Urinary questions + Low Ash food

Discuss ways to improve the quality of your cat's life and longevity through proper nutrition; a place for all of your questions and answers about feeding your kitty!

Please keep discussions fun, friendly, and helpful at all times. Non-informative posts criticizing a particular brand or another poster's choice of food are not allowed in this Forum. References to any brand of food as "junk," "garbage," or other harsh names will be removed.

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Hunter- *Dreamboat- #82*

Master of- Disaster!
Purred: Tue Dec 20, '11 4:34am PST 
I'm not sure which topic this should go under, Cat Health or Food. Anyway, I was having a discussion with my co-worker about our cats. I obviously have Hunter, and she has 4 all male cats. Her youngest kitten about 8 months old now, has had continueous UTI's. She told me that her vet wants the kitten to eat Science Diet prescription for urinary issues. Its a kibble. I guess I made a face when she told me that, because she asked me what I thought of it. I told her that wouldn't wet food be better? She said no because Science Diet is low in ash. She told me that all male cats regardless of their urinary health should be on low ash food.

Now from my understanding, wet food is better because it basically flushes out the system, keeps cats hydrated. Am I wrong? Its higher in protein, lower in carbs. Hunters food is mainly all grain free well besides his fancy feast. Hunter does eat some kibble (Orijen, grain free) Should I be feeding him low ash food?? I never even heard of that before until talking with my co worker about it.

Hunter has never had any urinary issues. When he pees, it sounds like a faucet. When she told me that all male cats should be on low ash food, it made me wonder. Am I feeding Hunter what is best for his overall health??

I'll definitely ask the vet when I make Hunters 2 year appt. I was just wondering if someone could clear this up for me.


Member Since
Purred: Tue Dec 20, '11 5:56am PST 
Hunter please don't ask any vet, I don't mean that to be smart but the mainstream don't study nutrition, only coached by pet food industry (vets?) which is why so much of that food is seen in clinics. (Do a search on who funds every major veterinary clinic and quite generously which is for another thread silenced .)

You are correct smile They have a low thirst drive, which is why they need water IN their food.
This veterinarian has all the answers and she explains everything in laymans' terms www.catinfo.org.

If you can't forward this cat expert's website, just tell your friend that #1 - cats are not able to chew, which is why they swallow it whole or merely shatter cereal, which is why all the spitting up, vomiting, GI issues... a strict carnivore isn't designed by nature to eat cereal. If that's not convincing, just look at their teeth, no way to grind anything like we humans are able to with flat molars.
Another thing you can see with the naked eye- their jaws do not move lateral, only vertical. Made to grip, shear & rip. They also lack amylase enzyme to break down carbohydrate, which is why these issues are probably more common than the Cold is to humans.

I've rambled. look at the info from a veterinarian who knows what she's talking about. Everything is on her website. smile www.catinfo.org Also Dr Jean Hofve of LittleBigCat.org and Dr Elizabeth Hodgkins.... slowly but surely, many knowledgeable veterinarians are now educating their clients cheer
Other knowledgeable Meowmies shoud be along shortly smile

Member Since
Purred: Tue Dec 20, '11 5:59am PST 
Oops I'm sorry, meant to say "university" not "clinic" .

Edited by author Tue Dec 20, '11 6:10am PST


Member Since
Purred: Tue Dec 20, '11 5:59am PST 
Fleas! Double posted red face

Edited by author Tue Dec 20, '11 6:21am PST


Hunter- *Dreamboat- #82*

Master of- Disaster!
Purred: Tue Dec 20, '11 7:03am PST 
Thanks for the response. Actually my vet is really great about feline nutrition and doesn't sell or promote any kibble or Science Diet for that matter. They have actually read catinfo.org, as well as myself.

Anyway, I did a little of my own research. I found this on a website:

"Ash is mineral content of meals (meat protein ingredients in pet foods). It comes from the bone that is included in the meal. Ash is high in phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium. Because of this, high ash pet foods tend to be high in the above minerals. Much attention is being directed to the three minerals listed and their relationship to various illnesses. (Urinary issues)"

So I read a bit of catinfo.org and Dr. Pierson says that if a cat is getting crystals then a food low in phosphorus is recommended, which I understand.

However, if a cat is being fed a majority of wet food which is flushing out the bladder continueously, low ash food is not needed. But, even if that cat is being fed wet food that is high in ash, will those 3 minerals build up over time? My instinct is telling me that the water from the wet food would flush them out.

Am I understanding this correctly? So my Hunter is being fed 90% wet food. He does get a bit of kibble and its definatly not his main staple of food. He has never had any urinary issues. So I think I'm comfortable sticking to what I'm feeding him.

As for my co-workers kitten, I think if he is getting these issues this young, he might have a lifetime of UTI's. As they only feed him canned food, once a week.

