New to raw - Is my cat's calcium intake too high?

my_money_pit

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Hi,

The vet tested my cat's pee and it turned out alkaline with a 7.5pH. I started looking if the raw food is the one that is making his pH level reach 7.5.

He is mainly fed BCR, we have 3 mixes Pork + Rabbit - Pure Duck and Turkey Salmon Lamb.

He is 4.96kg so he gets around 110 grams of food per day.

The package of the Pork + Rabbit says that in 100 grams of food makes 160kcal which contains a min of 0.6% calcium (0.6grams). But on the chart they provide on their website, they say that the food contains 6.8 grams of calcium in 1000Kcal.

So, based on that, there is 1.08 grams of calcium in 160kcal and not 0.6 grams like they claim on the package. 1.08 grams that's 1.08% in 100 grams and not 0.6grams.

Here is a resume

Package:
100 grams -> 160 KCAL -> min 0.6% calcium

Chart:
1000 KCAL -> 6.8 grams calcium

This bring us to conclude that 160kcal -> 1.08g calcium -> 1.08% calcium in 100 grams.

So I am feeding him 1.08 grams of calcium a day in 110 grams of food which, from my understanding is above the requirements.

Can someone clarify if I am over feeding him calcium and thus leading to UTI. We are trying to figure out if the UTI is coming from food or from the stress.



thank you!
 

Jabzilla

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Hey there,
I dont know about the urine PH information, but I do know about BCR food. My cat eats their food occasionally. I dont give it to him all the time because their recipes are indeed high in calcium. Whether its high enough to give your cat crystals, I'm not sure, but if you're worried about that then I would try reducing the BCR and feeding him some boneless homemade food with it. Having a lot of calcium is one of the main draw backs of feeding commercial raw, rather than making the food yourself. It's great for emergencies or intermittent feeding, but I wouldn't have the diet be entirely BCR.
 

Jabzilla

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Sorry, I misread your post. UTI's are caused by bacteria, rather than crystals. He shouldn't be getting that from his food. If it's stress related, then it's likely stress induced cystitis. But actual urinary track infections are from a bacterial infection, usually E Coli. Crystals and stones can irritate the bladder, resulting in similar reluctance to pee, painful urination, peeing outside the box, etc. Does your cat's urinalysis show a bacterial infection or is it free of bacteria, sediment, crystals, etc? If it's the latter, then it sounds like stress.

Either way though, Big Country Raw food is indeed high in calcium.
 
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my_money_pit

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Sorry, I misread your post. UTI's are caused by bacteria, rather than crystals. He shouldn't be getting that from his food. If it's stress related, then it's likely stress induced cystitis. But actual urinary track infections are from a bacterial infection, usually E Coli. Crystals and stones can irritate the bladder, resulting in similar reluctance to pee, painful urination, peeing outside the box, etc. Does your cat's urinalysis show a bacterial infection or is it free of bacteria, sediment, crystals, etc? If it's the latter, then it sounds like stress.

Either way though, Big Country Raw food is indeed high in calcium.
The results of his urine analysis are not clear and certain about the presence of a bacteria. It says "doubt about bacteria in the background, but some intracellular bacteria". His urine is pale yellow, cloudy but has no odor. From what I read, if it was an e coli infection, his urine would have smelled bad but that's not the case.

The vet is aware that he eats raw and both vets that we saw didn't mention a possible e coli infection.

For the crystals part, the analysis says "a few rare unidentifiable fragments" so they are not sure about that. Also, they didn't put him on special food which means that they are either not certain if he has crystals or he doesn't have crystals.

I think this round of antibiotics will get rid of the infection. The issue was that the first vet we saw two weeks ago, gave him antibiotics but she said she doesn't recommend anti inflammatory pills. When we went back to the vet at another clinic this week, she did an ultrasound which revealed that his bladder is infected. She said this might have led to the antibiotics not being able to reach and kill all the bacteria. His bladder was wavy so the infection was hiding there. Also, the first treatment was only for 7 days but this one is going to be a longer one with a higher dose of antibiotics + anti inflammatory + pain killers.

I am switching him off BCR. I am very disappointed by the misinformation on their packaging. When a customer is in a store, they only have access to the info written on the package which says min. 0.6%. They are playing with the health of cats which is very shady. I am going to contact them and demand a compensation for the food I have already bought.


Thank you for your input!
 

