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Dry Kibble-The silent killer

Dry food vs Wet food

 

 

 Natural Diet
 



The Truth About Dry Cat Food

 Dry food — kibble — is the worst possible food you can feed to your cat. It is a moneymaking venture of pet food manufacturers that is leading to horrible chronic disease in cats. It is marketed as a product that is 100 percent nutritionally complete for all stages of your cat's life. That couldn't be further from the truth.

Grains are typically classified as carbohydrates and are composed primarily of starch. Pet food manufacturers lead the consumer to believe grains provide energy, protein, fat, fiber, minerals and vitamins to cats. The cat is a member of order Carnivora. Cats and other members of the superfamily Feloidea are considered obligate carnivores as they have strict requirements for certain nutrients that can only be found in animal tissues. Cats cannot synthesize taurine or arginine, amino acids found only in meat. They lack the ability to convert linoleic acid (contain in plants) to arachidonic acid (contained in animal fat). They cannot convert beta-carotene to vitamin A. Cats cannot decrease activity of hepatic enzymes when fed low-protein foods — they must consume a high protein diet. Cats must eat meat to survive.

The principal function of carbohydrates in the process of manufacturing dry pet foods is to provide structural integrity to kibble. The starch works like a "cement" that holds kibble together, preventing crumbling throughout the manufacturing process. It is unusual for a dry pet food to be formulated with less than 40 percent carbohydrate ingredients because of the minimum requirement for extrusion. Starch works like a "cement" to hold kibble together! Does that make you wonder what the long-term effect of cement is on your cat's digestive system?

The textbook, Small Animal Clinical Nutrition, 4th ed. published by the Mark Morris Institute a/k/a Hill's Science Diet to do a lot of my research. This book, used by many veterinarian schools as a part of their nutrition curriculum, is a very large book packed with information on small animal nutrition. In the chapter on feeding normal cats, the author states, cats have evolved to a carnivorous diet that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates. Because they evolved as obligate carnivores, cats have difficulty digesting carbohydrates. In omnivores, both hexokinase and glucokinase is responsible for processing of carbohydrates into glucose. The feline liver exhibits normal hexokinase activity but glucokinase activity is virtually absent.

Fatty Liver Disease

Protein metabolism is unique in cats with their unusually high maintenance requirement for protein. Cats do not have a high requirement for any particular amino acid; their high protein requirement is caused by high activity of liver enzymes that process amino acids into energy. Unlike omnivores, cats cannot decrease liver enzyme activity when fed a low protein diet. This is probably why hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease) is common in cats fed a dry food diet, especially those that are obese. It is not unnatural or unusual for a cat in the wild to fast. Even though they are successful hunters, they are not perfect and may go days without food. My own cats will sometimes go off their food for a day or more. A potential cause of fatty liver disease in cats is protein deficiency. While the label on dry cat food will show what looks like sufficient protein, a good amount of that protein is coming from grains. I do not believe grains are a high quality source of protein for carnivores or that they are as able to utilize protein from non-meat sources. Cats fed a raw meat diet should not be prone to fatty liver disease.

There are many factors attributable to onset of fatty liver disease. Carnitine is an amino-group containing, vitamin-like substance found in high concentrations in mammalian heart and skeletal muscle. This amino acid is not considered to be essential by the AAFCO. Cats can synthesize carnitine from lysine and methionine (both found in meat). Methionine is added to most dry cat food brands and lysine is added to the higher end brands. As with most nutrients found in raw meat, I believe it is best to feed the real thing rather than supplementing with synthetic nutrients. In humans, a carnitine deficiency causes hepatic lipid accumulation and liver dysfunction. A similar connection is being investigated in cats. Also, carnitine increases lean muscle mass and enhances weight loss in obese cats.

Many cats with idiopathic fatty liver disease are obese and often the disease is discovered after a fast, be it due to a stressful event, illness or even abandonment. Perhaps these dry-food-fed cats are just barely getting by with the amount and quality of protein available in dry food. It is not uncommon for a cat fed dry food to become obese. A fast simply tips their digestive process over the edge. As mentioned above, protein deficiency is thought to be one cause of fatty liver disease, as is excessive lipogenesis (the process of converting carbohydrate or protein to fat). Very little is known about the causes of feline fatty liver disease.

