Symptoms of Cystitis in Cats

Cystitis in cats manifests in many ways. Feline cystitis refers to feline lower urinary tract disease, formerly called feline urologic syndrome. The bladder and the lower part of the urethra becomes infected. Crystals form in the urinary tract as a result of mineral deposits and can be various sizes. Cystitis in cats can occur in either male or female cats, but is more common in males. Inappropriate elimination and several other symptoms can give you advanced notice that your cat has this serious illness.

Inappropriate Elimination

There are a few common behaviors that indicate a probable feline bladder problem. If your cat normally uses the litter box and then begins urinating outside the box, he's probably having a problem with his urination. This happens because cystitis in cats causes painful urination. Your cat thus quickly associates pain with the litter box and does everything he can to avoid it. Even when the cystitis is gone, the cat maintains this association.

Frequent Genital Licking

A cat with feline cystitis may lick at his genitals more frequently than usual. This is due to the general feeling of inflammation and irritation in the area.

Straining During Urination

If your cat is straining to urinate or going out to urinate more often than usual, something is going wrong. You'll notice your cat squatting for a longer time than normal. You might even hear the cat making some vocal noises because he is in pain.

Frequent Trips To the Litter Box and Little Output

A trip with feline urologic syndrome will make frequent trips to the litter box. This is because he feels frequent urgency to urinate because of inflammation in the urinary tract and bladder. You'll notice the trips to the litter box but the output of urine will be less than usual. The average cat should eliminate at least 1 to 2 cups of urine a day.

Blood in the Urine

Cystitis in cats often results in blood in the urine. This is usually just a small amount of blood. Sometimes you won't find any urine, but you will find a bit of blood on a carpet or bath mat.

When the Urethra Becomes Obstructed

Feline cystitis becomes life-threatening when the crystals block the urinary tract. The urine backs up and becomes infected. This causes extreme pain for the cat and requires immediate veterinary attention. The cat in this state will often make a horrible yowling noise and might hide under beds or furniture.

An Enlarged Bladder and Other Medical Signs

A vet can feel bladder abnormalities in the cat with feline cystitis. The bladder will feel enlarged when the vet does a preliminary physical exam. In laboratory tests, the blood will show toxic buildup in the form of high levels of kidney enzymes.