FeebysOwner

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I can't speak to the raw food/calcium, but I can tell you that a urinalysis should have shown sediment/crystals. Never heard of even the most basic urine tests calling anything 'unidentifiable fragments' - to me, that means sediment at a minimum. Crystals can also lead to a UTI, ust as easily as bacteria. The crystals usually mean an improper PH balance in the urine, and various minerals, including calcium, can more easily form into crystals when the PH is out of balance, especially if the food contains high levels of those minerals. Crystals can irritate the bladder lining leading to inflammation that can go on to develop into an infection.

I will also say that any time bacteria are identified in a cat's urine, a urine culture/sensitivity test should be done to determine what type of bacterium is involved and what antibiotics the bacterium is most sensitive to, so that the best one is chosen in attempt to eradicate the infection.

Btw, e-coli bacteria in the urine does NOT have to smell. My cat has had numerous e-coli infections, and her urine never smelled any differently. I also would not have known it was e-coli without the urine culture.
 
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my_money_pit

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I can't speak to the raw food/calcium, but I can tell you that a urinalysis should have shown sediment/crystals. Never heard of even the most basic urine tests calling anything 'unidentifiable fragments' - to me, that means sediment at a minimum. Crystals can also lead to a UTI, ust as easily as bacteria. The crystals usually mean an improper PH balance in the urine, and various minerals, including calcium, can more easily form into crystals when the PH is out of balance, especially if the food contains high levels of those minerals. Crystals can irritate the bladder lining leading to inflammation that can go on to develop into an infection.

I will also say that any time bacteria are identified in a cat's urine, a urine culture/sensitivity test should be done to determine what type of bacterium is involved and what antibiotics the bacterium is most sensitive to, so that the best one is chosen in attempt to eradicate the infection.

Btw, e-coli bacteria in the urine does NOT have to smell. My cat has had numerous e-coli infections, and her urine never smelled any differently. I also would not have known it was e-coli without the urine culture.
The vet suggested a urine culture for an additional cost and it's not done on site so it will take couple of days before we get the results. To avoid the extra cost, we went with the same antibiotics but for a longer period and a higher dose.
Hopefully this will clear the infection. I am taking him off raw food for now since it could be either e coli or high calcium.

thank you for all the information you shared!
 

FeebysOwner

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The vet suggested a urine culture for an additional cost and it's not done on site so it will take couple of days before we get the results.
Urine cultures are more expensive because a lab must be used to attempt to grow the bacteria in order to determine its nature. It usually takes about 3 days for growth to be allowed to occur. They are definitely not cheap, but at least one can appreciate the reasoning behind the cost.

I hope the same antibiotic but for a longer period of time does the trick!!!
 

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It's a little hard to second guess your vet with partial information, but I'm following this conversation with interest because it's very similar to what happened to my two cats. I discovered it when one of them turned up with blood in his urine and was found to have a bladder full of stones which required emergency surgery. it was the same thing, persistently high urine pH with no discernable cause except for the commercial raw food they were getting, which I later found consisted of almost 20% bone. What's "BCR"?? Not familiar with that one.

It's possible they had kidney infections. They never had any evidence of a bacterial infection in their urine. But, when one of them was found to have high blood pressure and got a cardiac and renal ultrasound, the vet was puzzled by the results. Said it wasn't typical of early renal failure. She decided to try a course of antibiotics specifically for that (not the usual cystitis treatment). One of my cats responded by becoming much more active and playful. I haven't yet had them re-tested (will bring them in next month). Meanwhile, I keep Pretty Litter in one of the litter boxes to watch for recurrence of high pH. I also supplement their homemade food with methionine powder. And of course, I won't use any commercial raw food that I suspect is too high in bone, which is to say just about all of them.

If there are no other clinical signs apart from the high pH, my first instinct would be to repeat the urine test. Lab errors happen all the time. Also I think you'd want to confirm or rule out the presence of crystals. If your cat has high pH and crystals, you will need to do something diet-wise - urgently. If feeding a urinary diet like Royal Canin or Forza isn't in the cards, you could try my approach of homemade raw food from boneless grinds or meat chunks with EZ Complete added, plus methionine. I did that because my cats refused to switch to canned food, they've been fed raw all their lives and just would not accept the change.
 

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BCR is Big Country Raw. They're a Canadian raw pet food company. They make some blends that are supposed to be formulated for cats called Fare Game. Their Fare Game ones are better in terms of calcium than their other food, which is the standard 80/10/10 for dogs, but it's still higher in bone than it needs to be.

