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The 9 Best Urinary Cat Food Choices in 2020

Lelu & Bobo’s winner for best urinary cat food is Purina Pro Plan Focus Urinary Tract Health Adult Wet Food. Urinary tract diseases and infections are prevalent in cats, especially in males. Fortunately, most are easy to diagnose and treat with a change in diet. Switching to foods that support the urinary tract and digestive system can have a huge impact on your cat’s health.

We’ve reviewed nine of the best dry and wet cat foods specifically formulated for your cat’s urinary tract health. You’ll learn everything about what causes urinary tract problems and what you can do to help.

Our top 9 picks for best urinary cat foods:

What is feline lower urinary tract disease?

Universally known as Lower Urinary Tract Disease, LUTD covers a variety of urinary tract illnesses and disorders. These can range from mild to life-threatening (1).

LUTD illnesses and disorders directly affect the lower urinary system, preventing the bladder from emptying. This potentially fatal blockage occurs due to the formation of rock-hard crystals and stones from excessive minerals and low PH levels in cat urine.

Best cat food for cats prone to urinary problems

Symptoms of LUTD

For cats, these urine crystals can be quite painful. However, because of the range of causes and issues, a cat with urinary crystals may show different signs (2). It’s essential to be aware of these red flags to help determine if your cat has a urinary tract problem.

Signs include:

  • Difficult or painful urination—you may hear straining or distress when your cat is trying to pee.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Constant licking around the urinary opening.
  • Bloody urine.
  • Peeing outside of the litter box.
  • Passing little to no urine.

With these large, hard, crystals in their urine, cats may develop a urethral obstruction (3). If you see any of the signs above and notice your cat is distressed or in pain don’t wait to act: call your vet immediately.

Causes of LUTD in Cats

Any cat can develop symptoms of lower urinary tract disease (4). However, they’re most common in:

  • Male cats
  • Cats 7 years old and older (middle-aged cats)
  • Overweight cats who get little to no exercise
  • Cats who have restricted access to outdoor environments
  • Poor water intake
  • Cats who use an indoor litter box
  • Stressful environments
  • Multi-cat households
  • Changes in routine, such as moving to a new home
  • Cats with past urinary tract problems
  • Cats with kidney disease

What is a UTI?

UTI stands for urinary tract infection. An infection of this kind may develop anywhere on the urinary tract.

UTIs generally occur when bacteria travel up through the urethra into the bladder. Any cat can get a UTI, but they become more common in cats 10 years of age and older (5).

How can I tell if my cat has a UTI?

Signs of a UTI in your cat may include:

  • Frequently passing urine in small amounts
  • Incontinence—their urine may dribble down their hind legs
  • Blood in the urine
  • Pain and whining while urinating
  • Urinating outside the litter box—on carpets and around the home
  • Straining to urinate
  • Licking their genitals
  • Unusually strong urine odor

If you notice any of these symptoms, please contact your vet. Fortunately, diagnosing a UTI is quick and painless: your vet will perform a urinalysis and take a urine culture, and in some cases will also take bloodwork and run an abdominal ultrasound or take x-rays (6).

How to prevent UTIs in cats

It’s best to discuss the most beneficial approach for your cat with your veterinarian. But there are still ways you can proactively care for your cats’ urinary tract health. Research and experts suggest that specific diets or nutritional formulas can help keep UTIs at bay and support the lower urinary tract.

Keep in mind that this guide isn’t one food fits all. While these over-the-counter urinary cat foods are the most accessible your cat may require veterinarian prescribed foods or something different. Be sure to always check with your vet before significantly changing your kitty’s diet.

How diet affects the urinary tract

Feeding your cat a balanced diet is essential for their overall health. The wrong foods can easily wreak havoc in their urinary tract system, leading to LUTD (7).

Often, specific additives and minerals in cat food like phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium can lead to urethra-blocking crystals. You often find high levels of these problem ingredients in the grocery store or bargain brand cat food.

Another way that food can impact your cat’s urinary tract is through acidity or pH. Cats with moderately acidic urine have a healthy urinary tract. Be aware that less acidic urine can lead to the formation of painful struvite crystals.

Tabby cat eating the best dry cat food.

Does dry cat food cause urinary problems?

In the wild, when a cat consumes their prey, they also receive about 70%of their daily water needs. Most of their hydration comes from their diet. Domesticated house cats often get this from canned, or wet cat food which often contains up to 78% water depending on the brand (9).

With this in mind, cats who exclusively eat dry food, which contains just 5-10% moisture, may have an increased risk of developing UTIs and painful crystals.

Here’s where one of your cat’s greatest needs comes in. Water!

When cats regularly drink water their systems are flushed out and stay healthy. The likelihood of developing large crystals and urethra blockages are significantly reduced in cats with ample water intake.

