As a cat owner, choosing the right diet for your feline friend can be a daunting task, particularly when they have specific health needs. Two popular options for those dealing with urinary tract issues are Royal Canin’s Urinary Care and Urinary SO diets. Despite sharing a similar purpose, there are significant differences between these two products, which we will outline in this article.
A Look at Royal Canin Urinary Care
Royal Canin Urinary Care is a specially formulated diet for adult cats that do not have a history of urinary problems. The key to preventing urinary issues is to encourage a high volume of dilute urine. This diet achieves that goal by encouraging cats to drink more, neutralizing the pH of their urine, and keeping the mineral concentrations in their urine below the levels at which struvite and calcium oxalate crystals form.
Key ingredients include dehydrated poultry protein, rice, wheat, maize, vegetable protein isolate, animal fats, and others. Remember, this diet is preventive in nature and is only suitable for healthy adult cats.
Delving into Royal Canin Urinary SO
On the other hand, Royal Canin Urinary SO is a prescription diet specifically created for cats already dealing with urinary health issues such as struvite and calcium oxalate crystals. This diet works by diluting urine, which decreases the concentration of struvites and calcium oxalates. It also promotes undersaturated urine, which is an environment where crystals cannot proliferate.
This diet’s composition includes meat and animal derivatives, fish and fish derivatives, cereals, derivatives of vegetable origin, vegetable protein extracts, and various sugars. The formula is typically lower in calories compared to similar products like Hill’s c/d, which can be beneficial for maintaining a healthy weight.
Key Differences Between Urinary Care and Urinary SO
While both diets are designed to maintain urinary health in cats, there are a few important differences:
1. Purpose of Diet: Urinary Care is designed as a preventative measure for healthy cats, while Urinary SO is a therapeutic diet for cats already diagnosed with urinary issues.
2. Availability: Urinary Care can be purchased over the counter, while Urinary SO requires a veterinary prescription.
3. Caloric Content: Urinary SO is generally lower in calories than Urinary Care, making it a potentially better choice for cats prone to weight gain.
The Verdict: Which is Best for Your Cat?
The choice between Royal Canin Urinary Care and Urinary SO will depend largely on your cat’s specific health needs. If your cat is healthy and you want to proactively protect their urinary health, Urinary Care may be a good fit. However, if your cat has been diagnosed with a urinary condition, your vet may recommend a prescription diet like Urinary SO.
Always consult with your vet before making any changes to your cat’s diet, particularly if they have a history of urinary health issues. Diet can play a crucial role in both preventing and managing urinary conditions, but it’s important that the diet be selected based on the cat’s specific needs.
No two cats are the same, and what works best for one may not be ideal for another. That’s why it’s crucial to always consult with a professional before making any significant changes to your pet’s diet. Your vet can provide the best guidance and recommendations based on your cat’s health history and current condition.
FAQs about Royal Canin Urinary Diets
1. Can a Healthy Cat Eat Royal Canin Urinary SO?
Royal Canin Urinary SO is a therapeutic diet formulated for cats with urinary health issues. While it’s not harmful for a healthy cat to eat this food, it’s generally not recommended unless your vet advises otherwise. If your cat does not have a history of urinary problems, Royal Canin Urinary Care is a more suitable choice as it’s designed to prevent urinary issues in healthy cats.
2. How Long Does It Take for Royal Canin Urinary SO to Work?
The time it takes for Royal Canin Urinary SO to show its effects can vary based on the severity and type of your cat’s urinary issues. Generally, noticeable changes in urinary symptoms may occur within a week or two. However, the full benefits of this diet may not be evident until several weeks or months of consistent feeding. Always consult with your vet to monitor your cat’s progress and adjust the diet plan if necessary.
3. Can Royal Canin Urinary SO Cause Diarrhea?
Like any dietary change, switching to Royal Canin Urinary SO can potentially cause temporary digestive upset in some cats, including diarrhea. If your cat experiences persistent diarrhea or other concerning symptoms after switching diets, consult your vet. It’s always recommended to transition your cat to a new diet gradually, over a period of 7-10 days, to minimize the risk of digestive issues.
4. Is There a Non-Prescription Alternative to Royal Canin Urinary SO?
Yes, there are over-the-counter diets designed to support urinary health, such as Royal Canin Urinary Care. However, these diets are generally intended for prevention rather than treatment. If your cat has been diagnosed with a urinary health issue, a prescription diet like Royal Canin Urinary SO, under the supervision of a vet, is usually the best course of action.
5. Can I Mix Royal Canin Urinary SO with Other Foods?
While it’s technically possible to mix Royal Canin Urinary SO with other foods, it’s generally not recommended. The Urinary SO diet is precisely formulated to manage urinary health issues, and mixing it with other foods can dilute its effectiveness. If your cat is resistant to the Urinary SO diet, speak with your vet about strategies for a successful dietary transition.
