Royal Canin and Crystals

ziggyandshade

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Hello all!
My cat, Ziggy was recently diagnosed with a moderate amount of Struvite crystals, he’s 10yrs old and 2.5/3 lbs overweight. I working on his weight loss by monitoring calories intake, play time. The vet said he should have 200/250 calories a day. We’re 1 week into transitioning off Fancy Feast and I have quite a few questions. I’ve emailed our vet but she’s yet to respond. I’m not expecting all to be answered but any info you have will be much appreciated! Thanks in advance!
  • Will he lose weight on the above calorie count? I play with him for 10-20 mins daily, working on getting him to chase his toys etc. He tends to lie on the floor though and just swipe. Hes bored of laser pointers.
  • Will Royal Canin dissolve the crystals? Their site/instructions on bag of kibble say it does but wanted to check your experience.
  • Is mixing the manufacturers of RX urinary diets not advised?
  • Can I add a few drops of filtered water to his Royal Canin dry food? He eats it immediately that way. I’ve read not to leave it out for too long like that.
  • The only RX urinary diet Ziggy likes is Royal Canin morsels in gravy. He loves the dry food, too but I want to focus on getting him to eat the wet. What happens when cats go off the one flavor? It’s not great having so few choices for them.
  • Any chance I can mix the RX diet with a small amount of Royal Canin non RX? That might negate the good the RX will do but I’m hoping to entice him to eat more. He’s obsessed with Fancy Feast.
  • Do urinary diets like these make them poop less?
  • He never drinks fresh water, he used to until about a month ago. Our pup is having a lot of behavorial stress, which we’re working on with our vet/trainers. The two of them shared a water bowl but I think our dogs stress, stresses out Ziggy. There are now scattered water bowls around the house but I still don’t see him drinking. Will Royal C. Still work if he’s not drinking water? How will it regulate his minerals with no extra fluids?
  • Is he going to have to be on the RX food forever?
  • He’s been tapering off Fancy Feast and onto Royal Canin for a week. His urine still smells strong, is this problematic?
Thanks so much!!
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi. RC does seem to dissolve crystals, although I would be hard pressed to explain the mechanics of it. Some cats only need to be on it for a period of time and can often return to their normal food. Routine urine analysis will tell you how effective it is for Ziggy.

Obviously, the wet version is better due to moisture, but if he likes eating the dry with some water added, that is helpful, and shouldn't impact the effectiveness of it. Should he start to tire of it, you could also try Hill's C/D. And, there is a Purina version as well. Both have dry and wet food. I know Hill's also claims to dissolve struvite crystals - not sure about Purina.

If Ziggy has not had past issues with crystals, this could be due to the stress related to your dog, which if resolved could reduce the chances of ongoing crystal issues. That is a 'time will tell' kind of thing. Once things settle down with the dog, Ziggy's water consumption might pick up too.
'
The vet sounds like they are using the 'loose' guideline about the amount of calories to give a cat. The very general rule of thumb is 20-25 calories per pound of weight. So, a 10 pound cat theoretically could sistain their weight on 200-250 calories a day. But, a cat's age, metabolism, and activity level can affect what would be deemed to be the correct amount to feed. What you don't want to do is to drastically cut down his caloric intake all at once. A gradual reduction allows a cat to both physically and mentally adapt to a lesser amount of food over time. Ideally, you would want to know how many calories Ziggy was eating before starting a reduction and then only reduce the caloric amount by 5% - no more than 10% - at one time. To follow along with this ideal plan, semi-monthly weigh ins should be done to see his progress and then adjust the food amont accordingly. If you won't want to purchase a pet/baby scale, you could just wait a month and take Ziggy to the vet's for a quick weigh in. Most vets will aloow you to bring a cat in without an appt. just to have a vet tech weigb them.

The most common cause of less poop is usually when a cat is transitioned from an all dry diet to a wet one - the filler in dry tend to cause a cat to product more poop. But, given Ziggy;s past and present foods, I'd say if he is going less in amount, it might have to do with the reduction in calories, or his body adjusting to a new food.

I don't know if I answered all of your questions, but hopefully I covered most of them. If not, let us know.

Keep us posted on Ziggy's progress.
 
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ziggyandshade

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Hi - Thanks so much for your response!

