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post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I have seen a lot on cat UTIs and crystals, but what exactly are crystals? Someone told me the cat can get them from eating dry food.
post #2 of 13
Hi Deb,
I am a new member too. The crystals are seen under a phase-contrast microscope in a urine sample. One may also see clumps of protein and red blood cells. The urine may have a pink- chablis colour, or be grossly bloody to the eye. The Feline urinary syndrome usually occurs in older cats, and can cause severe pain from inability to urinate (esp in males). The cat may also have urethral irritation and will howl when trying to urinate. If the cat can't urinate, the obstruction of urine will cause acute kidney failure.

The crystals are from foods that have a high content of magnesium, which combines with other things to form spiky crystals.

What to do? If you suspect a urinary problem, collect a urine sample from a litterbox that only has liner in it (no absorbant material) and bring to the vet.

Prevention: Special dry food (urinary health formulas). Also avoid sea food and fish esp canned tuna. Give the cat white-meat protein such as chicken, turkey...avoid red meat.
Make sure the cat is getting adequate BUT NOT TOO MUCH vit E antioxidant. You can also run your water through a purification filter or buy distilled water.

Hope this is helpful
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Very helpful. I am assuming (and I hope correctly) that a higher grade of cat food, like Hill Science Diet or Iams, is designed to avoid these problems. I had already known about avoiding sea food.

post #4 of 13
Not necessarily the case. The premium brands are better overall, but the food will specify if it is formulated for urinary health. Some cats are more prone to the chemical reaction. Most people do not switch unless it has become a problem. Making sure they drink plenty of water helps too.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Well, the freak licks the shower curtain every morning after I'm done in the shower, so I guess he's getting enough water.

If only he'd drink from the sink like his older brother, but he can't seem to get the hang of it. He always jumps up and watches, but when his turn comes, he always sticks his head in the water. I have always suspected that he is mentally challenged.
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Well, I hope he doesn't need the urinary formula. We are already doing the hairball formula for the older one. Man, these 2 are getting harder to feed than my human kids!
post #7 of 13
Hairball formula helps with the real shedders. I only have 2 so all of them get the hairball formula. Not to worry, the become your kids and then you start treating them better than your human kids. Cat toys are cheaper than the ones my daughter seems to want. I should find out if theres any data on the percentage of cats who have urinary problems. I have 11 and the oldest is 4, they are all healthy as horses...(knock on wood).
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Mine both eat hairball formula, too, even though only 1 is a shedder. I was having a problem with the younger one peeing inappropriately ( on an inflatable chair and a bean bag chair), so I thought maybe UTI. He hasn't done anything since I got rid of both of the chairs, though. Maybe he just didn't like unconventional furniture.
post #9 of 13
These crystals sound like Kitty's bladder stone. She had to have surgery to remove it, but because it was made up of almost equal parts of magnesium and something else (I wrote it down at the time, but I really can't remember what it was or where I put the notebook I wrote it in) the vet wanted to do a bile acid test (liver enzyme). The results were abnormal, and short of doing a liver biopsy (on top of the surgery she had just had, and causing her to spend even more time at the vet's -where they already think she's impossible to deal with when they see her too often- when she appeared and acted healthy) decided the best food for her was a prescription food for a liver diet (liver problem, not flavor). She has been on it for a year now, and no problems. (For a picky eater, she only wanted the new food when we were mixing the old and new to slowly switch.)
post #10 of 13

Hi, new here. I have had some experience with the Crystals in 3 of our 4 cats. I live in a mountain coal mining area so minerals in the water are a constant problem. We lost our boy Jake to renal failure from a 4 month fight with urinary tract crystals. He was put on round after round of antibiotics to reduce swelling of the urethra and a special diet that cost half our grocery budget to feed him and switched to bottled water only. I could see the personality changes in him over time and knew he was getting worse, not better. But the vet just dismissed my concerns and told me I was worrying for nothing, he was fine.

On the morning of Jan 23rd, the day my daughter and I were supposed to go to the airport to pick up my husband who had just returned home from a year in Iraq, I woke to find my daughter screaming. I found Jake lying on the floor unable to lift his head or stand. I called the vet again, got the run around and told her staff we were coming, deal with it. I made the 45 min drive in 20 min. They rushed my boy back to the vet who decided to try for 2 days to clear the blockage herself. His urethra was blocked from tip to bladder with crystals. When I demanded to know how this could have happened when she claimed he had a urinalysis 2 days before and was given a clean bill of health, she told me she didn't have the time to deal with some know it all and told me to go home. She finally called us 39 hours later to say she could not clear the crystals and was referring him to an Animal Hospital an hour away. We needed to come pick him up and do the transfer. The poor fellow was so medicated my daughter had to sit in the backseat with him and make sure he didn't roll his head against anything blocking his nose and mouth or he would suffocate.

The vet hosp performed a surgery on him that day that essentially removed his penis and made him a urethra opening like a female's which is larger and less prone to blockage. To me it really sounded like the poor guy went through a sex change. He got through the surgery but was still critical. 36 hours after surgery he passed away from renal failure caused by too much kidney damage. The surgeon told me he never should have been allowed to go longer than 2 rounds of antibiotic before considering other options. He also said those 2 days delay before surgery cost Jake his kidneys and in the end his life.

We now take our fur kids to the Vet Hosp for care. The drive is much longer (eternal with a freaked out cat screaming in the backseat) and the cost is far higher but I trust the care they receive there and know they are in the best hands if they need any more intense treatment. I do not speak to nor do I recommend that other vet to anyone. I have not been back since the day we picked Jake up.

My very best advice from this is trust your own instincts when it comes to your cat. Jake was not active and 'hiding' from us and the other cats that last month before he died.He had always been very social and loving before that. That kind of personality change is a clear sign of trouble. They can't tell us what's wrong so we have to read the signs. If you suspect there is a problem MAKE your vet listen. You know your cat, they only see them once in awhile. Jake was only 2 when he passed away. Much too young.


post #11 of 13


Originally Posted by Deb25 View Post

Mine both eat hairball formula, too, even though only 1 is a shedder. I was having a problem with the younger one peeing inappropriately ( on an inflatable chair and a bean bag chair), so I thought maybe UTI. He hasn't done anything since I got rid of both of the chairs, though. Maybe he just didn't like unconventional furniture.


It sounds like both of those pieces of furniture may have had a covering that was an artificial latex containing substance? We've had many problems with cats peeing on anything with a plastic/elastic type of finish. Plastic bags esp seem to be a fascination to them. I have been told by vets and other cat owners it is a common problem. You can try to train them to not do it with avoidance methods and products but in the end it's usually easier to do what you had and remove the offending item from the house.


post #12 of 13
This is a very old thread from 2001.
post #13 of 13

Perhaps the single best thing cat-caregivers can do for their cats' health is to buy and use a water fountain such as DrinkWell or other.  Be sure to keep it clean (DrinkWell offers a cleaning kit you can buy separately) and change the filters as directed.  Cats love drinking this fresh, purified water!  You can see drinking fountains here on site or at any of the online cat supply sites, "pet" stores, or directly on manufacturers' sites.  They cost a bit initially, but they are absolutely the best investment in good health and happiness for your cat(s)!rryumy.gif

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