Dental Disease

While there is no documented proof that a natural diet contributes to dental health; periodontal disease is the most common disease of adult dogs and cats.   Contrary to what most people have been told by their veterinarian, dry food does not clean teeth! When a cat chews dry food, it shatters into small pieces. In order to promote effective cleansing of tooth and gums, the food must remain in contact with the teeth and gums for a period of time. Nothing is going to provide effective abrasive cleansing than chunks of raw meat. Unless you are prepared to brush your cat's teeth or pay hundreds of dollars for dental work, I suggest you start feeding chunks of meat.

Renal Failure and Urinary Tract Disease

Cats evolved as desert creatures and are well adapted (still!) to survive in a dry climate, if fed their natural food. Cats are not thirst driven like dogs and are able to survive on less water than dogs. They compensate for reduced water intake by concentrating their urine. When fed a dry food diet (which has less than 10 percent moisture), unless they drink a lot of water, which most cats do not, they are in a constant state of dehydration. Moreover, although a cat consuming a dry food diet does drink more water than a cat consuming a canned food diet, in the end, when water from all sources is added together — what's in their diet plus what they drink — the cat consumes approximately HALF the amount of water compared with a cat eating canned foods. On a dry food diet, a cat's urine becomes overly concentrated which leads to feline lower urinary tract disease. Consumption of dry food is associated with lower urinary tract disease as is increased frequency of feeding (a.k.a "free feeding" which is how most people feed dry food), no matter what type of food is fed and obesity.

Fat, dry-food-fed cats are prone to all sorts of diseases!!

The current trend towards dry food with urine acidifiers (for urinary tract health according to pet food manufacturers) can cause metabolic acidosis, resulting in impaired kidney function and mineral imbalance that includes potassium depletion. Urine that is too acidic provides a good environment for oxalate crystals to form that can cause urinary obstruction. Struvite crystals, associated with an alkaline urinary pH were once the common form of urinary tract disorder, now calcium oxalate crystals, associated with a more acidic urinary pH, are more common.

The first signs of early stage kidney failure are increased water consumption and urination. The cat loses its ability to concentrate urine, something it has naturally evolved to do. The grain proteins contained in dry food release more nitrogenous wastes with digestion. These are converted to ammonia and are expelled by the kidneys, taxing them unnecessarily.

Water, the most important nutrient for all living beings, is missing from dry cat food. It cannot be replaced or substituted.

Mycotoxins

Before you start moistening your cat's dry food to try to replace the missing moisture, you should know about mycotoxins, another potential side effect of the use of grains in cat food. Mycotoxins are naturally occurring fungal by-products that can cause disease and death in dogs and cats. When grains are improperly stored, mycotoxins can develop. Two common forms, both of which have been found in pet food (more commonly in dog food) are aflatoxin and vomitoxin. Although mycotoxins are found worldwide they only become toxic in temperatures above 82 degrees and over 80 percent humidity at which point they interfere with cellular function, and are extremely carcinogenic and immuno-suppressive.

Aflatoxin B1 is the most toxic of the aflatoxins and is the most potent liver carcinogen known. Substantial evidence exists to indicate that low-level exposure to aflatoxin may cause suppression of the immune system and increase susceptibility to disease. Young and pregnant animals of all species are extremely sensitive to aflatoxins. Aflatoxin is also excreted in milk of dams and may contribute to reproductive failure. Exposure during pregnancy has resulted in transplacental transfer of aflatoxin to and immune dysfunction in offspring.

The elimination of mycotoxins in food is extremely expensive. Pet food manufacturers are not known for using the highest quality grains available; they would not be able to keep up their high profit margins if they did. The grains most pet food manufacturers use are those that are not fit for human consumption or are by-products from other processes.

Carnivore Digestion

The digestive system of a carnivore is very simple. Unlike herbivores and omnivores, cats lack salivary amylase used to initiate digestion of dietary starches. Their jaws have limited side-to-side motion (necessary to grind food) and they have no flat or grinding teeth in their mouths. Their teeth are designed for grasping, cutting, tearing and biting.

The domestic cat's stomach, which is quite small, has two purposes. It holds the food and it is not necessary to hold a lot of food because the natural food of the cat is nutrient dense. Small wild cats hunt more frequently than their larger cousins because their prey is smaller. While lions and tigers may gorge after a kill, small cats, if they are successful hunters, eat more frequently. The second function is the great acid break down. Hydrochloric acid dissolves and liquifies the food. Foods that cannot be digested — raw vegetable matter, cellulose, feathers, teeth and so forth — pass through the animal unchanged. As an experiment, feed your cat some whole corn or peas and watch it come back out the way it went in.