He's never been diagnosed with Struvite crystals before now. In 2020 we had a scare after he ate a piece of lily leaf (a friend sent flowers containing Lillies after my 17 year old Tortie died, I was unaware of the risk) I took him to the ER immediately and they managed to get him to vomit it up. He was in the hospital for a week while they monitored his kidneys, did blood work and had him on fluids. When he was released they said he hadn't suffered any permanent kidney damage, thank goodness.

I wonder if the urinary issues he's having now could be related to that?

I tried Hills and Purina urinary RX wet food and he refused all flavors. RC is the only one he's obligingly eating, hence my concern when he refuses to eat the RC. He loved his Fancy Feast, though I have a sneaking suspicion its junk food.

Another question I had is mixing manufacturers:
Can I try him on Purina/Hills non RX urinary flavors?
Would it negate the effectiveness of the RX food to offer Royal Canin non RX food because there are other flavors?

Ziggy is 10.5 yrs and weighs 15lb. When I worked out what his calorie intake should be (based on the general rule of 20/25 calories per pound) it was 310-387 cal / day. He's overall a big cat with long legs. His play time is mainly him pouncing or swiping at toys, so not enough movement there. Before Struvites were found he was eating approx. 220 cal/day and slowly gained weight, especially when I added Greenies for his teeth, based on the vets suggestion. His thyroid numbers came back normal in a recent blood test. Based on his movement, size and age, I don't know what his calorie intake should be. I'm concerned about reducing calories too abruptly and fatty liver disease. Also, I worry about waiting to see how things pan out but unknowingly, not feeding him enough. I was counting his calories late the other night and suddenly realized he hadn't had enough that day and jumped up to feed him.

I wish they could talk!

Thanks again for the info!
 

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For the non-rx flavours, yes you can try the wet now and later on you can try the dry. I believe its after 1 year.

The non rx flavours do not dissolve stones but they do prevent them forming. But the biggest predictor of non-reoccurance is having them on as much wet food as they will have vs dry food.
 
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ziggyandshade

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For the non-rx flavours, yes you can try the wet now and later on you can try the dry. I believe its after 1 year.

The non rx flavours do not dissolve stones but they do prevent them forming. But the biggest predictor of non-reoccurance is having them on as much wet food as they will have vs dry food.
Thanks so much for all the info. He just refuses to eat any of the urinary RX diets now. I’ve tried Hills, Purina and Royal Canin. He used to eat the RC but won’t anymore.
He also went from 15.8lb to 15.4lb in 10 days. I'm concerned about rapid weight loss and liver disease. He’s acting ravenous, trying to get into the garbage one time and trying to open bags of food. Fancy Feast is the only thing he’ll eat now. I can’t let him eat so few calories (his breakfast used to be 80 cal throughout morning, now he’s had 16) but the FF is not helping the crystals.
I’m totally stuck with this.
 

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Well fed is most important. If you can do wet food with water added to it, that is best. Urinary is ideal, but any wet will be better for urinary condition than dry food.

If the RX wont work, he might try one of the over the counter diets from any of those brands.
 
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ziggyandshade

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He mainly eats wet food, and about 3/4 tablespoons of Royal Canin urinary dry food. He just avoids eating the RX wet food and is consuming way fewer calories than when he was in Fancy Feast. I’m worried about him getting Hepatic Lipidosis from rapid weight loss. He lost 0.4lb over the course of 10 days.
 

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I understand.
Try the over the counter ones for urinary wet. Theres many more flavours between the three brands for OTC. Bonus if he will let you add water to it...even just an extra teaspoon.

Purina has a urinary pack that's over the counter (at pet stores)and 3 flavours so a good rotation.
Wureva also makes a low phosphorus wet food you could try as well.


You could also try heating up the wet food to make it more smelly, adding flotiflora on top or crushing some of the urinary dry food on top.
 
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ziggyandshade

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I’ll give the Purina OTC flavors a try. He does like the crushed up dry food on top but of course, only eats the top. I went through all the Hills OTC flavors and the Royal Canin OTC but it was a no to those. Maybe I’m not waiting long enough before I change out his food for another flavor? I’ll give it the afternoon/evening with one flavor, and see. I’ll try giving less wet with crushed dry so he eats all the wet with dry.

Thanks for the advice!! Ziggy says thanks too 🐈⬛
 

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In my personal experience, continuing to offer wet they wont eat is just $ in the trash.

