Tackle your cat’s pain with the best cat food for cystitis
Cystitis is a harsh reality for many cats. Bladder infections—cystitis or any other form of feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD)—are common and cause severe pain to cats while urinating.
Even though you can’t banish cystitis from their lives entirely, there are various things you can do to reduce the chance of the disease taking hold of your feline.
Untamed has all the info you need on the best cat food for cystitis, as well as the top tips and tricks to keep FLUTD at bay!
What are cystitis and feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD)?
If you ever notice your kitty doing any of the following, you may be witnessing a urinary tract infection (UTI):
- Urinating more frequently
- Having trouble passing urine
- Passing bloody or cloudy urine
- Appearing to be in pain while passing urine
UTIs in cats are grouped under the general title of feline lower urinary tract diseases (FLUTD). The most common ones include cystitis, bladder stones or crystals, and blockages in the urethra.
Cystitis in cats
Cystitis is an inflammation of the bladder or urethra caused by:
- Bacterial infestation
- Fungal growth
- Viral infections
- Kidney problems or diabetes
- Unspecified conditions (feline idiopathic cystitis)
The most common cause is bacterial, but cystitis is relatively rare as an independent disease. It is usually triggered by an underlying syndrome, such as bladder crystals or stones.
Bladder stones or crystals
Bladder stones or crystals cause around 20% of cystitis cases in cats. The most frequently found bladder crystals that cats suffer from are:
Bladder crystal type
Struvite crystals are formed from:
These elements are always present in the bladder but sometimes combine as tiny crystals
Calcium oxalate is a waste product normally passed out through a cat’s bladder. If your cat’s body produces too much calcium oxalate, it can form crystals in the urinary tract.
Certain breeds are more prone to oxalate crystals formation, including:
Older cats, neutered males, and overweight felines are also more likely to suffer from oxalate crystals
Blockages in the urethra
In rare cases, your cat may develop a blockage in the urethra, meaning that urine can only be passed with difficulty, if at all.
It can lead to the rapid onset of cystitis and must be treated by a vet as soon as possible. The vet will have to remove the blockage surgically.
This face should give you a clue that all is not well
How does food hinder cystitis?
If cystitis is caused by a treatable infection—viral, fungal, parasitic, or bacterial—food can only play a supportive role, and the disease will have to be cured by your vet.
Keep in mind that maintaining good health in your feline’s urinary tract is the best way to avoid idiopathic infections in the first place.
Your kitty’s diet can play a significant role in the prevention process.
The two dietary factors with the greatest impact on your cat’s bladder health are:
- Water intake
- Food ingredients
Cats tend not to take in enough water.
If you feed your kitty a diet of dry biscuits, there is a danger that cystitis will worsen. Dry food usually contains about ten to 12 per cent moisture, whereas a wet diet will be made up of between 75 and 78 per cent water.
Canned cat foods or meals enriched with cat jelly or cat gravy combine high palatability with good moisture content, so your kitty will be getting more water through the food to help keep the bladder healthy.
Cats also love to drink running water. If you have noticed that your feline’s water bowl remains untouched most of the time, you should install a water dispenser offering a drip feed or fountain.
Turn your kitty into a drinker
Cats are natural hunters evolved to get their nutrients from the prey.
In the wild, their meals would consist of small mammals, birds, and scavenged leftovers. The ideal diet is consequently:
- Rich in animal protein (but not raw)
- Carb and grain-free
- Calorie-rich due to high levels of animal protein
Many commercial cat foods ignore the natural feeding patterns, and such products can seriously affect your kitty’s urinary tract health.
Struvite and oxalate crystals, two of the leading causes of cystitis, form more easily in a less acidic environment, i.e., if a feline’s urinary tract is at a pH of over 6.6. Besides being an excellent source of amino acids, animal protein also helps keep the feline urinary tract at the correct level of acidity, namely at a pH of 6.2 to 6.6.
The best food can make all the difference
What is the best cat food for crystal prevention?
If you put your cat on a diet based primarily on animal protein, you can keep the urinary tract in optimal health and avoid bladder stone formation.
