Best Non-Prescription Cat Food For Urinary Crystals

Is your cat struggling with urinary crystals? This condition tends to occur frequently in domestic cats but can often be prevented and treated with dietary modifications. We bring you the top picks for non-prescription cat food for urinary crystals, plus supplement ideas and other tips for urinary tract health.

Tara Maurer holding cat smiling

Last Updated: February 13, 2024 | 11 min read

A side view of Tabby cat eating non prescription cat food for urinary crystals from feeding bowl on white background.

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Many house cats struggle with urinary tract health. In particular, urinary crystals are relatively common among our furry friends. Proper hydration is critical to preventing cat urinary crystals, but what if your cat already has this condition? Your veterinarian may recommend a prescription diet to change the chemical composition of your feline’s urine and discourage crystal formation, but prescription diets are not necessarily better than standard diets.

There are a variety of reasons you might be seeking a non-prescription cat food for urinary crystals. Your cat might not like the taste of the prescription option, or the cost doesn’t work for your budget. You may have looked at the ingredient list and found it wasn’t up to your standards. Regardless, other options on the market can help recover from and prevent urinary crystals.

We bring you the top four non-prescription cat food recipes for urinary crystals and urinary tract health.

Evanger's EVX Restricted Diet Controlled Magnesium.
Our Rating

Best Overall

Evanger’s EVX Restricted Diet Controlled Magnesium

Young Again LID Zero Mature Health.
Our Rating

Best Dry

Young Again LID Zero Mature Health

Weruva Wx Phos Focused
Our Rating

Best Wet

Weruva Wx Phos Focused

Note: Clicking the above links may take you to one of our affiliate partner’s sites, where you can get additional product information and customer reviews. If you make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

What Is Crystalluria?

Crystalluria under microscope.
What crystalluria looks like under a microscope.

Crystalluria describes the presence of crystals in the urine. Urine leaves the kidneys, gets stored in the bladder, and exits the body through the urethra. It contains many dissolved substances, including dissolved protein waste and excess minerals. Crystals form when there is too much of a substance in urine that cannot be dissolved and instead comes together to form crystals.

Urinary crystals do not show any clinical signs and are not painful unless they combine to form larger stones in the urinary tract. At this point, a cat may strain to urinate, have blood in their urine, or frequently pass small volumes of urine.

Various types of urinary crystals can be seen in cats; however, the most common forms are magnesium ammonium phosphate (struvite) and calcium oxalate crystals.

What’s The Difference Between Crystals & Bladder Stones?

When crystals do not pass but instead grow larger, they are referred to as stones. Signs of bladder or kidney stones include blood in urine, urinating in unusual places, difficulty when urinating, and suffering from repeated urinary tract infections (UTIs).

What Causes Urine Crystals?

Several factors are associated with bladder crystals and stones, including breed, sex, age, underlying health conditions, and diet. The following are some of the urinary crystals in cats and how they may occur:

  • Struvite crystals/stones: The most common urinary stones in cats, struvite stones are caused by too much ammonium, magnesium, and phosphate in the urine and urine being too alkaline. Genetic factors may play a role in forming struvite crystals, but diet is the most significant factor. Diet can help dissolve these stones.
  •  Calcium oxalate crystals/stones: Created from the combination of calcium and oxalate waste in the urine. These stones are most common in middle-aged, older, and neutered male cats. You cannot dissolve these stones; they require surgical removal. Diet can prevent reformation.
  •  Urate crystals/stones: Composed of ammonium urate, a waste product found in red meat, fish, and turkey. The body produces uric acid when it metabolizes protein. When urine pH drops too low, urine becomes saturated with uric acid crystals.
  •  Cystine crystals/stones: Created by an excess of the amino acid cysteine. The formation of these stones is a hereditary condition.
  •  Xanthine crystals/stones: A rare form of crystals/stones associated with certain medications.

My Personal Experience With Cat Urinary Crystals

A few years back, I was heading home late from work when a thought hit me: I’m out of cat food. My regular stop at the local pet shop was already closed, so I made a quick visit to a big-box store to grab an available option. While it wasn’t what I usually feed my cat, I’ve often switched between quality brands without a problem—my cat isn’t picky. 

So, I get home and feed my girl. Since I had purchased a small bag of dry food, I figured I’d use the bag before switching back to her everyday recipe. While I admit I picked a cheap option to get us through the night, I didn’t figure it would cause any problems. 

A week later, I noticed my cat, Luna, was frequenting the bathroom more than usual. She would leave the bathroom and almost immediately turn around and head back into the box. Clearly, she felt the urgency to pee, but little urine was being released.