The dissolved food, called "chyme" leaves the stomach at scheduled intervals and enters the small intestine. The length of a cat's small intestine compared to body length is even shorter than a dog's: 4:1 for the cat and 6:1 for the dog. It is from the small intestine the food is digested and enters the blood stream. The pancreas and liver supply the enzymes necessary to break down the fats and proteins into fatty acids and amino acids. As there is limited enzyme activity capable of digesting carbohydrates, little or no digestion of carbohydrates can take place.

If the capacity of the small intestine to digest carbohydrate is exceeded, the undigested carbohydrates reach the large intestine. Because the cat has a nonfunctioning cecum and short colon, it has a limited capability to use poorly digestible starches and fiber by microbial fermentation. The small intestine does not join the large intestine in a straight line, but at a right angle. At this point is a small appendage, two or three inches in length, called the cecum. While this has no functional use in a carnivore, it should be noted because it is one of the major differences between a carnivore and an herbivore. In herbivores and to some extent, omnivores, microbial fermentation occurs in the large intestine, especially in the cecum. In a carnivore, the colon has limited functions, to extract excess water and compact the waste material and expel it.

It would not be safe for a carnivore to have a long digestive tract or for the food to stick around for any length of time for risk of bacterial contamination. You certainly would not want protein fermenting in your cat's colon. Carbohydrates and plant matter take longer to digest and it is necessary that the creature consuming carbohydrates or plant matter to have a long, slow digestive tract so that the food matter may be digested as completely as possible. An animal consuming large amounts of carbohydrates or plant material will produce a lot of stool. The stool of a carnivore consuming its natural food is minimal.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Highly digestible food yields more available nutrients for passive or active transport in intestinal absorption. Undigested residue (carbohydrates) alters pH and increases the liquidity of the chyme which means decreased stool quality and diarrhea. This condition may eventually lead to inflammatory bowel disease ("IBD"). The severity of the disorder depends on the amount of carbohydrates escaping digestion in the small intestine. Small amounts of sugars or decomposed starch, for example, can have more dramatic effects than large amounts of raw starch of low digestibility. Pet food manufacturers cook and process the carbohydrates they use in their foods in order to increase digestibility. Because of all the carbohydrates, cats consuming dry food are prone to IBD. Most cats exhibiting IBD symptoms (diarrhea and vomiting) experience a complete reversal of symptoms when switched to a grain-free diet. The best results are seen when the cat is put on a grain- and carbohydrate-free raw meat diet.

"Natural" Dry Cat Food

The phrase "natural dry cat food" is an oxymoron. There are an increasing number of "natural" dry cat food manufacturers entering the market. At one time, Flint River Ranch was the dominant "natural" dry cat food manufacturer. Now a new one seems to pop up about every week. They add ingredients to their food to make it look healthier and invariably package the foods in earth tone-colored bags. It is most certainly not healthier. These manufacturers will tell you their food is designed to be exactly like what a cat would eat naturally, just in a dry form. What "dry form" food would a cat ever encounter in the wild? Biscuits leaping across the desert plain? This is the key problem: "in a dry form." Between the addition of grains and removal of water, natural or not, it is not healthy food for your cat. For example, here is the ingredient list for a natural cat food I just discovered on-line:

Chicken meal, Fresh Chicken, Brown Rice, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols, rosemary extract and citric acid), Barley, Fresh Potatoes, Flax Seed, Cold Water Fish Oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols, rosemary extract and citric acid), Fresh Eggs, Dried Chicken Liver, Anchovy Fish Meal, Dried Whole Milk, Dried Whey Extract, Nutritional Yeast, Kelp, Casein, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, Lecithin, Choline Chloride, Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Bifidobacterium Thermophilum Fermentation, Bifidobacterium Longum Fermentation Product, Enterobacter Faecium Fermentation Product, Bacillus Subtilis Fermentation Product, Fresh Blueberries, Fresh Cranberries, Zinc Sulfate, DL-Methionine, Taurine, Iron sulfate, Carnitine, Zinc proteinate, Vitamin E supplement, Creatine, Manganese sulfate, Iron proteinate, Manganese proteinate, Vitamin B12 supplement, Vitamin A supplement, Niacin, Vitamin D3 supplement, Cobalt Proteinate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Copper sulfate, Cobalt Carbonate, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Folic Acid, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Copper Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Papain, Yucca Schidigera Extract.

