grains, no veggies. The high animal protein diet regulates the PH of the urine and the moisture in the diet helps keep things flowing.
I personally would question ANY veterinarian that does not recommend an ALL wet diet for any cat with urinary issues. I’ll concede on the prescription diet as long as it’s WET. But having said that, I must interject that it’s often not palatable, it’s expensive, and it’s FULL of grains and carbohydrates.
For Tiger, we settled on canned Fancy Feast. TigersMom is not up to doing a raw diet. She is not alone in this, and that’s fine because there are alternatives. She didn’t waste any time getting him on his new diet and he’s been on it ever since — about two years, I think? I follow his progress with interest as well as his matey, Lily, who is on the same diet, which is Fancy Feast and only Fancy Feast, canned, in ONLY the grain/fruit/veggie free flavors. So far it seems to be working great. “We” also suggest adding water … lots and LOTS of water to the food. When I recommend this diet, I will tell you to add as much water as your cat(s) will tolerate. I do this for my cats as well. There are a few other brands of canned food that qualify, but to keep things simple, we will just go with the Fancy Feast for now. The cats love it, and it’s easily obtained.
I recently added a link to the recommended foods page of my website that has a printable list of the “approved” Fancy Feast flavors that can easily be printed out: approved Fancy Feast flavors.