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Old 09-12-2009, 11:55 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Food/Diet for Urinary Blockage

Hello! I'm new to this forum and figured I'd come to the experts to ask for some advice.

My brother has a cat who's about 3 years old and slightly overweight. About 4 or 5 months ago, he developed a urinary blockage and had to be taken to an ER vet where he stayed for 3 days. I went with my brother to pick him up when he was ready to come home. The vet told us he would have to be on prescription food for life, so they put him on Royal Canin S/O. I work at Petsmart so I'm able to get ahold of the food and also receive a discount. Many of my co-workers have been telling me that I should be able to switch him to a different food that's specifically formulated for urinary problems (I believe Pro Plan has one) and that it would be a lot better than the Royal Canin and a heck of a lot cheaper. I'm already a dog food freak with my dog as I'm more into the high quality grain-less foods so I know there are much better foods out there for him.

My question is, is there a food better than the prescription Royal Canin that we could put him on? I've also been told that canned food is very good for them and helps out with bladder issues as well as keeping a cat hydrated. I was talking about this with my brother today and he says he has read online that canned food isn't good for cats. What does everyone think? I know of many people that just feed their cats strictly canned food!

Any advice would be greatly appreciated! I'm fairly well educated when it comes to dogs, but cats are a whole other question.
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Old 09-13-2009, 12:24 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Food/Diet for Urinary Blockage

Welcome!
Well, first of all canned food is absolutely better for them than dry. Especially with a cat prone to urinary problems. The most important component in treating a UTI or blockage is moisture and, since cats don't drink enough on their own, it needs to be in their food. By the way, adding water to dry won't do the trick and can cause some nasty bacteria. Dry is full of carbs which a) tend to make cats fat and b) keep them in a constant state of slight dehydration. Not to mention, because of the extreme heat they need to use to make the kibble, there's virtually no nutrition left in it!
As for the prescription food. Some cats may need to be on a special diet for ever (although I question that), but most will do fine on a high quality, high protein, all wet or raw diet.
I would tell your brother to get a food that has meat, not by products or meals as the first ingredient and no or low grains like Wellness, Felidae, Nature's Variety Instinct, Natural Balance, Solid Gold or Evo etc.
Unfortunately, most vets have no idea about proper feline nutrition. They don't get it in school and the little they do get is from the food manufacturers, so the best we can do is educate ourselves. Here are some good articles on basic cat nutrition and UTIs.
http://www.catinfo.org/
http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?a ... cannedfood
http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?a ... w&item=017
Hope that helps!
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Old 09-13-2009, 02:20 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Food/Diet for Urinary Blockage

I agree with nanook. Considering the conditions that must exist in order for crystals to form, http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm ... 2&aid=2729 , wet food will be your best bet. You could use the prescription food until the problem goes away. Then switch. Search this site. Many have gone through what you are currently going though.

Good luck
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Old 09-13-2009, 03:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Food/Diet for Urinary Blockage

Thank you both for the information!

One of my co-workers spoke with a food rep that was at our store the other day. The rep told her that cats that are prone to urinary blockages shouldn't be on a high protein diet and it should be strictly watched. Is this true?

I'd much rather have him on a better food such as the ones you guys listed, but seeing as we don't know much about his past (he's a rescue so we don't know if his dad was prone to these urinary blockages) is it better to keep him on a food that's specially formulated for urinary problems?
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Old 09-13-2009, 07:57 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Food/Diet for Urinary Blockage

Your brother should ask the vet which type of urinary crystals his cat is developing - struvite or oxalate. Royal Canin S/O contains an ingredient that dissolves struvite crystals, but it does not dissolve oxalate crystals. If the cat has oxalate crystals, your brother is paying a lot of money for food that isn't doing any more for his cat than any other food would in terms of crystal treatment.

A cat who develops any type of urinary crystals should be eating ONLY canned, pouch, or homemade food - NO DRY KIBBLE! The most effective strategy in preventing future blockages is to keep the cat very well hydrated at all times. Kibble does exactly the opposite. It absorbs moisture out of the cat's body, leaving him in a state of chronic, mild dehydration. That is the worst possible condition for a cat prone to urinary crystals.

If your brother continues to feed S/O, he should use either the pouch or canned formula, not the kibble. Better yet, mix canned or pouch food with water to turn it into "cat food soup" that the cat can lap up. The more water in, the more urine out, and all of that extra urine will help flush out small crystals before they have a chance to clump together and form blockages.

