Feline Cystitis is a complex condition that affects cats causing discomfort when urinating, blood in the
urine, and potentially a blocked bladder. If the bladder gets blocked this can be a life threatening
condition for the cat. Because of the length of the urethra (tube out of the bladder) in the male cat,
male cats are more prone to getting blocked bladders, whereas female cats will show signs of cystitis
(blood in urine, pain when urinating).
Quite often cats will have repeat episodes of cystitis. We try to manage them to prevent or reduce the
occurrence. The cystitis can be caused due to crystals forming in the urine, urinary tract infections, or
can have no known cause.
Dietary management of feline cystitis is the mainstay of prevention. The principles of dietry change are
to maintain an acidic urine with reduced concentrations of the minerals that form the crystals.
Specialist veterinary diets (Hills Prescription Diet c/D and s/D) also have added supplements to help with
urinary health. Raw red meat diets (cats are obligate carnivores and can happily eat a raw meat diet) can
also help acidify the urine.
Cats can be fussy with their water intake. Having multiple water bowls throughout the house can help
increase water consumption. Trying different container types (pottery v metal v plastic) can also help.
Cats also don’t like to have their water bowl next to their food bowls- so separating the two to different
rooms may help.
Stress has been implicated in contributing to cystitis in cats. Tryptophan (serotonin precursor for stress)
can be supplemented at 75mg once daily for 3 weeks then 37.5mg once daily.
Feliway is the cats Facial Recognition Pheromone- this helps to reduce stress. This can come as a spray,
or a diffuser that plugs into the wall. Having more litter trays in the house can also help reduce litter
competition in multi-cat households. The number of litter trays in the household should exceed the
number of cats by one. Having them in different rooms and trialing different litter types could also help.
Play time in the house (10 minutes a day) can also help encourage the cat to be more active, which
reduces urine retention.
Glucosamine (found in joint supplements ) can help make the mucus lining the bladder healthier. It can
be given at the rate of 250mg once daily for 3 weeks then 125mg once daily. Pentosan injections can
also help the bladder mucus lining be healthier.
If your cat has previously gotten blocked, they can sometimes be sent home with valium tablets. Valium
is a muscle relaxant, and can help reduce spasm in the cats urethra (which can cause blockage). Other
drugs that can assist with muscle spasm in the urethra include prazosin and dantrolene, which can be
compounded and given as a capsule. Some cats may need to be on these medications long term.
It is quite common for cats that have had cystitis to have repeat episodes. Managing the condition with
diet and other techniques can help improve your cats quality of life and reduce the occurrence of these