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Cannot Afford Urinary Care Food, Looking For Alternatives

Discussion in 'Cat Nutrition' started by breve, Feb 5, 2019.

  1. breve

    breve Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

    Feb 5, 2019
    A few months ago my cat was suffering from kidney stones and a stricture in his urethra. They did a surgery to remove his gentiles so he could urinate, but he was put on Hill's Prescription Urinary Diet to take care of any future kidney stones. He was overweight, so the vet recommended on can per day. Half in the morning, half at night.

    He is much too thin now so I looked up on the Hill's website how much a cat of his size should eat. At his healthy weight, he is supposed to be 23 pounds. When he was overweight he was 31 pounds. He now weighs under 15 pounds.
    They recommend a cat that is 18 pounds eat 2 and 1/3 cans per day.
    That would be, on a 30 day calendar, 75 cans per month for my boy, as he would need 2 and 1/2 cans per day.

    I already pay about $50 a month for cat food, but if he needs to more than double his intake to be healthy, I would have to pay $150 a month for him to continue on this food. I'm a full time college student who isn't working. I can hardly afford the $50, but to think about $150 is an actual nightmare.

    He is 13 years old, I'm wondering if I could do anything else to keep him happy and healthy? I absolutely want the best for him, and I WILL pay the $150, but I could really use another solution if possible.

    Are there any other cat foods that would be safe for his diet? I am only feeding him wet food now, and I add water to it. I will continue to add water to his meals to ensure he is staying hydrated. I am also thinking about making his meals from scratch. I don't know what ingredients to use though, or if that wouldn't be safe for him.

    Purr-C would very much appreciate some dinner ideas! It is his favorite time day other than bed time cuddles.
    tarasgirl06 purraised this.

  2. FelisCatus

    FelisCatus RIP </3 Alpha Cat

    Dec 27, 2018
    Probably not the best idea so you should bring it up with your vet, but what about rotating cheaper wet food with the urinary diet food?
    Example: morning cheap food, dinner urinary food.
    tarasgirl06 and catsknowme purraised this.

  3. Kflowers

    Kflowers TCS Member Top Cat

    Jul 28, 2018
    One of my male cats (neutered) blocked at about age 9. He showed us something was wrong. We took him to the vet. They unblocked him, much to their surprise manually without surgery. Special diet was not possible at that time (the cats were fed twice a day, so were the humans, no one got lunch.) He continued eating the wet food, which was Friskies for the rest of his life. He lived to be 17 and died of, what I know believe was FIP, but was not known at the time. He never blocked again. This is merely one example.

    Whatever you feed him, you need to be alert and notice that he pees regularly. If you see him attempting and failing to pee or peeing many times then take him to the vet.
    ArchyCat, tarasgirl06 and catsknowme purraised this.

  4. Kieka

    Kieka Snowshoe Servant Staff Member Forum Helper

    Sep 6, 2016
    Southern California
    Most cats with kidney problems do well on a low phosphorus, wet diet. But you would want to partner with your vet to get him checked in a month or two to make sure the diet is agreeing with his system. Fancy Feast has some lower phosphorus options that can work on a budget. Fussie Cat is another one that while a little more than Fancy Feast is good on phosphorus and moisture. If you can afford it, I like the Fussie Cat a little bit more in terms of ingredients.

  5. Wile

    Wile Opener of cans Alpha Cat

    Aug 22, 2018
    I believe the Royal canin urinary s/o is slightly cheaper than the Hills c/d. Maybe that is a brand you could look into? Or maybe you could feed the cheaper kibble c/d to help you meet part of his caloric needs? Either way, you really need to feed your cat more. One can a day is what I would feed my 8lb cat. A 23lb cat really should be eating 3 cans a day of that diet.
    tarasgirl06, catsknowme and angels mommy purraised this.

  6. FeebysOwner

    FeebysOwner TCS Member Top Cat

    Jun 13, 2018
    Central FL (Born in OH)
    Or, try Purina Pro, which also has both canned and dry urinary care food. Don't know how much cheaper it is, but I believe it is less than either RC SO or Hill's C/D.
    DreamerRose, tarasgirl06, catsknowme and 2 others purraised this.

  7. lalagimp

    lalagimp TCS Member Top Cat

    Mar 7, 2017

  8. FeebysOwner

    FeebysOwner TCS Member Top Cat

    Jun 13, 2018
    Central FL (Born in OH)
    Forgot to mention a water fountain - many cats find it interesting and intriguing enough to drink more water, which obviously helps clear out the kidneys/bladder.
    tarasgirl06, catsknowme and Kflowers purraised this.