The ideal food to maintain urinary tract health should consist of:
- High-quality animal protein
- Sufficient animal fat
- The correct vitamins and minerals
High-quality animal protein
Your kitty needs proteins because of the amino acids, the building blocks of:
- Skin and coat
While a feline can get the required amino acids from any protein, the most efficient sources are various types of meat.
You can measure how efficiently a cat can metabolise different types of protein by looking at their respective biological values—the percentage of efficiency with which felines can process the amino acids.
The biological values of the most common protein sources in cat food are:
Salmon, sardines, prawns, and tuna
Beef and pork or ham
Wheatgerm, corn, sweetcorn, and other vegetable proteins
If the cat food you choose has a percentage of proteins above 90%, it should help maintain your kitty's urinary tract healthy by keeping the urine acidic.
Top protein sources are the key to urinary tract health
Image (c) Untamed
Sufficient animal fat
Animal fat is an excellent source of fatty acids.
Fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6 help maintain cell structure and regulate healing processes, potentially reducing any inflammation in your kitty’s bladder.
Many commercial cat foods use high levels of carbohydrates to deliver energy because animal fat is an expensive ingredient, and carbs can significantly reduce the cost of food production.
Cats are not naturally good at processing carbs, so carbohydrates are converted into glucose for fast-release energy. Unfortunately, any glucose not used up quickly is stored as fat.
High levels of carbs in your kitty’s diet can have a triple-whammy effect, namely:
- Your kitty will not have as much slow-burn energy and may quickly become lethargic
- Much of the food’s carb content may end up being converted into fat
- Flooding a cat’s body with glucose after a meal puts unnecessary strain on the pancreas
Indoor cats tend to gorge themselves and quickly become overweight because of a carb-rich diet.
You should ensure that your kitty’s food is high in protein and low in carbs to ensure good energy levels, natural weight control, and a healthy healing response.
The correct vitamins and minerals
Cats need the proper amounts of vitamins and minerals to keep their bodies functioning.
The vitamins required include:
(B complex and C)
Cats can synthesise enough vitamins C and K without ingesting them through food.
Minerals are only needed in small amounts and maintain:
- Bones and teeth
- Balance in bodily fluids
- Chemical reactions in your cat’s body
The essential minerals in your feline’s diet are:
You should be careful about high concentrations of minerals because too much magnesium and calcium in the food can end up forming bladder stones and cause cystitis.
To make your choice, you must work on your label-reading skills so that you can distinguish the good from the less healthy products on the market.
The two elements on cat food packaging giving you the best clue as to the quality of the item are the:
- Ingredients list
- Guaranteed analysis
All the ingredients must be listed in order of volume, with the largest component at the top.
The first ingredient should always be a clearly defined meat—not a catch-all term such as “meat and animal derivatives.”
Many commercial cat foods list several types of grain. You should check these carefully to make sure the same ingredient has not been split into two (or more) according to how it has been processed.
An example of this is:
- Ground corn
- Corn meal
- Corn gluten
These three are the same ingredient, but splitting them means each one makes up less volume. The meat in the product retains its place at the top of the list.
You should also remember to check the product description, which may indicate that the product contains a certain type of meat.
By law, the product description means:
Percentage contained in the food
“Flavoured with” a type of meat
Less than 4%
“With” a meat source
Between 4% and 14%
“Rich in” the type of meat
From 15% to 24%
Type of meat alone
The guaranteed analysis tells you how much of each nutrient group is in the product.
The food you choose—whether it is homemade or commercially manufactured—should contain the following:
More than 50%
Up to 20%
Can Untamed help with cat food to prevent crystals?
Untamed cat food is the high-quality nutrition your kitty needs to stay safe from cystitis, bladder stones, and urinary problems.
We are committed to giving your feline the best of the best, including:
- High protein content
- Human-grade ingredients
- Hypoallergenic recipes
- Gentle steaming
High protein content
Our products contain more than twice the amount of animal protein that most manufacturers care to put in their food.
