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My cat has been sick and I have a few questions...

michelle&ceenee
December 15th, 2008, 12:40 PM
Hello, My name is Michelle. My cat Ceenee was sick with crystals in her urine and she was sick for a long time. The vet put her on a special perscription diet food to break up the crystals and Ceenee is now eating special wet and dry food to prevent crystals from forming again. My question is: How long do i have to keep her on this special food? the vet said the rest of her life but for a small 10lb bag of dry food is $50! and a small can of wet food is $3. Now i would do anything for my cat, but money is tight and i want to switch the food to somthing that isn't so expensive but i'm not sure what brands are healthy and will not cause the crystals again. i've asked my vet but she said that Ceenee HAS to stay on the vet food. Does anyone know what i should do?
~Michelle

AmericanBullMom
December 15th, 2008, 12:43 PM
Hmm, I don't really know what to tell you, but have you tried her on Evo, or Orijen? If you really wanted to get creatvie, you could try going Raw.... Just make sure you do PLENTY of research on it.
Whats the brand of food your Vet has her on?

I did some searching, I found this on another forum:
http://www.petpeoplesplace.com/resources/advice/cats/34.htm

And also this:
http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=1+2142&aid=1188

Winston
December 15th, 2008, 12:58 PM
Michelle & Cenee welcome to the site.

Can I take a guess that the vet told you they MUST stay on Hills CD Diet right?

Well food is an education in itself and you have come to the right place to start. We have some really knowledgeable cat people here that can help you with this.

How long has she had the crystals? What is the brand of food your feeding?

Cindy

sugarcatmom
December 15th, 2008, 01:07 PM
Your vet is wrong. However, your cat should be eating only wet food, no dry. But it can be any wet food, doesn't have to be the prescription ones. Here's a link for you on feline nutrition in general that you might want to read: http://www.catinfo.com

I gotta run, but I'll come back with more info for you later.

Winston
December 15th, 2008, 01:21 PM
Your in good hands now!

michelle&ceenee
December 15th, 2008, 01:48 PM
Right now, Ceenee is on Hill's perscription diet C/d cat food. She eats wet and dry. She's not a picky eater and she loves her wet food. the only thing i've never been able to get her to eat is anything to do with fish (she sniffs it and walks away), but she loves chicken. lol. basicaly, i give her about 1/2 cup of dry food and a tablespoon of wet once per day in the morning. Thats what my vet told me to give her once she lost weight to keep the weight off. i also give her a bit of milk probably once per week, if my dad hasn't already spoiled her. (is the milk we drink ok for cats too?). i have no problem giving her just wet food (she loves it anyway) and changing her diet.
We found out Ceenee had crystals sometime in september 2007 and started treatment right away. once the crystals were gone, she's been on the C/d food ever since. I don't know how long she had crystals but there were a ton of them (the vet showed me the slide under the microscope) so it was probably a while. she hasn't had crystals since then. but like i said, vet food is really expensive, and i'm going to be in university soon were i wont have $50 for cat food.
~Michelle:pawprint:

sugarcatmom
December 15th, 2008, 06:12 PM
Hi Michelle,

First let me explain a bit about urinary crystals. There are a few different kinds that cats get, the two main ones being struvite and calcium oxalate. Struvite crystals (more common) form in consistently alkaline urine (ph >7.0). Calcium oxalate crystals form in overly acidic urine (ph <6.0). Here is where diet plays a role: when cats are fed dry foods, all of which contain far too much plant matter for an obligate carnivore, their urine becomes alkaline. Add to that the fact that a cat eating only dry food is going to have highly concentrated urine and is going to urinate less frequently, and you have a perfect environment for crystals to form and clump together. When a cat eats wet food, it's much closer to what they would eat in nature, which is nice juicy meat (mice, birds, etc with 60-80% moisture content) and hardly any plant matter. So in most cases, simply switching food from dry to wet takes care of the crystal problem.

If, for some reason, your cat can't maintain a normal urinary ph (6-6.5) on her own even when eating canned, then there are other options besides feeding crappy prescription food. As long as you're monitoring her urine ph at home (you can get test strips from a health food store), you can add your own acidifier (L-methionine) to her food. The reason it's important to keep an eye on the ph is because if it should become too acidic, she would be at risk for developing calcium oxalate crystals, and these are much harder to deal with. Interestingly, calcium oxalate crystals used to be quite rare in cats, until dry food diets with added acidifiers became de regueur.