There are some great ways you can make sure your cat is drinking plenty of water. Try placing water bowls throughout your living space and change the water several times a day. You could also get a free-flowing cat water fountain. Many cats prefer to drink cool, running water rather than still water in a bowl.

Catit Flower water fountain.

Does urinary tract cat food really work?

Cats with fully developed urine crystals or who are susceptible to UTIs and LUTD can benefit from specially formulated urinary food (10). In comparison to ordinary cat foods, these formulas contain more balanced pH levels and are lower in magnesium and calcium. Cats eating these specialized diets may have reduced their chances of developing bladder stones.

Choosing the best urinary cat food

Before we get to our top picks, here are some tips for choosing the best urinary food for your cat.

Beneficial urinary tract ingredients

When choosing the best food for urinary problems there are a few labels to look for on the product’s packaging and nutrition labels. These include:

  • Low dietary magnesium. This micronutrient is often the main culprit of urinary crystals (11). High levels of magnesium are generally found in whole grains, so buying grain-free food is already a step in the right direction.
  • Formulas that lower pH levels in urine. Urinary crystals don’t thrive in acidic environments (12). Aiming for food that promises to lower pH levels can also help prevent the formation of crystals in the future.
  • High moisture content. As we mentioned earlier, hydration is key in preventing bladder stones and crystals. Ample water intake dilutes your cat’s urine and keeps it flowing healthily. (13).
  • Quality: Choosing a low-quality food almost guarantees health problems. Your cat should eat a complete and balanced diet made from quality ingredients. You may need to do some brand background checks to ensure their food meets high-quality standards. We recommend:
    • Royal Canin
    • Hill’s
    • Purina

Dry or wet cat food

Ultimately, the best way to reduce your cats’ risk of developing UTIs and LUTD is by feeding them a varied diet. For example, many vets recommend serving wet food in the morning and dry kibble in the evening.

Because of its high moisture content, canned cat food is generally best. But that doesn’t rule out kibble. For cats who prefer munching and crunching instead of mushy patés, you can try mixing kibble designed for urinary health into some wet food, or adding some broth. That said, always check with your vet before making any significant dietary changes to ensure you aren’t adding to the problem.

What is the best food for cats with urinary problems?

Below we’ve listed the best over-the-counter, non-prescription urinary cat food. We’ve included a review of each. There’s even a tasty treat at the end!

*Keep in mind that these recommendations are not a substitute for medical treatment or formal evaluation. All cats are individuals, and if yours has severe UTIs or LUTD they may need a special prescription food. In those cases, we strongly suggest going to your vet to determine what treatments are best for your cat.

Ginger cat sleeping.

Wet cat food – our top choices

1. Purina Pro Plan Focus Urinary Tract Health Adult Wet Food

The Purina Pro Plan Focus is specifically formulated for urinary problems. It is a great urinary cat food non-prescription substitute. This low-magnesium formula works to reduce urine pH levels and help maintain overall urinary tract health.

Made with high-quality protein sources like real salmon, and fortified with essential vitamins and minerals Purina Pro Plan Focus promotes a healthy and active lifestyle.

This soft paté contains small, chewable pieces and a high in moisture content to keep your cat hydrated and improve their urinary health.

Besides salmon, Purina Pro Plan offers a variety of other flavors including ocean whitefish, beef, chicken, and turkey and giblets. Purina Pro Plan is sold in packs of 24 cans.

Pros

  • Works to lower urinary pH levels
  • Contains low levels of magnesium
  • Made with high-quality salmon and meats
  • Fortified with minerals and vitamins
  • High moisture content
  • Soft and chewable

Cons

  • Contains added color and artificial flavors

2. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Urinary SO Morsels in Gravy

The Royal Canin Veterinary Diet is best for adult cats with urinary crystals. The manufacturer developed this formula to support urinary tract and bladder health.

The special Relative Super Saturation (or RSS) formula in this canned wet food works to dilute excess minerals, one of the major factors in the formation of painful crystals and bladder stones. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Urinary SO Morsels in Gravy uses RSS to increase the amount of urine your cat produces, to create an unfavorable environment for both struvite and calcium oxalate crystals.

Royal Canin even states that this RSS formula also helps prevent urinating outside of the litter box. This high-moisture recipe contains pork and chicken by-products and chicken liver.

Pros

  • Helps to dilute already formed crystals and bladder stones
  • Reduces the likelihood of crystals and bladder stones forming
  • Prevents peeing outside the litter box
  • Lowers ion concentration in urine
  • Increases urine production
  • High in moisture

Cons

  • The cans are tiny
  • The taste or texture may be unappealing to some cats

3. Hill’s Science Diet Urinary & Hairball Control

If your cat suffers from urinary tract problems and hairballs, we suggest Hill’s Science Diet Urinary & Hairball Control.