It's also very important that your brother keeps his litterbox(es) immaculately clean. There must never be any reason for the cat to avoid using the litterbox. If the cat retains his urine while waiting for a clean litterbox, waiting to be let outside, waiting for company to leave, or any other reason, that urine retention can result in crystals having time to clump together and form blockages. This cat's life should be kept as stress-free as possible so that he doesn't feel the need to "hold it" due to nervousness.

Laurie
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Old 09-13-2009, 09:55 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Food/Diet for Urinary Blockage

Quote:
Originally Posted by laurief
Your brother should ask the vet which type of urinary crystals his cat is developing - struvite or oxalate. Royal Canin S/O contains an ingredient that dissolves struvite crystals, but it does not dissolve oxalate crystals. If the cat has oxalate crystals, your brother is paying a lot of money for food that isn't doing any more for his cat than any other food would in terms of crystal treatment.

A cat who develops any type of urinary crystals should be eating ONLY canned, pouch, or homemade food - NO DRY KIBBLE! The most effective strategy in preventing future blockages is to keep the cat very well hydrated at all times. Kibble does exactly the opposite. It absorbs moisture out of the cat's body, leaving him in a state of chronic, mild dehydration. That is the worst possible condition for a cat prone to urinary crystals.

If your brother continues to feed S/O, he should use either the pouch or canned formula, not the kibble. Better yet, mix canned or pouch food with water to turn it into "cat food soup" that the cat can lap up. The more water in, the more urine out, and all of that extra urine will help flush out small crystals before they have a chance to clump together and form blockages.

It's also very important that your brother keeps his litterbox(es) immaculately clean. There must never be any reason for the cat to avoid using the litterbox. If the cat retains his urine while waiting for a clean litterbox, waiting to be let outside, waiting for company to leave, or any other reason, that urine retention can result in crystals having time to clump together and form blockages. This cat's life should be kept as stress-free as possible so that he doesn't feel the need to "hold it" due to nervousness.

Laurie

This is absolutely WONDERFUL advice!!

I've done so much research online regarding canned food diets especially with cats with this type of problem and have read the same information that you have just given me. Unfortunately, it seems as though my brother is set and certain about this type of food, which is now worrying me, especially with what you just told me. He swears that he has read somewhere that canned food is not good for cats, will cause them to get fatter because of the amount of fat in it and cause clumps in the bladder (or something along that order). Basically, he will not believe what I'm saying.

He told me I could go ahead and buy a case of canned food for him, but he doesn't want to feed it to him everyday! I don't know what to do to get him to agree with me. I sent him a link about an article contained info about what you just told me and I also expressed what you guys have told me so far. He doesn't want to believe what is posted over the internet, but yet I don't know where he heard his information from.

This is really beginning to upset me. I'd say I'd sneak the canned food to him everyday except that my brother and the cat are both in the basement and we can't allow the cat upstairs because my dog doesn't like him. I'm so unsure of what to do now. I don't know how to convince my brother otherwise. He seems to not want to believe what people say on the internet.
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Old 09-13-2009, 11:17 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Food/Diet for Urinary Blockage

Any food fed in excess is going to cause the cat to gain weight, but apparently your brother already knows this because his cat is already overweight. BTW, obesity is another risk factor for urinary blockages, so if your brother is serious about wanting to avoid a recurrence of this problem (in spite of his stubborn commitment to inaccurate dietary information gained from some unknown source), he should take the extra weight off of his cat.

With any luck at all, his cat won't block again no matter how inappropriately he chooses to feed him. If, however, the cat does block again, perhaps your brother will be more reasonable and open to being educated about the causes and preventions of urinary blockages ... assuming, of course, that the cat survives the next blockage.