Hopefully he likes one of the Purina ones! Mine like the chicken shreds. They arent really a fan of the turkey, but will eat the fish one if i add some water to it to change the texture.
 
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ziggyandshade

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I tried a can of the Purina OTC urinary chicken flavor, he ate half the can. So he's had 69 calories so far today. Its still much below what he should eat in a day but I’m glad he ate that.
Thank you for the recommendation!
 

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I tried a can of the Purina OTC urinary chicken flavor, he ate half the can. So he's had 69 calories so far today. Its still much below what he should eat in a day but I’m glad he ate that.
Thank you for the recommendation!
Hopefully he continues to eat it! If he wasnt eating much for a few days, his stomach will have shrunk and he will need to slowly build.
🤞 it continues to work
 
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ziggyandshade

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I weighed him again last night, on my shipping scale and he’s lost another 0.2 lb in 2 days.Im panicked about it, so reverted to Fancy Feast. He’d had a total of 96 calories yesterday which is way below what he should be eating. Perhaps I need to transition him slower. I already stopped all the treats he was getting (for weight management) I'll maintain the no treats and FF with some Purina OTC Urinary added for a while. I won't give up on transitioning him 100% but I think I freaked him out by constantly checking on him and offering him food every hr. I really appreciate all of your advice, thank goodness for all the knowledge here!!
 

syzygycat

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Hello all!
My cat, Ziggy was recently diagnosed with a moderate amount of Struvite crystals, he’s 10yrs old and 2.5/3 lbs overweight. I working on his weight loss by monitoring calories intake, play time. The vet said he should have 200/250 calories a day. We’re 1 week into transitioning off Fancy Feast and I have quite a few questions. I’ve emailed our vet but she’s yet to respond. I’m not expecting all to be answered but any info you have will be much appreciated! Thanks in advance!
  • Will he lose weight on the above calorie count? I play with him for 10-20 mins daily, working on getting him to chase his toys etc. He tends to lie on the floor though and just swipe. Hes bored of laser pointers.
  • Will Royal Canin dissolve the crystals? Their site/instructions on bag of kibble say it does but wanted to check your experience.
  • Is mixing the manufacturers of RX urinary diets not advised?
  • Can I add a few drops of filtered water to his Royal Canin dry food? He eats it immediately that way. I’ve read not to leave it out for too long like that.
  • The only RX urinary diet Ziggy likes is Royal Canin morsels in gravy. He loves the dry food, too but I want to focus on getting him to eat the wet. What happens when cats go off the one flavor? It’s not great having so few choices for them.
  • Any chance I can mix the RX diet with a small amount of Royal Canin non RX? That might negate the good the RX will do but I’m hoping to entice him to eat more. He’s obsessed with Fancy Feast.
  • Do urinary diets like these make them poop less?
  • He never drinks fresh water, he used to until about a month ago. Our pup is having a lot of behavorial stress, which we’re working on with our vet/trainers. The two of them shared a water bowl but I think our dogs stress, stresses out Ziggy. There are now scattered water bowls around the house but I still don’t see him drinking. Will Royal C. Still work if he’s not drinking water? How will it regulate his minerals with no extra fluids?
  • Is he going to have to be on the RX food forever?
  • He’s been tapering off Fancy Feast and onto Royal Canin for a week. His urine still smells strong, is this problematic?
Thanks so much!!

-The more water the better, add it to wet food add it to dry food. It will only help.

-Consider getting a pet fountain and placing it where your cat can get to and your dogs can't... High table, or shelf. Cats are much more likely to drink non-stagnant water.

-Concentrated urine will always smell strong. More Water is the only thing that will have a major impact on that

-smelly poop isnt something anyone can advise too much with cats have very individualized digestion abilities, just like humans. New foods often result in stinkier poop till the cat gets used to it. Hard to digest biproducts, certain carbs, and other ingredients can cause stinkier poop. RX food will be higher in carbs which may result in stinkier poop, but all ingredients are usually in a more easily digested form which may result in less stinky poop...

-more exercise will help in weight loss but the 20-25 calories per pound of cats weight is a vague generalization. A cat could need under 15 to over 30 cal/lb to maintain their weight ie I have one very active but now toothless cat whos been getting spoon fed seperately lately, she's gone from 8.5 to 9.7 lbs in 4mo eating 125-160cal a day (vet said she need 170-220cal/day to maintain her weight)

-Using a little bit liquid treats on the food should help entice your cat to eat it. Of the popular brands Temptations has the lowest mineral content, churu has the highest. They are all pretty dilute so few drops wont effect things.