It certainly looks better than IAMS or Science Diet, but when was the last time you saw a wild cat in a nature program consuming rosemary, potatoes, milk, brown rice or anchovies?

Rosemary is a preservative (for the fats in the food). Sure it's better than using toxic BHT or BTA or another preservative, but it's still a preservative. You should not feed your cat food that can sit out on the countertop for weeks or months without spoiling. Real food spoils.

Anchovies are added for their omega fatty acid content, but omega 3 fatty acids are far too fragile to survive the shelf life of dry cat food. This company itself claims that it sprays salmon oil onto their food to improve the omega 3 fatty acid ratios. Too bad the salmon oil they recommend is in cobalt blue containers. Salmon oil cannot be properly stored unless it is maintained in an airtight container. The minute that bottle is opened, oxygen gets in and the fats start to go rancid. Capsules are the only way to properly preserve salmon oil.

Why milk is in the food is beyond me. Perhaps to help raise the protein levels or perhaps for calcium. Once cats are weaned, milk is no longer a part of their natural diet.

The blueberries and cranberries are added to help acidify the food to maintain proper urinary tract health. Unfortunately, acidified dry cat food can lead to formation of calcium oxalate crystals. A cat's natural diet (raw meat) maintains a proper pH balance. For many cats, dry cat food does not.

Yucca is added to reduce stool odor, which wouldn't be a problem if the cat were fed a proper diet in the first place.

I believe these natural pet food manufacturers are even more outlandish (if that is possible) than the mainstream manufacturers. They are playing to a particular market: those people with the means to purchase a more expensive product, those who have a cat who may have experienced some sort of health problem due to another brand of cat food (although manufacturers of "prescription diets" may have a firmer hold on that market), but there are certainly those in the mix who are aware of some of the problems associated with grocery store brand cat food, or those who simply want a more natural product to feed their cats. Natural is best, but this does not pertain to dry cat food. There is nothing natural about dry cat food.

While many of the natural dry foods today are manufactured by small companies, the larger manufacturers now have their finger in the pot too. If you look at the ingredients in, for example, Science Diet's "Nature's Best" brand, you will see that it is actually inferior to their Original formula. Brewer's Rice is the first ingredient in Nature's Best, chicken by-product in their Original formula. Is this "Best" for a carnivore?

Many of those smaller companies who are manufacturing food have not spent a lot of time studying feline nutrition and often have no clue of what is involved in feeding a carnivore. If they do have this knowledge, they clearly have disregarded it in favor of marketing a product as healthy when it is truly not.

Although I expect it will never happen because it would be too expensive, I'm waiting for a manufacturer to start dehydrating mice, mixing them with brown rice and calling it cat food.


In summary, as a cat's natural diet is low in carbohydrates, they are not designed to digest carbohydrates. Grain is added to dry cat food because it is mechanically necessary in processing the food and they are less expensive than meat, not because carbohydrates are healthy or necessary for your cat.

 

 WHY DOES AVMA PROPOSE TO VOTE AGAINST RAW FOOD DIET. 

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE ARTICLE 

Dr. Francis M. Pottenger, Jr., MD

In the 1940, a medical doctor named Dr Pottinger wanted to know how processed foods affected our health. He financed his own research, so he wasn't influenced by any big business interests to come up with certain results. Dr. Pottinger studied 900 cats over a period of several generations.

Dr. Pottinger divided his cats into 5 groups. The first two groups he fed raw food and they remained healthy throughout the experiment. These cats had good bone structure and density, wide palates with plenty of space for teeth, shiny fur, no parasites or disease, reproductive ease and gentleness.

The remaining three groups were fed processed foods. The first generation of these cats developed degenerative health conditions (arthritis, allergies, diabetes, hypothyroidism, personality changes and most of the degenerative diseases encountered in human medicine) near the end of their life. The second generation cats developed the same health conditions during the middle of their
life span. The third generation of cats developed the same health conditions very early in life. The cats died out completely by the fourth generation.

What is most important to keep in mind is that it only took one generation of processed foods to impair the health of the next generation of cats. When the following generations of cats were fed processed foods, the cats became even sicker and at much younger ages.