Laurie
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Old 09-14-2009, 01:28 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Food/Diet for Urinary Blockage

Quote:
The rep told her that cats that are prone to urinary blockages shouldn't be on a high protein diet and it should be strictly watched. Is this true?
Ache. It makes me crazy when I hear things like this. Uneducated vets and pet food reps have a lot to answer for.
Simply not true. Actually, a high protein diet helps the body to become naturally acidic (what the prescription diets do artificially) which helps dissolve any crystals.
I'm sorry your brother thinks he has all the answers (clearly without doing any real research). I know it's frustrating but, unfortunately, there's nothing you can do about it.
I had as similar situation with a friend of mine who thought I was going a little nuts about my "alternative" approach to my cats diet. Her vet is very old school (IE: hasn't cracked a book or article in 30 years) and she poopoo'd everything I said for years. But, when I switched my cats to an all wet (also some raw and an occasional dry food snack) diet and she saw the change in them (shinier coats, less shedding, more active and slimmed to a healthy weight) she started thinking...
Then I got a new kitten and got very lazy with the dry. They were getting it daily (along with their wet/raw meals) for a few months because I was so busy and the new kitten was under weight. My older cat ended up with a UTI and crystals. Yikes! My wonderful, non "alternative" vet (but he studies and reads a lot!) told me, "NO MORE DRY!" He said, cats that have a history of UTI's and go back to eating any dry have a recurrence 70% of the time as opposed to cats who switch to all wet or raw, who only have a recurrence rate of about 30%. That got her thinking. A real vet said that??
So, we nixed the dry altogether and Little-one never had a problem again.
My friend now feeds her cat mostly wet food. She's amazed at the difference in her cat.
Hopefully, your brother will come around too.
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Old 09-14-2009, 12:19 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Food/Diet for Urinary Blockage

Quote:
Originally Posted by laurief
Any food fed in excess is going to cause the cat to gain weight, but apparently your brother already knows this because his cat is already overweight. BTW, obesity is another risk factor for urinary blockages, so if your brother is serious about wanting to avoid a recurrence of this problem (in spite of his stubborn commitment to inaccurate dietary information gained from some unknown source), he should take the extra weight off of his cat.

With any luck at all, his cat won't block again no matter how inappropriately he chooses to feed him. If, however, the cat does block again, perhaps your brother will be more reasonable and open to being educated about the causes and preventions of urinary blockages ... assuming, of course, that the cat survives the next blockage.

Laurie

I do appreciate your advice, however I wouldn't go as far as saying that my brother is stubborn. He's simply going for what he believes in and what he has heard as what I'm doing. As far as the cat being overweight, there is a story behind that which I'm not going to go into but it actually wasn't my brother's fault that his cat got to be a little overweight. We continually are improving it everyday. I may give his vet a call and ask what they have to say. I don't remember exactly what they had said to us as far as using either the prescription dry or the prescription wet.
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Old 09-14-2009, 12:22 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Food/Diet for Urinary Blockage

Quote:
Originally Posted by nanook
Quote:
The rep told her that cats that are prone to urinary blockages shouldn't be on a high protein diet and it should be strictly watched. Is this true?
Ache. It makes me crazy when I hear things like this. Uneducated vets and pet food reps have a lot to answer for.
Simply not true. Actually, a high protein diet helps the body to become naturally acidic (what the prescription diets do artificially) which helps dissolve any crystals.
I'm sorry your brother thinks he has all the answers (clearly without doing any real research). I know it's frustrating but, unfortunately, there's nothing you can do about it.
I had as similar situation with a friend of mine who thought I was going a little nuts about my "alternative" approach to my cats diet. Her vet is very old school (IE: hasn't cracked a book or article in 30 years) and she poopoo'd everything I said for years. But, when I switched my cats to an all wet (also some raw and an occasional dry food snack) diet and she saw the change in them (shinier coats, less shedding, more active and slimmed to a healthy weight) she started thinking...
Then I got a new kitten and got very lazy with the dry. They were getting it daily (along with their wet/raw meals) for a few months because I was so busy and the new kitten was under weight. My older cat ended up with a UTI and crystals. Yikes! My wonderful, non "alternative" vet (but he studies and reads a lot!) told me, "NO MORE DRY!" He said, cats that have a history of UTI's and go back to eating any dry have a recurrence 70% of the time as opposed to cats who switch to all wet or raw, who only have a recurrence rate of about 30%. That got her thinking. A real vet said that??
So, we nixed the dry altogether and Little-one never had a problem again.
My friend now feeds her cat mostly wet food. She's amazed at the difference in her cat.
Hopefully, your brother will come around too.
Thank you for the information!

I'm hoping over time he will see that canned food will help his cat out so much. This is his very first cat and already he didn't know anything about what to expect (hence the urinary blockage). I'm hoping that as I continue to find very valuable information, he will come to realize in the long run that canned food will help his cat.
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