Right now, Ceenee is on Hill's perscription diet C/d cat food.

So about that Hill's C/D. It's garbage, and you're paying a lot for it. Here are the ingredients of the dry:

Brewers Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken By-Product Meal, Pork Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Chicken Liver Flavor, Fish Oil,......

It blows my mind that a vet can think dry nuggets of mostly cereal would benefit a carnivore in any way. Hill's is quite the propaganda machine. Here's an article you might find interesting about the conflict of interest in a vet "prescribing" a food as if it were a medicine: http://naturalcathealth.blogspot.com/2007/08/for-many-years-like-majority-of-pet.html

She's not a picky eater and she loves her wet food.

Excellent! Then you're way ahead of the game, because you'd be shocked at how many cats get so addicted to dry food that it can be a major endeavor to get them to eat anything else.

the only thing i've never been able to get her to eat is anything to do with fish (she sniffs it and walks away),

She's a smart cookie. Fish, despite the popular misconception, is not actually that great for cats. It isn't part of their natural diet (they evolved in the desert), and carries too many risks such as higher levels of toxins, it's hyperallergenic, and some cats get addicted to the strong smell, making it difficult to feed them healthier options when you need to.

basicaly, i give her about 1/2 cup of dry food and a tablespoon of wet once per day in the morning. Thats what my vet told me to give her once she lost weight to keep the weight off.

No offense to your vet, and I'm sure s/he is an expert in other areas, but feline nutrition is not one of them. When it comes to preventing weight gain, wet food is again far superior to dry. For one, it has more protein and fewer carbohydrates. It's the excess carbs that are a major contributing factor in cats getting fat in the first place. Pet food manufacturers have been going about it all wrong when they created these "light" and "diet" cat foods with even more carbs and less protein/fat. Think Atkins diet for cats, aka "Catkins". As well, cats are more satiated eating higher protein foods and are less likely to overeat. Another link to check out: http://www.catinfo.org/feline_obesity.htm

As for what kind of canned food would be best, some good ones to look for are Wellness, Innova Evo 95% meat, Nature's Variety Instinct, By Nature Organics, Precise, Natural Balance, Merrick..... Some of these may still be fairly expensive, but it's entirely likely that your vet bills will go down due to the higher quality nutrition. There are also ways to economize, such as buying by the case and/or getting the largest sized cans (Wellness is good for that). Augmenting her diet with some fresh meat (raw is best, but even lightly cooked is okay) would also be excellent, as long as it doesn't make up more than 10-20% of her food intake, since it's not nutritionally balanced. Here's a page on choosing a commercial canned food: http://www.catinfo.org/commercialcannedfoods.htm

i also give her a bit of milk probably once per week, if my dad hasn't already spoiled her. (is the milk we drink ok for cats too?).

If it's only a small amount and she doesn't suffer any ill-effects from it, than absolutely it's okay. Some cats are lactose intolerant and get gas or diarrhea/vomiting, but I'm sure you would have figured that out by now if it was a problem. :yuck:

And just in case you don't have enough to read already :D, here are some more links for ya:

http://holisticat.com/flutd.html
http://www.celestialpets.com/fus_article.shtml

Love4himies
December 15th, 2008, 06:53 PM
I can't add anymore to what sugarcatmom has stated. She is right on with both the weight loss and crystal prevention:thumbs up.

If your kitty is not too picky, you may even want to try a raw diet. Nature's Variety is a popular one. It is frozen medallions ready to go, just thaw 24 hours in the fridge. I add a bit of hot water to mix with the meat to take the chill off. It has raw bones so you can't warm it in the microwave.

My daughter's cats lost their weight naturally once they changed to Wellness Grainfree canned. Jasper lost his weight on Nature's Variety Instinct canned and raw. All kitties were previously eating mainly kibble.

Good luck and would love to see pics of your kitty :cloud9: :lovestruck:

Tundra_Queen
December 16th, 2008, 01:33 AM
sugarmom, where would one buy (L-methionine? Willie had those s. crystals and he is also on special food to keep his ph low, but it is the Iams stuff, which I know is not good either.

