Preventing Cat Bladder Stones with Low Protein Diet Formulas

While most cats do not require a low protein diet, a meal plan of this type can be helpful in the prevention of bladder stones in cats with a predisposition to this condition. Bladder stones, otherwise known as uroliths, are crystals formed of various minerals that collect and harden in the bladder. There are a variety of different types of uroliths, some of which occur almost exclusively for genetic or other reasons. Struvites, one of the most common types of bladder stone, is formed as a result of a urinary tract infection, improper or unbalanced diet, or both. A low protein diet and other nutritional considerations can help to prevent your cat from developing bladder stones of the struvite type.

Struvite Bladder Stones Overview

Struvites are composed of magnesium, phosphate, ammonium and other minerals. They tend to build up over a long period of time in cats that have urine with an unusual pH level. They may also form in cats that do not take in enough water over the course of the day. Once they harden and become large enough to partially obstruct the urinary passageways, or to begin pressing against the wall of the bladder, you may notice symptoms like abdominal distension, blood in the urine or visible signs of pain while your cat attempts to urinate.

Preventing Bladder Stones with Diet

A low protein diet has been shown to reduce the overall rates of struvite crystal formation among housecats. By lowering the protein content of your pet's diet, as well as the magnesium levels of the food that he eats, you introduce fewer minerals that may develop into struvite crystals into his system. His urine becomes more dilute as a result of this, further decreasing the likelihood that he will contract bladder crystals of this variety.

Before altering your pet's diet, it is crucial that you speak with a veterinarian. Lowering the protein content of your cat's meals may have other effects on his health, and these negative effects may outweigh the relative preventative strength that lowering the protein content may have against bladder stones.

If your veterinarian approves the dietary shift, begin by selecting a specially formulated and brand name low protein diet. You may need to experiment somewhat in order to find a food that your cat will eat, as cats tend to be picky eaters. When you are ready to switch to the new type of food, give your cat several meals with about 25% of the new food and 75% of the old mixed together. When he's grown accustomed to this mixture, give him a few more meals with 50% of each type of food, then a few with 75% new food and 25% old. If he is still reacting well, then change his diet completely to the new food. By switching diets gradually, you help your pet to develop a taste for the new food and ease the difficulty that a transition may place on his digestive tract.