  9. mizzely

    mizzely TCS Member Super Cat

    Feb 17, 2017

  10. cheesycats

    cheesycats TCS Member Alpha Cat

    Jan 29, 2017
    Just a quick question, because I’ve never heard of this type of situation before other than large breed cats like pure bred mainecoons, but why is your cats healthy weight 23 lbs? That doesn’t sound healthy at all. An average domestic short haired male cat should be in the 10-12 lbs range to be considered lean and if he’s particularly big boned (I had a mainecoon mix at one point who was quite stout and big boned he weighed 14 at his leanest) he still shouldn’t be weighing over 15 lbs. I don’t know the situation or if the vet gave you the 23 lbs pound mark but I just have never heard or seen of a healthy 23 lbs pound cat. Expecially a senior and I’ve seen many cats in my day.
    I have a friend who was considering this type of operation because her cat has the same issues. I do believe she just has him on a mostly wet diet at this point. I know there are different types of urinary issues that do call for various phosphorous levels and what not but if the vet hasn’t set any limitations and is just strictly trying to prevent future stones then regular high moisture wet food should be just fine.
    tarasgirl06, catsknowme and m3rma1d purraised this.

  11. jen

    jen TCS Member Top Cat

    Dec 27, 2001
    Hudson, OH
    I too am curious about the weight. Is this in fact a purebred Maine Coon we are talking about? No other can that I can think of straight off is "healthy" at 23 lbs.... that would be morbidly obese in most cats.

    Anyway read through this site please Feeding Your Cat: Know the Basics of Feline Nutrition – Common Sense. Healthy Cats. as you will learn a wealth of information on feeding cats in general but she also gets into specific issues. Prescription foods are junk. Look at those ingredients! Ugh! Also overpriced. If you are going to pay a small fortune, it should be on healthy, meat heavy foods and low carbs and fillers. Also with kidney disease this is a great site Tanya's Comprehensive Guide to Feline Chronic Kidney Disease - Everything You Need to Know to Help Your Cat

    Kidney cats, urinary issue cats, male cats, overweight cats should all be on a canned diet only which it sounds like your vet recommended. No dry. At all. At his weight you are risking diabetes also so you want low carb and low phosphorus canned food. The first link I shared here has a food chart with many of the popular brands (the list is a few years old so the best spankin new foods aren't on there) and lists their protein/fat/carb/phosphorus and also calorie content. Please take some time to read through these sites. Really that goes for everyone, catinfo.org is incredible for learning what to properly feed cats. Sure many live long lives on dry kibble crap but that is not what they are intended to be eating and what they thrive on.
    calico man, tarasgirl06 and catsknowme purraised this.

  12. Willowy

    Willowy TCS Member Top Cat

    Mar 1, 2009
    South Dakota
    Can you see his ribs and hip bones? Does he feel boney and skeletal? If he really is 7 pounds underweight he'd look pretty bad. Can you post a picture? He definitely lost weight too quickly, but now that it's already happened, he may be at a healthy weight now.

    I've heard good things about Pro Plan urinary care food. If he's already had the surgery he's at low risk for blocking again, so he may be able to get by on any wet food I wouldn't risk dry food at all). It's best to ask your vet but they may not be able to recommend anything non-prescription for legal reasons.

  13. breve

    breve Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

    Feb 5, 2019
    Update : I am getting a lot of feedback on how large he is, he is fine, he really just is big. People are truly shocked when the come to my house and see him. I have no idea what kind of cat he is, we found him under a dumpster as a kitten. His sister (the only other kitten) was tiny and today only weights six? seven pounds maybe?

    He is an anomaly, the vets are all also astonished by him but they don't think his weird massive body is a problem. It was only a problem when he got overweight from switching him to an indoor cat. He gained eight pounds and was very obese. He is much much much too thin now, but again, I'm changing his diet against what the vet said because I think they were giving me advice for a cat of a smaller stature and he can no longer be sustained on this.

    I am just concerned about the price of food. I'm now feeding him more because I can see his hip bones are protruding too much. His fur covers his ribs, so I can't visually count them but it he is very thin now.

    He is now eating two and half cans per day.
    ArchyCat, tarasgirl06, catsknowme and 2 others purraised this.

  14. jen

    jen TCS Member Top Cat

    Dec 27, 2001
    Hudson, OH
    I would love to see pictures of him! He sounds like a beast! In a good way!
    tarasgirl06, catsknowme and angels mommy purraised this.

  15. vyger

    vyger TCS Member Alpha Cat

    Jun 24, 2017
    Northeast Montana
    That Hills food is very expensive, I had to use it once for one of my cats. But it is also prescription and you can only get it with a script from a vet, which is one reason it is so expensive. In the case of my cat I only used it for a month, until the bag ran out. My vet said it was all that he would need, enough to clear out any crystals. The vet said it's not good for them to be on a regular diet of the stuff if they don't need it. Once the problem was resolved it was discontinued. It is not supposed to be for preventive care unless there are indications that the problem is still there, that they still have crystals. Once it is cured, they can go on other foods such as the ones mentioned for prevention of the problem coming back. I actually asked for a second bag of the Hills food to give my cat some like once a week and the vet said no. It can actually be harmful to a cat that doesn't need it. I would get a second opinion, maybe even write to the company about it. They should have all kinds of information on it since it is prescription food. Likely they have a flyer or leaflet for it like what meds for people have. This could be part of the reason your cat lost so much weight, a regular diet of that food may not be good for him.
    tarasgirl06, catsknowme and Kflowers purraised this.

