The effect of diet on lower urinary tract diseases in cats

J Nutr. 1998 Dec;128(12 Suppl):2753S-2757S. doi: 10.1093/jn/128.12.2753S.


Because dietary ingredients and feeding patterns influence the volume, pH and solute concentration of urine, diet can contribute to the etiology, management or prevention of recurrence of some causes of lower urinary tract disease. Most research assessing the effect of diet has focused on the latter two aspects, primarily because of interest in struvite urolithiasis. Manipulation of urine pH through dietary means has proven an effective tool for the management and prevention of struvite urolithiasis; acidification of urine, however, may be a risk factor for calcium oxalate urolithiasis, which now appears to occur with approximately equal frequency in cats. Prediction of urine pH from dietary analysis would thus be a valuable tool, but considerable further research is required before this can be achieved with commercial canned foods. With the growing importance of urolith types other than struvite, alternatives to the measurement of urine pH are required to assess critically the likely beneficial (or detrimental) effects of manipulation of nutrient profile. Measurement of urinary saturation may permit the development and fine tuning of nutrient profiles aimed at controlling lower urinary tract diseases in cats that are associated with a range of different mineral types. The majority of cats with signs of lower urinary tract disease do not, however, have urolithiasis; indeed, no specific cause can be established in most of these cats. Recent observations suggest that recurrence rates of signs in cats classified as having idiopathic lower urinary tract disease may be more than halved if affected animals are maintained on high, rather than low moisture content diets. J. Nutr. 2753S-2757S, 1998

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cat Diseases* / etiology
  • Cat Diseases* / prevention & control
  • Cat Diseases* / therapy
  • Cats
  • Diet*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Urinary Calculi / etiology
  • Urinary Calculi / therapy
  • Urinary Calculi / veterinary
  • Urine
  • Urologic Diseases / etiology
  • Urologic Diseases / therapy
  • Urologic Diseases / veterinary*