Cystitis in cats is a common reason for pet owners to take their pets to the vets. Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (FIC) in cats is inflammation of the bladder and is a really common condition, but not a serious health concern. However, it can be very uncomfortable for your pet and can cause pain when urinating.
Although in some cases of Cystitis in cats the cause is unclear, stress is thought to be the most common trigger. Changes in their routine or environment can lead to stress, which could include, moving home, car travel, inter-cat conflict, new family arrivals or pets, lack of exposure to the outdoors, or boarding in a cattery.
Signs of Cystitis in cats include:
- Straining to urine
- Blood in the urine
- Urinating in unusual places
- Licking the urinary opening
There could be several reasons why your cat may need help in maintaining normal urinary tract health. However, it is important to consult your vet who will be able to offer the most appropriate advice for your cat’s specific health requirements. In order for your cat to maintain a healthy quality of life, there are positive ways in which you help to manage their urinary tract health:
Encourage your cat to consume more fresh water and present it in a way that your cat prefers. The aim of increasing water intake is to produce more dilute urine, which will be less irritating. Make sure you place their water bowl away from their food. Adding water to their food could be another way of encouraging them to consumer more.
Wet food may be preferable to dry because of the increased water content. Consult your vet as to whether a diet change is appropriate. Offer the new diet in an additional separate container to allow your pet to express its preference.
Encourage your pet to take more exercise as this helps to stimulate the bladder. Overweight cats can suffer from cystitis more than normal weight felines, so exercise and diet can play an integral role in maintaining your cat’s bladder health.
To help minimise stress for your cat, their indoor environment should include opportunities for scratching, climbing, hiding and resting. If there is a local cat in the neighbourhood causing stress to your cat, try to prevent your cat from gaining access to the aggressor. It is also important that you stay calm during this time, as cats are very good at reading body language and can pick up on any stress you are feeling yourself.
Litter boxes should be provided in several quiet, stress-free locations throughout the house, particularly in multi-cat households. There should be one litter tray per cat plus one. Litter should be non-scented and cleaned daily avoiding a strong disinfectant.
Cystitis can be more common in older cats, so it is important to take your senior cat for regular health checks. Regularly monitoring their bladder health can help to ensure that your cat has a better quality of life.
Consider natural supplements
Some pet supplements on the market contain natural ingredients, which can help to reduce irritation caused by Cystitis and increase comfort for your cat. Reducing stress is considered to be beneficial in the management of Cystitis in both cats and dogs.
Visit your vet
Your vet is best placed to monitor your cat’s health. It is important to have regular health checks with your local vet to ensure that your cat is receiving the best possible care.