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Effects of potassium chloride and potassium bicarbonate in the diet on urinary pH and mineral excretion of adult cats

  • Nadine Paßlack (a1), Thomas Brenten (a2), Konrad Neumann (a3) and Jürgen Zentek (a1)


Low dietary K levels have been associated with increasing renal Ca excretion in humans, indicating a higher risk of calcium oxalate (CaOx) urolith formation. Therefore, the present study aimed to investigate whether dietary K also affects the urine composition of cats. A total of eight adult cats were fed diets containing 0·31 % native K and 0·50, 0·75 and 1·00 % K from KCl or KHCO3 and were evaluated for the effects of dietary K. High dietary K levels were found to elevate urinary K concentrations (P< 0·001). Renal Ca excretion was higher in cats fed the KCl diets than in those fed the KHCO3 diets (P= 0·026), while urinary oxalate concentrations were generally lower in cats fed the KCl diets and only dependent on dietary K levels in cats fed the KHCO3 diets (P< 0·05). Fasting urine pH increased with higher dietary K levels (P= 0·022), reaching values of 6·38 (1·00 % KCl) and 7·65 (1·00 % KHCO3). K retention was markedly negative after feeding the cats with the basal diet ( − 197 mg/d) and the 0·50 % KCl diet ( − 131 mg/d), while the cats tended to maintain their balance on being fed the highest-KCl diet ( − 23·3 mg/d). In contrast, K from KHCO3 was more efficiently retained (P= 0·018), with K retention being between − 82·5 and 52·5 mg/d. In conclusion, the dietary inclusion of KHCO3 instead of KCl as K source could be beneficial for the prevention of CaOx urolith formation in cats, since there is an association between a lower renal Ca excretion and a generally higher urine pH. The utilisation of K is distinctly influenced by the K salt, which may be especially practically relevant when using diets with low K levels.


Corresponding author

* Corresponding author: Dr N. Paßlack, fax +49 3083855938, email


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