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Which of these wet foods best to prevent crystals

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
After doing a lot of research I think I've widdled down my list of wet foods for my 6 month old kitten with crystals to the following choices (All are grain free and primarily protein). Which do you think would be best for preventing crystals?















Or...

Wervura
Soulistic

I'm also using Wysong Add-Life and Viralys gel (going to change to the chews).
Any other advice is appreciated.

Thank you.

post #2 of 18
What type of crystals does your kitty have?
post #3 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Graceful-Lily View Post

What type of crystals does your kitty have?

 

That's an excellent question. What does your veterinarian recommend? It's not common for a cat this young - a kitten really - to get crystals, so it's important to figure out why this is happening and match the food to the type of crystals as well as to the cat's age.

 

I can tell you that for my 12 year old cat, dry Royal Canin Urinary S/O, at the recommendation of the veterinarian, worked miracles. He gets plenty of water from a fountain + diluted wet food once a day which he laps up. 

 

I don't buy into the grain-free hype either. It's not really about the grains, it's about the carbs content and even so, there's no real scientific evidence that cats have any issue with carbs. It's just the overall caloric balance that's important and with a kitten this young and active you should be careful not to limit caloric intake too much. These articles might help you make an informed decision -

 

 A Scientific Take On Cat Nutrition By Dr. Rachel Boltz  

 Cat Food & Feline Nutrition with Pet Nutritionist Dr. Martha Cline  

post #4 of 18

Oh my god no wonder your kitten has crystals so early! 

 

Stop the Wysong Add-Life and Viralys gel immediately - they are either the cause or making it far worse.

 

These issues are mostly caused by a pH imbalance in the urine and/or excessive amounts of minerals in the cat's diet.  Filling the cat with products, like AddLife/Viralys, which contain ingredients which can cause all 4 types of crystals, is the last thing that should be happening.  Grain free is not necessarily needed, there's a LOT of bad information out there regarding grains.

 

Step 1:

Talk with your vet.  You want to find out the following

 - What is the current pH level of your cats urine? (this will help you decide how drastic of a dietary change is needed)

 - is there an infection associated with the crystals?

 - What type of crystals are present?  It's not always just a single type the four possible are:

Calcium oxalate stones

Urate stones

Cystine stones

Struvite stones

 

Step 2:

Look at everything the cat is currently eating and figure out where the sources of excess are coming from.  Eliminate those from the cat's diet and replace with something more balanced.  The type of excess you should be looking for will be determined by the answers to Step 1.  Your vet can help you figure it out.

 

Step 3:

Take any *temporary* corrections needed to clear the current problem.  A balanced diet from Step 2 will help prevent new crystals from forming but often the already formed crystals need to be flushed/dissolved/surgically removed to eliminate the current problem.  Depending on the severity it could be simply be temporarily feeding more of an acidic of alkaline diet until the levels are low enough to return to a balanced state.  It could also be surgically removing a section of the damaged tissue which can become permanently calcified.  The latter is unlikely in your case since the cat is so young it won't have had time to calcify.

 

Whatever you do - don't keep adding stuff to your cat's diet to try and "correct" the problem.  Adjust the current diet by eliminating/replacing (which often consists of kibble + wet food once a day) to match what the cat needs.  You can purchase pH test strips cheaply from Walmart or similar so you can test at home rather than paying the vet hundreds to do it.  It can be a challenge though as your cat won't like you collecting samples and you can't test from something that's been contaminated by cat litter.  Since it is a kitten you may ask your vet to teach you the safe method of expressing your cat to make things easier.  DO NOT go on youtube to figure it out on your own - if not done correctly you can burst the bladder, which is already in less than optimal condition.

 

If you take nothing else from this post... please stop giving the AddLife/Viralys.


Edited by JMJimmy - 1/3/17 at 8:12am
post #5 of 18

Weruva and Soulistic are definitely the overall healthiest among the ones you listed (try to feed mostly non-fish flavors though),  but that said, most flavors of those brands are low in calories and you will need to make sure your kitten is willing to eat a larger quantity of them compared to higher calorie foods, since he's a growing kitten.  I now see you included Nature's Variety too- that is a much higher calorie food and also pretty healthy compared to the others. That one may be your best bet if your kitten will eat it (mine hated that brand). 

post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Graceful-Lily View Post

What type of crystals does your kitty have?

Struvite crystals.