I also second the idea of using something like EZ Complete or Alnutrin for the OP. That will enable you to continue feeding your cats fresh raw food without having to worry about them getting too much bone. Plus those premixes are very easy to use. I would use EZ Complete myself if it didn't contain chicken protein, which one of my cats cant have. When I do feed my cats BCR food, I incorporate it into the formulation sheet that I use for putting together weekly batches. That way I can see how much calcium, among all of the other vitamins, minerals, etc are going into the batch from the commercial food and add my own meats and organs to meet all of the nutritional requirements. Even then though, my cats still dont get commercial raw food for every meal of every day when adding it into their homemade rotation. At most, they'll have it for one out of three meals every other day.

It's ridiculous that these companies load up on bone and veggies just to save money. I'm glad they aren't the only option for raw feeding!
 
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my_money_pit

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It's a little hard to second guess your vet with partial information, but I'm following this conversation with interest because it's very similar to what happened to my two cats. I discovered it when one of them turned up with blood in his urine and was found to have a bladder full of stones which required emergency surgery. it was the same thing, persistently high urine pH with no discernable cause except for the commercial raw food they were getting, which I later found consisted of almost 20% bone. What's "BCR"?? Not familiar with that one.

It's possible they had kidney infections. They never had any evidence of a bacterial infection in their urine. But, when one of them was found to have high blood pressure and got a cardiac and renal ultrasound, the vet was puzzled by the results. Said it wasn't typical of early renal failure. She decided to try a course of antibiotics specifically for that (not the usual cystitis treatment). One of my cats responded by becoming much more active and playful. I haven't yet had them re-tested (will bring them in next month). Meanwhile, I keep Pretty Litter in one of the litter boxes to watch for recurrence of high pH. I also supplement their homemade food with methionine powder. And of course, I won't use any commercial raw food that I suspect is too high in bone, which is to say just about all of them.

If there are no other clinical signs apart from the high pH, my first instinct would be to repeat the urine test. Lab errors happen all the time. Also I think you'd want to confirm or rule out the presence of crystals. If your cat has high pH and crystals, you will need to do something diet-wise - urgently. If feeding a urinary diet like Royal Canin or Forza isn't in the cards, you could try my approach of homemade raw food from boneless grinds or meat chunks with EZ Complete added, plus methionine. I did that because my cats refused to switch to canned food, they've been fed raw all their lives and just would not accept the change.
Thank you both for your inputs. I ordered a sample from TC Feline which is similar to EZ complete. He had two urine tests and they both showed the same thing. He is on antibiotics and pain killers until tomorrow. When we started the second round of antibiotics, he showed signs of improvements within 24 hours. I think the issue with the first round of antibiotics is that the vet at the emergency clinic didn't recommend anti inflammatory which why the antibiotics were not working at 100%.
He will be getting a blood test after a week of being on homemade food and 4 weeks after that to figure out if the homemade food is good for him and his kidneys were not affected by the UTI.
 
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my_money_pit

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Urine cultures are more expensive because a lab must be used to attempt to grow the bacteria in order to determine its nature. It usually takes about 3 days for growth to be allowed to occur. They are definitely not cheap, but at least one can appreciate the reasoning behind the cost.

I hope the same antibiotic but for a longer period of time does the trick!!!
So things went back to zero again. The antibiotics worked but sadly he had a very stressful interaction with another cat (now that cat found another home forever). 10-12 hours after the cat fight he went back to peeing blood and straining.
We will be going to the vet soon but I want to be prepared. How can the vet tell if all this is due to stress and put him on stress relief? Both my cat and I can't handle the stress of UTI anymore if all this is due to stress. I feel like I should always be educated on every aspect before going to the vet.
BTW this time, I will ask for a urine culture but I won't be asking for an xray since he most probably will be getting an anti inflammatory pill.
Anything I should know or I should ask the vet during our visit?

Thank you in advance!!
 

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In many, but not all, cases there isn't any bacteria or crystals that show up in the urine if it is FIC (feline idiopathic cystitis). It is believed that the inflammation is derived from stress/anxiety. That is not to say that a cat cannot experience a UTI along with or as a result of cystitis if it it goes on long enough.

So, if no bacteria are seen in the urinalysis, but there are other UTI like symptoms, it could be idiopathic cystitis. No bacterium also means no need for a urine culture. Anti-inflammatories and/or anti-spasmodics are commonly used with cystitis, but a much more difficult aspect is stress management.

