best wet cat food for urinary health

5 Best Wet Cat Foods for Urinary Health

5 Best Wet Cat Foods for Urinary Health

If you’re interested in preventing FLUTD (feline lower urinary tract disease) in your cat, or want to avoid a recurrence after days of worry and $1,500 out of pocket spent at the vet’s, then you’ll want to take a closer look at what you’re feeding your cat. Diet plays a critical role in the prevention of urinary tract issues. Let’s take a look at what FLUTD really means. The term FLUTD is a general term which includes the growth of uroliths/urinary stones (masses created by minerals solidifying in the urinary tract- extremely serious when a cat’s urinary tract is entirely blocked) and Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (a blanket diagnosis, meaning your cat has a bladder/urinary tract inflammation of unknown origin). Both of these issues can be prevented and treatment can be assisted through a healthful, high moisture diet. Sufficient water content is the most important factor when you’re choosing a good food to prevent FLUTD.

My own experience with FLUTD seven years ago backs this up.

I thought I had done my research.

I’d read through stacks of cat books found on the shelves of the library, spent hours every day reading articles on the internet about cat behaviors, what kind of toys are best, and whether grooming was really necessary for your cat. I’d joined a cat forum, and actively communicated with other cat lovers about training experiences, health issues, even how to properly raise orphaned kittens. I also fed him dry food, which is commonly accepted as being okay among the cat community. So when I found my cat, Wessie, straining to empty his bladder at the age of two years old, I was mystified as to why he could be suffering from FLUTD. I didn’t see how I had done anything wrong caring for him.

Sadly, the truth is that many people, even those who believe themselves to be educated about the feline creatures we share our lives with, are often undereducated when it comes to nutrition, and the importance of a cat’s diet upon their overall health. Too many of us still believe that if a food is packaged for cats, it’s nutritionally complete and is optimal for their health. Even those of us who have done our research, and are more picky and understand that cats should be fed grain free, high meat protein diets, often miss one important fact- dry food won’t give your cat the hydration they need.

While Wessie was being treated for FLUTD, I switched him onto a canned food, knowing it would be good to flush out his system. Fortunately he made it through the ordeal alright, and I was thrilled that he was back to normal. This is where I made a big mistake. Oftentimes, cats experience many recurrences of FLUTD, leaving their guardians scratching their heads and paying growing vet bills. I too fell prey to this lack of education. Shortly after Wessie was once again using the litter box normally, I transitioned him back onto his old dry food. Almost immediately after he returned to the dry food, the FLUTD returned. I instantly made the switch to wet food a permanent one, and I’m happy to say that Wessie also made a quick recovery from his second bout with FLUTD. Seven years later, I am still adding extra water to each of his meals, and his urinary system seems to be working perfectly.

Simply put, the convenience that dry food offers is not worth the potential health risks- even dry food that claims to promote a healthy urinary tract simply doesn’t offer the water that cats need to thrive.

What makes a good urinary health cat food?

  • Suffice it to say, every product on our list of the best wet food for urinary health is a wet food. Adequate water content is the key to keeping your cat’s system flushed and clear. As we’ve said, dry food simply does not supply the necessary water that cats need for a healthy urinary tract, and due to their low thirst drives, cats rarely drink enough on their own. For even more information on why you should not feed your cat dry food, click here: Everything You Need to Know About Dry Cat Food
  • A balanced urine pH is also essential to the health of your cat’s urinary tract. If the pH is too high, your cat may develop struvite crystals, and if it’s too low, calcium oxalate crystals can grow. This pH balance is a key component in the development of many of the urinary health foods on the market. Cats consuming a healthful, balanced diet consisting of muscle meat, bones, and organs have an acidic urine pH of 6-6.5, which is ideal. Foods containing grains and vegetable matter can throw off this natural balance by bringing your cat’s urine to an unhealthily alkaline level. The foods on this list are made with ingredients that will naturally help your cat’s body to stay balanced.
  • Foods that do not contain fish. Fish is a food high in magnesium and phosphorus, both of which are believed to contribute to urinary and kidney issues. While the occasional fishy treat is alright, fish is not a natural part of a cat’s diet and should generally be avoided.