Although I had only had her a couple of weeks I knew something was wrong when I saw that she had urinated on my bed. I've had cats throughout my life and the only time I've seen them urinate outside their box is when they were sick so I watched her that day and noticed that she was urinating often and in tiny amounts. I took her to the vet and voila ... crystals, but no urinary infection.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anne View Post

That's an excellent question. What does your veterinarian recommend? It's not common for a cat this young - a kitten really - to get crystals, so it's important to figure out why this is happening and match the food to the type of crystals as well as to the cat's age.

I can tell you that for my 12 year old cat, dry Royal Canin Urinary S/O, at the recommendation of the veterinarian, worked miracles. He gets plenty of water from a fountain + diluted wet food once a day which he laps up.

I don't buy into the grain-free hype either. It's not really about the grains, it's about the carbs content and even so, there's no real scientific evidence that cats have any issue with carbs. It's just the overall caloric balance that's important and with a kitten this young and active you should be careful not to limit caloric intake too much. These articles might help you make an informed decision -

A Scientific Take On Cat Nutrition By Dr. Rachel Boltz
Cat Food & Feline Nutrition with Pet Nutritionist Dr. Martha Cline

A little history on Coco. I got her from the Humane Society the day after she was spayed and had started feeding her the Hills dry kitten food that they had been giving her. She was 16 weeks old. Within a few days of having her she started sneezing and had a stuffy nose. I took her to the VCA vet and they diagnosed her with an upper respiratory infection. (Although all my cats in the past had been rescues, I never had one with a URI. I was given instructions, Hills prescription I/D wet food and a bottle of antibiotics. I set up a vaporizer in her room and started her on the medicine but she started getting really bad diarrhea. Took her back to the vet (met with a different doctor) and he suggested taking her off the antibiotics because it's making her have diarrhea and the infection is viral anyway so antibiotics won't help. I agreed. I took her off the pink medicine and the really bad diarrhea stopped. I had her in a room with the vaporizer for days, she was eating only the wet food and was getting stronger but then noticed her urinating out of the box... took her to the vet... crystals. At this point the vet put her on Viralys for her URI and Hills prescription c/d (canned) for her crystals.

I've had her now for 2.5 months. She's been on the hills prescription canned c/d and viralys for a little over a month, she's stopped urinating outside the box and is no longer sneezing. Whew!

So at this point since she's forever going to have to be on a low magnesium/phosphorus diet to prevent her from crystals/stones and therefore wanted to get her something better than Hills prescription because I've read that it's not good to use it long term - that it can cause other issues.

Hence this post "which food is best for crystals"

post #7 of 18

Instinct, weruva, and soulistic are the best of those, by far. I would use all 3 in rotation. Add extra water to the pate foods. If this kitten was eating all dry food crystals wouldn't be that surprising. 

post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JMJimmy View Post

Oh my god no wonder your kitten has crystals so early! 

Stop the Wysong Add-Life and Viralys gel immediately - they are either the cause or making it far worse.

These issues are mostly caused by a pH imbalance in the urine and/or excessive amounts of minerals in the cat's diet.  Filling the cat with products, like AddLife/Viralys, which contain ingredients which can cause all 4 types of crystals, is the last thing that should be happening.  Grain free is not necessarily needed, there's a LOT of bad information out there regarding grains.

Step 1:
Talk with your vet.  You want to find out the following
 - What is the current pH level of your cats urine? (this will help you decide how drastic of a dietary change is needed)
 - is there an infection associated with the crystals?
 - What type of crystals are present?  It's not always just a single type the four possible are:
Calcium oxalate stones
Urate stones
Cystine stones
Struvite stones

Step 2:
Look at everything the cat is currently eating and figure out where the sources of excess are coming from.  Eliminate those from the cat's diet and replace with something more balanced.  The type of excess you should be looking for will be determined by the answers to Step 1.  Your vet can help you figure it out.

Step 3:
Take any *temporary* corrections needed to clear the current problem.  A balanced diet from Step 2 will help prevent new crystals from forming but often the already formed crystals need to be flushed/dissolved/surgically removed to eliminate the current problem.  Depending on the severity it could be simply be temporarily feeding more of an acidic of alkaline diet until the levels are low enough to return to a balanced state.  It could also be surgically removing a section of the damaged tissue which can become permanently calcified.  The latter is unlikely in your case since the cat is so young it won't have had time to calcify.

Whatever you do - don't keep adding stuff to your cat's diet to try and "correct" the problem.  Adjust the current diet by eliminating/replacing (which often consists of kibble + wet food once a day) to match what the cat needs.  You can purchase pH test strips cheaply from Walmart or similar so you can test at home rather than paying the vet hundreds to do it.  It can be a challenge though as your cat won't like you collecting samples and you can't test from something that's been contaminated by cat litter.  Since it is a kitten you may ask your vet to teach you the safe method of expressing your cat to make things easier.  DO NOT go on youtube to figure it out on your own - if not done correctly you can burst the bladder, which is already in less than optimal condition.