This high-fiber, low-magnesium formula supports your cat’s urinary tract system and reduces the occurrence of hairballs.

The formula is rich in omega fatty acids and vitamin E which support healthy skin and coat. Hill’s Science Diet Urinary & Hairball Control is suitable for adult and senior cats and helps them maintain lean muscles and healthy energy levels.

We love that real chicken is the top ingredient and that there are no artificial flavors or preservatives. Hill’s produces this highly digestible food in U.S. facilities, ensuring the best quality. If you’re not satisfied, Hill’s offers a 100% money-back guarantee.

Pros

  • Reduces hairballs
  • Supports urinary tract and bladder health
  • Made with real chicken
  • No artificial additives
  • Rich in omega fatty acids and vitamins
  • Suitable for adult and senior cats
  • Made in the US and has a money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Has a distinct odor
  • Not suitable for kittens or cats who are pregnant or nursing
  • Odd consistency

4. Hill’s Prescription Diet c/d Multicare Urinary Care

Hill’s Prescription Diet c/d Multicare Urinary Care diet is a veterinarian developed formula designed to support your cat’s urinary health with optimal nutrients. This food promotes a desirable urine pH level and controlled levels of calcium and phosphorus that reduce the risk of recurrent urine crystals. Backed by clinical trials, Hill’s c/d Multicare recipe can lower the recurrence of urinary tract problems by up to 89%. This specialized food may help dissolve struvite stones within seven days.

Made from natural ingredients like real chicken, this soft paté canned food is gently cooked and fortified with essential vitamins and minerals. Highly digestible and full of flavor it also packs a punch of antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids, and potassium citrate.

Pros

  • Delivers the right balance of essential nutrients
  • Clinically tested
  • Promotes a healthy pH level
  • Controls levels of calcium and phosphorus
  • Fortified with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants

Cons

  • The flavor may be unappetizing for some cats
  • Mushy texture

Dry cat food – our top choices

5. Purina Pro Plan Focus Urinary Tract Health Adult Dry Food

If you’re searching for the best dry cat food for urinary health, we recommend Purina Pro.

Purina Pro Plan Focus Urinary Tract Health Adult dry cat food is designed to maintain urinary tract health by reducing pH levels and contains low levels of magnesium to lower the chances of crystal formation. It gives your cat essential nutrition, like linoleic acid: an omega fatty acid that supports and maintains healthy skin and a lustrous coat.

What we appreciate is that Purina uses real, high-quality chicken, and carefully selected ingredients to bring your cat the protein and nutrients they need. It’s also free of artificial flavors and colors. It’s one of the best dry cat foods for urinary health.

Pros

  • Reduces crystal formation
  • Contains lower levels of dietary magnesium
  • Decreases urine pH levels
  • Fortified with linoleic acid
  • Made with real chicken
  • Free of artificial colors and flavors

Cons

  • The taste might not appeal to all cats

6. Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet Weight Management + Urinary Care

If your UTI and LUTD susceptible cat struggles with their weight, we recommend Blue Buffalo’s Natural Veterinary Diet Weight Management + Urinary Care. This special food helps with weight management and urinary health care. What makes this one of the best cat foods for urinary tract health is its controlled mineral levels. It supports urinary health by minimizing the chance of stones and crystal formations.

Blue Buffalo formulated this kibble using ideal levels of calories and fat to help your cat maintain a healthy weight. Its high levels of fiber help keep your cat full for longer, curbing their hunger and helping them safely shed excess weight.

What we like is how natural this holistic, veterinary-approved food is. It’s free of grains, artificial additives, and fillers like by-products and meals.

However, one ingredient is rosemary oil and some cats may have sensitivities or allergies to it. Be sure to pay attention to any reaction your cat has to eating this kibble.

Pros

  • Helps with weight management.
  • Controlled mineral levels.
  • Reduces the formation of crystals and stones.
  • Free of artificial colors and flavors.
  • Suitable for all life stages.

Cons

  • The recipe contains rosemary oil.
  • May cause constipation in some kitties.

7. Royal Canin Feline Urinary SO 33 Dry Cat Food

Royal Canin’s Urinary SO 33 dry cat food formula is designed for kitties with pre-formed urinary crystals and histories with UTIs and LUTDs.

Royal Canin developed this kibble to nutritionally support the bladder and urinary tract health in adult cats. This is excellent cat food for urinary health.

Like the Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Urinary SO Morsels in Gravy, this food uses RSS in its formula to lower the ion concentration in the urine and dilute excessive minerals that could otherwise cause crystals and bladder stones. Royal Canin’s Urinary SO 33 kibble also have reduced levels of magnesium to help your cat maintain urinary tract health.

