I have an older cat who, like most older cats, is starting to have some kidney issues. Not severe, but she's noticeably drinking/peeling more.
Our vet says that the "senior cat" mixtures from the better pet food brands are not bad, but that we should consider moving to one of the prescription diets specifically balanced to reduce load on the kidneys.
I'm not opposed... but I'm somewhat confused about why a script is required to purchase these foods. Presumably they are as nutritionally complete as other foods from the same company. It's not as if there were controlled substances in the mix, or as if the vet was getting any additional payment for writing the script, given that the critter gets a yearly checkup anyway. And the specialized foods are more expensive, which should be sufficient to deter dangerously inappropriate use.
So how did we wind up needing the vet's approval to order these diets? Is it purely a marketing scheme by the pet food companies to make the diet seem more curative so pet owners will take it more seriously, or is there actually a good reason?