Our 13 year old male tabby cat had two kinds of bladder stones a couple of years ago. He had surgery for the stones, all were removed, and there's been no issue with the stones returning since then. At the time of the surgery he weighed about 17-18 pounds. The vet recommended that we feed him Hill's Prescription Diet "w/d" dry food for digestive issues and weight management, and since then he's come down to about 13 pounds. As background info he's naturally a biggish, lanky cat.

I'm worried that he's getting too thin, even at 13 pounds. He's a solitary indoor cat (we live in NYC), so doesn't get a ton of exercise. The weather this summer (hot) seemed to take the wind out of his sails, even with the AC left on during the day when it's extremely hot. He's less interested in eating overall. This isn't to say he doesn't have an appetite, he just doesn't eat as much as he once did. I'm hoping that when the weather turns cooler his appetite will return. I supplement in fresh chicken and fish to give me a bit more fat, but even that he doesn't always go crazy for it the way he once did. I realize that he's getting older and he will shrink the way that most creatures do in their latter days.

As mentioned before we buy him the Hill's Prescription "w/d" food for digestive and weight management issues. Cleary the weight management isn't an issue anymore, but we do not want the bladder stones to return. The Hill's w/d food goes for about $65 for an 18 pound bag, which is a lot of money. Is there a cheaper option that will give him a bit more caloric intake while still keeping the digestive issues at bay?

I found a good article at peteducation.com that has a useful list of recommended foods. I don't know the cost of all these foods, but perhaps you can find one that is less expensive. (Also see if you can order the food online at a lower price.) Here's the key info:

[The] diets that are designed to actually dissolve urinary stones include Hill's s/d, Royal Canin Dissolution, and Royal Canin Urinary SO. Hill's s/d should only used on a short-term basis, however, since it is not balanced for long-term use. Those diets that are available to help prevent stones and crystal formation in cats that are susceptible to them include Purina CNM UR-Formula, Royal Canin Urinary SO, Royal Canin Control, and Hill's c/d, w/d, and r/d. All of these diets have a balanced level of the minerals that make up the crystals such as magnesium and phosphorous. In addition to being formulated to produce an acid urine, they are also formulated to produce more dilute urine, so crystals are less likely to form. The diets are available through your veterinarian.

I recommend that you read the article as they have specific food recommendations based on the type of stones your cat had. They recommend free feeding so the cat will eat small meals throughout the day.

After eating a large meal, the pH of the urine usually becomes more alkaline. By eating small meals throughout the day, the urine pH will stay more acidic.

They also stress the importance of making sure your cat drinks enough water. You might want to try a "pet water fountain".

If the vet is happy with his weight, he is not getting too thin. You should be able to feel the individual bones of the spine through a cat's skin.

(A friend's cat does take this to extremes; she was the runt of the litter and has never weighed much more than 6 pounds at her heaviest. At this point, she's almost a walking skeleton in a fur coat.... and she is 19 years old and still going, having outlived her siblings. Your kid is probably not as skinny as you think he is!)

  • Thank you for that information. I can feel the individual bones of the spine, but he does still look and act happy & healthy. Any suggestions about food he could be switched to that would continue to help with keeping bladder stones at bay, but doesn't cost $65 a bag? – thisboyshouts Aug 23 '16 at 21:47
  • Can't help you on that one, but someone else probably has an opinion. – keshlam Aug 23 '16 at 23:19

If there's been a change in your cat's behavior (you report weight loss, loss of appetite, and lethargy), he should see the vet to be sure that there's no underlying health condition causing these changes.

I had a cat who had bladder stones (and a growth) a few years ago and my vet never recommended a special food. We fed her exclusively wet food (to keep her urinary tract well hydrated) and never had problems again.

Additionally, Hill's w/d is their weight management food. It's not formulated to help with bladder stones.

Check with your vet, but in my opinion you could change to an inexpensive canned food without any issue. Several grocery store (cheap) brands don't include a lot of grains/vegetable fillers but would keep his urinary tract 'flushed out' and prevent stones from forming.

My cat is on the Hills science diet s/d, I do buy the 4lb bag and mixing it with the Hills science diet for bladder problems from petsmart which is about half the price. It's not medicated but it is formulated to keep new stones from developing. Might be an option for you. I am starting to worry because she is looking very slim. She has never been a fat cat 9.5 lbs, she sees the very again in a couple weeks so I will visit the weight issue. She don't feel lighter just looks thin.

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