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How to spot if your cat has feline cystitis

Feline interstitial cystitis, sometimes called feline idiopathic cystitis or FIC, is an inflammation of your cat's bladder that causes symptoms of lower urinary tract disease.

Cystitis can occur in both female and male cats. It’s a chronic disease that can be difficult to treat and frustrating for you and your cat.

The causes aren’t fully understood, but stress is thought to play a large part in interstitial cystitis.

What are the signs of feline cystitis?

  • Frequent attempts to urinate
  • Straining to urinate
  • Urinating in inappropriate places in the house
  • Crying out during attempts to urinate
  • Blood-tinged urine
  • If you have a male cat who can’t urinate, then he may have a blocked bladder – seek veterinary attention as soon as possible

What to do if you suspect your cat has cystitis

Visit your vet – they’ll perform blood tests and urinalysis to diagnose the condition. They may also carry out an abdominal X-ray and an ultrasound exam to rule out stones and other abnormal structures in the bladder.

How is feline cystitis treated and what are the costs?

Your cat is likely to be prescribed pain medication to relieve the discomfort caused by the inflammation within the bladder and urinary tract. This will make them more comfortable while urinating.

You may also need to change your cat’s diet – your vet will advise you if they recommend a special diet. Increasing your cat’s water consumption is an important part of treatment and feeding them wet food, when possible, will help increase the moisture content in their diet.

It’s a good idea to discuss costs with your vet before you start treatment.

How do I avoid feline cystitis reoccurring in my cat?

Making changes to your cat’s environment can help reduce their stress levels. Dietary modifications, pain medication and other medicines can also help with this.

Providing all of your cat’s basic needs such as good quality food, clean water, a place to hide and interactive toys all help to minimise the stress levels that can cause cystitis. Pheromones such as Feliway can also help reduce your cat’s stress.

If you’re thinking of adopting a cat with feline cystitis

Make sure you review the clinical history of your new cat and ask for more details on how the cystitis was treated.  You’ll need to sign a disclaimer to confirm you’ve been made aware of the condition. Any cat who’s had treatment is likely to have pet insurance exclusions, so it’s worth discussing potential on-going costs with your vet.

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