Idiopathic Cystitis in Cats

Cystitis in cats is a common yet preventable and treatable disorder. It's a disease that affects the urinary system of the cat and can result in urinary tract infections, bladder infections or bladder obstruction in extreme cases. The word cystitis basically means inflammation. The inflammation occurs primarily in the bladder and the urinary tract and results in thicker urine. Sometimes crystals form in the urine due to a mineral imbalance. There are several ways you can help avoid these disorders by instilling healthy lifestyle habits when your cat is young. Cystitis may still occur, however, so recognizing the symptoms and knowing when to get help is important.

The Healthiest Lifestyle for Urinary Health

There are many factors that can contribute to cystitis developing in cat. While you can't avoid it completely, you can help prevent it with a variety of choices involving nutrition and hydration. Cats are at increased risk for cystitis if there's an imbalance in minerals and poor nutrients in their food. Choose a food that has whole ingredients and a low mineral content. It's important to have a formula made by people who really know cat nutritional needs, so unless you're an expert or under the direct advice of one, avoid making your own food.

Cats do best with lean meats, very little carbohydrates and ingredients that are closest to the way nature intended them. Raw food or wet food offers the most hydration, and cats get the most benefit from moisture that's ingested through the intestine. If your cat doesn't like wet food, make sure you know the way to get him to drink the most water and supplement the diet with moist treats.

Symptoms of Cystitis

While cystitis can become a serious problem, it's easy to treat if caught early. Here are the ways your cat will tell you he's having a problem.

A Reverse in House Training Success

A cat with cystitis will often start urinating outside the box, no matter how well he's been house trained. This is because he'll associate the painful urination with the box and not his own body, so he'll try to avoid the box.

Straining or Meowing while Urinating

The inflammation in the body and the increased thickness of the urine will make passing the urine more difficult. You may hear your cat making a noise to indicate this discomfort and you may hear other straining noises. If you observe his litter box behavior, you may also notice him physically pushing more than usual.

Constantly Visiting the Box

The pressure on the bladder and urinary tract will make your cat feel like he has to urinate more often. He'll produce less urine, however, so the trips to the box may seem really short and spaced very closely together.

Urine Changes

A cat with cystitis will produce thicker urine that may smell more foul than usual. Blood in the urine is a sure sign that something is wrong.

Other Changes in Behavior

To try to soothe the feeling of inflammation and irritation, your cat may scoot or rub against cold, hard surfaces. He may also clean and nip at his genitals more than usual.

Emergency Symptoms

If the bladder becomes obstructed, your cat will yowl and make other awful noises. He may also hide under furniture in very unusual ways. Call the vet immediately if this happens.