Cats & the Alkaline Diet

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Alkaine diets can cause health problems in cats.
Alkaine diets can cause health problems in cats. (Image: cats 2 image by Dusan Radivojevic from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

Although humans can benefit from following alkaline diets, such diets can cause cats health problems. As natural carnivores, cats need a balanced diet with plenty of protein and minerals. If you are unsure about which foods to feed your cat, it is important to ask your vet for advice.

Features

An alkaline diet is one that consists mostly of alkaline foods. These include grains and cereals, as well as many vegetables such as cucumbers, peppers, greens and mushrooms. While these foods are healthy in moderation, they shouldn't make up the majority of the cat's diet. Many commercial brands of dried cat food contain high levels of these substances. Therefore, it is important to check the ingredients in cat food before feeding it to your pet.

Effects

Alkaline diets can have serious consequences for your cat's health. Eating too many alkaline foods can cause the pH balance of the urine to become alkaline. This can cause kidney and bladder stones to form, leaving your cat in a lot of pain. If the stones are left untreated, your cat might be unable to pass urine and will become seriously ill. According to vet Ron Hines, DVM, the stones are also porous and a breeding ground for infection-causing bacteria.

Prevention/Solution

The most effective way to prevent your cat from developing the health problems associated with an alkaline diet is to ensure that it is eating enough acidic foods. Vet Armaiti May, DVM, points out that meat-based diets are more acidic. Therefore, feeding your cat enough raw meat, such as chicken, to balance out any alkaline foods it is eating will help prevent bladder stones. May adds that a healthy pH for your cat's urine is between 6.2 and 6.4.

Considerations

Just as a diet that contains too many alkaline foods can cause your cat to become ill, a diet that causes high levels of acidity in your cat's urine will also affect its health. Acidic urine can cause calcium oxalate stones to form in the cat's bladder, leading to the same problems as the bladder stones caused by an alkaline diet. If you want to check that your cat's urine has a suitable balance of acid and alkaline, you can ask your vet to perform a pH test.

Expert Insight

Dr. May advises owners to check their cat's urine pH levels one to two weeks after any dramatic changes in the cat's diet. She says that it is possible to adjust most diets, even those that are vegan, to ensure the cat is receiving a stable amount of acidic and alkaline foods. May also advises owners to give their cats plenty of fresh water and add a few drops to moisten dry food and keep the cat's urine diluted.

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