The same is seen today in humans. Children are being born with chronic degenerative diseases or are developing them much earlier in life. This is a relatively new phenomenon, but nevertheless the trend in humans is following Dr. Pottinger's experiments very closely. In addition, Pottinger found his third generation cats could not conceive or if they did they aborted. Right now, in America, 25% of young adults are sterile and they cannot conceive and miscarriages are on the rise. Have you noticed a rise in Fertility Clinics?

So, why are processed foods not good?

There are forty nutrients that cannot be made in the body. They are essential fatty acid, 15 vitamins, 14 minerals, and 10 amino acids. Collectively these forty nutrients are spoken of as the body's requirements. From these our bodies synthesized an estimated 10,000 different compounds essential to the maintenance of health. All the forty nutrients work together. Therefore, the lack of any one might result in the underproduction of hundreds of these essential compounds.

Processed foods place an enormous amount of stress on the body.

Processing takes a lot of nutrients out of the nutrient rich foods.

Processed foods contain refined sugar, extra salt, artificial colors, toxic chemicals and other flavor enhancers.

Processed foods contain unhealthy fats.

Unhealthy chemical additives are added to processed foods so that they stay fresh longer. Chemicals such as MSG can be added.

Processed foods can increase your body's level of homocysteine which can raise your risk of heart disease. Many processed foods are filled with strange parts and pieces. For example hot dogs contain "edible offal"??

Processed foods are fortified with synthetics. Most of the pantothenic acid, folic acid, biotin, cholin, inositol, vitamins B6 and E are discarded in the milling of breads and the refining of flour for cereals. To make up for the loss of nutrients during processing, synthetic vitamins and minerals are added. These synthetics are not as healthy as their natural counterparts. The amounts of vitamins returned in "enriched" flour are far less than the quantity that naturally occurs.

Much of the goodness is cooked or processed out of our foods. Enzymes are lost when food is heated above 118 degrees Fahrenheit. We do not benefit from the enzymes and nutrients the foods normally contain. The missing nutrients and enzymes have been discarded in processing and refining foods. Research shows that disease produced by combinations of deficiencies can be corrected when all nutrients are supplied.

What can we do? Eat unprocessed, organic, foods whenever possible. Since our old eating habits did not contain enough vitamins, minerals or enzymes for the body to get the complete nutritional intake necessary to maintain health, we often need supplemental nutrition to regain the health of stressed organs. A diet that contains at least 40% uncooked foods is highly recommended. Remember
that 50% of the body's enzymes are used for digestion.

 

 

Today, dry, commercial cat food is by far the most popular product to feed to companion cats. The attributes which all brands of this product have in common are : "convenient" and "inexpensive" when compared to other methods of feeding cats. In recent years commercial dry foods have been heavily promoted through advertising and by Veterinarians to be the choice of caring, health conscious care givers.

The truth is, dry commercial cat foods are anything but healthy for cats.
First and foremost, the nutritional composition of commercial dry foods does not compare to or reflect the cat's natural diet from which cats have evolved as absolute and true carnivores.

The natural prey diet of the cat contains between 65%-75% water. The cat, having evolved on the plains of Africa, has adapted to quench her water requirements entirely on the moisture content in her prey.
Due to its nature, commercial dry cat food contains no more than 10% moisture.

Cereals create the base of dry commercial foods and make up over half of the foods weight. Cereals frequently used in commercial dry cat foods like corn, rice, and wheat, give the food bulk and structure and represent a cheap source of calories. Cereals are primarily made up of carbohydrates, a nutrient nearly absent in the cat's natural prey diet. The liver and other organs store small amounts of carbohydrates and the cat may receive additional minute amounts of this nutrient through the stomach and intestines of her prey; this however, would never total more than 1-2% carbohydrates compared to the total weight of the prey. However, commercial dry foods may contain as much as 45% carbohydrates. A diet high in carbohydrates will result in obesity, because excessive amounts of this nutrient are converted by the liver to body fat. Since a cat metabolizes primarily fat and protein for energy, most of the carbohydrates in the diet are then stored as body fat.

An analogy:
It is not an exaggeration to compare a commercial dry cat food based diet fed to a cat with a fortified macaroni and cheese dinner diet fed to a human. Both products are overprocessed and based on refined carbohydrates. Added vitamins attempt to compensate for nutrient loss, but the food still lacks many other essentials including enzymes, complete amino acids and fatty acids. Neither reflect the natural diet or nutritional needs of either species. However, in the opinion of the individual consuming it, both taste good . For a more accurate analogy, the macaroni and cheese dinner would need to be modified such that the cheese flavoured sauce is a component of the noodles and most importantly these new noodles are served dry to the human!

