Understanding Feline Interstitial Cystitis

Feline interstitial cystitis is sometimes referred to as feline idiopathic cystitis or FLUTD which stands for feline lower urinary tract disease. This urologic syndrome affects close to 1% of the cat population. There are various causes and a variety of symptoms. Some of the primary symptoms include bloody urine, pain when urinating, and inappropriate elimination. One form of treatment is called multimodal environmental modification.

Characteristics of Feline Interstitial Cystitis

In this disease, the urinary bladder becomes inflamed. Minerals and debris from inflammation become too concentrated in the bladder and can form crystals. These crystals can move up to the urethra and cause blockage. Kidney problems and disease can result from untreated FLUTD. Both male and female cats can get the disease. Male cats, however, can experience a full obstruction of the urethra which poses a life-threatening situation. Female cats rarely develop obstruction because their urethra is wider and shorter.

Common Symptoms of Feline Idiopathic Cystitis

A cat with FLUTD will exhibit a variety of different behaviors and symptoms related to urination. Firstly, he will strain when trying to urinate. You may hear a distressful meow because urination becomes painful.

You may also notice that your cat is making frequent trips to the litter box. You'll also notice, however, a decrease in the amount of urine output. When he does urinate, he may go outside the box. In addition to inappropriate elimination and pain when urinating, the cat may produce bloody urine.

Possible Causes of Feline Interstitial Cystitis

Many factors have become associated with the development of feline idiopathic cystitis. A virus may bring on the disease as well as stress, lack of exercise, or lack of exposure to the outdoors. Dry food with a high mineral content puts a cat at higher risk. Diets that lack the appropriate nutrition from whole foods and moisture contribute to the formation of bacteria in the urine. Thicker urine is more likely to lead to infection and crystal formation.

Multimodal Environmental Modification (MEMO)

Many experts suspect stress as one of the primary factors in feline interstitial cystitis. Even in the best of homes, a cat may experience stress in the form of boredom from being inside or having to deal with other animals within the household. A cat also translates some dietary issues into stress. Some cats will get anxious over an even slightly dirty litter box.

MEMO makes changes in the cat's environment to attempt to reduce the cat's experience of stress. This includes giving the cat more forms of varied play and entertainment. It would also address territorial issues with other animals in the house. A cat that seems prone to urinary problems may need his own litter box and a place where he can go to escape the other animals. He might need his litter box cleaned daily and reserved only for his use. MEMO would also address general interaction patterns between cat and human including training, discipline and affection.