Iams Cat Food and Cystitis
Veterinarians don’t know the specific cause of urinary cystitis in cats. Early neutering in males and feeding a cat dry food have both been blamed, but there is no conclusive evidence that these are responsible. A type of herpes virus has also been blamed, but research does not currently point to a specific cause. A diet high in dry cat food does seem to make the problem worse after it has begun.
Cats with cystitis often suffer from discomfort when using the litter box and may have blood in their urine. They also often urinate more frequently than healthy cats and may urinate outside the litter box. If the problem is not treated, females may develop large bladder stones, which require surgical removal. Males may develop crystalline obstructions in the urethra–the tube that carries urine out of the body. This obstruction can cause kidney failure in only a few days.
Cats that have serious urinary cystitis symptoms may require surgery to remove obstructions or bladder stones. Cats without obstructions can often be treated with medication. Your vet will do a urinalysis to determine the pH of the cat’s urine, the type and size of crystals present in the urine, and other factors. The exact medication prescribed depends on the urinalysis results.
You can discourage heavy buildup of crystals and dissolution of existing crystals by feeding your cat an appropriate diet. Choose a diet that encourages acidic urine, which dissolves urinary crystals before they can become a problem. Iams produces dry and canned diets meant to maintain a low pH. These diets use refined chicken as a protein and provide high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids. These formulas are low in magnesium, another substance known to encourage crystal formation.
Dehydration increases the chance of crystal formation in the urine. To reduce the chance of a problem make sure your cat has access to a source of clean, fresh water at all times. An automatic circulating water bowl or a larger dish may help encourage your cat to drink. Providing wet cat food in addition to dry can also encourage proper hydration and reduce symptoms.