What ingredient in cat food causes crystals in urine? Many cat owners experience a period when their cats begin to urinate frequently and develop crystals in the urine. If these changes have occurred recently (within one to two days), you may want to have your cat checked by your veterinarian for a urinary tract infection or other diseases.
Most of the time, however, changes in the frequency and appearance of urine occur gradually over several days or weeks. Eventually, small crystals appear in the clumps of dried urine. These crystals are typically white or milky colored.
Crystals are molecules that have grown unusually large, often hundreds or even thousands of times larger than before the crystal began to grow. As these “extra-large” molecules bump into each other, a crystal begins to form.
Some crystals in your cat’s urine are unimportant and can be ignored. The important thing is to know why your cat has developed the crystals, so you can treat the underlying cause and prevent further recurrences.
Table of Contents
What ingredient in cat food causes crystals in urine?
The primary cause of uroliths (also called crystals in cats) is an ingredient found in certain cat food brands.
Many veterinarians have suggested that urinary tract infections (commonly known as UTIs) primarily cause crystals in cats. However, the fact is that 85% to 90% of all crystals in urine come from the cat’s diet.
Diets in the urine usually contain magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium. These three minerals are the most common food sources of crystals found in the urine.
While it is true that all these ingredients increase the risk of your cat developing crystals in the urine, it is also true that 30% of cats never develop a UTI ever again after being diagnosed and treated for urinary crystals.
If a cat owner chooses to treat a UTI, the treatment prescribed by their veterinarian will almost always be an antibiotic such as doxycycline or cephalexin.
Some cat foods contain glycosaminoglycans . These carbohydrates bind to the bladder walls and prevent crystals from forming. The best brand of food that contains these urolith inhibitors is Hill’s C/D.
Suppose your cat develops crystals in their urine. In that case, it is important to discuss with your veterinarian the possibility that the cat food you have been using may be causing the problem.
Most veterinarians will test the urine for magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium and prescribe a diet low in these ingredients.
This will often alleviate the symptoms quickly, although some cats who have had crystals for a long time may require further treatment for the crystals to be dissolved.
What Causes Crystals In Cat Urine?
The crystals that form in cat urine are a harmless collection of biochemicals.
They can be caused by dietary factors and stress, which cause an increase in the pH level within the urinary tract. Crystals in cat urine can cause the formation of stones or sand-like sediment, most commonly passed from the body during urination.
The materials that lead to crystals in cat urine include:
➣ High concentrations of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, or nitrogen compounds (high levels of these compounds are high-risk factors for their development).
➣ Structural components in calcium and other mineral compounds, such as bladder stones, worm eggs, and dead white blood cells (such as renal failure).
➣ Changes in pH levels can also cause crystals to form when implanted into the urinary tract.
➣ Grains, fruits, vegetables, or other animal sources of phosphorus (such as bone meal) can supply too much phosphorus and cause excessive amounts of dead cells to decay in the urine, resulting in decreased pH and crystal formation.
In cats with high blood uric acid levels diagnosed with hyperuricosuria (hyperuricemia), stress can develop crystals. This can result in the formation of bladder stones.
This condition is also known as “idiopathic cystitis.” It is a term used to describe the disease in which cats develop urinary tract crystals without any signs of an infection or exposure to crystals.
3 Steps for Maintaining Your Cat’s Urinary Health
Clean Your Cat’s Urine Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are very common in cats. Most of the time, the infection is easily treated with antibiotics. However, sometimes the urinary tract builds up to be too fragile for antibiotics to clear up the infection. This can be a problem for cats’ kidneys and other organs.
To prevent further damage to your cat’s urinary tract, clean their urine regularly and maintain a healthy diet.
Follow these 3 steps to maintain your cat’s urinary health:
1. Clean Your Cat’s Urine
Urinary tract infections are just as common in cats as in dogs. However, because cat urine is less acidic than dog urine, the urinary tract has a harder time clearing itself of bacteria.
If you’ve dealt with a UTI in the past, you know that it can be very painful for your cat to urinate or defecate. To prevent your cat from dealing with further UTIs, you will want to clean its urine regularly and monitor its diet.
While the litter box is a wonderful place to satisfy your cat’s need to urinate or defecate, it should be cleaned every day so that the area is free of bacteria or other substances.
When it comes time to clean the litter box, remove any particles larger than a grain of sand. Be sure to clean the entire litter box and scrub it with a natural-bristle toothbrush to remove any odor.
2. Feed Your Cat a Low-Protein, High-Water Diet
While every cat is different, most cats are susceptible to developing urinary crystals if fed a diet high in phosphorus and calcium.
When the dietary calcium levels have been too high, their bodies will increase the phosphorous level in their urine to compensate for the imbalance of minerals.
This can result in some problems, including urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and the formation of crystals.
To prevent your cat from developing a UTI and eliminate the risk of crystals in their urine, feed them a diet high in water and low in phosphorus.
You can use a urinary water indicator to ensure they are receiving enough water in their diet. These additives to a cat’s food help their bodies get hydrated more easily.
3. Reduce Your Cat’s Environmental Stress
While it might not be possible to eliminate your cat’s stress level, you can try to reduce its environmental stressors.
Keeping your cat indoors can help limit its exposure to the many germs and viruses outside the home.
When you know your cat is exposed to these harmful agents, please do what you can to protect them by keeping them inside.
Bright lights, loud noises, and high-traffic areas are also very stressful for cats. If they are forced to spend a lot of time in these areas, they will be more likely to develop other health problems, such as urinary tract infections.
