The best cat food for bladder crystals? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 27 Old 05-29-2010, 01:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Our sweet little one year old kitty almost died from a plugged bladder due to crystals that had formed in his urethra. We are so thankful he is with us and alright. I want to do everything I can to minimize the chances that he'll have any more problems with crystals even though the vet said that this can be a lifelong issue for some cats. She said the best thing to do in this situation is feed him Science Diet or Iams cat food. We have been feeding our cats Bench & Field, the ingredients of which I really, really like, but the vet said these other two brands are specifically formulated for prevention of things like bladder crystals.

I am wanting to hear a lot of opinions on this and, whatever food we end up switching to, I want to just make one switch and to not try out lots of different kinds.

What is your experience with this? What food do you feed your cat with crystal issues?
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#2 of 27 Old 05-29-2010, 07:52 PM
 
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Was your cat on dry food? Cats really should be on wet. From what I understand many tines a cat has issues with crystals due to being on kibble. Cats don't naturally drink much but when eating kibble they have to so salt is added to make them drink, but some cats still don't drink enough.

Personally I would not feed science diet. I would feed RAW as first choice and a high quality grain free wet food as my second choice. I am on another forum where a lady's cat had horible issues with crystals and would literally pee blood. Since switching to raw, no issues.

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#3 of 27 Old 05-29-2010, 08:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, wow, this is really good information, thank you. What kind of raw foods are practical for everyday feeding? Yes, I was disappointed about the SD recommendation because I like the ingredients in B&F better -- but they're both dry foods.
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#4 of 27 Old 05-29-2010, 08:14 PM
 
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Raw foods did not work out practically for us. I used the special bladder formulas you can buy (no fish-it seems to trigger bladder issues in one of my cats). Sometimes I wet it for him by giving him his own bowl with water in it to wet it and make him drink, and keep fresh water out all the time for them. Wet food is very expensive, and I found this more practical.

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#5 of 27 Old 05-29-2010, 09:50 PM
 
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Ok I am a vet tech and my cat blocked twice in just over a year. Now I have him strictly on Hill Prescription C/D....with some MEdical Mature canned (I also have a 14yo persian). S/D is a stone diet specifically designed to break down Struvite stones. It is not meant to be a long term diet.
A side note....a stressed cat can get idiopathic cystitis (sterile inflammation of the bladder)....this is my boy. He can become highly stressed. The first time he blocked there was a mucus plug but no crystals....the second time there were crystals. He was on a good quality diet leading up to it but I refuse to switch from C/D now.

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#6 of 27 Old 05-29-2010, 10:08 PM
 
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At our clinic, we have used Royal Canin Urinary SO formula canned for the first few months after a block and then as long as there are no issues (ex. crystals) upon recheck, if the client wants to try the dry formula, they can. The special urinary diets maintain the urinary pH at a level that inhibits the formation of crystals, which is very hard to do with a raw diet.

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#7 of 27 Old 05-29-2010, 10:16 PM
 
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i've done science diet c/d, but currently he's on royal canin s/o, and it works well for him. if he starts having recurring issues we do a bag of science diet s/d.

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#8 of 27 Old 05-29-2010, 10:24 PM
 
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Well, everyone has to make up their own mind and do their own research, but personally I would never feed science diet or royal canin....yep, they are often recommended by vets but even more and more vets are starting to get away from them from what I have encountered...the ingredients are yuck.

I know many dogs and cats who have had major crystal issues and they have cleared up on RAW...

from http://www.acreaturecomfort.com/cathealth.htm

Quote:
Understanding Urine Analysis


Foods made with grains (corn/wheat/rice etc) can cause alkaline urine in dogs and cats.
Magnesium reacts with alkaline urine to cause crystals.
Most “Prescription/dissolution/preventative” clinic diets take out the magnesium to prevent this reaction, even though magnesium is essential, especially for the nervous system.
Reducing magnesium may cause a host of other negative health issues.
It is far more important and beneficial to prevent alkaline urine by feeding a high protein/grain-free/low carbohydrate diet in order to minimize the risk of crystals.

