Diagnosing Cystitis in Cats

Cystitis in cats is a common medical condition and means that the cat's bladder is inflamed. The condition is caused by bacteria. Cystitis may also be caused by feline urologic syndrome (FUS) or feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), which are frequent conditions in cats, especially females. Cystitis has some tell-tale signs that make it easy to diagnose. An early detection of cystitis may reduce your pet's pain and result in a faster healing.

More Frequent Urination

Typically, cats that suffer from cystitis will urinate more often. The cat will strain and when he urinates, the amounts of urine will be less, even if he has an increased thirst and drinks more water than usual. Check the litter box for any changes in urination or urine discoloration.

Painful Urination

Cystitis causes a lot of pain at urination due to the swollen bladder. Cats may meow or cry when urinating. This may mean that the cat has a urinary infection that needs attention.

The cat may also lick his genitals in attempt to ease the pain.

You may find your cat looking for cool places to lie down on, such as bathroom tiles, as these locations will temporarily relieve the pain.


Due to painful urination, cats will not urinate in conventional spots or in the litter box. For this reason, a cat with cystitis will urinate around the house, looking for a place that may ease the pain. Even neutered cats will spray.

Impurities in the Urine

A cat with cystitis will often have impurities in the urine and in some cases even blood. Blood in the urine may signal other medical conditions such as poisoning, and shouldn't be ignored.

The urine of a cat with cystitis will also have a specific bad smell, different from the typical cat urine odor.


The pain caused by a swollen bladder will cause irritability and aggressiveness. The cat will not seek attention and may become violent if not left alone.

You will also notice that he's less active than usual.


Noticing any of the above mentioned symptoms should be an alarming sign, and you need to go to the vet. The vet will run some urine tests and establish if the cat has cystitis.

Cystitis Treatment

The treatment options for cystitis are limited. The bacteria causing the infection should be flushed out, so your vet will prescribe a special diet including wet food that's low in minerals, plus increased amounts of water. The vet will also recommend some antibiotics.

The vet will prescribe some pain killers, at least until the infection is cleared.

The treatment should last for 7 to 10 days.

If the cystitis is recurrent, the vet may recommend surgery. The narrow part of the urethra may be removed and this will decrease the incidence of cystitis. However, this surgery may have side effects such as more frequent bladder infections and the occurrence of bladder stones.