What is the Best Urinary Cat Food? Best Cat Food for Urinary Tract Health 2019

Diet is the most important line of defense against feline lower urinary tract disease.

Disclaimer: We are not veterinarians. This article is based on our experience and research. If your cat is suffering from urinary issues, please consult a veterinarian and get them treated. Feline lower urinary tract disease is serious and requires immediate attention. This article is for people whose cats have recurring urinary issues but are not presently sick. 

If your cat has suffered from feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), you know it’s both painful for your cat and scary for you. FLUTD includes feline UTIs, crystals, bladder infections, and urethral blockages. These conditions all come with serious pain for your cat and are life-threatening without treatment. Feline urinary tract diseases are also commonly seen in otherwise healthy cats—the cat may be fine one day, and unable to urinate the next. Treatment usually involves inserting a catheter to remove blockages and an antibiotic prescription to treat any infection. Unfortunately, that’s rarely the end of it.

The recurrence rate of urinary tract disease is high. Many cats fall into a cycle of developing and redeveloping urinary tract infections and other complications—never seeming to be completely free from their condition. Even cats on veterinarian-prescribed diets designed to support urinary health keep getting sick.

That’s because there is a problem. There’s some misunderstanding about what makes good urinary support food and these misunderstandings are keeping our cats sick. Let’s find out what’s wrong with urinary tract food and what actually makes a good cat food for urinary tract health.

What makes a good cat food for urinary tract health?

Your veterinarian may tell you one thing while raw feeders, pet parents, and holistic practitioners on the internet tend to tell a completely different story. This overflow of information and advice can be overwhelming and confusing.  It’s easy to become paralyzed when you believe your cat’s wellbeing may be at risk. That’s completely understandable.

However, if your cat isn’t thriving on the vet-recommended food, don’t be afraid to try something different. Your cat’s health is what’s most important. This article won’t necessarily be an end to your search for urinary cat food, but it will help to give you a stronger understanding of what makes a good cat food for urinary tract health. If you’re still concerned about changing your cat’s diet, talk over the options with your vet. Not all vets hold the same opinions about cat food either, so it won’t hurt to get a second opinion.

Let’s start by breaking down the rules for urinary tract health cat food.

There are 3 fundamentals that make the best urinary tract health cat food.

1. Moisture is key to feline urinary tract health.

We cannot make this point plainer—the best food for your cat’s urinary health will be wet cat food. We’re talking 70% water content or more. A moisture-rich diet is essential to maintaining a healthy urinary tract. Our modern cats’ ancestors were desert-dwellers and evolved to sustain themselves in arid environments. Because they seldom had access to a refreshing stream, these early cats got most of their water from raw, juicy prey.

A single mouse is 65% to 80% water. So yes, that does mean cats drank mice more than water.

Cats still have naturally low thirst drives and get most of their hydration from meals. When you start forcing dry kibble on an animal that doesn’t naturally want to drink a lot of water, they can become chronically dehydrated. A dry-fed cat will drink water from a bowl (or dripping faucet!), but it’s not always enough.

Multiple studies have shown that there’s a correlation between the consumption of dry food and developing FLUTD. And when cats switch to wet food, recurrence rates go down.

Even a dry cat food that promises to encourage urinary tract health is ultimately to your cat’s detriment.

Any wet food is better than a prescription dry cat food.

Wet food includes:

  • Rehydrated freeze-dried raw food
  • Raw food (uncooked muscle meat, organs, and bones)
  • Canned food
  • Moist food in bags
  • Cooked homemade food
  • Homemade-style cooked food

In other words, anything besides extruded dry kibble. Regardless of the integrity of its ingredients, dry food is never an acceptable diet for cats.

2. The right pH balance is also important.

This one can be a little bit tricky: if your cat’s urinary pH is too high, your cat may develop struvite crystals, and if it’s too low, calcium oxalate crystals can grow.

Many prescription cat foods for urinary tract health are designed to promote a low urinary pH. This has come back to bite us and our cats. Calcium oxalate crystals were once extremely rare, but the popularity of foods that create a lower pH actually increased the occurrence of calcium oxalate crystals.

To achieve a healthy urinary tract pH, it’s a good idea to follow the guidelines set by your cat’s body. That means you should feed your cat as biologically-appropriate a diet as possible—and that means a diet as close to a whole mouse as you can get. For some, that means a homemade or commercial raw diet made of raw muscle meat, organs, and bones. If your cat is immune-compromised or a raw diet isn’t possible for you, the second best choice is a cooked food with a similar nutritional profile. Find a meat-based food free from or low in high-carbohydrate ingredients like grains and vegetables. 

3. Manage your cat’s minerals.

It’s a good idea to watch how much phosphorus and magnesium your cat gets in their diet. Both of these minerals are associated with the development of feline urinary tract health problems. One of the simplest ways to achieve this is to avoid feeding your cat fish-based foods. While fish can be a great treat from time to time, it isn’t a natural part of your cat’s diet and is ultimately not a great basis for their diet.

