Royal Canin Urinary SO: A Comprehensive Review

When it comes to our feline friends’ health, urinary issues are a frequent concern. Royal Canin has developed a diet to specifically target these problems called Urinary SO. While it has been widely discussed in the pet food market, it’s essential to dissect this product’s pros and cons to determine if it’s the best choice for your cat.

Understanding Urinary Health in Cats

Before we dive into the product review, it’s important to understand why a special diet might be necessary. Cats are prone to urinary problems, including urinary tract infections, bladder stones, and urinary obstruction, particularly in male cats. These conditions can be extremely painful, and in some cases, life-threatening. The primary role of urinary health cat foods like Royal Canin Urinary SO is to prevent these conditions.

The Science Behind Royal Canin Urinary SO

The Royal Canin Urinary SO formula is designed to achieve low urine concentration by increasing the volume of urine your cat produces. This helps prevent the formation of both struvite and calcium oxalate crystals, which can lead to urinary stones. It also maintains a slightly acidic urine pH, which further inhibits crystal formation.

Pros: Why Pet Owners Love It

Effective for Managing Urinary Issues

Many cat owners have reported that Royal Canin Urinary SO has helped manage their cat’s urinary health conditions effectively. They’ve seen a significant reduction, if not complete elimination, of urinary crystals, and fewer episodes of urinary tract infections.

Appealing to Cats

While the health benefits are essential, it’s equally important that cats enjoy the food. Reviews suggest that most cats enjoy both the wet and dry versions of this product, even those with typically fussy eating habits.

Veterinarian Recommended

Many veterinarians recommend Royal Canin Urinary SO, which speaks volumes about its effectiveness.

Cons: Points to Consider

Ingredient Quality

A common criticism of Royal Canin Urinary SO is the perceived quality of ingredients. Some owners express concern over the use of grains and by-products. While these are not necessarily harmful, they are less biologically appropriate than a meat-based diet for cats, which are obligate carnivores.


Prescription diets like Royal Canin Urinary SO can be more expensive than typical cat food, which can be a concern for some pet owners.

Potential for Digestive Upset

Some owners have reported their cats experiencing digestive issues, including vomiting and diarrhea, when eating this food. While these instances seem to be relatively rare, it’s something to be aware of.

Royal Canin Urinary SO: Nutritional Profile

Understanding the Nutritional Composition

The primary goal of the Royal Canin Urinary SO diet is to promote a urinary environment unfavorable to the formation of crystals. However, to make an informed choice, we must analyze the nutritional composition. The wet version of the diet contains moisture-rich formulation, which aids in increasing your cat’s total water intake. This is crucial in flushing out the urinary system and maintaining overall hydration.

Moreover, the diet includes adjusted levels of magnesium, a common component of struvite crystals. By limiting magnesium and maintaining an acidic urinary pH, the diet aims to dissolve struvite and prevent its recurrence.

Analyzing the Ingredient List

The primary ingredients in Royal Canin Urinary SO include chicken by-product meal, brewers rice, corn, and chicken fat. While some pet parents may be concerned about the presence of by-products and grains, these ingredients are not inherently bad. Chicken by-products, for example, can provide a rich source of protein and essential nutrients. Similarly, brewers rice and corn are digestible carbohydrates that provide energy.

However, it’s important to note that cats are obligate carnivores, and their natural diet would be high in protein and low in carbohydrates. Hence, a diet high in grains may not be the most biologically appropriate choice.

Considering Dietary Fiber

Royal Canin Urinary SO contains a moderate amount of dietary fiber, which can be beneficial for gastrointestinal health. Dietary fiber can aid in digestion and help manage weight, which is particularly important for indoor cats or cats prone to obesity.

Potential Side Effects and Concerns

Although Royal Canin Urinary SO has been effective in managing urinary health conditions, there are potential side effects that pet parents need to be aware of.

Digestive Issues

While not common, some cats may experience digestive problems, including vomiting and diarrhea. This could be a result of a change in diet or a reaction to a specific ingredient. It’s always recommended to transition your cat gradually to a new diet to minimize potential digestive issues.

Possible Allergies

Though rare, food allergies or intolerances could manifest if your cat has a specific sensitivity to an ingredient in the diet. Common signs of food allergies include skin irritations, gastrointestinal upset, and changes in behavior. If you suspect your cat has a food allergy, it’s crucial to consult your veterinarian.

Alternatives to Royal Canin Urinary SO

While Royal Canin Urinary SO has proven to be beneficial for many cats, there are alternatives available if you’re looking for a different nutritional profile or price point. Brands like Purina Pro Plan and Hill’s Science Diet also offer prescription urinary diets, and these might be worth considering in consultation with your veterinarian.

Final Thoughts: Is Royal Canin Urinary SO the Right Choice for Your Cat?