There is also an array of urinary conditions in cats that fall under the umbrella of FLUTD (feline lower urinary tract disease) that is a possibility if your cat continuously gets UTIs that fall outside the realm of FIC.

These TCS articles are just the beginning of the things you can learn about FIC & FLUTD. Maybe it will help you to formulate a set of questions to start the dialog with your vet about how you move forward.
Feline Idiopathic Cystitis - How To Improve Your Cat's Quality Of Life - TheCatSite
Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (flutd) - TheCatSite
 
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my_money_pit

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In many, but not all, cases there isn't any bacteria or crystals that show up in the urine if it is FIC (feline idiopathic cystitis). It is believed that the inflammation is derived from stress/anxiety. That is not to say that a cat cannot experience a UTI along with or as a result of cystitis if it it goes on long enough.

So, if no bacteria are seen in the urinalysis, but there are other UTI like symptoms, it could be idiopathic cystitis. No bacterium also means no need for a urine culture. Anti-inflammatories and/or anti-spasmodics are commonly used with cystitis, but a much more difficult aspect is stress management.

There is also an array of urinary conditions in cats that fall under the umbrella of FLUTD (feline lower urinary tract disease) that is a possibility if your cat continuously gets UTIs that fall outside the realm of FIC.

These TCS articles are just the beginning of the things you can learn about FIC & FLUTD. Maybe it will help you to formulate a set of questions to start the dialog with your vet about how you move forward.
Feline Idiopathic Cystitis - How To Improve Your Cat's Quality Of Life - TheCatSite
Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (flutd) - TheCatSite
What puzzles me is that two urine tests showed no clear presence of crystals or bacteria yet he was put on antibiotics and they did not rule stress as the main factor of the uti symptoms. I'm going to shed the light on a possibility of FIC and if we can do tests to rule it out and figure out if it's FLUTD.
Right now I am doing my best to give him some homemade cooked food along with some kibbles. I am still waiting for my TC feline supplement mix before switching him to full home made food which hopefully we will receive this week. His water intake is okay but I'm stil pushing to give him chicken or meat with some broth.
Thank you for those articles. I don't know what I would have done without the knowledge on this forum. Seems like we should be more educated than our vets which sadness me.

Best!
 

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urine tests showed no clear presence of crystals or bacteria yet he was put on antibiotics and they did not rule stress as the main factor of the uti symptoms.
I am not sure what you mean by 'no clear presence'. In all reality, there is either a presence of one or both, or there is not. If a vet thinks they saw some bacteria, then many would likely go ahead and prescribe an antibiotic - because a lot of times the caretaker is resistant to pay that extra money for a urine culture, and many vets are sensitive to that. But, in the case where 'some bacteria may be there', the real determinant would be the urine culture. My cat has had some bacteria in her urine that when put through a urine culture didn't grow anything to suggest an antibiotic was needed. Whole different scenario, I realize, but just to make a point.
 

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My understanding is that bacterial infections of the urinary tract are rare, and it's almost always stress/anxiety induced inflammation of the lower urinary tract. Vets no longer reflexively treat every urine problem with antibiotics, because in study after study those are shown not to be helpful.

I get why lower urinary tract inflammation could lead to crystals and pain etc, but the pH of the urine is the business of the kidneys not the urethra or bladder. (It could go up in the presence of a raging bacterial infection but as i said, that's almost certainly not the cause.) That's what puzzled me about my cats when they had this problem. The renal ultrasound did reveal an abnormality which we hope has now been treated. That costs some serious dollars but it's something you could ask about. Of note, my cats' renal blood work (e.g. BUN/Cr) was normal throughout, so don't let that stop you.
 
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my_money_pit

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My understanding is that bacterial infections of the urinary tract are rare, and it's almost always stress/anxiety induced inflammation of the lower urinary tract. Vets no longer reflexively treat every urine problem with antibiotics, because in study after study those are shown not to be helpful.
This is what I also came to understand after almost a month of struggle to get my baby healed. The vets seem to treat the uti to cover both aspects, bacterial and stress that's why they gave him antibiotics, pain killers and anti inflammatory. We did two urine tests and they were still unsure if he has an infection. Also, clinic tests are not accurate so i guess the vet prefers to give antibiotics as a prevention.

