Best cat food for urinary crystals

Top 5 Best Cat Food For Urinary Problems – Veterinary approved

Cats are prone to urinary problems. There’s even a name for it: Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD).

Urinary problems are a pain, literally! They can also cause cats to stop using the litter box which is no fun for you either.

Feeding the best cat food for urinary crystals and problems can really improve things. Check out our review here.

Best overall – Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Urinary SO Morsels in Gravy

Pros

  • High protein
  • Proven results with urine crystals
  • Low magnesium – prevents crystal formation
  • High moisture content helps hydration and urinary health

Cons

  • Not grain free
  • More carbs than some other wet foods

Royal Canin is a long established brand, with origins in Europe. It is manufactured around the world, and has manufacturing plants in the USA. The majority of food sold in the USA is produced within the USA.

Royal Canin is often prescribed by veterinarians. It has a strong pedigree for producing food for specific life-stages and conditions. This has been my go-to choice to treat cats with urinary problems for years.

Cats generally seem to like the taste, and it really works to improve urinary health. I think it is the best cat food for urinary crystals. It has proven results and the high-moisture formulation boosts hydration to dissolve crystals.

If your cat has a urinary problem, this food can help. Read more about it here.

Best dry food – Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets UR St/Ox Urinary Formula

Pros

  • Great value
  • High protein
  • Low carbs
  • Dissolves urine crystals
  • Environmentally friendly ingredients

Cons

  • Quite high in plant ingredients
  • Not grain free

Purina is one of the biggest names in pet foods. The company is well over 100 years old, though they’ve been making cat food since 1963. Purina’s foods are manufactured in the USA and Canada. Ingredients are usually sourced locally, but some are imported.

Wet foods are typically thought to be better for treating cats with urinary problems. But some cats (and owners!) prefer kibble. If you’re looking for a suitable kibble, this is the best option.

This is a high protein and low carb kibble which makes it a good all round food. It is also formulated so it can dissolve crystals that are already in the bladder. This makes it a good option for treating urinary problems, not just preventing them.

The ingredients in this food are a bit high in plants for our liking. Overall there is a good balance of animal protein, and the ingredients are environmentally friendly.

Best pate – Hill’s Prescription Diet c/d Multicare Urinary Care with Chicken

Pros

  • Pate texture that some cats really like
  • Clinically proven to improve urinary signs
  • Environmentally friendly ingredients
  • High moisture content helps hydration and urinary health

Cons

  • Some customers report their cats don’t like the taste
  • Not grain free
  • Quite high in carbs

Hill’s Pet Nutrition’s history goes back over a hundred years. It began in Kansas and gradually expanded from there. It was bought by Colgate-Palmolive in 1976.

Hill’s Pet Care’s facilities in Kansas are one of the most advanced research facilities into pet nutrition. All Hill’s foods are manufactured in the USA with ingredients from North America, Europe and New Zealand.

The ingredients in this food are environmentally friendly, but are quite high in carbs.

This food stands out for its texture. Some cats prefer a pate texture, and this can be hard to find in a food for urinary crystals. That said, some cats have been reported to refuse to eat this food. If your cat likes pate, this food is a good choice. If not, try another.

This food is clinically proven to improve urinary symptoms and dissolve urinary crystals. You can be confident that feeding this food will improve your cat’s urinary health. It is also high in moisture which helps urinary health.

Best budget wet food – Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Urinary Tract Health Formula Chicken Entree

Pros

  • Low magnesium helps stop crystals forming
  • Very high protein
  • Environmentally friendly ingredients
  • High moisture content helps hydration and urinary health

Cons

  • Won’t dissolve crystals already there
  • Contain artificial flavours
  • Not grain free

This is the highest protein and lowest carbohydrate food in this list. This makes it a great choice for feeding day-to-day.

This is a great value wet food option for maintaining urinary health. It is not suitable as a treatment for urinary crystals.

Cats generally really enjoy this food, with great reviews from customers.

If you’re looking for a quality food to maintain urinary health while looking after your bank balance, this is the one!

Best grain free food – Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet W+U Weight Management + Urinary Care

Pros

  • Grain free
  • Also helps control weight
  • Very popular choice
  • Very highly rated by customers

Cons

  • Won’t dissolve crystals already there
  • Contains lots of ingredients that don’t need to be there (eg. blueberries?!)

Blue Buffalo was created in 2002 and is America’s biggest pet food company. Blue Buffalo foods are made by a number of manufacturers. They have some manufacturing facilities of their own in the USA.

This is the only grain free food on this list. So if you’ve got a cat with a grain intolerance and urinary problems this is the best choice. This food is high in fiber too to help with appetite control and intestinal health.

This recipe has good levels of protein but not exceptionally high. The carbohydrate level is a little higher than we’d like, but very much what is expected in a kibble.

Like the Purina food listed above, this food won’t dissolve bladder crystals that have already formed. This food will prevent them forming, so it’s better as a preventative measure rather than as treatment

What urinary problems do cats get?

Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) is a common condition in cats. It is not just one disease, there are a lot of problems covered by this name. FLUTD is the name for conditions which affect the bladder and urethra of cats.

There is a great article all about FLUTD here.

What causes FLUTD?

It is hard to determine what the exact cause of FLUTD is without doing tests. 

Urine sample

The most common diagnosis is feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC). Idiopathic is basically just a fancy word for “nobody knows the cause”. About 70% of the time this is the problem.

The next most common cause is bladder stones or crystals. This is the problem about 15% of the time.

Bacterial infections are uncommon in cats. They are usually only seen in older cats, particularly those with kidney problems. There are also some other more unusual causes of FLUTD, but these are the big 3.

There are some things that make cats more likely to get FLUTD:

  • Being overweight
  • Doing little exercise
  • Being indoors
  • Eating a diet of kibble only
  • Neutering

What are the signs of FLUTD?

Regardless of the cause of FLUTD, there are some signs of a problem they all share:

  • Struggling to pee
  • Urinating more often than normal
  • Blood in urine
  • Urinating in strange places around the house
  • Straining to pee and nothing coming out.

If you see any of these signs it’s definitely worth a trip to the vet. FLUTD is painful at best, and in certain cats (males usually) it can even be life-threatening.

If you ever see your cat try to pee and nothing comes out, go to the vet RIGHT NOW. This is a sign of a urethral blockage. It is a life threatening emergency.

How is FLUTD treated?

First thing to say is, follow your veterinarian’s advice. They know your cat and their medical history, I don’t. Your veterinarian may wish to do some tests which will help narrow down the cause. Each type of FLUTD needs treating slightly differently.

Pain relief is one of the most important treatments for any cat with FLUTD. FLUTD is painful! Getting rid of the pain stops cats peeing around the house, and reduces their stress. Stress is actually thought to be a big contributor to FIC!

Litter box

If your cat has a bacterial infection the usual treatment is antibiotics.

For mild cases of cystitis there are some things you can do at home too:

Feed a urinary diet

Urinary diets are one of the most helpful treatments for FLUTD. The best cat food for urinary crystals will dissolve any crystals in the bladder. 

Good urinary foods also increase the water intake of cats. This helps to dilute the urine down, dissolving crystals and helping the bladder heal. Some foods also have supplements which help to line the bladder and help it heal.

Switch to a wet food

Wet foods help to maintain hydration. Good urinary kibbles still help to increase water intake, but not as much as a wet food.

Maintain hydration

Maintaining hydration is key to resolving FLUTD. Keeping hydrated helps to dilute the urine and flush any nasties out of the bladder.

Switching to wet food helps with this. Also make sure you’ve got plenty of water for your cat to drink if they want to.

You could even consider getting a pet water fountain to encourage them to drink.

What to look for in the best cat food for urinary problems

Nutrients

The most important thing about any cat food is the nutrients it contains. Ingredients can vary, but the nutrients must be there.

The three most important nutrients to consider when choosing food are protein, carbohydrates and mineral levels.

Protein is a key part of a cat’s diet and is required for all aspects of health. A protein level of 40% is needed to maintain muscle mass. No cat should eat a food lower than 40% protein.

Carbohydrates in cat food are controversial. Cats are not good at eating large amounts of carbohydrates because they struggle to absorb them. Too many carbs can cause an upset tummy.

A cat sits next to corn

Minerals are essential for good health. Unfortunately, if the levels of certain minerals get too high it can cause issues. The best cat foods for urinary crystals are low in magnesium to prevent formation of bladder crystals. Other mineral levels affect urine dilution levels which is important.

Ingredients

We also need to consider the ingredients of food when we want to choose the best one. Unfortunately, this is where things get complicated and even more controversial!

Manufacturers of foods list their ingredients in order of weight. So the things that appear at the start of the list are the things that weigh the most. This can mean that food with lots of water but not much nutrients appear high on the list.

To the untrained eye, ingredient lists can look much better (or worse) than they really are.

For example, “chicken breast” has lots of water in it, whereas “chicken meal” is quite dry. Per ounce, chicken meal has much more protein than chicken breast (even if it doesn’t sound as tasty).

Ingredients like “meat meal” and “meat digest” are by-products. They might not sound like a good thing but by-products are not a bad thing.

By-products are often very nutritious and tasty for cats. Always remember, you are choosing a food for your cat, not for you. Just because you don’t like the sound of “meat by-product meal” doesn’t mean your cat won’t!

PedMD has a useful article on exactly what by-products are.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right urinary food can really help to treat and prevent urinary problems.

The best cat food for urinary crystals is Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Urinary SO Morsels In Gravy. It is proven to dissolve crystals and is generally a high quality food.

If you’re on a budget and want a food for maintenance, the best food is Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Urinary Tract Health Formula Chicken Entree.

Check out the prices here!

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