Our question this week was:
In your opinion, what is the best food for cats that will keep a good PH balance and prevent bladder stones; And do you believe wet food is better for cats than dry?
Hi - thanks for your email. Great question - I'm glad you asked it as I think a lot of people have the same question.
If your cat is having urinary crystals or stones, I'd recommend that you have the urine examine to help determine what is in the urine - such as the pH and crystals present. Different stones grow best in different pH environments. So to prevent a certain type of stone, the diet may vary.
As far as canned vs. dry food, personally I like a combination. For cats with urinary problems, canned food is often recommended due to the increased water content. This encourages cat to make more urine and hopefully “flush” crystals out with the urine.
In general - I think the ideal way to feed a cat that is maintaining and ideal weight is to keep dry food down so they can nibble (cats like to eat small frequent meals) supplemented by canned food twice a day. Offering the canned food not only gives your cat the additional water which may be important in pets with urinary diseases but also allows you the opportunity to ensure your cat has a healthy appetite.
You can also encourage water consumption by running the faucet (some cats like to drink from the faucet), topping off the water bowl frequently, adding an ice cube to the water bowl (often simulates them to check it out and drink), offering fresh water, or using a water fountain (such as the Drinkwell® fountains).
So, in summary - I'd recommend having your vet check a urine sample. Find out what the current pH is and any crystals present and they can help guide you on the best diet to help prevent problems. If problems are severe, they may recommend a canned food diet. If problems are mild, they may recommend a combination dry and wet food diet.
An article that might be helpful to you is on our is “Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease” and Urolithiasis in Cats.
Best of luck!