Does it matter if I feed my cat
dry food versus canned food?
Canned foods are typically around
75 percent moisture, while dry
foods are typically around 10
percent moisture. Theoretically,
cats will take in more water with a
canned food than a dry food, and
this may help with urinary disease.
But there is more opinion than
fact about this topic.
What are the most common
urinary issues facing cats?
The condition depends on the
age of the cat. In young adult
to middle-aged cats, the most
common urinary health issues are
stones and idiopathic cystitis. In
older cats, stones and kidney disease are more common. In younger cats, struvite bladder stones
occur more commonly, while in
older cats, calcium oxalate stones
occur more commonly. Why
these occur is less understood.
What dietary recommendations
can you offer for cats diagnosed
with urinary issues?
Depending on the issue, the
cat needs more water and
decreased amounts of minerals
that form crystals and/or stones.
Decreasing the stress response
with dietary fish oil and antioxidants also has been shown to
Many over-the-counter diets
for cats carry a “urinary health”
claim, which specifically refers
to struvite (bladder) stones. They
tend to induce an acidic pH and
are lower in magnesium. More
specific diets are therapeutic
diets that are formulated to
decrease the risk of both struvite and calcium oxalate stones.
These include Hill’s Prescription
Diet c/d, Purina UR, Royal
Canin s/o and Blue Buffalo WU.
How can therapeutic diets
aid in dissolving struvite
stones in cats?
Basically, struvite stones dissolve in cats within two to four
weeks of being on these therapeutic diets. They dissolve in a
fashion similar to ice cubes in
water — from the outside layers
to the inside.
By changing the urine composition, the minerals in the stone
are released from the outer
layer of the stone back into the
urine and then are urinated out.
Unfortunately, we have not found
a way yet to dissolve calcium
oxalate stones (that require surgical removal).
Arden Moore is a pet
author and master pet
first aid instructor
who often teaches hands-on
classes with her cool
cat, Casey, and sweet
dog, Kona. Each
week, she hosts the Oh Behave Show on
Pet Life Radio. Learn more at fourleggedlife.
com and follow Arden on Facebook and on
Twitter at @ArdenKnowsPets.
Arnold Plotnick, D.V.M., DACVIM,
medical director at Manhattan Cat
Specialists clinic in New York City,
shares these tips to get cats to drink
more water and, therefore, minimize
their risk for urinary issues:
Switch from the traditional
water bowl to a fountain-type water
bowl. Often fascinated by flowing
water, cats will usually drink more if
the bowl contains moving water.
Put additional water bowls
in unconventional places. Cats are
naturally curious, and if they stumble
upon an additional water bowl where
they don’t expect it, such as in the
corner of the bedroom or on a ledge
where they sleep or hang out, they’re
likely to increase their water intake.
Don’t just refill — replace. When
the water level in your cat’s bowl
decreases, don’t just add more water
to it. Dump out the old water, clean
the bowl, and replace it with fresh
water, preferably chilled, from a bottle kept in the refrigerator, instead of
from the faucet.
Curious about your cat’s
eating and drinking habits?
Dash your feline food-re-
lated questions to Catster
magazine feline nutrition
columnist Arden Moore,
who will dish out advice
about healthy eating hab-
its for your feline. Email
your questions today to