If you take nothing else from this post... please stop giving the AddLife/Viralys.


Coco had been eating Hills kitten dry food when I brought her home from Humane Society. Within a few days she was diagnosed with URI and put on canned Hills I/D for a couple of days and then switched to Blue Buffalo Indoor grain free canned food for about a week until being diagnosed with struvite crystals. She has been on Hills Prescription c/d canned food since (little over a month) and viralys for the URI.

I had only started her on the AddLife the past 2 nights because her brother cat is on it but will stop adding it to her food.

post #9 of 18
Ah, makes sense now. I see. My Felix had struvite crystals too.

You can read about it here if you are interested:
http://www.thecatsite.com/t/330052/felix-has-crystals-is-a-raw-diet-possible
http://www.thecatsite.com/t/329933/urgent-felix-urinating-everywhere

I've switched all my kitties back to a raw diet since this happened. Veterinarian said it could be risky but after all the research I've done, I had a lot of confidence. It's almost been a month and Felix is doing great. I also have his sister, Hazel. She could be prone to struvite crystals too since they are siblings so I feel less stressed knowing that they're getting the best food. Might take Felix for a urine test this month to see how he's improved and talk to my vet about it.

I hope this helped.
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by drmroth View Post


Coco had been eating Hills kitten dry food when I brought her home from Humane Society. Within a few days she was diagnosed with URI and put on canned Hills I/D for a couple of days and then switched to Blue Buffalo Indoor grain free canned food for about a week until being diagnosed with struvite crystals. She has been on Hills Prescription c/d canned food since (little over a month) and viralys for the URI.

I had only started her on the AddLife the past 2 nights because her brother cat is on it but will stop adding it to her food.

 

Viralys has no effect on URIs.  It's taking bad psudo-science that was disproved in human studies and selling it to you as something that will work for your pet.  The Hills Prescription C/D also contains the same ingredient so you're double dosing the "active ingredient" along with a bunch of bad/useless stuff.

 

Have you taken any pH readings since the initial urinalysis to determine if the dietary changes are acidifying the urine sufficiently?

post #11 of 18

@JMJimmy I tend to agree with you on Viralys not having any evidence-based effect but I don't see why it would cause crystals in the urine? It's supposed to be just a lysine supplement and the quantities are fairly small. I don't think it's harmful enough to justify recommending using it against a veterinarian's instructions. I would call the vet, @drmroth and ask about this. I've used Lysine before on my herpes kitty but I wouldn't today, given that it's been shown not to be effective. I just don't think it's that harmful either - when used in moderation - since it's just an amino acid.

 

Your poor kitten sure has been through a lot! She's very lucky to have you adopt her and take such wonderful care of her :heart3: I know many people would have been overwhelmed by now and possibly returning her to the shelter. She's young and I think that the level of care she's getting now, she's bound to bounce back and get well! 

 

As for her nutrition, I wouldn't change anything without consulting with a veterinarian. If you feel confident about your vet's knowledge in the field, talk to her/him about it. You can also get a consultation with a nutrition expert. You can check this directory to see if one is available near you. Some of them offer phone consultations as well. 

 

And since it was mentioned here, I would definitely avoid raw at this point. The last thing she needs is to deal with the potential pathogen load in raw food. I'm happy for all of you who feed raw and whose cats are doing fine on raw but it does have the potential to make cats sick, especially young cats and those who are already weakened.

post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anne View Post

@JMJimmy
 I tend to agree with you on Viralys not having any evidence-based effect but I don't see why it would cause crystals in the urine? It's supposed to be just a lysine supplement and the quantities are fairly small. I don't think it's harmful enough to justify recommending using it against a veterinarian's instructions. I would call the vet, @drmroth
 and ask about this. I've used Lysine before on my herpes kitty but I wouldn't today, given that it's been shown not to be effective. I just don't think it's that harmful either - when used in moderation - since it's just an amino acid.

Your poor kitten sure has been through a lot! She's very lucky to have you adopt her and take such wonderful care of her heartpump.gif  I know many people would have been overwhelmed by now and possibly returning her to the shelter. She's young and I think that the level of care she's getting now, she's bound to bounce back and get well! 

As for her nutrition, I wouldn't change anything without consulting with a veterinarian. If you feel confident about your vet's knowledge in the field, talk to her/him about it. You can also get a consultation with a nutrition expert. You can check this directory to see if one is available near you. Some of them offer phone consultations as well. 

