As some of you know, I have been dealing with Jack and his urinary issues for way too long now. He developed struvite crystals when he was about three due to the fact that I was feeding him dry food. He has been good except of one incident of him getting into some dry food, until the past year when he some Catswell Cat Treats that were made in China (and they will not acknowledge that their product was the problem) While experts have no idea why some cats develop crystals, they do know several factors that can help or hurt cats who do have this problem. One is proper hydration (eating canned or raw and not dry) the other is maintaining proper urinary PH.
A cat's ideal urinary PH is on the acidic side of neutral. Some will say 6.0 to 6.5 (with 7.0 being neutral) some others say that 6.0 is too low, and shouldn't go below 6.2. A cat's PH balance varies a bit depending on what they eat, how much they eat, if they get enough sleep, if they are stressed, etc. So being able to monitor your cat's urinary PH can be very helpful if you are dealing with a cat with urinary issues.
Years ago I heard of a product that you can put in your litter box that would help that, called Scientific Professional Cat litter.
Unfortunately this litter is discontinued. It also had the limitation that it only notified you if the cat went too alkaline. Generally the issue with cats with struvite crystals, but some cats do have an issue becoming too acidic and thus at a risk at developing oxalate stones - which are much more difficult to get rid of. What I did like about this litter though was it was VERY obvious when there was an issue. I still have about a quarter of a bag left, so I use some of it from time to time when I want to try to test Jack's urine.
But I recently heard of a new product called Ultra Monthly Monitor. It is a litter box additive instead of a litter (as in the case of the other product) that you put on top of your current litter. I wrote to the company and asked if they might mind sending me some in exchange for a review on my blog, and they thought that was a good thing and sent me two packages.
What I like about this litter product is that it reads both too acidic and too alkaline issues. Unfortunately it showed up right after we removed the litter box from the bathroom after it had been in there for a while, and then nearly immediately after that I got a pretty horrific cold that brought me to my knees for a week and kept me exhausted for two weeks after that. The last thing I wanted to was deal with litter.
I think Jack REALLY wanted me to give this product a fair review though, because all last week he was peeing all over the floor. I tried putting a little of the litter on the puddle in the floor and didn't notice a change at all, so I gave up, and was about to lock Jack up for a day with a box and the litter, but then I was able to get a syringe full of urine..
Let the testing begin! As you can see I got a PH strip to test the urine prior to the photo shoot so I could see where he was. Sadly the PH test strip only goes down to 6.2, and the strip seemed to be even lighter than that, so I'm guessing he was somewhere around 6.0 - not too bad considering I had given him some PH altering supplements the night before to help acidify his urine.
|PH test strip, urine in syringe, a bowl for testing|
|the fresh litter additive and the PH indicator on the bottom of the bag|
|Urine added to the litter additive|
So I dug out the vinegar (PH of 5) and mixed some baking soda in water (PH of ~8.0 which Jack has been tested at a few years ago when he got into a bag of dry food and ate his fill and then started peeing in the tub) I put some on the Ultra Monthly Monitor, as well as the other stuff..
|Light yellow blotch is urine |
Bright yellow blotch is vinegar
Green blotch is baking soda water
|This litter turns pink when alkaline liquid hits it|
So I totally applaud them for this product. I would recommend you try it if you feel the need to monitor your cat's urine - especially since the alkaline shows up so clearly and that is generally where the problem is. You can get it rather inexpensively if you search around the internet, I saw it under $6 at one shop.
Disclaimer: This post was brought to you by Ultra Monthly Monitor. They sent me the product for free, but the review is 100% my own opinions..