-if you do have to stick with Rx food from now on. Get an Rx for 2-3 brands. RC seems to be the most popular choice, hills makes most RX foods in multiple flavors

-Struvite crystals are generally mainly deposits of magnesium, calcium, and phosphatorous (sodium and protein also play role). RX foods work in 2 ways. They are formulated to increase to have much lower amounts of those minerals and formulated to decrease the pH in your cats urine to make it more acidic which will dissolve the crystals.

Mixing RX foods is not a problem, they all work similarly. But be careful of what foods you do add.

It could be a one time thing and you won't need to keep using Rx food. Dryfood leads to dehydration which is a common cause of crystals forming. Some cats are more prone to crystals some cats eat dry all their lives and are fine. Rx food might be permanent if the cat is very prone to crystals but often doing a little research on the foods you buy can go a long way in making sure crystals don't return.

Adding more than a few drops/pinches of other foods to help make your cat eat the Rx food isn't a great idea.
If you do it anyway choose the food carefully, normally found levels of those minerals not only increase add more of the minerals that causes crystals, but those minerals also buffer the acidity of the urine, making the Rx food less able to dissolve the crystals.

Adult Cats need ( on a dry matter basis) 0.04% Magnesium, 0.5% Phosphate, 0.6% calcium. RX foods usually get close to those numbers.

Non-rx foods are typically 150% to 500% of those levels.

For example some fancy feast varieties have 0.15% mag, 2.1% phos, 2.5% calcium ... Adding 1 tablespoon of fancy feast to half a can of RX food increases the mineral content to 175% of what the Rx food was.

Check out non Rx hills senior. The numbers are generally much closer to RX foods than other brands. If your cat likes it. A little bit of hills senior to make the Rx food morepalatable will make a smaller impact.
 
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ziggyandshade

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Thanks for that information. I'm using all of the advice here to get Ziggy into the habit of eating RX food. He mostly refuses it, though. Since he won't drink water, he's had a fountain in the past, I have to give him some wet food. He ate a few bites of OTC Purina chicken, but that's all. So he gets enough fluids, I've had to give him Fancy Feast, even though I know it's not healthy. I thought the need for hydration (even from Fancy Feast) was important, otherwise he will go 24hrs eating just 90 calories. He lost 0.2lb in 2 days last week because he refused any food other than FF, I was so worried. I'll try a fountain again, this time on a table, perhaps he’ll drink. I'm just stuck with this and quite sick with worry. I want him on the RX food to dissolve the crystals but don't want him to lose weight too fast/not get hydration.
 

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Thanks for that information. I'm using all of the advice here to get Ziggy into the habit of eating RX food. He mostly refuses it, though. Since he won't drink water, he's had a fountain in the past, I have to give him some wet food. He ate a few bites of OTC Purina chicken, but that's all. So he gets enough fluids, I've had to give him Fancy Feast, even though I know it's not healthy. I thought the need for hydration (even from Fancy Feast) was important, otherwise he will go 24hrs eating just 90 calories. He lost 0.2lb in 2 days last week because he refused any food other than FF, I was so worried. I'll try a fountain again, this time on a table, perhaps he’ll drink. I'm just stuck with this and quite sick with worry. I want him on the RX food to dissolve the crystals but don't want him to lose weight too fast/not get hydration.
Fancy Feast really is not the worst of budget food depending on which recipes you're feeding him. (Ones without cheese and milk are best)

You're correct in thinking he should not loose weight too slowly and they hydration from adding water to his food is important.

Some cats do need a slow switch even with wet food. Will he eat the fancy feast with just a little of the Rx or OTC in it? Get him used to the taste.
 
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ziggyandshade

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Fancy Feast really is not the worst of budget food depending on which recipes you're feeding him. (Ones without cheese and milk are best)

You're correct in thinking he should not loose weight too slowly and they hydration from adding water to his food is important.