Fearing a urinary infection (which can lead to struvite crystals and stones), I immediately started her on a probiotic supplement and switched her food. And, wouldn’t you know it, her symptoms went away within a couple of days. 

While correlation does not imply causation, this situation taught me a valuable lesson about preventative care. Quality food is a cornerstone for feline health, and if I want my cat to live a long, healthy life, I need to pay attention to what she’s eating and drinking.

Factors To Consider When Purchasing Urinary Support Cat Food

A cat with urine issues peeing in a litter box.
A cat with urinary issues requires a special diet.

The connection between urinary health and diet is well established. Research has linked poor diet as a risk factor for urinary tract diseases, including urinary stones and idiopathic cystitis (inflammation of the bladder).

If you want to protect your cat from urinary tract problems, purchasing high-quality wet cat food is the best step you can take. Wet cat food has a higher moisture content than dry kibble to provide hydration and dilute the urine.

A high-quality cat food will also have animal protein from various sources and limited carbohydrates. Refined sugar can increase susceptibility to UTIs and stimulate the formation of urinary crystals, so stay away from carb-heavy recipes for your kitty.

If your cat already has urinary tract problems, high-quality wet cat food is still important, but you may require further guidance from your veterinarian.

How Nutrition Can Help With Urinary Crystals

So you know your cat has urinary crystals, but you don’t want to spend the big bucks on overpriced prescription cat food. You’re in luck—there are plenty of quality non-prescription cat foods for urinary crystals.

The best cat food for recovering from urinary crystals depends on the type of crystals that have developed. For the best treatment, you need a diagnosis.

For example, the best way to dissolve struvite stones is through a calculolytic diet, which helps by acidifying urine to dissolve stones and reducing mineral content, particularly magnesium and phosphorus, to prevent crystals from reforming. According to research initially published in the Journal of Veterinary Medical Science, food supplemented with urine acidifier D,L-methionine can also decrease urinary pH and prevent struvite crystal formation.

In contrast, you can prevent calcium-oxalate crystal formation by making the urine more alkaline. This diet has lower protein to reduce the oxalate concentration in the urine. It also adds potassium citrate to keep calcium oxalate from forming into crystals. Remember, calcium-oxalate stones cannot be dissolved but can be prevented through diet.

Finally, for urate and cystine crystals, low purine concentration is critical. Avoid feeding your cat red meats (beef, lamb, and pork) and organ meats (liver and kidneys), which are all high in purine. This diet is also lower in protein and creates more alkaline urine to discourage crystals from forming. Citrate supplements, like potassium citrate, may also be used preventativly. Potassium citrate raises the urine pH and makes stones, like those composed of uric acid, less likely to form.

Regardless, one of the best ways to ensure your cat doesn’t develop urinary crystals is by feeding them a high-moisture diet. In addition to increased fluid intake, you should look for low-sodium formulas with moderate calcium levels.

Best Non-Prescription Cat Food For Urinary Crystals

Best Overall

Evanger's EVX Restricted Diet Controlled Magnesium Review

Evanger's EVX Restricted Diet Controlled Magnesium.
  • Guaranteed Analysis (dry matter): 50% protein, 27.78% fat, 5.56% fiber
  • High moisture content
  • Chicken is first ingredient
  • Formulated with acid balance blend
  • Contains prebiotic fiber to support digestion

Evanger’s EVX Restricted Diet Controlled Magnesium is a fantastic non-prescription cat food option for cats prone to urinary crystals and pH imbalance. The recipe contains 82% moisture to support your cat’s urinary tract, plus a few other standout components to prevent and eliminate struvite crystals.

Family-owned and manufactured in the United States, this recipe contains just a few main ingredients (boneless chicken, chicken broth, tomato paste, cranberries, and blueberries), plus essential vitamins and minerals.

The recipe supports your cat’s urinary tract in a few ways. First, the recipe includes the amino acid DL-methionine. This ingredient acidifies urine, thus breaking up struvite crystals. It also helps prevent the formation of these crystals.

The recipe also contains the Alltech Acid Balance blend (phosphoric acid, silicon dioxide, and citric acid) to support healthy pH levels. Also by Alltech, the NVGEN proprietary blend includes prebiotics specially formulated to feed the microbiome to support gut health and immunity.

Evanger’s recommends that this food be fed intermittently or supplementally. So, you can utilize this formula to treat your cat’s urinary crystals, but you’ll want to switch to a different high-quality cat food for daily feeding.

