Hill's Science Diet has canned and dry urinary health prescription formulas for cats. They're called the "c/d Multicare Feline Prescription Diet" and are formulated to benefit kitties who've suffered from urinary tract infections or urinary blockages. You can buy them from your veterinarian.
Ow, Ow! Gotta Go NOW!
The first symptom you'll probably see when your furry friend is suffering from a urinary tract disease is an inappropriate choice of pee places. No, your cat doesn't hate you. He (usually it's males) is trying to relieve the pain in his weeny by standing somewhere more comfortable than a litter box -- like your bed, sink, tub, couch, or cool kitchen tile. After you finish freaking out (and mopping up), book an immediate appointment with your kitty's doc -- this unfortunate sprinkling is a sign that a dangerous medical situation is developing.
Solving the Pee Mystery
Your pained pet will return with one of several diagnoses: bacterial feline interstitial cystitis (FIS) (urinary tract infection), idiopathic FIS (autoimmune condition), urolithic FIS (bladder or kidney crystals or stones), feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) or feline urologic syndrome (FUS). The latter two mean the cause of your kitty's illness remains mysterious. Don't get too stressed out about the mystery, though: all are related to nutrition and treated at least in part with a prescription diet.
The Science Diet Formula
Science Diet isn't the only brand to offer a urinary tract formula, but it is very popular among veterinarians and easy to find, so switching to it can be a great first step for your ailing kitty.
Several of its elements help combat weeny pain and potential blockage. Low magnesium helps prevent formation of struvite crystals and low calcium and oxalate help prevent formation of calcium oxalate crystals (the 2 most common causes of urolithic cystitis). It has supplemental doses of potassium citrate, vitamin B6, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, all believed to relieve urinary tract inflammation. It also claims to lower your kitty's urine pH to discourage stone and crystal formation.
No matter what diet you end up feeding, there're a few steps you can take to lower the risk you'll be back in the vet ER with a blocked kitty and a large bill.
Check pet food labels. Most have a listing for "ash": this means exactly what it says. Ash is what's leftover when they burn the food and weigh the different components. It's composed of insoluble minerals: prime suspects in urinary blockage. You'll want a low ash pet food. This usually goes hand-in-hand with low magnesium, but double check that the magnesium's also low.
Some areas have high magnesium in their water and this adds to the dietary intake. You may want to check your local water quality report and if the magnesium's high, filter your pet's water (don't use bottled water -- it's unregulated and may have added minerals).
Your UTI-prone kitty needs extra salt and water to keep his kidneys working their best. You can increase both by feeding more wet food (reduce the amount of dry so you're not adding extra calories) and adding meat broths. Always make sure your kitty has fresh, clean water.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Angela Libal began writing professionally in 2005. She has published several books, specializing in zoology and animal husbandry. Libal holds a degree in behavioral science: animal science from Moorpark College, a Bachelor of Arts from Sarah Lawrence College and is a graduate student in cryptozoology.