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CAN'T AFFORD RX FOOD.. Suggestions?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
CAN'T AFFORD RX FOOD. Suggestions?

Hi all: Is there a commercial cat food comparable to HILL'S CD prescription Diet? KC my 8yr old neutered appears to be at risk for UTI (had one 6 weeks ago)Vet says only feed CD. I have 2 other cats & 2 dogs and I cannot afford the CD food. It costs 4 T the regular dry food. Please share what you found to be helpful. I am also giving him bottle water only. Thank you for any help!
post #2 of 12
I suspect that the Rx food will cost less than repeated trips to the vet for meds and the possible surgery necessary in the event your boy gets blocked ... might want to reconsider.

I don't mean to sound flip at all here, but if you add it up, the food really is less expensive than the vet bills will be.
post #3 of 12
I have to second gayef on this. I had a tom with bladder issues when i was younger; we had been feeding him Cat Chow, but after he blocked we switched to Hill's on the vet's recommendation. After four months or so we couldn't afford it and switched back to Cat Chow. Within three weeks he was dead - blocked again and wandered off; I found him three days later.

Remember too that quality food is relatively cheaper per feeding than commercial brands. Better ingredients mean you give less food and the same amt of food lasts longer. Is there any other little indulgence you might be able to cut out for a few weeks to save up for the 'scrip food? Also, if you absolutely can't afford it for all three cats, maybe you can feed your boy separately, to stretch the prescription food.
post #4 of 12
Only advice is to talk to your vet.. hills has homemade diets that are cost effective for rx reasons... talk to the vet
post #5 of 12
Some argue that wet food is better than dry for recurrent UTI's, but it really depends on the severity and circumstances of these UTI's. I'm assuming since your vet recommended C/D that KC had some crystals in his urine. Do you know what type they were or if he definately had them? There are also supplements that can help with recurrent UTI's , but again they really depend on the circumstances. I give my cats Glycoflex, but this only helps Bella because she has FUS (Feline Urinary Syndrome). FUS causes recurring UTI's, but is not caused by bacteria or crystal formation (it's caused by inflammation). So it really kind of depends, even with food, because there is a whole array things that can cause cats to get a UTI.
post #6 of 12
I tried to respond earlier but it was taking too long and Mika was going to be late for his doctor's appointment!

I just wanted to say that I totally empathize with your plight. There was a time for me when just having to pay $30 for an unexpected office visit would mess up my finances for months. It was that tight. I know how stressful it is when you have a sick kiddo on your hands and you can barely pay your rent as it is. Unfortunately, for many, that's the way it is, but you can't let the cat suffer for it, whatever you do. You may have to sacrifice something that isn't an absolute necessity. Let the vet know how strapped you are and ask if there are any cheaper alternatives... even though I know how hard it is to say to a near-stranger.

I feel for your situation, I really do. Let us know what happens!
post #7 of 12
Julya made a great point - if you know if there are crystals present, you need to know what kind to even think of trying to find a comparable food or choose the best homecooked diet, since the treatment for struvite crystals is different than for oxalate crystals.

I also agree with Sharky, that your vet could guide you re an appropriate homecooked diet - which for one cat, I do not think would be prohibitive to do.

Also your vet may be able to give you his/her "second" choice food for the problem your cat has if you explain it is difficult financially.
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone for such helpful replies. I am now informed enough to discuss this w/ the vet and I appreciate the input. Blessings to all!!
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone for such helpful replies. I am now informed enough to discuss this w/ the vet and I appreciate the input. Blessings to all!!
post #10 of 12
I don't know that this will necessarily answer your question regarding a cost-effective alternative to Hill's feline CD dry, but what follows is based upon my experience with my cat, Boo.

In November 2002, Boo blocked severely, having exhibited no previous problems. He spent about two weeks at the vet and ran up a bill of over $1,500. The vet sent me home with Hill's Feline CD dry and canned. He would not eat the canned food, so the dry CD became his sole food. I was not enamored with the ingredient list, but I put my trust in the vet and fed Boo the dry food exclusively until he had another bout almost exactly two years later. Luckily, he didn't block this time, but I went on a campaign to learn as much as possible about FLUTD and diet.

I am working from memory, but I recall reading a study of the effectiveness of the CD dry and canned in preventing a recurrence in cats prone to FLUTD. The canned product had a success rate several times that of the dry. So, I would conclude that the water content of the canned product had more of an effect on the ultimate outcome than the urinary acidifiers and low magnesium, etc. (common characteristics of both products). The ingredients in the canned CD are better than the dry, but they are still of inferior quality.