The first vet we went to, which was at an emergency hospital, didn't give him anti inflammatory. Looking back at it, this vet is honestly the worst. The whole thing with the treatment was off. The treatment was for 7 days only, he was on pain killers and antibiotics. He only got better at day 6. It took so long for him to recover because he wasn't given an anti inflammatory. For the second visit, we went to a different clinic and they gave him anti inflammatory which helped him recover within less than 24h. During the two first vet visits, i was a complete ignorant about uti then I started losing my trust with the vets. The whole thing could've been avoided if they gave him anti inflammatory and pain killers 3 pills a day instead of 2 for a period of at least 15 days.
On the third vet visit, they didn't do a urine test because the bladder was empty, so they put him on pain killers only and asked us to come back in 5 days. I shaked my head, took the pain killers and left the vet's office. At this point, I had it with them. Feels like a circus, everytime they ask me to come back to test new stuff because they have no clue what's up and how to deal with the issue. They deal with things by testing A,B,C... until the animal either dies or the owner is drained financially.

With the help of this forum and a facebook group, I was able to understand the problem. UTI needs at least 2 months to heal. Those 10 day treatments are a complete joke so you come back and pay for another round of tests and consultation. I finally understood that stress leads to bladder inflammation which leads to UTI symptoms but there is not bacterial infection.
Right now, we are at pain killer every 10 hours, we will be going for at least 15 days of treatment. t I had to push the vet to let me give him pain killers at 10 hours instead of 12 because the 12 hours period wasn't working with him and to prolong the period to 15 days instead of 10.

When I called the vet to ask for more pills, they said I should bring him back for another (a third) urine test because they are afraid that the pain killers are hiding the main problem since he was able to recover on pain killers only. Hell no, I will not take him back to the vet for another stressful event when he didn't recover at 100%. Yes, he is peeing normal amounts but I need to be sure that he is completely healed before I take the risk and stress him out just for the vet to run some unnecessary test that is is not 100% accurate since it's done in-house and not sent to a special lab.

On top of the pain killers, he is getting d mannose and cornsilk. Things are going well so far, I hope this won't happen again!
 
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my_money_pit

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I get why lower urinary tract inflammation could lead to crystals and pain etc, but the pH of the urine is the business of the kidneys not the urethra or bladder.
Concerning the pH level, the first urine test showed a pH of 7.5. The second test didn't show any pH level. I have no clue if the clinic didn't include that in the report they gave me or they don't test the pH (!?!)
From what i have learned, pH above 8 is not normal. So his pH level is good but the vet said it's high. So i'm confused if not all vet have the same consensus about the pH level.
Also, herbivore have a higher pH level. My cat frequently munches on catnip grass, so this might have been the reason why his pH level was higher than what the vet was expecting. I didn't know that detail when I went to the first vet visit, but on the second one, I did mention it to the vet by saying that maybe his pH level is effected by the grass he eats. She didn't comment on that, i guess she is not familiar with that thing. Overall, they seem to lack knowledge and experience which led us into a spiral ! :S
 

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The last time one of my cats had a urinalysis it said his ph was 7. It wasn't commented upon by the vet, but when I google cat urine ph, the results say it should be between 6 and 6.5. I dont know how accurate that is though or if that's based on a kibble or canned fed cat. I read raw fed cats will have naturally higher BUN and creatine levels so I dont know if the ph would be different for raw fed cats as well. I really wish accurate information wasn't so hard to find! None of my vets have ever said anything to me about any of my cats ph and the only way I found out was by scrolling through the lab results. my_money_pit my_money_pit Did your vet say 7.5 for your cat's ph was bad?
 
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my_money_pit

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The last time one of my cats had a urinalysis it said his ph was 7. It wasn't commented upon by the vet, but when I google cat urine ph, the results say it should be between 6 and 6.5. I dont know how accurate that is though or if that's based on a kibble or canned fed cat. I read raw fed cats will have naturally higher BUN and creatine levels so I dont know if the ph would be different for raw fed cats as well. I really wish accurate information wasn't so hard to find! None of my vets have ever said anything to me about any of my cats ph and the only way I found out was by scrolling through the lab results. my_money_pit my_money_pit Did your vet say 7.5 for your cat's ph was bad?
The vet said that 7.5 is higher than usual but again i do not trust the vet at all as she made the wrong decisions for my cat and lied on the report.
 

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7.5 is a high pH. 7.0 is barely acceptable.

What would be helpful is if there was a normal urine test in the past, so you have a comparison?
 
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