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Kitty food for cat with crystals?

Tommysmom
May 11th, 2008, 02:58 PM
Hi Guys,

My friend's cat has been battling a rather bad UTI for the last couple of weeks, and the vet now says she has crystals (struvite, I think, and just a few). She's on vet food to assist in breaking them up and she's doing much better. However, the vet told my friend that it was the food she was eating that must have caused the crystals and that she should be on vet food for life after this :rolleyes:.

This cat apparently would rather starve than eat wet food, too (I know that's the best thing for them, but she's a rather stubborn kitty). She's a purebred something-or-other (I forget which kind:o, I just know she's gorgeous) and she's about 6 years old.

She was being fed Performatrin Ultra for cats.

Can anybody recommend a good dry food for kitties with crystal issues? My friend doesn't mind feeding her the vet food for now, to help dissolve the crystals, but since I've been telling her how awful vet food really is she's willing to look into what to switch her to after this. Are there certain ingredients that she should avoid/look for? My only experience with crystals is with my dog, and we didn't change foods specifically for that, but I know cats are quite different in their nutritional needs.

(I know that raw or canned is better, but I'm pretty sure my friend won't do that - she's really looking for a dry food that addresses the issue, if it truly is food related).

Thanks for your help:).

chico2
May 11th, 2008, 04:56 PM
Tommys mom,I amm sure out cat-food guru(sugarcatmom) will be answering soon:thumbs up
However,I would never feed a cat who has crystals any kind of dry food,vet food or any other.
Right now I have my 3 male cats on Wellness no grain canned and they love it.
Maybe if your friend tried some of the better canned foods her kitty would like it,it's definetly the best way to go,unless she wants to go with raw-feeding.
I honestly don't know of any dry food that would be good for a cat with crystals:confused:

Tommysmom
May 11th, 2008, 05:08 PM
Thanks, Chico... that's sort of what I thought, but I figured it was worth asking the question. I did tell her that canned would be better, but she's pretty adamant that the cat won't eat it - maybe she'll give it another shot. Are there any tricks for getting cats to eat wet food? Maybe it's worth mixing it in with the dry or something to transition?

Just a thought, too - if the cat is 6 years old, and has always eaten the same food, does it really make sense that the vet says the food caused the crystals?

chico2
May 11th, 2008, 05:21 PM
I really only had one male cat with crystals and he got soo bad(about 30yrs ago)he had to be put down.
It was due partly to my ignorance at that time,when only Purina Cat Chow and Pussin'Boots canned was available.
But I still remember my wonderful vet at the time saying,NEVER feed a cat dry food only.
It makes sense to me,cats are not great drinkers generally,although mine are.
Your friend could make it a slow transition,mixing the dry with canned,but she would have to get a good quality grain-free food even add a liittle water to it.
I should point out,in case she only has one cat and puts leftovers in the fridge,cats do not like cold food from the fridge,adding a little warm water will help.
I just wanted to add,poor kitty always eating the same food,imagine eating meatloaf every day for six years...my cats are fed a variety of different kinds,just like people.
Thank's for asking for your friend,I am sure Sugarcatmom will hellp out soon,probably busy on Mothers Day..

sugarcatmom
May 11th, 2008, 07:11 PM
Hi Tommysmom,

Chico's right, wet is the most important issue when it comes to cats with crystals. For starters, crystals (specifically struvite) form in alkaline urine, and dry foods are conducive to alkalinity because of their high carbohydrate content. The prescription foods get around this by adding acidifiers, but then you increase the risk of forming an even worse type of crystal, calcium oxalate. Calcium oxalate crystals can only be removed with surgery.

Crystals of both kinds become a problem when urine is concentrated, which tends to be the case when feeding only dry. When urine is appropriately dilute and the cat pees more frequently, any crystals that do form are easily flushed out. Soooooo, I urge your friend to try again with canned food. It can be a challenge, no doubt about it. Cats are often suspicious of new foods and it took me many many months to fully switch my kitty over to wet. Patience and persistence are key.

She might need to try several varieties and brands (Fancy Feast, though not necessarily the best ingredients, can be a good transition food - lots of cats really like it). Pulverizing her cat's favourite kibble or treats and sprinkling it on top of the wet can be useful for enticing the cat to at least try it. Picking up the kibble during the day and going more towards meal feeding rather than free-feeding is important. She can also try leaving the canned food down for extended periods of time (it's perfectly fine to leave it out for several hours - most people don't realize this and think it goes bad, but it really doesn't). Some cats that won't eat canned when you first offer it will go back to it later when they're really hungry and mom isn't there standing over them (that's how my guy was).

Here are some more tips that maybe you could print off or forward to your friend: http://www.catinfo.org/#Transitioning_Dry_Food_Addicts_to_Canned_Food_ and here is some more detailed info on why wet is all around healthier for cats than dry: http://www.catinfo.org/

Tommysmom
May 11th, 2008, 07:35 PM
Thank you for all the info! I'm going to send her a link to this page, I think... that way she can read it for herself and see how important it is. I know she loves her kitty soooooooo much, and I'm sure she'll appreciate all of your help:).

want4rain
May 11th, 2008, 10:28 PM
not to sound fatalistic here but really dry is not an option unless you want to sacrifice other health down the road. quite a few people find switchiing foods for 'picky' cats is impossible unless you understand how cats define food... which is way different than people do!!! sugarcatmom, do you remember that article that talked about cats noses and smells and how they all connected to make sure cats didnt eat foods that would make them sick and thats why they stick to foods they 'know' by smell?? it was posted a few months ago.

anyway, im pretty convinced that the way to transition a cat is by making the new food available RIGHT NEXT TO the old food. probably pretty wasteful but introducing the SMELL first, IMO is vital. we are currently working on small prey. Baby Girl ate half of the new stuff but no one else touched it. i will be making it available next to their current food for at least a month before i give up. the first night the declined dinner (seriously!!) because it was NEAR their food. the second night they are around it. 3rd night Baby Girl ate half and then the regular stuff. tomorrow will be a break and we will resume on night 5.

quite a few people ahve had success with this method. we have had more peaceful success with this where as coating the new stuff with the old stuff, hiding it in stuff they like more felt very 'brute force' to me. there was a great deal of resentment from my cats.

-ashley

Love4himies
May 12th, 2008, 07:59 AM
Sugarcatmom is right, any cat that is prone to crystals should never be on any kibble diet, flushing of the kidneys and bladder are very important.

Rottielover
May 12th, 2008, 08:03 AM
well this is good to know because Tigger had a blockage, and now recovering from crystals. He is not eating the wet, nor is he eating the dry.
He may have to go back to the vet, was diagnosed last monday, does not look to be getting better, other than not eating

sugarcatmom
May 12th, 2008, 09:24 PM
He is not eating the wet, nor is he eating the dry.


Uh-oh, not eating is very serious. I wouldn't wait another day to get him back to the vet (cat's shouldn't go more than 24hrs without food). In the meantime, can you try tempting him with things like plain meat baby food (no onions), or his favourite treats, maybe even some tuna or salmon or deli-meats? Whatever it takes, he's gotta eat! What food is he on now?

Tommysmom
May 15th, 2008, 08:29 AM
Thanks for all of your help! I forwarded this thread with all the links to my friend, and she's actually been having some success with the wet food:thumbs up. She followed some of the ideas from you guys and it seems to be working, and her beautiful kitty is starting to feel better.

(By the way... she's a ragdoll, I don't know why I can never remember that!)

Thanks again guys, and Rottielover, I hope yours is feeling a bit better too.