Grain- based foods may also lead to kidney failure, which often cannot be detected until there is over 75% damage done.
Protein from muscle meat creates an optimal acid urine -Magnesium does not react in acid urine, thereby significantly reducing the risk of crystal formation.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that "prescription/low magnesium" diets are the solution, nor are they healthy. High protein/low carbohydrate/grain free foods are the optimum diet for dogs and cats with or without crystals, for both prevention of, and recovery from, crystals.

Urinary PH levels are optimized by avoiding grains, therefore preventing the risk of alkaline/magnesium reactions.
Grain-free/low carb diets also support healthy kidney function, amongst the many other health benefits of feeding a high protein diet to your pet.
And yes, I realize there are many sites probably saying just the opposite. I just go by quality natural ingredients and seeing results. I know cats are carnivores, therefore I will not feed them grains.

This post is coming across a lot harsher than I mean it to...I keep changing things around but its time to put ds down for bed so I will just say I dont mean for this to sound harsh or snarky. Everyone has to make their own choices and do their own research...but pet nutrition is a very sticky point for me as so many vet offices recommend food that often does more harm than good...if you can even get your pet to eat it.

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#9 of 27 Old 05-30-2010, 12:46 AM
 
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Different cats respond differently to diet adjustments, but in general wet or canned food is preferable because of the higher water content. For some cats, that's more important than the pH of the urine - I've occasionally seen a cat maintain well on an over-the-counter canned food and then reblock on a dry prescription urinary diet.

That being said, most vets will recommend prescription diets because they're a known quantity, and more consistently keep the urine pH where it needs to be.

Raw diets can work well but really need to be balanced for long-term health - some of the published diets floating around aren't adequate, so do your homework if you're making your own.

I know you said you don't want to make more than one diet switch, but you might have to try more than one to find one your kitty likes and then make sure it's working for him by rechecking his urine on the new diet. (Note that crystals can form in any cat urine if it sits around, so ideally the urine is analyzed right after it's collected)
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#10 of 27 Old 05-30-2010, 01:25 AM
 
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I probably seem like I am being argumentative...not trying to be but I just wanted to touch on the whole balance thing.

A raw diet is NOT hard to balance. Its actually pretty simple...I dont suggest just diving in with no research but basically you feed 80-85% meat 10% bone and 5-10% organs (half of that being liver)...(these are rough estimates to be guidelines over a period of time). You want a variety of meats and some fish, again over time (and I think there is a caveat about not giving too much fish for cats that are prone to stones, like at most once a week).

I admit my cats are not fed raw...I have tried but I switched them later in life and cats dont always take to the switch well. My one cat does, my other doesnt so we are back to grain free for the moment. However, I have been feeding my dogs raw for over 8 years now. There are very few differences...the main one is cats have to have fresh meat. Dogs can eat slightly rancid meat while cats can not. Cats also should not be fasted while some people do fast their dogs.

There is a ton of info here http://www.rawfedcats.org/index.htm

Again, I am not trying to convince anyone to feed raw...but just wanted to mention that it really is not at all hard to get "balance" if feeding prey model or whole prey. Now, if you cook the food, yes, it does get very tricky and complicated to balance.

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#11 of 27 Old 05-30-2010, 01:44 AM
 
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I battled kitty urinary issues for years, and the best thing was raw. And who would eat it in my household of cats? NONE OF THEM! So a wet mix with some quality (expensive) dry urinary formula. WHen funds were low, I bought Purina ONE, the taste was acceptable, so sayeth the felines. Sometimes we don't have that much money to spend! To find the right food, you really have to read ingredients and do math. Good luck!
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#12 of 27 Old 05-30-2010, 03:37 AM
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I tried to go raw with my cats, but could never come up with a recipe or diet that all three of them would eat. I do believe that raw is the best way. Cats are meant to eat meat.

