Cats with recurrent cystitis; how to help your cat






This is the commonest cause of recurrent cystitis in young cats (in older cats infections sometimes associated with kidney disease are commoner). It is important that stones and other causes of cystitis are ruled out but in cats with this problem recurrent episodes of bladdder inflamation & pain occur usualy manifest by the cat urinating in the house often outside of the tray & often having bloody urine. Male cats with this condition can develop a urinary blockage as the blood & mucus combine with crystals that are often found in concentrated cat urine to clump together. If this happens it can be a life threatening emergency and need prompt treatment.


Cats with cystitis can be treated during acute episodes with painkillers/ anti spasmodics but it would be better to avoid recurrences especially when a blockage might occur.


A big factor to reduce recurrence is to ensure that the cat produces more dilute urine. Wet food will mean that the cat takes in more water than on dry food & is why wet food is generally recomended over dry food by most cat vets. Water can be added to wet food to increase water intake. Prescription diets can reduce crystal formation to reduce risk of blockage.


Ways of encouraging drinking in cats can be by using 'cat soups' as an addition to diet, providing flavoured water (eg adding the liquid from tinned tuna in spring water) and find out what sort of container your cat prefers to drink out of. Some prefer running water (fountains), wide bowls or raised bowls or having an outside waterbowl.

ISFM produce a helpful handout with tips to help increase your cats water intake.




Keeping your cat happy


No one wants to think that their pet is stressed but some cats do find life quite stressful & this is definitely a factor in some cats with cystitis. Cats in multicat households often find life stressful as they have evolved as solitary hunters. Some are happy in small groups but some most definitley are not.


If you have a mulitcat household then you need to make sure that cats can eat/ drink/ use litter trays separately from each other. Food bowls/ water bowls/ litter trays need to be far enough apart so that cats can use them without being intimidated by each other. Some cats prefer different styles of litter tray - covered or uncovered. Clumping fuller earth litters are generally preferred over the woodchip/ recycled newspaper litters. Cats are both hunters (so hunting type toys/ feeding toys can be entertaining) but in the wild can be hunted so like to both be able to hide but also to be able to watch. Hiding places (cardboard boxes) & lookout places in particular high rise hiding places are preferred. In multicat households' cats need to be able to escape from each other. Strange cats should not be allowed in as this is very stressful for resident cats. Microchip cat flaps are ideal & can be used in internal doors to allow cats to have time out from each other. Strange cats staring in through French windows/ glass doors can make cats very anxious so blocking the view can help manage this.


Cats are also creatures of habit & routine so we often see bladder problems precipitated by alterations in their routine such as guests, Christmas & bad weather so anything you can do to minimise disruption to your cats routine ( providing more hiding places, giving your cat a 'guest free area') can minimise a flare up,

Any punishment given to a cat showing signs of cysitis by urinating in the house & outside of the box clearly will cause stress & is likely to make ths problem worse.