Evaluation of ammonium chloride as a urinary acidifier in the cat

J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1984 Feb 15;184(4):433-6.


Twenty-four cats were fed a dry commercial cat food once daily for 2 weeks and then ad libitum for 2 weeks. Urine pH was measured 4 times daily the last 3 days of each feeding period. Subsequently, the cats were allotted to 2 equal groups and fed ad libitum an experimental, dry ration with or without 1.5% ammonium chloride for 11 months. During this period, urine pH was measured at 1, 3, 6, and 9 weeks, then monthly through 29 weeks, and then every 6 weeks for the duration of the study. When the cats were fed ad libitum, urine pH remained constant throughout the day, regardless of ration. In cats fed once daily, urine pH increased to 7.6 by 2 hours after feeding and remained between 6.6 and 7.6 for 9 hours. Urine pH remained constant throughout the study when cats were fed the experimental ration with or without 1.5% ammonium chloride, but was significantly different (P less than 0.01) between the 2 groups, 5.9 +/- 0.3 (n = 1,035) and 7.0 +/- 0.5 (n = 616), respectively. Ammonium chloride consumption had no effect on food and water consumption or body weight. It was concluded that ammonium chloride was an effective urinary acidifier for a prolonged time, maintained urine pH below 6.6, and did not decrease food intake when given at a concentration of 1.5% of the diet.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ammonium Chloride / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Cat Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Cats
  • Diet
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Magnesium / metabolism
  • Magnesium Compounds*
  • Male
  • Phosphates / metabolism
  • Struvite
  • Urinary Calculi / prevention & control
  • Urinary Calculi / veterinary*
  • Urine / analysis*


  • Magnesium Compounds
  • Phosphates
  • Ammonium Chloride
  • Struvite
  • Magnesium