How To Help Your Cat Fight Foods That Cause Crystals In Cat Urine?
One of the most common causes of crystal formation in cats is the consumption of high-protein, low-water diets.
Many cat owners feed their cats a diet high in protein and low in the water at the same time. This can lead to some health problems, including crystals from baking soda.
The addition of baking soda to your cat’s food can cause the urine to become more alkaline. When the urine becomes too alkaline, it creates an environment for crystals to form.
If you are feeding your cat a high-protein diet, you may want to try switching their food to one that is lower in protein and high in water.
This can be difficult since many of these foods are filled with other ingredients, leading to health problems.
If you want to keep feeding your cat a high-protein diet, you will want to consider using a urinary water indicator.
These additives to your cat’s food help their bodies get more hydrated, which in turn helps them avoid the risk of crystal formation.
Before adding one of these indicators to your cat’s food, it is important to note that they should not be fed to cats with kidney or liver problems.
How to dissolve struvite crystals in cats naturally?
Utilizing the right approach concerning your cat can help you find a solution to dissolve struvite crystals naturally.
Struvite is an oxalate-based crystal found in many bacteria and other pathogens. It’s also found in some types of diapers and urine, as well as the urine of people suffering from urinary tract infections.
If struvite crystals are present in a cat’s urine, the first thing you may have to do is a urine test to find out more about the crystal’s size. If it is a large crystal, you can do what is known as cat calculus.
This process involves using a piece of sandpaper to rub against the side of the stone until it falls away from the stone.
However, if your cat has smaller crystals, another option can also work. You’ll need to mix warm water with an equal amount of vinegar.
Some people who have used this method have found that a bit of a smell comes from the mixture. You can mask the odor using a small amount of vanilla extract.
You should bathe your cat with this mixture for about 20 minutes, then let them dry out for several days to ensure that all traces of the crystals are gone.
How to treat crystal in a cat’s urine?
You should always give your cat extra love and attention while going through this. The more that you love, cuddle, and play with them, the faster they will be able to recover.
Treating a cat at home during the entire process of bladder infections can also speed recovery time by ensuring that your kitty remains well-groomed and nourished. There are different types of crystals found in a cat’s urinary tract.
Some common crystals include struvite, urate, cystine, and cystine-sulfate. Struvite crystals are most often found in cats suffering from UTIs. These crystals can cause some problems, including kidney stones.
If you notice struvite crystal deposits in your cat’s urine, there are two ways that you could solve the problem.
One way is gently extracting the deposit with a vet-prescribed extraction tool or cat calculus device. The other way is to try a natural solution that your vet might recommend. With this method, you will have to take some steps to remove the crystals from your cat’s bladder.
First, you must soak a cotton ball with warm vinegar and apply it directly to the crystals. You’ll also need to sprinkle colloidal silver on the cotton ball, so it can gently pull out the crystal deposits from your cat’s urinary tract.
After about 20 to 30 minutes, the bladder should be flushed out with warm water. This method aims to break up the crystals so that your cat’s body can naturally begin dissolving them.
How long does it take for struvite crystals to dissolve naturally?
It’s actually not uncommon for the crystals in a cat’s system to take a few weeks or sometimes longer to dissolve completely.
Sometimes, it can take up to a few months for them to fully clear out of your cat’s system. If you notice that your cat is suffering from UTIs, you might consider using a natural treatment method.
Your vet may recommend a number of things that you can try at home and follow the instructions carefully.
If the crystals do not dissolve naturally, this could lead to more serious problems, including bladder stones.
Can cats die from crystals?
Yes, your cat may die from inflammation in the urinary tract if the crystals do not resolve independently.
The bladder can become completely blocked, which will cause your cat to get infections and die from the pain. It would be best if you never let your cat suffer from a UTI without getting treatment for them.
This is especially true since it can be easy to treat crystal-induced UTIs with natural remedies you may find at home or in your local pet supply store. Your cat should see a specialist quickly if it has serious crystal issues.
How to prevent crystal in cat’s urine?
The only way to prevent crystal from getting into your cat’s urinary tract is to ensure they don’t have an infection.
This is especially true for cats that may be prone to these types of infections and for those who are at an increased risk.
For instance, you may want to look for a few symptoms that indicate that your cat has crystals.
- These symptoms include:
- Urinating outside of the litter box
- Straining while they urinate
- Blood in the urine
- Pain while they urinate
Other cats that may be prone to UTIs include those who have diabetes, have kidney disease, or are elderly. You can help prevent these issues by keeping on top of your cat’s health care and ensuring they get plenty of good nutrition.
Struvite crystals in a cat’s urine are most often related to urinary tract infections. Although these crystals are better treated naturally with the right approach, you should still make sure that your cat gets treatment and care if there are visible symptoms of UTIs.
If you have many cats in your household, it may be a good idea to perform a veterinary test to check for struvite crystal deposits in each cat’s system.
I hope that you learned something new from this article. I’m sure you’ll find these tips helpful, and your cat will be much better off reading them. Cheers!
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about crystals in cat urine. This can be done by private email or through the comment section below. Thank you for reading this article!
Hi there! My name is Koushik; I am a cat lover. I specialize in writing about pet care & food. I have a wealth of knowledge on cat food niches and related subjects. I have worked in the pet industry for over 5 years and am passionate about helping cat owners provide the best care for their furry friends. With knowledge of cat food and nutrition, I aim to share their insights and help cat owners navigate the world of cat food niches. I enjoy playing with my two cats, reading, and exploring new cat food brands in my free time.