Another reason why wet food is better. Learn something new everyday. smile

Gumpy Sweet- Boy

Love wrapped in- fur
Purred: Tue Dec 20, '11 8:05am PST 
Hiya Hunter wave

I agree with you that moisture and water probably help keep those minerals flushed out. It seems that this focus on "low ash" is an older idea that has been shown not to be as important as it was once thought, if at all. I found an article written by a vet (saved previously) which discusses this thing about "low ash" for urinary problems. Here's a good quote:

"Recent research on iFLUTD and urinary crystals
A one-year controlled clinical study of cats with these urinary problems was recently conducted. The only treatment that resulted in significant improvement in urinary signs was increasing daily water intake. Urinary signs occurred less often and were much less severe in cats that ate exclusively canned food. This study revealed no change in signs based on varying the magnesium or "ash" content of the food. Many veterinarians used to focus on the ash content of food for the prevention of crystal development, however, all leaders in this field now agree that diets intended to minimize the production of urinary crystals have no scientific rationale in the management of this condition. Simply put, ash is just not important."

Here is the full article: http://www.halopets.com/pet-education/pet-articles/feline-urinary-pr oblems.html

Edited by author Tue Dec 20, '11 8:10am PST



Education is the- Key
Purred: Tue Dec 20, '11 5:39pm PST 
Gump took the words right outta my mouth. smile
Ash and magnesium were once thought to be the contributing factor for Uti's.


RESPECT The- Star!
Purred: Wed Dec 21, '11 4:02am PST 
Gump and Shadow are right, its not the ash, as was prev thought, even my vet told me that, when Prowler had crystal issues. Which I can tell you, for a fact, that not only does Science Diet not work, it actually contributes to the crystal/urinary issues. Please share this with your co worker, as she has boy kitties, and they already have issues.

Late on a Sun night, one of my cat show friends was over. Prowler tried to pee on the bathroom floor, then he tried to pee on the bath mat, then he threw up, and he was getting in and out of the cat box. When he threw up, I said I think he is sick. She said, he is blocked, we have to get him to a vet, right now. She was right.

My vet, at that time, put him on Science Diet, the crystals came back. I said there is something wrong with this picture, and did extensive research on crystals.

Grains are one, of many causes of crystals/urinary issues, the biggest one. The grocery store food and Science Diet is full of them. When you have a crystal kitty, you HAVE to get them off the grains. It is also IMPERATIVE that they now be fed WET ONLY, mixed with water, so its real soupy, twice a day. You have, to keep them flushed out.

No more water from the tap, it has too many minerals in it, they have to be given purified drinking water, I use the store brand, it costs $1.00 for a gallon, or some use the Brita/Purr filter.

Kitty boxes must be kept clean, scooped daily, bedded deep, put in an out of the way area, not in a high traffic area, not near washer/dryer/furnace, that may come on suddenly and scare kitty.

Kitties must not be kept from the box, by other pets, by family members.

Stress in the household is another biggie, kitties cannot be picked on by other pets or family members.

When they cut back our hrs at work, had to go back to dry, because wet is so expensive, I feed Blue Wilderness, its grain free, by product free, soy free, gluten free. For the other kitties it is enough, but not for a crystal kitty.

Prowler was getting in and out of the box, and peeing only a little. My vet said he had bladder inflammation.
He was not blocked, but he felt he had to go, hence the getting in and out, and only peeing a little. She did a urine something test, where they take urine out of the bladder with a needle, its called a clean catch, and tested the concentration of his urine. His was too high, hence, it was irritating his bladder walls. What did you change, she asked. I told her.

She said, he "has" to be on the wet, mixed with water, to keep him flushed out, to keep his urine diluted. He went back to wet twice a day, no more bladder issues.

Prowler was 2 when his crystals appeared. Did not have any more issues, until, I put him back on dry, even tho, it was grain free. Now that he is back on wet, he has no more issues, at all, and he is now 6.

I now work 2 jobs, 6 days a week, and eat alot of oddles of noodles and mac and cheese, so they can have wet, and a grain free food. As the regulars know, this is all except Bump, mol. They know his story. laugh out loud

Nice to see you again, I remember when Hunter was just a little tyke. wavehug

Hunter- *Dreamboat- #82*

Master of- Disaster!
Purred: Wed Dec 21, '11 4:47am PST 
Hiya Bumpurr wave
I knew I had it right. Problem is, no one at work believes me when I say wet food is better. I even printed out Catinfo.org for them. I feel bad because they have issues with their cats, one with the UTI who is peeing everywhere, another pooping out of the box. All of their cats are overweight. Then they wonder why Hunter is of perfect weight, why he doesn't have any issues and why he is so active and not just a bump on a log.

I even gave them the phone number to my vets office, who is a feline only specialist. They won't go. Its infuriating when they complain about their cats and they don't listen to any of my suggestions! The vet my co-worker goes to for the kitten with the UTI, suggests to put the kitten in a large dog crate with just his litterbox to "re-train" him to use the box. I wanted to say, Are you kidding me?!?!? The cat has a problem, fix the problem and he'll use the box again. AHHHHHH!!!!

Apparently you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink!

I needed to vent, I feel better. smile



Mr. Eko - dark, but- good-hearted
Purred: Wed Dec 21, '11 6:38am PST 
Good discussion you started here, Hunter. We have 3 young healthy cats and I really want to avoid all those nasty bladder and urinary problems. We use 3 good grain-free or mostly grain free brands of canned food and so far everyone is healthy and at a good weight. (Mine do get a small spoonful of dry for a midday snack. I have this silly fear that they could, if tragedy struck, end up in a shelter or rehomed someday and not recognize kibble as food. I worry too much I guess.) I've always wondered about ingredients like ash that people say to avoid so I read this with interest. Thanks.

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