If your cat is suffering from a UTI--short for urinary tract infection--creating a homemade diet is a great way to load up your feline fur kid with extra nutrition, fresher ingredients, and even specific foods and liquids targeted specifically to increase immunity and fight inflammation.
Bacteria Can Cause Infections, Painful Symptoms
UTIs can occur along the tract from your cat's kidneys to his urethra. If bacteria enter, they can travel up the urethra into the bladder. If they grab hold, they can cause infections that can proceed to the kidneys if left untreated. UTI symptoms include difficulty urinating, or squatting over the litter box for extended periods. Your cat may cry while urinating, or have accidents due to a feeling of urgency. Some UTIs result in visible blood within urine.
Vet First, Then Water-Laden Foods
If you suspect a UTI, visit your vet for diagnosis and treatment. Simultaneously, making homemade food can strengthen the immune system and fight inflammation. The first ingredient to emphasize is water. Cats' natural foods are wet -- think fresh meat -- and domesticated diets should replicate this. Focus on meats to fulfill carnivorous needs and balance natural water requirements. Water also flushes bacteria from the bladder. Try mixing water with tuna juice, chicken broth or another tasty liquid to increase fluid intake.
Focus Mostly on Meats
Good meat choices include poultry, fish, lamb and more. Meats can be baked, grilled, sauteed, seared, and sometimes even raw. Simply chop meats up into bite-sized pieces, cool and serve. Meats should comprise about 80 percent of your cat's diet. With a daily caloric need of about 350 calories-depending on weight, age and other factors -- this means about 280 calories worth of meat. Depending on the type of meat, this may be a few or several ounces, so check nutrition labels.
Fats Round out the Diet and Offer Extra Benefits
Cats also need fats, some of which are in meat. Additionally, healthy oils can combat inflammation and raise immunity. These include wild salmon, flax and others with omega-3. Offer your cat a drop on a plate or your fingertip. He'll make his preferences clear. During a UTI, add a little extra water to homemade meals. At the same time, reduce dry food, which offers no water. In time, your homemade meals can flush out your cat's system and boost his resistance.
Sarah Whitman's work has been featured in newspapers, magazines, websites and informational booklets. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in nutrition, and her projects feature nutrition and cooking, whole foods, supplements and organics. She also specializes in companion animal health, encouraging the use of whole foods, supplements and other holistic approaches to pet care.