The Hill Prescription C/D that was mentioned earlier...the first three ingredients are brewers rice, corn gluten meal, and chicken by-product meal. First, cats are true carnivores. More than 95% of their diet should be meat, organs, and bone. The only grains that cats would eat in the wild would be in the stomachs of their prey. A cat food based on rice and corn meal is not good for them. Chicken by-products can be anything from beaks to feathers to feet to diseased tissues.

Like I said, raw didn't work out for my cats who are very far apart in age and already addicted to commercial cat food. I feed them Wellness wet food and Before Grain dry food if they need a snack between meals.

I used to work in health care and know fully well that doctors and veterinarians know are taught next to nothing regarding nutrition. Doctors are specialists in disease, not wellness. They would be out of business if everyone were healthy. I also know that some companies give kick-backs to doctors who promote their products. A healthy animal should not need prescription diets.
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I used to have a cat with crystals. I fet him Innova EVO canned for a few years and that worked to keep his urine crystal-free. But eventually the crystals came back so I had to switch him to Science Diet C/D canned, and that worked great for the rest of his life. (He died of an unrelated illness.) I really don't like the Science Diet company, their foods aren't as high-quality as most vets believe, SD just has a genius marketing plan. But really, we tried other things for this cat and nothing else worked for him.

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#14 of 27 Old 05-30-2010, 10:58 AM
 
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Originally Posted by 2xy View Post
I tried to go raw with my cats, but could never come up with a recipe or diet that all three of them would eat. I do believe that raw is the best way. Cats are meant to eat meat.

The Hill Prescription C/D that was mentioned earlier...the first three ingredients are brewers rice, corn gluten meal, and chicken by-product meal. First, cats are true carnivores. More than 95% of their diet should be meat, organs, and bone. The only grains that cats would eat in the wild would be in the stomachs of their prey. A cat food based on rice and corn meal is not good for them. Chicken by-products can be anything from beaks to feathers to feet to diseased tissues.

Like I said, raw didn't work out for my cats who are very far apart in age and already addicted to commercial cat food. I feed them Wellness wet food and Before Grain dry food if they need a snack between meals.

I used to work in health care and know fully well that doctors and veterinarians know are taught next to nothing regarding nutrition. Doctors are specialists in disease, not wellness. They would be out of business if everyone were healthy. I also know that some companies give kick-backs to doctors who promote their products. A healthy animal should not need prescription diets.
Chicken By-product does not mean this in good companies. People on here go on about the raw diet for organ meat....well this is what is usually considered "by-products" http://www.hillsvet.com/hillsvet/art...=1252055982984

Yes vets do not get a lot of training in nutrition in school....but they also don't get a lot of hands on surgery in school either.....many, many hours (after graduation) are used to increase knowledge in these areas. Sure, some vets don't bother but most I know have devoted a lot of time and effort into learning more about pet nutrition. I take offense to the idea that vets are specialists in disease not wellness. Have you worked in the field? 14 years of working in the field....I can assure you the reverse is true.

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#15 of 27 Old 05-30-2010, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by lonegirl View Post
Chicken By-product does not mean this in good companies. People on here go on about the raw diet for organ meat....well this is what is usually considered "by-products" http://www.hillsvet.com/hillsvet/art...=1252055982984
I don't believe there are too many "good" companies. Hill's was affected by the pet food recall in 2007, alongside Purina. Why? Because they used the same products from the same suppliers.

As for the article you link to....it was written by someone who works for a company that sells these products. Not that that automatically makes her a liar, but the article pussyfoots around. It says that nutrients are more important than ingredients, essentially, and says that their by-products include organ meats. It implies that garbage makes up less of their by-products, proof of which is the low calcium and magnesium content of the food. Just because they include organ meat doesn't mean they don't use other junk....and really, I don't buy foods for my family that list by-products as an ingredient, either. I want to know whats in my food.

And still....food based on corn and rice is not what cats need.

