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Struvite are stones in your cat's bladder. They form if the PH of the bladder is wrong and are very common and very painful. They produce cystitis symptoms such as urinating little bits far too frequently, blood in the urine, pain for your cat when they urinate and urinating in strange places. Worse they can cause a complete blockage of the urethra and can be fatal within 48 hours if this happens. This is why it's important to feed your cat the special prescription diets intended for this condition exclusively. However exclusively does not mean you can't try various brands of the same diet as long as it's the same strength as your usual one, it means you can't feed them other non-prescription items at the same time.
My two lads (cats) have both had struvite in the past so in my food cupboard for them I always have a bag of Hills S/D biscuits in case of a flare up (these are the strongest ones), Hills C/D for maintenance and at least one other brand of a maintenance version. These diets are wonderful and really help control the problem but can you imagine eating the same food every day for day after day, year after year? Me either. I'd be completely bored after a few days and cats get bored too.
A word of warning first. There are another type of bladder stones (oxalate) that need a totally different diet so make sure you know what type of stones your cat has if you are advised to use a special diet. Ask your vet, don't assume! Struvite are the most common.
Some cats can have a few months on these diets then go back to normal food and be fine but the majority need to be on them long term. Again your vet will advise you.
Recently my boys went through a "bored with their food phase" so I got busy on www.vetuk.co.uk looking for a new brand for them to try. I came across these Purina Veterinary Diet UR biscuits and decided we'd try them. They sell a 1.5kg bag for £10.30, a 5kg bag for £28.92, some wet food in cans for £27.73 for 24 cans and a canine version at £15.05 for 3kg. I opted for the 1.5kg bag of biscuits as there's no guarantee my boys will like new things just because they sound good!
Obviously for cats with bladder problems moisture is a factor so if your cat will eat the wet version that's best but mine hate the wet version of these diets so I make sure we have fresh water at various places in the house so they can get plenty to drink. Fresh water is important for all cats and especially those on a dry diet.
These biscuits have a high level of taurine which cats need but can't produce themselves so they have to get it from their food. They also contain some vitamins which are guaranteed until the best before date (on this bag it's July 2010), and a high level of potassium to prevent hypokalemia which is low levels of potassium. Reading the ingredients I discovered these are chicken and fish flavour. Purina claim these can also help with loss of appetite because they are so palatable.
Once they arrived I had a good look at the bag. Instructions and ingredients are given in various languages on the back and sides of the plastic bag. On the front there is a purple stripe, a small purple cat so you know you've got the feline version and a large purple UR so you know you have the right diet. There is a plastic strip which is pulled off to reveal a kind of zip lock fastening. This is pressed together after use to ensure freshness. This is a good idea as some of the brands don't have these.
The biscuits smell of a dry, meaty smell. Quite normal for cat biscuits. They are a brilliant shape though. These are little squares, almost flat and about 5mm along each side. This makes them easier to eat than round biscuits because they are more mouth friendly and don't roll out as your cat opens their mouth to chew, they are large enough to be crunched easily with the teeth without having to move the biscuit around the mouth but not too large for little feline mouths. Excellent shape. They are also quite a pale brown colour.
So onto the taste test. I poured some of these into bowls and placed them in front of my boys. At first they gave a hesitant sniff then a much more interested sniff and then ate a portion each with lots of enthusiasm. Both of them love these biscuits and when I fill bowls in the kitchen with them I'm like the pied piper with my boys following me waiting for the bowls to be placed on the floor!
I've since put a bowl of these out along with their normal brand and they often choose these. Obviously with time their enthusiasm will decrease but then I'll remove these biscuits and replace them with another brand for a while until they're bored with that then put these back out. They are still very interested at the moment though so we may get through the entire bag before that happens!
I'm really pleased with these Purina UR biscuits, my boys love them, their bladders are happy so I'm happy! I can thoroughly recommend them and according to my boys they are very tasty!
Dietetic food with urine acidifying properties