Another study states that cats fed canned food consume twice the water as those on a dry diet. I can confirm this firsthand. When Boo was eating nothing but CD dry, he would drink what seemed to me to be a significant quantity of water after eating, and I would see him get a drink or two at other times during the day also. Since December 2004, Boo has been eating canned food exclusively (half a 5.5 or 6 oz can in the morning and the other half can in the evening, with about 14 ml of distilled water stirred into the food at each meal). I have not seen him drink from a water bowl in months. I honestly think that I could dispense with the water bowls entirely. However, the interesting part is that I get almost exactly twice as much clumped urine out of his litter boxes (on a daily basis) as I did when he was eating dry food. It seems that my personal experience coincides with the above-quoted study. Anyone with a bladder problem has likely been told by the doctor to drink copious amounts of liquids. Most cats simply do not have a strong desire to drink, even when they are partially dehydrated; their brains simply aren't wired to compensate for an unnatural diet of dry kibble by drinking a large amount of water. A mouse is about 70-75% water, as are most canned cat foods, but dry foods are only about 10% water. Cats are designed to satisfy their water needs directly through their prey, with little need for supplementary drinking.

So, what does an increase in urine volume contribute to the equation? Firstly, the urine is less concentrated, making it more difficult for crystals to precipitate and either irritate the bladder wall or cause an obstruction. More dilute urine also means fewer bacteria and a shorter time in the bladder due to increased frequency of urination. The fact remains that a majority of cases of FLUTD are of unknown cause. More water definitely is a significant factor in prevention, however.

I am firmly convinced that dry kibble, prescrition diet or otherwise, is a very poor diet for a cat, especially one prone to FLUTD. I have taken a page from my study of fish nutrition (I wanted to be an ichthyologist once upon a time), and I am now feeding Boo the following canned food brands in rotation (a different brand each day): Natural Balance, Eagle Pack, Wellness, Innova, Nutro Natural Choice, Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul, Iams, Pet Guard, and Pet Promise. My feeling is that no one food, no matter how well-formulated, can be as good as a diet with some variety (i.e. there is no one perfect food). Any deficiencies or imbalances in any of the above brands will likely be cancelled out by the others. Also, a cat accustomed to this regimen is less likely to be finicky, which can be a consideration if a cat is fed a single food that has its formulation changed or is taken off the market, and they are also less likely to develop a food allergy. Since Boo has been on the canned diet, his activity and energy levels are noticeably higher. If cost is a consideration, consider Iams canned. It is not at the level of quality of most of the other mentioned brands, but it is a good food. I honestly think that even most of the supermarket brands of canned foods are better for cats than any dry food.

In addition to keeping cats in a semi-dehydrated state in which they are prone to FLUTD, dry kibble is also a recipe for feline diabetes. Not only is the water content unnatural, but the carbohydrate level in most dry foods is 35-50%, for a creature designed to consume prey that is about 5% or less carbohydrates. In fact, the cat needs, and, indeed, thrives on virtually no carbs in the diet. Here again, canned food is the winner because the carb level in a good canned food is about a fourth that of a good quality dry food. Likewise, canned food has it all over dry kibble with respect to protein quality and quantity.

I have probably gotten off-track a bit, but my recommendation is to ditch the CD dry (gradually) and get your cat onto a good canned diet-the best that your budget will tolerate (to which you stir in even more water). This is based upon my own experience and reading, and others might advise you differently. Ultimately, do your own research and trust your own instincts. Vets can be great resources, but never forget that they have a financial interest in selling you the foods that they carry (most of which have very poor quality ingredients in comparison with what you can buy at a good pet store). It doesn't take much research to come to the conclusion that dry kibble is a horribly unnatural, inappropriate diet for a cat. The fact that most do as well as they do on it is a testament to their adaptability.

Check out these resources:
post #11 of 12
Originally Posted by gayef
I suspect that the Rx food will cost less than repeated trips to the vet for meds and the possible surgery necessary in the event your boy gets blocked ... might want to reconsider.

I don't mean to sound flip at all here, but if you add it up, the food really is less expensive than the vet bills will be.
I feed my boys C/D... it is rather expensive.. but when you think about it... paying $40-$50 a bag is better that having to pay hundred upon hundred of dollars for surgery to remove stones or whatnot.. though if that happened I would do it in a heartbeat. The C/D really does work.. non of my cats have had a problem with UTI since I switched to it.
post #12 of 12
Snickers has to have Hills CD because he had a crystal blockage that nearly lead to death. I mean he was on the brink. (he's 14 yrs old)

The total vet bill for Snicky came to $1,000. When you add up what the food costs versus saving your cats life - trust me - you will want to buy the food, even if it is 3x the cost of other canned foods. The way I see it, I'd much prefer to fork over the $1 a can Hills and make sure Snickers is strapping healthy for his remaining years, than mourn his early death because I just couldn't afford it.

Also my Vet told me to get all of my cats off the dry food -- totally -- and onto canned. I now have a water bowl in each room, a water fountain for the cats, they get canned ONLY! Snickers gets his Hills CD mixed in with parts of Authority brand from PetSmart becuase he's a finicky little bugger. But I would rather be paying the extra each month in food than be faced with the pain and anguish he had to go through when he blocked up. It was just horrible. And, quite the dinger on my credit card.

Maybe you could just re-align your budget? Make room for the Hills CD -- cancel certain things that you need or buy each month for you, pare down a bit? That's what I did. You don't want KC (love the name by the way) to block up again -- it is VERY PAINFUL and your cat could die within 48 hours!!! And your heart would no doubt be broken and you'd be wishing you'd bought the more expensive food.

Anyways good luck, I'm right with ya, I know how it is.
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