Quote:
I take offense to the idea that vets are specialists in disease not wellness. Have you worked in the field? 14 years of working in the field....I can assure you the reverse is true.
No, I haven't worked in the field. My mother is a dog breeder and I've cared for plenty of pets of my own. I've worked in other medical environments. It's the nature of the business; if animals were well, vets wouldn't be necessary. My intent was not to offend, but being offended is not the worst thing in the world. It can let you know what you stand for, and why.
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#16 of 27 Old 05-30-2010, 02:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, you guys are awesome. I love how thorough this information is - thank you all!

So far, my multiple attempts at feeding our two cats raw - meat/organs/bones resulted in 100% waste. The one cat that is currently recovering from near-death bladder crystals is only 1.5 years old but still already very set in his preferences, apparently, and the other cat is over 3 years old.

Yes, I was disappointed to see the ingredients list of the SD kibble. It's got a lot of corn in it, including corn gluten meal. The only grains in Bench & Field food are brown rice and oatmeal. I know they're still grains but I think rice and oats are better than corn, right?

From what I'm learning here, it is sounding as if the water content is as important if not more important than the ingredients. I am wondering about experimenting with adding water to their dry foods to increase the water in their diets. There is always fresh water available for the cats but we live in a very dry and hot desert climate so it makes a lot of sense that there would always be more challenge for them to get enough liquid into them than cats living in wetter/cooler climates.

On a side note, I have a HUGE amount of the B&F dry food leftover (I buy it in bulk directly from the company). Wondering if adding water and supplementing with canned food would be alright for now . .
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#17 of 27 Old 05-30-2010, 03:03 PM
 
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Most often, the culprit for crystals, kidney failure, cancers, and hypothyroid (the most common maladies in older cats) are caused by a lifetime of bad diet. Specifically, grain in the diet.

Sadly, most vets haven't a clue about this causing all these issues, and focus on illness and not wellness, as a previous poster pointed out. I could not agree more. I have worked with animals professionally for years and years, and see all too often vets recommending diets and treatments that do noting and often mask the problems.

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Originally Posted by lonegirl View Post
Yes vets do not get a lot of training in nutrition in school....but they also don't get a lot of hands on surgery in school either.....many, many hours (after graduation) are used to increase knowledge in these areas. Sure, some vets don't bother but most I know have devoted a lot of time and effort into learning more about pet nutrition. I take offense to the idea that vets are specialists in disease not wellness. Have you worked in the field? 14 years of working in the field....I can assure you the reverse is true.
IMHO, unless you are going to a holistic vet that goes to continuing education specifically on nutrition, you don't wanna take their advice. Hill's funds most vet nutrition classes and practically writes the texts. Not exactly impartial info.

I will reiterate some things and relay some new things. Cats are true carnivores. They should NOT eat any grain, period. They also do not need vegetables or fruit.

The best food for a cat is raw, and you can either make your own or buy premade (brands below). In my experience, cats that are transitioning to raw from kibble or cans prefer a puree texture in raw- which is why i often recommend ready-made raw. The bones are ground into the muscle and organ meat. That is hard to do yourself.

The best raw cat food around is called "Rad Cat". Cats love it, and they do make free samples. It is only available on the west coast so far. Not sure where the OP is located. They have no veggies or grain in their three flavors: lamb, turkey or chicken.

Nature's Variety is available nationwide. Their formulas do have some veggies, but it is mostly (90+%) meat.

You can make you own, but get a recipe that is nutritionally sound- it must have organs, bones, and muscle and possible a couple supplements.

Cans (cooked food) are the next best thing, but not all cans are created equal. Make sure they are grainless and hopefully veggie-less for a cat. Evanger's, Wysong, Merrick (100% line, not the grammy's pot pie kinda stuff), So Bright, etc. Since the food is cooked, a cat must have Taurine added back into the food, as cooking kills that amino acid and it is necessary for kitties.

Finally, there is a glandular and herbal supplement for cats that does wonders restoring the balance- it's made by Standard Process and it's called Feline Whole Body Support. You need to get it from a holistic vet, but it is worth it!

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#18 of 27 Old 05-30-2010, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by May May View Post
From what I'm learning here, it is sounding as if the water content is as important if not more important than the ingredients. I am wondering about experimenting with adding water to their dry foods to increase the water in their diets. There is always fresh water available for the cats but we live in a very dry and hot desert climate so it makes a lot of sense that there would always be more challenge for them to get enough liquid into them than cats living in wetter/cooler climates.
Cats evolved in hot, desert climates. From what I've read, cats don't drink much unless it's super hot....most of the liquid they get comes from the fresh meat they eat. I think maybe the modern house- or barn-cat suffers because they don't have the biological drive or habit of drinking lots of water. A wet diet could be very helpful, although I don't know how cats would do with soggy kibble.

My cats eat smaller portions when they eat wet food. It really doesn't cost us much more to feed them wet over dry, and if you save money in vet bills, it all evens out, anyway.
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#19 of 27 Old 05-30-2010, 03:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Lillitu, thank you so much for all the information. It is making a lot of sense to my intuition that cats should not have grains. I will check out those brands you've mentioned.



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Cats evolved in hot, desert climates. From what I've read, cats don't drink much unless it's super hot....most of the liquid they get comes from the fresh meat they eat. I think maybe the modern house- or barn-cat suffers because they don't have the biological drive or habit of drinking lots of water. A wet diet could be very helpful, although I don't know how cats would do with soggy kibble.

My cats eat smaller portions when they eat wet food. It really doesn't cost us much more to feed them wet over dry, and if you save money in vet bills, it all evens out, anyway.

2xy, that is very interesting to know about cats from the desert. I added a bit of water to their kibble for now and am waiting to see their response. I think I am going to move in the direction of the pre-made raw suggestions and just wet the leftover kibble until it's gone to supplement. Hopefully, our cats will be willing to eat the stuff I'm going to look into.

Yes, I agree that the preventative aspect of 'more-expensive' food really will pay for itself - especially with the high rate of potential recurrence of the crystals.


On a side note -- does anyone have any advice for feline probiotic support? They gave our kitty all sorts of antibiotics when he was at the vet for his plugged bladder and I am guessing that he needs some flora balancing.


And thank you all again so much for your help. I am really appreciating the information.
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#20 of 27 Old 05-30-2010, 07:15 PM
 
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One of my dogs was supppsed to be on science diet rx food for the rest of his life due to urethral crystals. The ingrediants in that food is horrible for dogs and cats, it's all grains. We fed it to our dog for about a year and he got really fat, then I switched all our dogs to raw and he has had no problems since and it's been about 4 years.
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#21 of 27 Old 05-31-2010, 08:47 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Lillitu View Post

I will reiterate some things and relay some new things. Cats are true carnivores. They should NOT eat any grain, period. They also do not need vegetables or fruit.
Cats consuming wild prey actually do consume grains and vegetables while eating the stomach contents of their prey, which are generally herbivores. So it's likely that some amount of grain and/or vegetation is healthy for cats.

Also, I'm going to have to disagree with the idea that vets routinely use foods that do not work or mask symptoms. Having worked in the field for over 12 years, this has not been my experience. We consistently see very good results from prescription diets. I'd love to see any studies showing that feeding low-grain or raw diets improves rates of kidney disease, hypothyroidism, and cancer, though, since you've asserted that that is the case. Maybe I just haven't been made aware of the relevant science.

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#22 of 27 Old 05-31-2010, 11:13 AM
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I'd love to see any studies showing that feeding low-grain or raw diets improves rates of kidney disease, hypothyroidism, and cancer, though, since you've asserted that that is the case. Maybe I just haven't been made aware of the relevant science.
Last I looked, I haven't seen any studies showing that organic fruits and veggies are better for you, but common sense tells me that ingesting traces of pesticides is probably not a good thing.

Common sense also tells me that a biologically appropriate diet is best for animals.
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#23 of 27 Old 05-31-2010, 11:27 AM
 
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Cats consuming wild prey actually do consume grains and vegetables while eating the stomach contents of their prey, which are generally herbivores. So it's likely that some amount of grain and/or vegetation is healthy for cats.

.

Do they? Many of my raw feeding friends who feed their cats whole prey say the cats routinely leave the stomach and dont eat it. Dogs tend to eat it, but often shake it out first....but dogs are a bit more scavengery than cats.

Nope, no studies to "prove" it but many many many anecdotal stories and many vets who support it too. Then again there are no studies proving vaccines harmful, or GMOs, or a host of other things. One you see what a raw diet doe for you pet, it doenst matter if there are studies to prove it.

Nicole - )0( unschooling mama to Lilahblahblah.gif (12/21/05) and Cianwild.gif (9/21/07) as well as 3 dog2.gif 2 cat.gif,  4 rats, chicken3.gif and ducks
 
 

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#24 of 27 Old 06-01-2010, 03:55 AM
 
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If for some reason raw doesn't work out for you, Eagle Pack offers advice on diets for crystals. You can find it here- http://eaglepack.com/EP_PetHealth.html#crystals

The dry formula they recommend does contain corn, but it is much better ingredient wise than prescription diets. i also *think* they published this before they started the Holistic Selects line for cats, so there may be a corn-free formula that would work (I'm thinking the fish?) Their nutritionist is great and good about getting back to people who write to him so you could try emailing him and see if there is a Holistic Selects kibble he would recommend to go with the canned. You would want to direct your inquiry to John Marsman, who is the nutritionist there.
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#25 of 27 Old 06-03-2010, 03:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the link, Oubliette8. I am really appreciating all of this info and links, friends. It is overwhelming reading all of the different views on bladder crystals but at least I am getting informed. Today I fed our kitty some plain boiled chicken and he seemed to be into it. I think he's more open-minded and willing to try new things after nearly a week of eating watered-down Science Diet while he waits for me to figure out my next step.
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#26 of 27 Old 07-12-2013, 01:52 AM
 
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My cat had crystals when he was 2.5 yrs old... I put him on canned food only natural balance ultra formula and he is now 7 without a recurrence. He hates canned food but I am strict and make him eat it I add fancy feast to the mix for the moisture. Apparently it is mainly the liquid that works... Non of the dry foods are good enough... Find a canned food that ur cat likes and go with it! It has worked for years for my finicky Siamese!
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#27 of 27 Old 09-03-2013, 04:31 PM
 
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I had a female cat who went through a period of UTI infections.  This was 20 years ago.  A vet told me to go wet only so we did and never saw another UTI again.  She lived to be 18.  Because of her I started my next two cats off with wet only.  The female would never eat the wet food.  Never.  She might lick the gravy but otherwise refused anything but dry.  I tried raw and no luck, even our own freshly processed chickens she refused.  She was a rescue and was very odd.  Sadly she died last year.  Now I have one male cat who will sort of eat wet food.  Up until last year always would eat wet food but also ate the dry food.  I always kept dry food around and fed wet in the morning and evening.  When the female died I planned to loose the dry completely.  Well it turned into a 6 month search for something, anything the male cat would eat more then two cans of.  He dropped a lot of weight.  Over the summer we have been packing to move and he developed a UTI, due to stress according to my vet.  Poor guy was skin and bones and continued to refuse wet food after a can or two of the same kind.  I worked my way up to the $2 a can cat food.  The local (quality) pet store employees were trying to help me.  He still would eat only a little bit and scream and yell at me for food.  He never gained any weight.  We actually began to suspect a thyroid issue but no, tests came back within normal range.  The UTI came back for a second round.  My vet handed me a bag of the prescription purina food to help prevent UTI's.  Well he loved it.  He eats it, he is finally putting on some weight, the UTI's are gone, he no longer screams at me for food.  I really want him off the purina.  But on the other hand I am trying to sell a house and having the 14 yr old cat pee on the legos in front of the real estate agent does not help.  So for now we stick with the status quo and I plan to keep reading other recommendations.  Once we move we can explore a few other options for him.

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