Feline Cystitis Diet Recommendations

Feline cystitis is an inflammation that causes the bladder to produce tiny crystals and can make blood appear in the urine. Cats suffering from this disorder may begin to urinate in places other than their litter box, preferably on hard surfaces like tiles, wood floors and counter tops. Don't punish your cat for urinating inappropriately as a result of cystitis.

Causes of Cystitis in Cats

Vets don't know exactly what causes cystitis in cats. Vets suspect that bacterial infection, early neutering and dry food diets may play a role in the development of this disease. Some vets think that feline cystitis may be related to a herpes virus.

Symptoms of Feline Cystitis

Cats with cystitis will display obvious discomfort urinating, and there will be blood in their urine. Female cats are prone to bladder stones, which may need to be surgically removed. Male cats are vulnerable to the proliferation of crystals in the urine, which can cause an obstruction of the urethra. If the urethra becomes blocked and your cat loses the ability to urinate, he'll die without emergency veterinary care.

Treating Feline Cystitis with Diet and Medication

Treatment of feline cystitis varies depending on how far the disease has progressed. If your cat hasn't yet developed any bladder stones or urinary blockages, medication can relieve the painful symptoms. Your vet will need to perform a urinalysis to determine what sort of medication your cat needs, since this will change depending on your cat's urine pH, severity of symptoms and presence and size of bladder stones.

If your cat is suffering from a urinary blockage, your vet will place him under anesthesia and remove the blockage by passing a catheter into the bladder. Usually this catheter is left for 24 hours. Your vet will remove it when he's sure that blockage won't recur.

A special diet can help your cat recover quickly from cystitis, and can help to prevent recurrence of the disease. You should feed your cat both dry and moist food, since chronic dehydration is suspected to be one of the causes of feline cystitis.

Otherwise, dietary recommendations depend on what type of crystals appear in your cat's urine. Struvite crystals require an acidic diet, while non-struvite crystals require a non-acidic diet. Following these guidelines can go a long way toward preventing future flare ups.

Complications Associated with Cystitis

Some who develop a urinary obstruction as a result of cystitis sometimes develop a complication known as bladder atony. This complication occurs when your cat's bladder muscles are stretched so far that they lose the ability to contract and expel urine. It may take as long as a week for these muscles to regain their strength, and your cat will need to remain hospitalized during this period.

If your cat does suffer from a urinary blockage, he could also suffer kidney damage due to toxins building up in his body. Hospitalization and treatment should help your cat regain kidney function.