Cat owners no longer need to concern themselves about buying low magnesium cat food. The idea behind low magnesium cat food came about because at one time pet food manufacturers believed that magnesium in the “ash” of cat food was causing the formation of struvite crystals in a cat’s urine; a urinary tract health problem. Therefore the manufacturers promoted the idea that low magnesium would clear up the crystals.
However, research indicated that cat’s urine with a high pH (alkaline) was the main cause of crystal formation and not high levels of magnesium. Dry cat food with a high vegetable and grain content caused the alkaline urine. The manufacturers decided to make cat food that would make a cat’s urine acidic (low pH). They did this by adding in ammonium chloride. However, this caused a different health problem: chronic acidosis. This is the mobilisation of calcium from the bones.
Hills manufacture Prescription Diet s/d for example. This is a dry cat food which helps to make a cat’s urine acidic thereby preventing the formation of stones. However, there is a better solution.
The problem, as I see it, is kibble (dry food) and its unnaturalness. The answer is not to fiddle around with formulating artificial dry cat foods but to feed your cat with a high protein, high quality wet cat food. Cats eating canned cat food have less urinary tract health problems than cats on kibble. Common sense tells us that the relatively high moisture content of canned cat food is more natural, replicates more accurately the natural food of the cat and helps prevent the formation of stones by hydrating the cat.
The culprit was and is dry cat food. I guess the manufacturers want to retain dry cat food because it is hugely profitable and tried to find a way around the problem while retaining it. They even invented a so called prescription diet on the back of the problem.
One last point. Reading labels and trying to work out what is in cat food is tricky at best. It is an unrewarding task. How would one know from reading ingredients if the magnesium content was low? Ignore these hurdles and limit dry food as part of a cat’s diet.
Sorry to bleat on about cat kibble but it is a major part of the answer to the question in the title of this article.
Note: Manufacturing cat food at high temperatures produces ash which is made up of minerals including magnesium. Magnesium is required by a cat as part of his/her diet.