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How to treat cat cystitis

grey cat lying down advice © Shutterstock

If you think you know the facts about cystitis, think again. Cat cystitis is actually very different to human or dog cystitis. And it can be very serious.
 

By G. John Cole

Cat cystitis is usually caused by stress rather than an infection. You might first notice it because your cat has trouble peeing. But it can end in death if not treated properly.

Cat cystitis treatment: what is cat cystitis?

Cystitis in cats is a Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD). It causes inflammation of the bladder. Male cats also suffer from obstruction of the urethra (the pipe that urine follows from the bladder to the outside world). This prevents a male cat from peeing altogether, which can become a life-threatening condition.

Stress, damage to the bladder’s lining, and concentrated urine are all causes of the condition or can make it worse. It is stress that seems to be the most common cause, especially in young cats.

This stress can be caused by changes to the cat’s routine. Bacteria can be another cause, although this is more rare. Vets often associate this cause with other issues, such as old age or kidney disease.

Bladder stones, tumours, and toxic cystitis can also be the culprit. And a cat who has had cystitis once is reasonably likely to develop it again in the future.

Cat cystitis treatment: what are the symptoms?

This disease makes it difficult or impossible for cats to wee. As the cat’s owner, you need to watch out for secondary signs that your cat is having trouble.

If it visits the litter tray more often than usual, passing little or nothing at a time, then there is likely some obstruction. If its wee is bloody or clearly causing the cat pain, flag it up with your vet. Or if your cat begins to wee in inappropriate places, or generally seem out of sorts, it could be because it has lost control of the ol’ hose pipe.

It can be very serious, and in the case of a tomcat it is considered an emergency. So be sure to call your cat’s vet as soon as possible.

Cat cystitis treatment: getting a diagnosis

Your cat’s vet will make a few basic tests to look for signs of diagnosis. Be ready to provide a list of symptoms and some idea of their timing and regularity. These tests may include blood tests if necessary. She may use x-rays or an ultrasound to take a closer look at your cat’s plumbing.

Cat cystitis treatment: coping with cystitis 

It takes some time to recover from cat cystitis. And it requires more than just medication.
In the first place, however, your vet will prescribe drugs to relax the urethra and treat any blockage that has occurred. She may also issue medication for the pain and to repair the lining of moggy’s bladder. 

If the case is very urgent, the vet might use a catheter to drain the trapped urine. Or she might need to put the cat under anaesthetic to remove the blockage. 
She will also suggest some cat cystitis home remedies, although this doesn’t mean you should skip the vet visit altogether. 

Look at what may have been stressing your cat and see how you can deal with it. You might even speak to a cat behaviourist to try to get to the core of what’s upsetting moggo.

You shouldn’t attempt to reduce the amount of peeing your cat needs to do. The creature needs to get plenty of water – more so than usual. But you can attempt to reduce the concentration of that pee. Ensure that your cat’s diet is PH-balanced and that it has plenty of water to drink. Use a bowl that moggy’s comfortable drinking from, and fill it high so it’s easy to reach and doesn’t run dry.

You can also improve hydration levels by switching from dry to wet cat food. And you can make wet food wetter by adding water. 

A cat who has had stress-related cystitis once is likely to develop it again. So it’s best to keep such a cat on a wet food diet. Keep an eye on your cystitis cat, because it's likely to flare up again – and it’s never much for the little critter.