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February 22, 2024

An Exploration into Struvite Crystals & Feline Urinary Health: Go! Solutions Hairball Control + Urinary Care™

  • Urinary Health
  • Hairball Control
  • Cat Food
Cat in litterbox beside bag of Go! Hairball Control + Urinary Care cat food

Urinary health is a major topic when it comes to cats. The urinary system includes the bladder, kidneys, and urethra, all which function together to remove filtered waste, including certain minerals and compounds. The health of this system is critical for overall wellbeing and is heavily influenced by proper hydration, stress, and obesity, among other factors1,4,6. In cats, there are many concerns which can be related to a urinary system issue, which can all be captured under the umbrella term of feline lower urinary tract disorder (FLUTD). One of the most common concerns under this umbrella is the formation of stones and crystals, also known as urolithiasis2,6,13. There are multiple types of urinary stones, however the most commonly diagnosed are ‘struvite’3,5. Struvite crystals can be a normal component of healthy cat urine, however when they aggregate into stones, they can become a painful and serious concern which warrant veterinary attention3.

All About Struvite

Struvite stones are comprised primarily of the minerals magnesium and phosphorus3. They tend to form when the urine is concentrated, and when pH is alkaline (above neutral (7))3. There are a number of things pet parents can do to help prevent occurrences of urolithiasis, including minimizing stress, keeping your cat at a healthy weight, keeping litterboxes clean, and choosing a diet designed to support a healthy urine pH1,3,6. However, if stones do form, a therapeutic diet designed to dissolve the stones and restore urinary health must be used7. These special dissolution diets are available only through a veterinarian and are considered medicinal.

Go! Solutions Hairball Control + Urinary Care

Once a dissolution protocol has been completed, and no struvite stones remain, it is ideal to feed a diet which can help maintain urinary health. The Go! Solutions Hairball Control + Urinary Care™ Chicken Recipe with Grains, formulated along side a Board-Certified Veterinary Nutritionist®, boasts a number of key functionalities which work together to discourage struvite stones, including:

  • Increased sodium content to encourage drinking9. This will help foster hydration to dilute urine, encourage bladder elimination and flushing, and discourage crystal aggregation.

  • Controlled content of key minerals, phosphorous and magnesium3. These are the primary minerals which comprise struvite stones, so by controlling them and not providing excess, there will be less to filter in urine.

  • Formulated to lower and control urinary pH4,5. A moderately acidic urinary pH is critical to discourage the formation of struvite stones.

Backed by Science

Study Design

To evaluate the efficacy of our The Go! Solutions Hairball Control + Urinary Care Chicken
Recipe with Grains in supporting urinary health in cats, we partnered with an industry leading
research facility to perform a 33 -day study. The study included a 10-day acclimation period onto a top performing maintenance cat recipe to serve as a control, and a 23-day test period on our Go! Solutions Hairball Control + Urinary Care recipe. After acclimation onto the control diet, each cat of the 12 healthy cats included in our study had their urine sampled over a 24-hour period (day 0 sample). This sample was analysed for pH and specific gravity, which is a measure of the urine concentration and can suggest hydration status. The cats were then transitioned onto our Go! Solutions Hairball Control + Urinary Care recipe for the remaining 23 days of the study, where urinary tests were repeated on day 10 and 23 for comparison, plus an RSS analysis for struvite, which is an evaluation of the total dissolved compounds in a liquid and can indicate likelihood of struvite stone precipitation.

Results & Discussion

Averaged values for urinary pH and specific gravity at the three sample periods are displayed in Table 1.0.

Table 1.0: Urinary pH graph

View as PDF with annotations

Table 1.0

Urinary pH and specific gravity values at day 0, 10 and day 23 in the study, representative of these parameters for cats while being fed an industry leading maintenance cat food (day 0), and while being fed the Go! Solutions Hairball Control + Urinary Care recipe for 10 and 23 days respectively.

*indicates that the values from between day 0 and day 23 are statistically significant.

Urinary pH is one of the key elements considered when assessing urinary health in cats. When cats were transitioned onto the Go! Solutions Hairball + Urinary Care Chicken Recipe with Grains, the average urinary pH was significantly reduced from 6.95 to 6.4, which is in the ideal pH range for discouragement of struvite stone proliferation11.