6. Do I Need to Continue Royal Canin Urinary SO After Symptoms Resolve?
Once a cat’s urinary symptoms have resolved, some cat owners wonder if they should continue feeding the Royal Canin Urinary SO diet. This question is best answered by your vet as it depends on the specifics of your cat’s health. In some cases, it may be necessary to continue the diet long-term to prevent the recurrence of urinary problems.
7. How Does Royal Canin Urinary SO Help Dissolve Struvite Stones?
Struvite stones in cats are often formed due to highly concentrated urine with a high pH. Royal Canin Urinary SO is specifically formulated to create an environment in the urinary tract that is unfavorable for the formation of struvite crystals. It achieves this by increasing the volume of urine, thereby diluting it, and carefully manipulating the pH of the urine to discourage struvite formation.
8. Can a Cat on Royal Canin Urinary SO Eat Treats?
While treats can be a part of your cat’s diet, they should make up no more than 10% of their daily caloric intake. Keep in mind that treats aren’t formulated with the same urinary health considerations as Royal Canin Urinary SO. Thus, it’s important to choose treats that won’t negate the benefits of their therapeutic diet. Consult your vet for recommendations on appropriate treats.
9. Can Kittens Eat Royal Canin Urinary SO?
Royal Canin Urinary SO is formulated for adult cats. Kittens have different nutritional needs, particularly regarding growth and development. As such, it’s not typically recommended to feed this diet to kittens unless explicitly advised by a vet due to a specific health issue.
10. What Do I Do If My Cat Won’t Eat Royal Canin Urinary SO?
If your cat is reluctant to eat Royal Canin Urinary SO, try gradually introducing the new food by mixing it with their old food. This process should take around a week, gradually increasing the proportion of the new food. If your cat still refuses to eat, contact your vet. They might suggest alternatives or provide strategies to encourage your cat to eat the prescribed diet.
11. Can Royal Canin Urinary SO Prevent Future Urinary Issues?
While Royal Canin Urinary SO is designed to manage urinary issues like struvite and calcium oxalate crystals, it’s also beneficial in preventing the recurrence of these problems. It achieves this by promoting an environment in the urinary tract where crystals are less likely to form. However, other factors such as hydration, overall diet, and individual health conditions also play a role in urinary health.
12. Is Royal Canin Urinary SO Suitable for Cats with Kidney Disease?
Royal Canin Urinary SO is designed to manage urinary issues, not kidney disease. Cats with kidney disease often require a diet low in phosphorus and protein, which is not the focus of the Urinary SO formulation. If your cat has kidney disease, a therapeutic diet specifically designed for kidney support, like Royal Canin Renal Support, would be more appropriate. Always consult your vet when choosing a diet for a cat with a health condition.
13. How Does Royal Canin Urinary Care Compare to Urinary SO?
Royal Canin Urinary Care is a diet formulated to maintain urinary health in cats and prevent the formation of urinary crystals, whereas Royal Canin Urinary SO is a therapeutic diet designed to manage existing urinary conditions, such as struvite and calcium oxalate crystal formation. While both diets support urinary health, Urinary SO is a more targeted solution for cats with existing urinary health issues.
14. Is Royal Canin Urinary SO Suitable for Cats with Diabetes?
If your cat has diabetes, it’s crucial to manage their carbohydrate intake, which can impact blood glucose levels. While Royal Canin Urinary SO is not specifically formulated for diabetic cats, it can be part of a diabetic cat’s diet with careful monitoring and veterinary guidance. Always consult with your vet when managing complex health conditions like diabetes.
15. How Does Royal Canin Urinary SO Help Manage Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD)?
FLUTD is a term that encompasses several conditions affecting the bladder and urethra. Royal Canin Urinary SO helps manage this by promoting an increased volume of dilute urine, which reduces the risk of crystal and stone formation. It also helps balance the urine pH to discourage the formation of struvite and calcium oxalate crystals, common components of FLUTD.
16. Can Royal Canin Urinary SO Help with Urinary Incontinence?
While Royal Canin Urinary SO can help manage urinary tract health, it’s not specifically formulated to address urinary incontinence, which can stem from various causes, including bladder control issues, nervous system conditions, or anatomical abnormalities. If your cat is showing signs of incontinence, a vet should be consulted for proper diagnosis and treatment.
17. Are There Side Effects to Feeding Royal Canin Urinary SO?
As with any diet change, some cats may experience temporary digestive upset when starting Royal Canin Urinary SO, including diarrhea or vomiting. If these symptoms persist or if your cat shows other signs of illness like decreased appetite, lethargy, or changes in drinking and urination habits, contact your vet immediately.
18. How Does Royal Canin Urinary SO Compare to Other Prescription Urinary Diets?
Royal Canin Urinary SO is similar to other prescription urinary diets, like Hill’s c/d, in that they all aim to prevent the formation of urinary crystals and stones. Differences lie in the specifics of the formulations, like the precise balance of minerals, protein content, and the strategies employed to increase urine volume. The best choice depends on the specific needs and preferences of your cat, which should be discussed with your vet.