Best Dry

Young Again LID Zero Mature Health Review

Young Again LID Zero Mature Health.
  • Guaranteed Analysis (dry matter): 59.5% protein, 27.4% fat, 1.6% fiber
  • Low sodium, reduced calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous
  • Added potassium citrate
  • Grain-free and plant-protein free
  • Food pH 5.3, resulting in target urine pH of 6.2-6.5

When researching the best non-prescription cat food for urinary crystals, I wanted to see how they stacked up against the leading prescription option, Hill’s Prescription Diet c/d Multicare Urinary Care. As Hills claims its formula dissolves struvite stones in as little as seven days and reduces the recurrence of most urinary symptoms by 89%, it stands to reason that a similar formula would perform equally well. Young Again LID Zero Mature Health was the closest of all the non-prescription cat foods I compared.

Additionally, I would argue that Young Again is even better for cats because it contains much more species-appropriate ingredients. If you look at the Hill’s recipe, the first five ingredients listed are chicken, whole grain corn, corn gluten meal, whole grain wheat, and brewers rice. In contrast, Young Again’s recipe lists the first five ingredients as hydrolyzed pork, chicken fat, hydrolyzed yeast flavoring, guar gum, and DL-methionine. While Hill’s is grain-heavy, Young Again is grain-free and free of plant-based proteins.

Standout ingredients of LID ZERO include potassium citrate for raising urine pH, fish oil rich in omega-3 fatty acids, prebiotic fiber that functions as a food source for the good bacteria that live in your cat’s gut, and yucca schidigera extract, which is used as an ammonia binder and can help reduce odors in your feline’s litter box.

Feeding a 10-pound cat would cost $0.57 per day, which is super reasonable for the quality of this product. Young Again says its meat is USDA, human-grade. It sources its ingredients from the United States, Canada, France, Switzerland, India, Finland, Japan, Germany, New Zealand, and Scotland.

Why isn’t this my number-one pick? Water is crucial to your cat’s kidneys and urinary tract functioning properly, and this formula has a low moisture content (2-10%). When feeding this food to your cat, consider mixing it with water to encourage extra hydration.

Best Wet

Weruva Wx Phos Focused Review

Weruva Wx Phos Focused.
  • Guaranteed Analysis (dry matter): 60.61% protein, 30.3% fat, 6.06% fiber
  • Low phosphorus
  • High moisture content
  • Features cage-free chicken
  • Free of grain, carrageenan, powdered cellulose, and fillers

Weruva is an all-around quality cat food, and its non-prescription low-phosphorus wet cat food is an excellent option for cats with urinary crystals. While Weruva doesn’t specifically label this recipe for urinary tract problems, the low phosphorus, high moisture, and limited carbohydrates make it a great choice.

At 83.5% moisture, Weruva’s Wx Phos Focused has the highest moisture content of all recipes in this review. Water is crucial for kidney function and the prevention of urinary crystals. This recipe is also low in phosphorus, which will help acidify the urine and reduce struvite crystals.

This recipe keeps ingredients simple: chicken broth, chicken, egg white, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols, sunflower oil, natural flavor, fish oil, eggshell meal, and vitamins and minerals. It’s free of red meat and organ meat, making it a potential option for cats with urate crystals.

Feeding a 10-pound cat this recipe would cost $6.70 per day; however, it’s important to note that Weruva’s Wx Phos Focused is intended for intermittent or supplemental feeding. It’s not a complete and balanced food and should only be fed for a limited time.

Check out our Weruva cat food review to learn more about this family-owned and operated company.

Best Budget

IAMS ProActive Health Urinary Tract Health With Chicken Review

IAMS ProActive Health Urinary Tract Health With Chicken.
  • Guaranteed Analysis (dry matter): 50% protein, 27.78% fat, 5.56% fiber
  • High moisture content
  • Formulated to reduce the pH of cat urine
  • Affordable and widely available
  • Added vitamin E for immune system support

IAMS formulated its ProActive Health Urinary Tract Health cat food to support feline urinary health. This non-prescription option is complete and balanced, and formulated for daily use.

The recipe’s primary protein source is chicken. Other ingredients include chicken by-product meal, ground whole grain corn, corn grits, brewers rice, plain dried beet pulp, sodium bisulfate, and natural flavors. Have you never heard of sodium bisulfate? It lowers pH, so it can help acidify your cat’s urine.

Other standout ingredients include DL-methionine (another acidifier), fish oil (which supports the heart, brain, joints, eyes, and the immune system), and fructooligosaccharides for digestive support.