When looking at urine specific gravity, there is no single value which is considered ideal; however, a normally hydrated cat will often range from 1.035 to 1.06013, and a value closer to 1 indicates improved hydration and decreased urine concentration8. The value from the cats on the Go! Solutions Hairball Control + Urinary Care recipe of 1.044 indicates a hydrated cat, and this value is significantly improved from when fed a control maintenance diet.

Finally, a value < 1 for RSS struvite is desirable to create an unfavourable urine environment for stone precipitation10. When on the Go! Solutions Hairball Control + Urinary Care recipe, cats achieved an average RSS of 0.1813, indicating a low risk of proliferation and precipitation of struvite stones.

Fee-line Fine

These results demonstrate that the Go! Solutions Hairball Control + Urinary Care Chicken
Recipe with Grains is both functional and efficacious in supporting optimal urinary pH and
urinary health. This recipe can help keep cat’s urinary pH in the “sweet zone” to discourage
struvite stone development, encourage water consumption to dilute urine and is designed to limit the key minerals found in struvite stones. Although this recipe has a focus on cats with a history of struvite stone development, it can be fed as a daily maintenance diet for any adult cat to foster a healthy urinary system!

If your cat has recently had struvite stones and has completed a dissolution protocol, or you have questions regarding your cat’s unique health concerns, contact your veterinarian to discuss if this recipe may be a good choice for you and your feline friend.

  1. Kurum, H., & Yalcin, E. 2023. Effects of multimodal environmental modification in crystal-related feline lower urinary tract diseases. Brazilian Journal of Veterinary and Animal Science. 75 (4).

  2. Grauer, G.F. 2013. Current thoughts on pathophysiology & treatment of feline idiopathic cystitis. Today's Veterinary Practice. 38-41

  3. Weir, M.., & Barnette, C. Struvite Bladder stones in Cats. VCA Animal Hospitals. Available from: Struvite Bladder Stones in Cats | VCA Animal Hospitals (

  4. Osborne, C.A., Lulich, J.P., & Thumchai, R., et al. 1996. Feline urolithiasis. Etiology and pathophysiology. Veterinary Clinics of North America, Small Animal Practice. 26: 217–232.

  5. Cannon, A.B., Westropp, J.L., Ruby, A.L, & Kass, P.H.2007. Evaluation of trends in urolith composition in cats: 5230 cases (1985– 2004). Journal of The American Veterinary Medical. 23: 570–576.

  6. Lekcharoensuk, C., Osborne, C.A., & Lulich, J.P. 2001. Epidemiologic study of risk factors for lower urinary tract diseases in cats. Journal of The American Veterinary Medical. 218: 1429–1435.

  7. Forrester, S.D., & Roudebush, P. 2007. Evidence-based Management of Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease. Veterinary Clinics of North America, Small Animal Practice. 37 (3).

  8. Bailiff, N.L., Westropp, R.W., Nelson, J.E., Sykes, S.D., & Owens, P.H.K. 2008. Evaluation of urine specific gravity and urine sediment as risk factors for urinary tract infections in cats. Veterinary Clinic Pathology.

  9. Queau, Y., Bijsmans, E.S., Feugier, A., & Biourge, V.C. 2020. Increasing dietary sodium chloride promotes urine dilution and decreases struvite and calcium oxalate relative supersaturation in healthy dogs and cats. Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition. 104(5).

  10. Houston, D.M., Weese, H.E., Evason, M.D., Biourge, V., & Van Hoek, I. 2011. A diet with a struvite relative supersaturation less than 1 is effective in dissolving struvite stones in vivo. British Journal of Nutrition.

  11. Tefft, K.M., Byron, J.K., Hostnik, E.T., Daristotle, L., Carmella, V., & Frantz, N.Z. 2020. Effect of a struvite dissolution diet in cats with naturally occurring struvite urolithiasis. Journal of Feline medicine and Surgery.

  12. Bartges, J.W., & Kirk, C.A. 2006. Nutrition and Lower Urinary Tract Disease in Cats. 36(6).

  13. Watson, ADJ., Lefebvre, HP., Eliot, J. 2022. International Renal Interest Society. Urine Specific Gravity. Available from: IRIS Kidney - Education - Using Urine Specific Gravity (


Theresa Lantz

Theresa Lantz

Companion Animal Nutritionist

Theresa received both her BSc in Companion Animal Health and MSc in Animal Science from the University of Alberta.