I am feeding him mostly the Wellness canned and the core now and I do worry about the crystals coming back.

Debbie

Love4himies
December 16th, 2008, 07:55 AM
sugarmom, where would one buy (L-methionine? Willie had those s. crystals and he is also on special food to keep his ph low, but it is the Iams stuff, which I know is not good either.

I am feeding him mostly the Wellness canned and the core now and I do worry about the crystals coming back.

Debbie

If you worry about the crystals coming back then checking your kitty's ph is a good idea. Like SCM stated, too high of a ph, then struvite crystals, too low, then there is a chance of calcium oxalate stones, so you don't want to add anything that will alter from the optimum ph level. The calcium stones can't be dissolved should they develop; they can only be removed surgically. Also adding a teaspoon of water to your cat's canned food will help also as it will flush out crystals before they get too big.

sugarcatmom
December 16th, 2008, 05:43 PM
sugarmom, where would one buy (L-methionine?

I'd strongly suggest picking up some of the ph test strips before getting any L-methionine. That way you'll know if you even need it. And because urine ph fluctuates throughout the day, you'll want to get several readings at different times. One reading above 7 doesn't mean Willie has a problem, but if all the readings are, that's when an acidifier might be a good idea. Here's an example of what to look for in a test strip: http://www.ph-ion.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWCATS&Category=205 You want a fairly broad testing range (like from ph 5-9), with at least half unit increments. You should be able to find them in a pharmacy, or you could always order them off eBay.

Tundra_Queen
December 16th, 2008, 06:49 PM
If you worry about the crystals coming back then checking your kitty's ph is a good idea. Like SCM stated, too high of a ph, then struvite crystals, too low, then there is a chance of calcium oxalate stones, so you don't want to add anything that will alter from the optimum ph level. The calcium stones can't be dissolved should they develop; they can only be removed surgically. Also adding a teaspoon of water to your cat's canned food will help also as it will flush out crystals before they get too big.

Thank you *S* I put a tablespoon or two in with the food, depending how much I'm giving them.

I'd strongly suggest picking up some of the ph test strips before getting any L-methionine. That way you'll know if you even need it. And because urine ph fluctuates throughout the day, you'll want to get several readings at different times. One reading above 7 doesn't mean Willie has a problem, but if all the readings are, that's when an acidifier might be a good idea. Here's an example of what to look for in a test strip: http://www.ph-ion.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWCATS&Category=205 You want a fairly broad testing range (like from ph 5-9), with at least half unit increments. You should be able to find them in a pharmacy, or you could always order them off eBay.

My next question is how the heck do u get a cat to pee on a stick? :confused:

Debbie

sugarcatmom
December 16th, 2008, 08:18 PM
My next question is how the heck do u get a cat to pee on a stick? :confused:


Hee hee. Well that depends on how shy of a pee-er Willie is. With Aztec, I just follow him to the litter box and after he's started peeing, I gently slide a shallow jar lid under his butt. He'll sometimes give me a wtf look, but once that stream has started, he ain't going anywhere. You don't need much pee so I pull the lid out before he's done. Some people use a large spoon or soup ladle in a similar fashion, but I find the lids work great, especially if you have a cat that squats right down when he pees.

Now, if Willie tends to be secretive about his elimination habits, you can try a few other tricks. You could put a sheet of Saran Wrap on top of the litter. Cat walks in, makes a few ineffective digs, pees anyway, and it pools in the various folds. You still have to be fairly in tune with when Willie goes to the bathroom because you want to test it fairly quickly, and you also want to be sure it's his pee and not from one of the other kitties.

Another method is using a non-absorbent litter substrate. Vets sell an outrageously priced product called NoSorb (http://www.bpsom.com/catco/) for exactly this purpose, but you can use clean aquarium gravel instead. Unpopped popcorn, packing peanuts, and sunflower seeds are other options.

Tundra_Queen
December 17th, 2008, 01:38 AM
Uh Oh...this sounds very complicated. :eek::eek::laughing: What the heck is a shadow jar? :confused:

Hmmm maybe I'd better ask my vet for one of those longggggg rubber gloves they use to deliver calves? This might get messy sliding jars under peeing butts..... :laughing::laughing::crazy:

Debbie