What’s not to like? This recipe is high in carbohydrates (around 35.44%), which is not an essential nutrient for cats.

Our Personal Experience With IAMS ProActive Health Urinary Tract Health

My cat Zaphod has had major trouble with struvite or urinary crystals. He got very sick a few years ago and needed emergency care. It took several months and an expensive prescription diet to restore him to full health. Once he fully recovered, preventing this from happening again became, and is, a top priority for me. My vet and I have a long-term treatment plan, and a good part of that is a healthy diet. While he no longer needs the prescription diet, I periodically give him urinary support formulated food mixed in with his other food to ensure everything is working correctly.

I have tried a few different brands of non-prescription urinary care cat food. The one I keep coming back to is IAMS ProActive Health Urinary Tract Health Adult. The main reason for this is that Zaphod likes the taste of this one and will actually eat it. Some of the other products, while possibly better in ingredient quality, have a smell and taste he will not go near. So, IAMS has been a good compromise.

I like that this food has added vitamin E for urinary health and that the formula is developed to reduce pH and support urinary function. The ingredients are ok in quality, and the recipe starts with real chicken. I do not love the use of chicken by-product meal or corn. However, the recipe does contain fish oil and several other vitamins and minerals to support urinary health. It also has calcium and potassium, which support heart health. It is low in price and easy to find, which are two other positives.

Using this food, mixed in with canned and fresh foods, has helped keep my cat healthy and without a recurrence of the urinary crystals. It is not his primary food, but it has been a helpful support tool to boost his urinary health.

Danielle DeGroot, Cat owner and care expert

Supplements For Urinary Crystals

Best Treatment

Natura Petz Organics Break It Up! Review

Natura Petz Organics Break It Up!
  • Formulated to break down and eliminate various types of stones
  • May help limit stone formation
  • Ideal for cats at risk of UTIS or calcium oxalate stones
  • Made without wheat, corn, soy, or GMOs
  • Turkey-flavored capsules

Natura Petz Organics formulated its herbal supplement Break It Up! to dissolve kidney and bladder stones. It features the herb chanca piedra, known as “stone breaker,” commonly used in natural medicine to break up various types of crystals and stones. The supplement also features the diuretic herbs cipo cabeludo and uva ursi to help address stones, crystals, and UTIs.

Best Prevention

K-Plus Granules With Potasium Citrate Plus Cranberry Review

K-Plus Granules With Potasium Citrate Plus Cranberry.
  • Helps prevent urinary stone formation
  • Includes cranberry extract for urinary tract health
  • Veterinarian-approved formula
  • Safe for kittens and adult cats
  • Contains essential fatty acids

K-Plus chicken-flavored potassium citrate plus cranberry granules feature ingredients supporting urinary health and function while preventing the formation of calcium-oxalate crystals. Each serving includes 300 mg of potassium citrate and 50 mg of cranberry extract. Cats require one scoop daily, which you can add to their regular meal.

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve included some frequently asked questions related to urinary crystals and cat urinary tract health. Don’t see yours? Ask us in the comments.

How Can I Support My Cat’s Urinary Tract Health?

In addition to quality food and supplements, consider ways to increase your feline’s fluid intake. Try mixing water or bone broth with your cat’s food at mealtime. Another way to improve your cat’s water intake is by purchasing a drinking fountain. Cats prefer running water, so a fountain may entice your kitty to drink more.

Is Purina Pro Urinary Health Wet Food Good?

You might wonder why Purina Pro’s Urinary Tract Health cat food didn’t make the cut. While this formula targets urinary health, the cost is exceptionally high for what you’re getting.

Feeding a 10-pound cat Purina Pro Urinary Tract Health wet food would cost around $6.16 a day. I expect an outstanding formula free of fillers, artificial colors, and bi-products for that price. But if you look at the ingredient list, you’ll find less-than-ideal ingredients: meat by-products, wheat gluten, corn starch-modified, and caramel color. For this reason, Purina didn’t make the list of top picks.

To learn more about Purina Pro, read our Purina Pro Plan cat food review.

More Urinary Tract Cat Food Options

Are you seeking more cat food options to support your pet’s urinary tract? I recommend starting with quality wet food. To get started, explore our SmallsAcana, and The Honest Kitchen reviews.

Why Trust Love Your Cat?

Tara is a writer for Love Your Cat, specializing in health and nutrition. She has worked in the wellness industry for 6+ years, advising pet parents on supplements and nutrition for their furry friends. Tara has personally tested cat food for urinary health with her cats and spends countless hours vetting companies and their products.

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