  16. FeralHearts

    FeralHearts TCS Member Alpha Cat

    Jul 4, 2018
    This is a great picture I took at the vets about a month ago to help me with Mia - who is a bit too chubby atm. I hope it helps.


    Also ask your vet about this:

    Charlie, my boy just went through a boatloads of medication for 8 weeks for a bladder /kidney infection, the vet recommended the UroMAXX. I really think it helped a lot. That one bottle should last one cat 3 months, or a bit more.
    basscat and tarasgirl06 purraised this.

  17. di and bob

    di and bob TCS Member Top Cat

    Dec 12, 2012
    Nebraska, USA
    There are several products out there to research and ask your vet about, I found a liquid that helped with stone formation, etc. on Amazon. Just make sure it is for cats. There is a tube, like the hairball medicine available at Tractor Supply and most likely many pet stores. That way you could feed him regular food. The main thing is to definitely entice him to drink. I set many small bowls of water around the house, changing their location once in a while, because as you know cats can't resist looking into a bowl. A fountain can really help too, it makes them curious because of the running water and tehy drink a lot more.
    tarasgirl06, catsknowme and angels mommy purraised this.

  18. Talien

    Talien TCS Member Super Cat

    Oct 10, 2018
    He sounds like an interesting Cat. If 23 LB really is his ideal weight I'd also like to see pictures, I've heard of very large Cats but I've just never seen one myself.

    In addition to what @jen posted this is another site with a lot of info on diet and such for Cats, and if you're seriously considering making his food at home it has a wealth of information on that subject.

    tarasgirl06 and catsknowme purraised this.

  19. angels mommy

    angels mommy TCS Member Top Cat

    Nov 5, 2011
    Yes, Daves is great! I originally found it here at a natural pet food store. After Angel had a few bouts of cystitis, (stervite) & had to be on Rx food. My vet knew I hated the crapy ingredients in the Rx foods, so out of the 3 urinary formulas they had, she told me the Purina SO UR, was the least of evils, so to speak. We did that for a yr, then I looked for & found the Dave's. I took it to my vet to look at, she said it looked good, did an ultrasound 3 wks after being on it, & still no signs of any crystals! Angel ate that with no problems for the rest of his life. I was so happy w/ it, I emailed the company, & Dave himself emailed me back. Very nice, small company, doing it to help pets!
    Anyway, if you can afford Daves, I highly recommend it. Back then it cost the same as the Rx food at 1.49/ can. Not sure what it may be now. I understand the financial struggle. I have been there, but I knew it was still better & much less expensive than a surgery, as a preventative, & in your case, long term care, to avoid any more future issues, & discomfort or pain.
    I hope that helped. :)
    tarasgirl06 and catsknowme purraised this.

  20. tarasgirl06

    tarasgirl06 TCS Member Top Cat

    Sep 19, 2006
    Glendale, California
    Hello @breve and beloved cat, and welcome to TCS! Other posters have made wonderful suggestions, but just to put my 20c in, I give my male cat, who has had urinary troubles a couple of times, a daily tablet from drsfostersmith.com called CranHealth Tablets. It's chicken flavored. I grind it up with a mortar & pestle and mix it in his morning food (I feed my three cats high quality wet foods 3 times a day). I also have a basic Drinkwell cat fountain which can also be bought from Drs. Foster & Smith. You clean it weekly and change the filters as needed. It has encouraged my cats to drink more water. I also have several bowls of water around their feeding areas.
    One of my cats some years back was diagnosed with dry-form FIP and his vet wanted to put him on an Rx diet, but he wouldn't eat it (I don't blame him!) and so I started buying the higher quality foods instead of the popular ones. I have bought them ever since. They are expensive, but they maintain my cats in good health and so they do not have to go to the vet all the time, which means savings.
    Personally, I'm not a fan of Hill's foods, many of which contain pork, an inferior protein which I would never buy. On your current budget, perhaps the Fancy Feast and ProPlan foods would be affordable? I feed a variety of foods including Blue Buffalo, Soulistic, and Drs. Foster & Smith's house brand, which is excellent and very affordable. The sad thing is that Drs. Foster & Smith is closing on Feb. 19th. The company was bought by Petco in 2015, but I do not know at this point whether Petco will offer this brand or not. If you are interested, I would jump on it right away to order some at drsfostersmith.com. The company was started by two veterinarians and we have been extremely happy customers almost since they started. VERY sorry to see them go.
    Please keep us informed on how your guy is doing, won't you? And yes, pix would be great if you could post some.

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