And since it was mentioned here, I would definitely avoid raw at this point. The last thing she needs is to deal with the potential pathogen load in raw food. I'm happy for all of you who feed raw and whose cats are doing fine on raw but it does have the potential to make cats sick, especially young cats and those who are already weakened.

Could you elaborate on this, please?
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anne View Post
 

@JMJimmy I tend to agree with you on Viralys not having any evidence-based effect but I don't see why it would cause crystals in the urine? It's supposed to be just a lysine supplement and the quantities are fairly small. I don't think it's harmful enough to justify recommending using it against a veterinarian's instructions.

 

Lysine on it's own I wouldn't be worried about at all.  It's all the other stuff that's in Viralys...

 

Citric Acid (acid)
Maple Flavor (sugar the cat can't taste)
Potassium Sorbate (alkaline salt)
Purified Water (whatever this means)
Riboflavin 5'-Sodium Phosphate (alkaline salt)
Sodium Benzoate (salt, preservative)
Sodium Carboxymethylcellulose (alkaline salt)
Sucralose (sugar the cat can't taste)
Tetrasodium Ethylenediaminetetraacetate (preservative, decays in alkaline environments)
 
~75% of what is contained in a dose is not Lysine, it's mostly stuff that will make your cat thirsty.
post #14 of 18

There's great info about urinary issues and diet here: http://catinfo.org/feline-urinary-tract-diseases/ Prescription food is not necessary for most urinary issues. Dr. Lisa strongly recommends only temporarily using prescription food (any brand) for struvite crystals because the food tends to over acidify the urine which can cause other issues.

post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by JMJimmy View Post
 

 

Lysine on it's own I wouldn't be worried about at all.  It's all the other stuff that's in Viralys...

 

Citric Acid (acid)
Maple Flavor (sugar the cat can't taste)
Potassium Sorbate (alkaline salt)
Purified Water (whatever this means)
Riboflavin 5'-Sodium Phosphate (alkaline salt)
Sodium Benzoate (salt, preservative)
Sodium Carboxymethylcellulose (alkaline salt)
Sucralose (sugar the cat can't taste)
Tetrasodium Ethylenediaminetetraacetate (preservative, decays in alkaline environments)
 
~75% of what is contained in a dose is not Lysine, it's mostly stuff that will make your cat thirsty.

 

Thanks for clarifying. I guess a lot would depend on dosages though but I do see your point.

 

@Graceful-Lily this is taking the thread a bit off-topic, so I'll keep it short. Raw meats can contain bacteria that's harmful to cats, such as salmonella. The risk of developing salmonella infection depends on the amount of bacteria in the meat but also on the cat's immune system. Senior cats, kittens and cats with certain diseases are more prone to infection than healthy adults. 

 

Quote:
Risk factors include the cat's age, with younger and older animals most at risk due to their underdeveloped and/or compromised immune systems. Similarly, cats with weak immune systems or immature gastrointestinal tracts are at risk.

 

I've heard some misconceptions about how cats are not at risk but it's simply not true. Salmonella can kill a cat. Probably a good topic for an article on the site at some point. For now, let's get the thread back on topic. Sorry about the short hijack @drmroth!

post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anne View Post
 

 

Thanks for clarifying. I guess a lot would depend on dosages though but I do see your point.

 

Np - dosage for a 6month+ is 1/4tsp twice per day typically, which is about 1.8g of salt per day and 0.5g of Lysine and 0.4g of other.

post #17 of 18
I know that some people cook their own kitty food. I met a woman who does this with some vegetables and chicken. Not sure what her exact recipe is ( ? ) - But it sounded good when she told me. My cats love steamed chicken. Sometimes I even get to have some myself being that is the reason I am cooking it !
~ 😅
post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesCalifornia View Post

I know that some people cook their own kitty food. I met a woman who does this with some vegetables and chicken. Not sure what her exact recipe is ( ? ) - But it sounded good when she told me. My cats love steamed chicken. Sometimes I even get to have some myself being that is the reason I am cooking it !
~ 😅

 Cooked chicken without the bones is a great natural treat for cats. :bigthumb: As with any treat, it should be given in moderation, only alongside a balanced diet and without taking up more than 5% of the cat's overall food intake.

 

Cooking homemade food as the main source of a cat's nutrition, now that's much trickier. Getting the right balance of nutrients requires working with very specific recipes and usually adding in some supplements as well. Keep in mind that vegetables sound good to us but are not part of a cat's natural diet. Overall, a homemade diet that's not properly balanced can be dangerous, so I wanted to mention that here for the benefit of any readers who may be tempted to give this a try. 

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