Untamed meals deliver the right amino acids to ensure:
- Strong muscle tone
- Shiny coat
- Healthy appetite
- The right amount of taurine
- Seamless digestion
- Balanced acidity in the urinary tract
By using the highest-quality ingredients, we make sure your kitty is getting the best—zero allergens and no harmful substances, artificial additives, or flavour enhancers with limited nutritional value.
Untamed recipes are hypoallergenic, and even sensitive cats or kitties with easily upset stomachs can enjoy our feline delicacies with no worries. For cats that are particularly sensitive, we recommend our single-protein-source recipes like Chocka Chicken and Tuck-in Tuna.
Untamed dishes are gently steamed, not aggressively boiled or cooked.
This process eliminates harmful bacteria while sealing in the nutrients and goodness.
All our recipes are vet-formulated, and an Untamed diet can also help your cat with:
- Hairballs and shedding
- Weight control—whether the feline is gaining or losing weight
- Special circumstances, such as pregnancy, anorexia, and growing up
Get your Untamed trial pack and make life good for your feline friend!
Switching to Untamed entails various perks—your kitty will love the taste of our food and feel the health benefits of our high-quality meals.
After going Untamed, you’ll notice:
The Untamed effect
Within a week
Your feline will be more energetic, and you should see less mess in the litter tray
After two months
Muscle tone should be more defined, and you may notice that problems such as urinary infections start to wear off
In four months
Your cat’s coat should be sleeker and shinier, with less shedding and fewer hairballs
Kitty will be healthy, happy, and full of energy and mischief
To get the ball rolling and test Untamed, place a quick cat food order online. Here’s what you need to do:
- Visit our Try Now page
- Tell us more about your kitty
- Select a meal plan and place your order
You can check out which flavours get the approval and order your first monthly cat food box—we will keep you supplied and make sure you don’t run out of your kitty’s favourites.
Untamed keeps your kitty happy and healthy
Image (c) Untamed
What causes FLUTD? Learn about the problem to prevent it
The most common form of cystitis or FLUTD is called feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC).
Idiopathic means that the exact causes are unknown, and the condition is often diagnosed after your vet has performed the necessary tests for external infections and found nothing wrong.
FIC is usually:
- Temporary, waxing and waning over a few days
It is a painful condition, and some theories suggest that it can be caused by stress.
You may see FIC develop if your kitty has recently experienced:
- The introduction of a new cat into the house
- Fights with another cat, either at home or in the neighbourhood
- Digestive problems or a messy litter tray
- A change in daily routines
- A new human in the house, such as a pet sitter or even a baby
- Lowered activity levels due to obesity, arthritis, or sickness
If your vet diagnoses FIC, your cat may be prescribed:
- Analgesic pain relief
- Anti-inflammatory supplements
- Mild antidepressants, such as amitriptyline
- Pheromone preparations to reduce stress
The most important advice your vet will give you, though, is that you should increase your feline’s water intake—to create more diluted urine—and adjust their diet by switching to a low pH cat food.
What else can you do to help your kitty?
A proper diet can help maintain your feline’s urinary tract health, but you should also pay attention to the following factors that may cause FIC:
- Overweight kitties
- Age-related issues
As stress is thought to be a contributing factor to feline urinary tract issues, you should try to avoid anything that will create anxiety in your kitty.
Cats are notorious for their love of routine and predictability, so you should try to avoid:
- Changing your kitty’s environment suddenly
- Introducing new pets too abruptly
- Moving the feeding bowl to a different location without a gradual changeover
- Disrupting your cat’s routine, sleep patterns, or favourite hangouts
If your kitty is under-tall—NOT overweight—you may see that urinary tract problems occur more frequently.
Besides other health risks associated with being overweight—such as diabetes, joint problems, and cardiovascular issues—larger cats are statistically more likely to suffer from cystitis and other forms of FLUTD.
Their immune response may also be compromised, so you should start a weight management program as soon as possible.
Age increases the risk of urinary tract problems, which is common for all mammals.
If your kitty is over ten, your best course of action is to get them on a high-protein, healthy diet as soon as possible.
It will help keep cystitis at bay and give them the best general quality of life.