Some cats do need a slow switch even with wet food. Will he eat the fancy feast with just a little of the Rx or OTC in it? Get him used to the taste.
He eats 1 or 2 bites of FF mixed with any of the urinary foods, then walks away. I know he’s hungry because he follows me around, trying to get me to pick him up and change his food.
 

syzygycat

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Thanks for that information. I'm using all of the advice here to get Ziggy into the habit of eating RX food. He mostly refuses it, though. Since he won't drink water, he's had a fountain in the past, I have to give him some wet food. He ate a few bites of OTC Purina chicken, but that's all. So he gets enough fluids, I've had to give him Fancy Feast, even though I know it's not healthy. I thought the need for hydration (even from Fancy Feast) was important, otherwise he will go 24hrs eating just 90 calories. He lost 0.2lb in 2 days last week because he refused any food other than FF, I was so worried. I'll try a fountain again, this time on a table, perhaps he’ll drink. I'm just stuck with this and quite sick with worry. I want him on the RX food to dissolve the crystals but don't want him to lose weight too fast/not get hydration.
A slow transition is expensive but seems like the way to go with your cat.

Fancy Feast really is not the worst of budget food depending on which recipes you're feeding him...

...Some cats do need a slow switch even with wet food. Will he eat the fancy feast with just a little of the Rx or OTC in it? Get him used to the taste.
Fancy Feast isn't particularly unhealthy, but it is among the worst options to feed if a cat has urinary or kidney issues. Mineral content is always high. Most are 400%+ the target concentration. The "Senior" varieties have less but still 250%+. All

More often than not cats will refuse a totally new food. Transitioning from old food to Rx food is necessary (and you'll find a 1000's of posts about methods to transition) with most cats but it's better to move away from the Purina and other cheap foods as fast as possible.

It usually takes 5-10 days to transition. It's a slow process, Rx food is pricey so a lot of cat owners give up if the cat doesn't eat it immediately. If you're doing it right a lot of food gets wasted, but that's just how it works during transitioning.

My method (assume 3 meals a day):
throughout the process i smear the sides of bowl with a pinch of food the yummy cat food (ie fancy feast). So the smell of FF over powers the RX food smell
Meal 1&2: I put putting a mound of FF on ond side of thr bowl and dollop of Rx food in the other. (Like 10% Rx, 90% FF)
Meal 3-5: The 10% RX dollop is just barely touching thr FF. Even if he doesn't eat the Rx food he starts associating the RX food w
Meal 6-20: amount if Rx food goes up 5% FF goes down 5% each meal. And the 2 mounds of food touch/over lap more and more.
After that I start putting the little bit of FF over the Rx food.
towards the end of the transition I put a doughnut shaped mound of Rx food in the bowl. Put a tinier and amount of Rx food in the center (like lava in volcano). Thier will be set backs and you may have to stay at a certain ratio of RX:FF for a few meals til the cat is comfortable with it then start decreasing again.
IMO I will give up on that flavor RX food if a cat refuses to eat any FF that touches the RX food after 5 days.

BUT like I said in my last post, OP should try liquid treats, most cats love it a lot more than their favorite catfood and it's scent is a lot stronger. With the liquid treats you would just cover a thin layer of Rx food with the treat, then slowly make thebrx food layer thicker and cover it with less and less liquid treat.
 
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ziggyandshade

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I copied and pasted your method into my notes. I’ll start it tomorrow with one of the RX food flavors, thank you sharing that!
A question, in the section I pasted below, did you mean you offered a donut shaped amount of RX food, with a small amount of RX food in the center? So 2 amounts of RX food? Or did you mean FF in the center?

towards the end of the transition I put a doughnut shaped mound of Rx food in the bowl. Put a tinier and amount of Rx food in the center (like lava in volcano). Thier will be set backs and you may have to stay at a certain ratio of RX:FF for a few meals til the cat is comfortable with it then start decreasing again.

I’ll try each flavor using your method.
I found a type of FF that has 2.5% ash per 3oz. It’s the lowest I’ve seen. I’ve been mixing 25% of RX food with 75% FF. Ziggy has been eating it for the last 2 days. I think he’s distracted by the FF because it’s a flavor he’s never had before, that he likes, so he’s putting up with the RX mixed in.

It’s good to have a method and time frame to try out a flavor, if it doesn’t work, I’ll try the next flavor.
I’ve wasted a lot of RX food, but if throwing away food for a while will get him to eat 100% RX, I’m happy to pay for it.
This is going to work!
Thank you so much for sending me those details, appreciate it so much.

IMG_8473.jpeg
 
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