Cystitis is an inflammation of
the bladder and is part of the FLUTD complex. Inflammation may be caused by stones
(uroliths), tumors, bacterial infections,
or may be idiopathic. Affected cats show frequent urination
and straining, similar to an obstructed cat except urine is being produced
frequently in small amounts.
Idiopathic cystitis in cats may be similar to interstitial cystitis in
people. Affected cats urinate frequently, almost always with blood visibly
present in the urine. Bacteria and uroliths or crystals are rarely found. An
accurate diagnosis may require cystoscopy (evaluating the bladder with an
endoscope) or a bladder biopsy. Stress appears to be a major factor in this
disease in cats-which is very similar to the interstitial cystitis condition in
humans that is also exacerbated by stress.
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Urine should be submitted for culture and sensitivity tests to rule out
infection or, if an infection is present, to determine which antibiotic to use.
Ultrasound examination and X-rays (with or without contrast materials) are
needed to determine the possible cause. Idiopathic cystitis can only be
diagnosed if other causes are ruled out.
Treatment: Unfortunately, some cats with cystitis will also retain urine and
form uroliths or urethral plugs. These cats should be treated for uroliths or
Most cases resolve without medical treatment, but reducing stress can hasten
healing and decrease the likelihood of recurrence. It may be necessary to work
with a feline behaviorist on the causes of your cat’s stress. Feliway, an
antianxiety pheromone, can also help calm the cat. Sometimes antianxiety drugs
(such as amitriptyline) are prescribed for the cat.
There is some evidence that supplementation with glucosamine and chondroitin
sulfate may be beneficial in preventing recurrence, as these substances are
thought to protect the lining of the bladder. Feeding canned foods as opposed
to dry foods seems to be helpful in preventing recurrences, as frequent voiding
flushes bacteria and crystals out of the bladder. Diets such as Hill’s c/d,
which tend to provide near-neutral urine pH, seem to be best. Pain medications
may keep the cat more comfortable.
WebMD Veterinary Reference from "Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook"