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I have an approx. 4-year-old orange cat named Tomás. He's a big boy - was 15 lbs (healthy weight) when we got him in 1/2006. I have a question regarding feeding, but there is some complicated background so this will be long - sorry!

In November, he was diagnosed with this illness (FLUTD) - basically it means he is prone to urinary tract infections. We took him to the vet because he was straining and trying to pee all over the house but nothing was coming out. They did some tests at the time and discovered he had a urinary tract infection and diagnosed him with this disease. For the short term, he was put on a course of antibiotics and also a muscle relaxer type thing to help him be able to pee, along with a special wet food to help clear the infection - science diet urinary tract food - for one month. It was so nasty smelling and disgusting and Tom was not a fan (I don't blame him!!). For the long term, he has been put on a special food- I forget the brand, Hill maybe? "Feline UR" is the type of food. At the vet, we also discovered he had put on quite a bit of weight - he weighed 18.3 lbs! We didn't even know he had gained weight, and I feel really guilty about that
So, at the same time we had to reduce his intake and encourage more exercise (he's an indoor, only kitty).

Prior to his illness, we had him on Royal Canin Indoor 27, with a small scoop of whole chunk wet food each day when we have dinner (he likes to eat with us). We chose this food after considerable research and felt it was a good, healthy food with few fillers. He does not like raw food which we tried at first, and we are gone at the weekend frequently so dry food was just more convenient. We fed him according to the package instructions on the vet's advice, so he got 3/4 cup of dry food and a tablespoon of wet food per day. After his illness, he got 1-5.5oz can of nasty wet food per day. When he graduated to dry food he got 3/4 cup of dry food per day. Last month, he went back in for his annual checkup and he was down to 17 lbs - good but not great - so we've cut his food further to help get him down to 15 lbs a bit more quickly. He's now down to 1/2 cup of dry food per day (1/4 c morning, 1/4 cup evening) and a few extra pieces here and there if he is especially hungry, NOT to exceed 3/4 cup per day.

Since he's been on the "special" food, he has also been on a diet, so it's hard to know what is causing this, but I have noticed that his fur is not as nice as it used to be. It used to be silky soft and he was a pleasure to pet. Now, it's a little rougher, not quite as smooth, and sticks up a bit more in a few places. His skin at the top of his back by his tail seems a bit drier, too, but I could be crazy.

I have been investigating his condition a bit and it appears the special diet he is on is for the acidity and low ash content, although recent research is debunking the ash thing. He is also supposed to have lots of extra water and I believe the food is supposed to increase thirst. I would like to approach our vet to consider alternative treatments based on some research I have done (on the internet), but I am wary of anything on the internet so I would love if anyone here has further input/advice/can point me to specific websites which are very trustworthy, so that I am prepared when we go in to speak with the vet.

From my research it seems that FLUTD can be linked to weight; therefore, when Tomás reaches 15 lbs (his "healthy weight") his risk of another urinary tract infection decreases significantly. It also seems that a wet food diet is more appropriate than a dry food diet for this condition. Given these things, I would like to consider switching to a primarily wet food diet once he has reached his target weight, but NOT the nasty "feline urinary tract" wet food (seriously - this stuff smells awful - my boyfriend could not feed the cat because the smell was so disgusting). I would like to return to the healthier, whole chunk, possibly organic wet food we were using before. I'd love to be able to add a dry food back in as well for the days when we are not home much, but I don't know if that is possible. I do *not* want to do something that will cause Tomás to be sick again but I do feel that he is not enjoying this new food as much as he liked his old foods, I do feel that he misses his wet food, and I do feel that this new food is not as nutritious overall as his old foods.

Does anyone have a cat with this disease, and *not* feed the "special diet" food? Have you been successful in preventing relapses without using the "special diet"? If you do use the "special diet" do you add any supplements/extras to the cat's diet to increase overall health? Can you recommend any trustworthy websites regarding his condition? Thanks in advance - sorry this was so long!
 

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I have one and my friend has one too. I switched to a raw diet years ago and have not had any problems since. He gets the moisture he needs, the currect urine pH and it helps clean his teeth. My friend just switched about 3 months ago. She works for a vet and they highly recommended that she stick with the prescription food. She is very happy she has switched. Her boy is doing great and no problems

Vets truthfully don't know much about nutrition. They take one class on it. To find a vet that supports your choice to try a new diet vs the one that they are making money off is going to be hard.

Here is some info about what I feed my cats:

I buy my cats chicken leg quarters. I get them for less than $5 for a 10lb bag. I use a grinder to grind it up (Northren tool has a good one). I also add turkey heart and liver. I get these from Oma's Pride. The price I pay for those is $22 for 30lbs. I also add some supplements. Here is the recipe I follow. http://www.blakkatz.com/recipes.pdf

My cats switched pretty easily. I did as Michelle T. Bernard recommended in her book Raising Cats Naturally: How to care for your cat the way nature intended.

I make a big batch and separate it into daily portions. My cats eat about 3/4- 1 cup a piece. I than freeze it and thaw a new one each day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, Crystal! I really appreciate it. I will look for that book. I don't know if Tom would like this, he really turned his nose up at a variety of raw foods when we first got him. Maybe it was too much shock though (coming into a new home from the shelter *and* switching diets at the same time).

The urinary tract thing is the *only* reason I hesitate to mess with his diet, I would hate for him to go through the pain of another UTI just because of my stubbornness.. but his fur isn't healthy anymore and it's driving me crazy. He can't possibly like it, either.
 

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On another thread someone else was talking about a supplement that their vet told them to give to their cat with FUS....it's actually some sort of chondricton tab. Hopefully they'll see the thread...it's on the tip of my tongue but I cant' remember what it's called.
 

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I have an FLUTD cat! My whole story is in several posts up in our natural pet food sticky. I don't remember which pages or posts, but you could scan through and find them.

My FLUTD cat gets Innova EVO kibble, but I mix each meal with hot water and let it set for a couple minutes so he gets the extra fluids he needs. He is 9 pounds lean muscle and he gets a little less than 1/4 cup dry twice a day. My 11 pounds lean muscle cat gets a little more than 1/4 cup dry twice a day. You could also use Cosequin for cats supplement. It has glucosamine and chondroitin which forms a slippery surface on the inside of the bladder to protect from irritation. My cat was on it for a while, especially when he ate some other food he wasn't supposed to have and then had a flare up. I know it helped him recover. But I ran out a while ago and kept forgetting to buy a new pack of Cosequin and he's been fine without it.

Also the food, Innova EVO, has caused significant improvement in my cats' coats, muscle mass, and energy. I saw changes within days of switching!
 
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