Royal Canin Urinary SO can be a useful tool for managing your cat’s urinary health. Its proven efficacy in preventing urinary crystals and UTIs is a major plus point. However, the ingredient list might give some cat owners pause. It’s important to have a conversation with your vet about whether this diet is the best fit for your cat, considering their overall health, lifestyle, and other dietary needs. Remember, individual cats can react differently to the same diet, so it’s crucial to monitor your cat carefully when introducing any new food.


1. How does Royal Canin Urinary SO work?

Royal Canin Urinary SO works by creating an environment in your cat’s urinary system that is unfavorable for the formation of struvite and calcium oxalate crystals, which can lead to urinary stones. It achieves this by increasing the volume of urine your cat produces and maintaining a slightly acidic urine pH.

2. Does Royal Canin Urinary SO require a prescription?

Yes, Royal Canin Urinary SO is a veterinary diet and requires a prescription from a veterinarian. This ensures that this specific diet is appropriate for your cat’s health condition and that your cat’s health is monitored while on this diet.

3. Can I feed Royal Canin Urinary SO to all my cats?

While Royal Canin Urinary SO is designed to be palatable and nutritionally complete, it’s formulated for cats with specific urinary issues. If your other cats do not have these issues, they may not need this diet. It’s always best to consult with your vet to ensure each cat is receiving the most appropriate diet for their individual health needs.

4. Can I mix Royal Canin Urinary SO with other cat food?

While it might be tempting to mix Royal Canin Urinary SO with other cat foods, especially if your cat is a fussy eater, it’s generally not recommended. This is because mixing it with other foods could dilute the urine dilution effect of the diet, rendering it less effective. However, you could consider mixing both wet and dry forms of Urinary SO if your cat prefers variety.

5. How long does my cat need to eat Royal Canin Urinary SO?

The duration your cat needs to stay on Royal Canin Urinary SO would depend on the severity of their urinary issues and their response to the diet. Some cats may need to stay on this diet for a few months, while others may require it long-term. Your vet will provide the best advice based on your cat’s individual circumstances.

6. Does Royal Canin Urinary SO help with urinary infections?

While Royal Canin Urinary SO is primarily designed to manage urinary crystals and stones, it can indirectly help prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). This is because crystals and stones can irritate the bladder lining, creating a conducive environment for bacteria to grow, leading to UTIs.

7. Is there a difference between the dry and wet versions of Royal Canin Urinary SO?

Both the dry and wet versions of Royal Canin Urinary SO are designed to manage urinary issues. However, the wet food has higher moisture content, which can be beneficial for cats prone to urinary issues as it helps to increase their total water intake. Some cats might prefer one over the other, or enjoy having a mixture of both.

8. Can kittens eat Royal Canin Urinary SO?

Royal Canin Urinary SO is designed for adult cats dealing with urinary health issues. Kittens have unique nutritional needs, and it’s essential to feed them a diet specifically formulated for kittens. If a kitten is experiencing urinary problems, consult with a veterinarian to get appropriate dietary and medical advice.

9. Can I give Royal Canin Urinary SO to my cat with kidney disease?

While Royal Canin Urinary SO is formulated to help manage urinary conditions, it may not be suitable for cats with kidney disease. Cats with kidney disease often need a diet low in phosphorus and protein, which is not the case with Urinary SO. Always consult with a vet before changing the diet of a cat with a medical condition.

10. Is Royal Canin Urinary SO safe for long-term use?

This diet is designed for long-term feeding. However, regular veterinary check-ups are crucial to ensure that the diet continues to be suitable for the cat’s condition and to monitor for any potential adverse effects.

11. What should I do if my cat won’t eat Royal Canin Urinary SO?

If your cat refuses to eat Royal Canin Urinary SO, it’s important not to force them. A sudden change in diet can cause stress and further health problems. You might try gradually introducing the new food by mixing it with their current food. If they still refuse to eat it, consult with your vet for alternatives.

12. Can I switch from Royal Canin Urinary SO to a non-prescription diet?

Switching from a prescription diet like Royal Canin Urinary SO to a non-prescription diet should only be done under the advice of a vet. Abrupt changes in diet, especially for cats with a history of urinary problems, can lead to a recurrence of symptoms.

13. Are there any common side effects associated with Royal Canin Urinary SO?

While Royal Canin Urinary SO is generally safe, some cats may experience digestive upset such as vomiting or diarrhea, especially during the initial transition. If these symptoms persist or if your cat seems unwell, consult with your vet immediately.

14. What should I do if I notice any changes in my cat’s health while on Royal Canin Urinary SO?

If you notice any changes in your cat’s health, such as changes in urination, bowel movements, appetite, behavior, or weight, it’s important to contact your vet immediately. These could be signs of a health issue that needs to be addressed.

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