Just like humans, kitties can suffer from bladder stones. If your vet diagnoses yours with urate bladder stones, he might recommend a special diet for the cat to eat. Prescription bladder-stone diets contain ingredients that help dissolve existing stones and discourage formation of new ones.
Urate stones form in your kitty's bladder when his urine becomes acidic and highly concentrated. This environment lends itself to the formation of urate bladder stones composed of ammonium urate and uric acid. These stones are found in your furry friend's bladder, kidneys and the tubes leading from the kidneys to the bladder; they can plug up your poor kitty's urethra, leading to problems urinating, according to the petMD website.
Some of our furry felines are more likely to develop urate bladder stones than others. These kitties have higher amounts of uric-acid-containing chemicals called purine metabolites in their blood and urine than felines who don't develop the stones, according to the Morris Animal Foundation. Kitties with liver disease are particularly prone to issues with urate stones because they don't process protein correctly and develop a buildup of uric acid, according to the Long Beach Animal Hospital. For these reasons, keep proteins to a minimum, especially those that contain high levels of purines, for cats prone to the formation of urate stones.
Protein and Purines
Our feline friends need, primarily, animal proteins in their diet, according to WebMD. While all animal-based protein sources contain purines, some contain more than others. Organ meats like liver or kidneys, and certain types of fish such as sardines and herring, contain the highest amounts of purine, according to the Arthritis Foundation. You want to avoid such ingredients in your kitty's food, instead opting for protein sources lower in purines such as eggs, poultry and meat. Your vet can recommend a prescription cat food that's low in purines and contains just enough protein for your kitty's dietary needs to retard urate crystal in his urine.
To help your kitty avoid urate bladder stones, make sure he drinks plenty of water. Not only does water help dilute acidic urine, it helps wash away stones remaining in the bladder. Switching your kitty to a canned cat food can help increase his water intake, as can providing him with a pet fountain. Canned cat food contains up to 80 percent water, while dry food is between 7 percent and 12 percent water. This makes it a better dietary choice for your kitty to help keep him well-hydrated and stone-free.
Consulting the Vet
Urate stones are rare in kitties, according to the Merck Veterinary Manual. Due to this rarity, no prescription veterinary diets are available to specifically treat urate stones in felines. Diets formulated to treat kitties with renal disease seem to be beneficial. Such diets are low in protein and contain potassium citrate, which helps to adjust your kitty's urine pH levels, resulting in a more than 90 percent success rate in dissolving and preventing such stones, according to "Compendium: Continuing Education for Veterinarians." Your vet can prescribe one of these diets for your furry friend to keep him stone-free.
- petMD: Urinary Tract Stones/Crystals Made Up of Uric Acid in Cats
- Long Beach Animal Hospital: Bladder Stones
- American College of Veterinary Surgeons: Urolithiasis (Urinary Stones)
- The Merck Veterinary Manual: Feline Urolithiasis and Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD)
- Morris Animal Foundation: Study Results Lead to Better Treatment of Urinary Tract Diseases in Pets
- Vetstreet: Bladder Stones (Urolithiasis)
- The Canadian Veterinary Journal: Feline Urate Urolithiasis
- Arthritis Foundation: Foods' Purine Content
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.