Urine is normally acidic, with a pH of about 6 (pH range 4.8-8). The urinary pH can be affected by food and various acid-base disorders. Foods that will acidify the urine include cranberry, meat, and high-protein diet; foods that will alkalinize the urine are dairy products, legumes, and citrus products.2 In general, acidic urine deters bacterial colonization.3 Many cats with urinary tract problems have alkaline urine. Simply by acidifying urine slightly you may improve and sometimes eliminate the problem. One easy way to this is to add amino acid methionine right into the food.
First check the urine. Your veterinarian can do it for you, or you can do it yourself using a simple litmus paper test. You can purchase litmus strips through science, laboratory, or chemical supply stores, or ask your local pharmacist. The small strips determine acidity or alkalinity of a substance. Pink is acid, blue is alkaline, lavender is in between. You want to make urine slightly on the acidic side, so lavender to pink is the desired color. Simply place the strip in the litter box where the cat has just urinated.
Always be sure to check the urine first before doing this. If your animal is already on a special acidifying diet, the urine may be acidic enough and you don't want to increase the acidity. To acidify the urine and dissolve crystals in cats with recurrent urinary obstruction problems, an extract of cranberry in tablet form can be used. A high-level good quality protein diet in combination with the extract works excellently. Dissolution of crystals can be expected within 24 hours. Cats may remain on this program indefinitely with no adverse effects.1
- The veterinarians' guide to natural remedies for cats. Martin Zucker
- Textbook of basic nursing. Caroline Bunker Rosdahl, Mary T. Kowalski
- Basic Skills in Interpreting Laboratory Data. Mary Lee
- Home-prepared dog & cat diets: a healthful alternative. Donald R. Strombeck