Here are our 5 picks for canned foods that fit the criteria:

Nutro EVO 95-Percent Chicken & Turkey Cat Food

Nutro EVO 95-Percent Chicken & Turkey cat food is made with 95% animal protein, keeping plant protein low. It is free of grains and potatoes, and no gluten is added. Nutro EVO is committed to providing consumers with balanced, nature inspired foods. –  Buy Now

First 5 Ingredients

Chicken, Water Sufficient For Processing, Turkey, Chicken Liver, Fish Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols)

Pros

  • Grain-free
  • Chicken is the #1 Ingredient
  • Even picky cats love it
  • Subject to extensive quality control checks
  • Free from chemical additives

Cons

  • Recent formula change may deter some cats

Weruva Paw Lickin’ Chicken

Weruva Paw Lickin’ Chicken is grain-free, and is also created with antibiotic free, additive free, cage free chicken, made in a human food facility. Weruva canned cat food is extremely moisture rich, which is the key to preventing FLUTD. – Buy Now 

First 5 Ingredients

Chicken (Boneless, Skinless, White Breast), Water Sufficient For Processing, Potato Starch, Sunflower Seed Oil, Dicalcium Phosphate

Pros

  • Grain, GMO, MSG, Carrageenan free
  • Cage free chicken
  • Human grade ingredients

Cons

  • Some cats refuse to try this food
  • Cats may gain weight on this diet

Lotus Cat Just Juicy Chicken Stew

Lotus Cat Just Juicy stews make the perfect juicy meals for cats who don’t get enough moisture in their diets. The chicken formula is essentially just shredded chicken in a creamy gravy. Lotus cat foods are made with ingredients sourced in North America and Canada, excepting their green-lipped mussels, deboned lamb, and lamb meal, which are sourced from New Zealand. No ingredients have been treated with chemical preservatives. All of the Lotus Cat canned foods are hand packed in their California facility. – Buy Now

First 5 Ingredients

Chicken, Chicken Broth, Potato Starch, Calcium Lactate, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid)

Pros

  • Lots of broth means lots of water to hydrate and flush out your cat’s system
  • Grain-free
  • Made in the USA
  • Great for cats with bad teeth, since it’s easy to lap up

Cons

  • Not every cat will like this food

Hound & Gatos Canned Cat Food

Hound & Gatos Pet Food Company produces a uniquely simple, paleolithic pet diet made from 100% meat protein and absolutely no grains and fillers. Their foods are free of artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. With a single source of real meat protein and absolutely no plant protein, Hound & Gatos foods are a great choice for cats with food allergies and sensitivities. All of Hound & Gatos’ ingredients are USA sourced except for their New Zealand lamb. – Buy Now

First 5 Ingredients

Beef, beef broth, agar-agar, tricalcium phosphate, potassium chloride

Pros

  • 100% Animal protein- no plant protein
  • Grain-free
  • All ingredients USA sourced (except New Zealand lamb in lamb recipe)
  • High moisture content
  • Limited ingredients make this food good for cats with allergies

Cons

  • Strong and unappetizing odor to humans
  • Solids and gel separate in can and must be mixed before feeding
  • Some cats refuse to eat this food

Ziwi Peak Canned Cat Cuisine

Ziwi Peak canned cat food is made of 93% meat, organs, and bone from non-rendered venison, 3% green-lipped mussel for natural glucosamine and chondroitin, and 7% tripe for increased palatability. As with all Ziwi Peak foods, it is completely free of GMOs, artificial dyes, colors, and preservatives. All of the ingredients are ethically sourced from New Zealand ranches and waters. – Buy Now

First 5 Ingredients

Venison, Venison Broth, Venison Liver, Venison Lung, Venison Heart

Pros

  • Single protein source so you know what your cat is eating
  • Grain-free
  • No artificial colors or ingredients
  • Contains New Zealand green mussels, a natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin, for joint health

Cons

  • May contain bone fragments
  • Not 100% meat- contains a small portion of chickpeas, which are used as a binding ingredient

Wysong Uretic Canned Cat Foodwysong uretic canned cat food single can

Specifically designed by a veterinarian to help maintain good urinary tract health, Wysong Uretic is a moisture-rich canned food made with 95% meat content. This nourishing canned diet features a balance of micronutrients and nutraceuticals that that can promote urinary tract and immune system health. – Buy Now

First 5 Ingredients

Organic Chicken, Brown Rice, Blueberry, DL-Methionine, Cranberry Extract

Pros

  • Moisture rich cat food with 95% meat content
  • Made with organic chicken
  • Contains cranberry, which is purported to offer healing benefits to the urinary tract

Cons

  • Some cats refuse to try this food

Conclusion

The best wet cat foods for your cat’s urinary health will be high in moisture, should be grain-free, and low in magnesium, phosphorus, and ash. Feeding dry food is a leading factor behind the massive number of cases of FLUTD today, and we do not recommend taking that risk. Always feed your cat a high quality canned or balanced raw diet in order to provide the hydration they need for a healthy urinary tract. A little extra water added to an already moist food doesn’t hurt, either!

Whenever transitioning your cat to a new food, take it slowly. We recommend phasing out your cat’s old food over a period of a week. This will help to minimize tummy troubles caused by the new food; your cat’s body may reject a new food at first, especially if your cat has been on one food their entire life. Listen to your cat, and offer several different foods and flavors to find out what they like.

Let us know in the comments what you think of our picks, and what foods have worked for you!

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