Pros

  • Nutritionally supports your kitty’s bladder and urinary tract
  • Dilutes crystals and stones
  • Low levels of magnesium
  • Reduces straining while urinating
  • Prevents peeing outside the litter box

Cons

  • The flavor may be unappetizing to some cats

8. Wysong Uretic – Dry Natural Food for Cats

One of the best non-prescription cat foods for preventing urinary crystals is this dry food from Wysong.

Wysong created their Uretic Dry Natural Food formula to target immune system health and urinary tract functions. The formula benefits your cat by eliminating excess minerals, while it adds urinary-important methionine.

Wysong Uretic Dry Natural Food contains high levels of fresh and frozen dried meats, fat, organs, and protein. The Uretic recipe has higher levels of micronutrients, including probiotics, prebiotics, enzymes, antioxidants, and omega 3 acids. It also contains a small number of veggies and fruits. These mimic what a cat would consume in the guts viscera of their prey in the wild. They provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, among other nutrients.

Free of artificial fillers and additives Wysong Uretic is suitable for all cat breeds at all life stages. It’s free of artificial fillers and additives Wysong Uretic is suitable for all cat breeds at all life stages.

Pros

  • Supports the immune system and urinary tract functions
  • Made with high-quality meats, organs, and fats
  • High levels of micronutrients
  • Contains some veggies and fruits
  • No additives or fillers
  • Suitable for all life stages

Cons

  • May cause diarrhea in cats who have sensitive stomachs
  • May cause weight gain

9. Get Naked Urinary Health Crunchy Treats For Cats

Urinary-tract friendly foods don’t have to be limited to mealtime! If you’re looking for UTI and LUTD friendly treats, we suggest Get Naked (although, maybe don’t literally start stripping. We need to keep this PG!)

These tasty treats from Get Naked are made from antioxidant-rich cranberry juice and protein-packed chicken. These crunchy heart-shaped pieces are also packed with a healthy dose of taurine and omega fatty acids, which help support healthy eyes, skin, and coat.

Get Naked Urinary Health Crunchy Treats help promote a healthy urinary tract, making it a great afternoon snack for most cats when the munchies come knocking.

What we appreciate is that the treats are free of grain, wheat, soy, and corn and contain less than two calories per piece.

However, these treats are quite hard, which may make it difficult for senior cats or cats with teeth sensitivities or missing teeth to chew and eat.

Pros

  • High in natural antioxidants
  • Made with real chicken
  • Free of grains, soy, corn, and wheat
  • Fortified with taurine and omega fatty acids
  • Low in calories
  • Helps support urinary tract health

Cons

  • Pieces are hard: seniors and cats with sensitive or missing teeth may struggle to eat them
  • Some cats may not be crazy about the taste

Final thoughts

Urinary tract problems are common in cats of all ages. However, certain factors may make your cat more likely to develop them. This includes being overweight, a history of urinary tract issues, and being a male cat.

Fortunately, mild cases are easy to treat with a change of diet. While all the foods on our list are widely available and affordable our winner for the best urinary cat food is Purina Pro Plan Focus. It’s high in moisture, low in magnesium, and works to dilute crystals and stones. Plus, you don’t need a prescription to get this food. This makes it a good urinary cat food non-prescription substitute and the best non prescription cat food for urinary crystals.

Again, diet is important for urinary tract health in cats. Always look for foods that provide essential hydration, are formulated to regulate your cats’ urine pH to healthy levels, are carefully fortified with nutrients, omega fatty acids, and contain reduced levels of the minerals that cause the bladder stones and crystals to form (magnesium, calcium, phosphorus).

Sources:

  1. https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-health-topics/feline-lower-urinary-tract-disease
  2. https://pets.webmd.com/cats/guide/cat-urinary-tract-problems#1
  3. https://smallanimal.vethospital.ufl.edu/clinical-services/emergency-critical-care/common-veterinary-emergencies/urinary-obstruction/
  4. https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/petcare/feline-lower-urinary-tract-disease#:~:text=Feline%20lower%20urinary%20tract%20disease%20(FLUTD)%20describes%20a%20variety%20of,and%20blood%20in%20the%20urine
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6826873/
  6. https://www.pdsa.org.uk/taking-care-of-your-pet/pet-health-hub/conditions/bladder-infection-uti-in-cats
  7. https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/128/12/2753S/4724437
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9868257/
  9. https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/animal-health-literacy/complete-and-balanced-pet-food#:~:text=Canned%20pet%20food%20is%20typically,with%20near%2Dequal%20moisture%20content
  10.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7036317/
  11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3994104/
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4442921/
  13. https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-health-topics/bladder-and-kidney-stones
Alina Prax
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