Now that we understand what makes a good urinary health cat food, let’s take a closer look at some of the best cat foods available.

The best urinary tract health cat food: Raw meat, organs, and bones

If possible, we recommend you try feeding your cat a raw meat diet. It’s the closest thing to your cat’s natural diet, and if prepared correctly, is appropriate for cats with feline urinary tract disease.

You have a few options:

  • Create Frankenprey by combining a balance of muscle meat, organs, bones, and supplements. The internet is full of reference material on raw feeding and raw cat food recipes, so if you do decide to try making homemade raw, you’re not alone. Here’s our quickstart guide to making raw cat food and printable PDF cat food recipe.
  • If you don’t want to mix up all of the supplements for your cat’s food and want to be sure it’s nutritionally complete, use a premix. These supplements are designed to make raw feeding simple – just mix them in with raw meat and serve.
  • Commercial freeze-dried raw cat food is a super-convenient choice if you want to feed your cat raw but don’t want the mess. Freeze-dried raw cat food can just be re-hydrated and served.
  • It’s more expensive than the other raw food options, but pre-made raw food is hassle-free and already nutritionally complete without supplementation. One of the simplest commercially available raw foods is Fegnion raw cat food.

Raw feeding does have drawbacks. It can be time-consuming to make homemade raw food and commercially prepared raw cat food is often expensive. While most cats have digestive tracts that are able to process the bacteria in raw meat, some people don’t like the idea of handling raw meat and exposing themselves to the bacteria that may be growing on it. Although it’s rare that anyone gets sick from handling raw pet food, it has happened—most likely due to unsanitary handling. If feeding raw cat food isn’t for you, don’t worry. There are still excellent canned cat foods available.

Here are our picks for the best urinary tract health cat foods on the market in 2019:

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Wysong Uretic Canned Cat Food

specifically formulated for cats with urinary issues

First 5 Ingredients : wysong uretic canned cat food single can

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

This is the only cat food on our list that is specifically designed to help maintain good feline urinary tract health. Wysong Uretic was formulated by a veterinarian and features a balance of micronutrients and nutraceuticals that that can promote urinary tract and immune system health. It is a moisture-rich canned food made with 95% meat content. – Check Wysong Uretic’s price on Amazon

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

NomNomNow Chicken Chow-Meow

a homemade-style subscription cat food

First 5 Ingredients :

Chicken Thigh, Breast, and Liver, Asparagus, Carrot, Spinach, Cantaloupe

NomNomNow is a great choice for people who would feed their cat homemade cat food, but who don’t have the time or desire to make it in their own kitchen. The cat food is available by subscription only and is delivered to your door once-a-week or once-a-month depending on which plan you choose. In addition to the fresh made-to-order cat food, your NomNomNow subscription comes with access to a team of pet nutrition experts ready to work with you and your cat’s special needs. This makes it excellent for cats with urinary issues. – Click here to get 30% off your first order of NomNomNow

Pros:

  • High in moisture
  • Primarily made from fresh, high-quality chicken meat and organs
  • Made in a human-grade facility
  • Free from chemical additives
  • Ships directly to your door according to a schedule that works for you

Cons:

  • Around 10% carbohydrate content is a bit higher than we’d like
  • Contains fruits and vegetables

Weruva Paw Lickin’ Chicken

simply moisture-rich shredded chicken

First 5 Ingredients:

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

Weruva Paw Lickin’ Chicken is grain-free and made with antibiotic free, additive free, cage-free chicken. The food is made in a human food facility—the food is so close to being simply chicken that you’ll want to try it yourself.

Weruva canned cat food is extremely moisture rich, which is key to preventing feline urinary tract disease. – Check Weruva’s price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Grain, GMO, MSG, carrageenan free
  • Cage-free chicken
  • Human grade ingredients
  • Very high moisture content

Cons:

  • Some cats refuse to try this food
  • Contains potato starch, likely as a thickener
  • Cats may gain weight on this diet

Lotus Cat Just Juicy Chicken Stew

super-juicy stew to prevent dehydration

First 5 Ingredients:

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

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. – Check Lotus Cat’s price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Lots of broth means lots of water to hydrate and flush out your cat’s system
  • Grain-free
  • Made in the USA

Cons:

  • Not every cat will like this food
  • Contains potato starch, likely as a thickener

Hound & Gatos Canned Cat Food

a biologically-appropriate meal for your carnivore

First 5 Ingredients:

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

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. – Check Hound & Gatos’ price on Amazon

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:

  • Some cats refuse to eat this food

Ziwi Peak Canned Cat Cuisine

single-protein canned food for sensitive cats

First 5 Ingredients:

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

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. – Check Ziwi Peak’s price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Single named 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

Do you want more information on choosing the best cat food?

It doesn’t matter if your cat has urinary issues or not—your cat’s diet is still key to their health. Educating yourself about feline nutrition and becoming literate in cat food ingredients is your job as a cat parent. Click the image below for a complete guide to choosing the best cat food on the market.

a complete guide to choosing the best cat food