Several of you have asked for a Newton update after his urinalysis, and I was stalling on one until I could sound a little less frustrated with the situation. So here we are.
For three weeks, Newton ate his raw diet, and the only treats he had were some freeze-dried Bravo turkey treats (100% meat), and some pinches of unseasoned, grilled chicken breast (also 100% meat).
With the crunchy treats gone from his diet, his pH numbers should look better, right?
His pH was still stubbornly 8.5. That’s crazy high for a raw fed cat.
The vet blamed the raw food and insisted on a prescription diet for life.
The local company I have been buying prepared raw food from blamed the freeze-dried treats.
I was ready to pull my hair out in frustration at the blame game.
I agreed to put Newton on a prescription diet for a while while I figured out what the best long-term dietary move would be. I put off writing an update here until I had a plan.
Newton hates the renal diet. I’m not impressed with the ingredients in it, but he’ll be all right on it for a few weeks.
After some research, I took another hard look at the food Newton has been eating. Because life has been stressful, it has been easier for me to buy raw food rather than make it, and the local company who makes the raw food makes primarily raw for dogs, just like all pet food manufacturers do.
I sat down with the ingredient list and for some reason, I saw something I had questioned months ago and then put out of my mind: The food is made with chicken necks.
The USDA says that chicken necks are 27% bone.
Turkey thighs are 14% bone. The recipe I use to make my own raw food, from Dr. Lisa Pierson, uses poultry thigh with half of the bones removed, so that lowers the bone level to 10% or less.
Rodents are roughly 5% bone and rabbits are a little less than 10% bone.
There isn’t much way around it, Newton’s diet has too much bone in it.
Adding calcium to your diet can raise your urinary pH. Humans actually do this on purpose with calcium supplements to make their urine more alkaline.
Newton’s high urine pH may be the fault of my getting complacent and not making raw food at home and instead buying food that is too high in calcium.
So I think that’s the next step: We’ll leave Newton on the prescription food for a couple more weeks to get a new baseline on his urinary pH on that food, then I’m going to have to make time to make raw for him myself.
Then we’ll see if that allows him to eat high quality, species-appropriate ingredients and have his urine look the way it is supposed to.
In the meantime, Newton is feeling fine. He is still playing and making mischief. And he really doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about.
Research and Further Reading
USDA Agricultural Research Service, USDA Food Composition Database
CatInfo, Making Cat Food
CatCentric, A Prey Model Raw (PMR)/Whole Prey Feeding Guide
Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand, The effects of potassium and magnesium supplementations on urinary risk factors of renal stone patients.