I was given your name by a friend who has utmost respect for all that you do. My 13 year-old male cat is experiencing crystals in his urine which was shown to me by a vet, and, obviously I am thinking, in his urinary tract. The vet suggested canned S/D Science Diet, which he will sometimes eat, for he prefers chasing and eating lizards in our yard. (It is Phoenix!) My friend suggested a raw food diet and referred me to your nomorevetbills site; however, there are not specifics on the feeding, ie. the gradual introduction of raw meat into their feeding. Any suggestions/advice? Starting instructions? A book? I would appreciate any feedback. Thank you.
Thanks for your question. Crystals in the urine can only come from one place, and that’s from the food that an animal is fed. They cannot form simply from the fluids and chemicals that are naturally present in the body. So when a cat is suspected to have this condition, there is nothing to do except change the diet. Vets and their partners in the commercial food industry have invented foods that will make this particular condition less likely because they contain fewer of the ingredients known to cause it. However, these foods cause other diseases. When trying to prevent one disease, it’s not necessary to do things that cause others. So much cat and dog disease is directly attributable to what they are fed that it can accurately be said that proper feeding prevents virtually all illness, most certainly including urinary crystals. Therefore, I recommend that you begin feeding foods that digest cleanly and leave no inordinate waste to accumulate and cause disease.
That your cat is 13 years old puts you at a disadvantage from several aspects. One, disease has been forming in his body for a very long time, which means it is well established and vital organs will already be functioning at a suboptimal level; two, he has less of his original vitality with which to reverse disease than a young cat would; and lastly, older cats tend to get very set in their dietary ways and can be difficult to transition. You can’t do anything about his age obviously but his hunting habits may give you an edge in transitioning him if he has been eating his kills, because this will have kept him acquainted with his natural diet.
I would recommend ordering my feeding ebook as this will tell you the truth about commercial pet food so you will not be influenced by marketing propaganda intent on selling you some anti-crystal formation food, etc. The booklet is mostly about dogs and dogs and cats do have different dietary needs. However, the learning curve for feeding cats is lower because they are simply strict carnivores. They eat very few plant foods. My cat will eat a couple bites of avocado and melon, but other than that he eats all meat, and this is typical. The booklet will also give you an overview of disease in general, and how proper feeding prevents and reverses it.
Cats are more difficult to transition than dogs, particular older cats. I have a two-page list of tips for transitioning cats that was compiled from information gathered from people who have transitioned lots of them. I’d be happy to send it to you, or to anyone who is interested. I’m also available for private consultation if you need hand-holding. Apart from that, I highly recommend that you know what your cat is eating, which means if there’s a chance he can get his paws on commercial kibble anywhere in your neighborhood, you’ll need to keep him in. The wild foods he might eat are of no concern, but kibble could be deadly to him. If you doubt this, please read the article I wrote about my dear cat Herbie, who died of a ruptured bladder because a neighbor was feeding him kibble without my knowledge. I encourage raw feeding cat owners to ask their neighbors to not put cat food out. I’ve done that, and I even put a tag on my new cat that says “Please don’t feed me”.
Good luck and please let me know if I can be of assistance.