Water is the most important nutrient. Of course, neither we nor our cats can live on water alone, but its importance is demonstrated by the fact that during the absence of food and water a creature will perish from thirst long before perishing from starvation.
That said, we don't claim that cats die of dehydration when fed on a commercial dry cat food diet, because most cats will have a supplementary source of water available of which they will take advantage. Or do they?

We mentioned previously how cats evolved as dwellers of the African plains and desserts, and their adaptation of stilling their needs for water with the moisture content of their prey. During the past 40 million years, the cat did not need to rely on supplementary water intake and, even if needed, the cat would not readily do so, because to her it is not natural.


   
1 cup (85 gm) of dry commercial cat food rehydrated with 225 ml water to contain a 75% moisture yields over 2 cups of food.

On average, natural foods contain 70% water. A cat fed a commercial dry food diet will consume approximately one cup of the product per day. For an adequate water intake, the cat would need to drink 225 ml (8oz) supplemental water per day! If she does not consume this adequate amount, dehydration will set in.
Once ingested, the commercial dry food will absorb moisture like a sponge from the cat's stomach, causing the cat to dehydrate from within. Because commercial dry cat food diets are very calorie dense, one cup of dry food, once ingested, will actually give the cat the equivalent of 2 cups of fresh food. Hence, cats on a commercial dry cat food diet are usually over-fed, because the care giver judges how much to feed by volume not caloric density. With the additional high carbohydrate content of dry foods, cats very quickly become obese.
Rehydrating dry commercial cat food, by soaking it in water before feeding, to the same moisture content found in natural foods dilutes protein and fat concentrations per serving to well below nutritionally adequate levels. More of the soaked food would need to be fed to meet daily protein and fat requirements resulting again in an over feeding of carbohydrates and calories.

Commercial dry cat food diet and FLUTD (Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease):
Clinical disorders of the lower urinary tract of cats are not a new phenomena and have been observed as early as 1925. The frequency of its occurrence in the companion cat population is, however, on the rise, and it is now considered to be a common feline disease. The formation of struvite crystals in the urine, leading to obstruction of the bladder, is directly linked to the diet of the cat. Most research relating diet to lower urinary tract disease has focused on mineral content or more recently on the effect of diet on urinary pH; much less research has been devoted to the effect of diet on urinary volume or specific gravity. It has been predicted from theoretical considerations, increasing urine volume for a given solute load has a greater influence on the likelihood of struvite crystal formation than a reduction in urinary magnesium concentration through restriction of dietary magnesium. In addition, increasing urine volume may increase the frequency of urination which would hasten crystalloid and crystal transit time through the urinary tract, thus reducing the potential for crystal growth. It was demonstrated that haematuria (one type of FLUTD) induced in cats by feeding a high magnesium, low moisture-content diet could be abolished by feeding the same diet rehydrated, containing 80% moisture. The same observations have been made in the treatment of cats affected with lower urinary tract disease where the re-occurrence of the condition was significantly reduced by feeding the cats a canned food, compared to cats maintained on dry food. Consumption of dry food has since been implicated as a risk factor for lower urinary tract disease.
New commercial dry diets for the treatment and prevention of struvite crystals are formulated to contain low magnesium levels and are acidified to reduce urinary pH. A low dietary magnesium intake as well as excessive intake of acidifiers, such as ascorbic acid, however, interfere with proper calcium distribution in the body and result in calcium deposits in soft tissue in the form of calcium oxalate containing stones. These stones usually accumulate in the heart and upper urinary tract including the kidneys and, if not surgically removed, will cause death. The occurrence of oxalate containing crystals is now equal to the occurrence of struvite crystals.
Often overlooked is the significance of protein in the acid formation in the body. A high protein diet will assure natural acid levels in the body and a low urinary pH. Contrary to common belief, a diet high in protein does not cause kidney disorders or lead to renal failure, whereas dehydration is damaging to the kidneys and, as a result of feeding an all dry diet, the long term dehydration is a possible cause of chronic renal failure in cats.

 

Hepatic lipodosis, or fatty liver syndrome, frequently occurs in cats in the United States. Its cause is not known, though, according to the Mar Vista Animal Medical Center, a poor-quality commercial diet may be a factor.