Urinary problems are one of the most common health issues in cats, especially feline interstitial/idiopathic cystitis (FIC), more commonly referred to as just cystitis. Cystitis can cause symptoms which can be traumatic for you and your cat. Interestingly, while most common cat injuries are the result of something physical, cat cystitis is one of the few diseases to commonly have a mental cause.
Cat cystitis is the inflammation of the bladder which results in a urinary tract disease. Causes of the inflammation are largely unknown, although stress is believed to play an important part, and the disease affects male and female cats. Unfortunately, the disease causes painful urination and disrupts their toilet habits. Cruelly, with cats being such clean and habitual creatures, this disruption only serves to heighten their stress, confounding the problem even more. Common symptoms include:
At James Wellbeloved, we advocate always going to your vet for any medical treatment. This goes for cat cystitis, too. Sometimes cystitis can be accompanied by urinary crystals which will usually require a clinical Urinary diet to help dissolve any crystals which are present. If your vet diagnoses solely cystitis, they will usually prescribe pain medication which can also help reduce any inflammation in the bladder and possibly antibiotics to help with any infection which may be present. As cystitis can be a chronic disease, it can be brought about by long-term causes (normally stress related), as the owner, you can try and help reduce any stress.
Diagnosing what exactly is causing your cat to feel stressed can be tricky, but there are a number of things you can do to make their home life more comfortable:
While any changes in diet should be approved by your vet first, they may recommend switching to wet food to increase water intake or as mentioned previously, a special diet to help dissolve any urinary crystals which may be present. Finally, ensure fresh water is constantly available to your cat. Regular drinking is not only important to keep your cat hydrated, but encouraging urination will help keep the bladder and urinary tract functioning properly while the body recovers from the infection. It is recommended to keep the water bowl away from the food bowl as cats tend to prefer this and to have multiple water bowls around the house to encourage as much drinking as possible.