Bladder Problems & Cystitis in Cats
A urinary tract infection, also known as cystitis, is very common amongst cats. Cystitis comes in multiple varieties, for instance, with or without bladder stones (or crystals) and with or without bacteria. While cats can develop bacterial cystitis it is much more common for them to experience other causes of cystitis.
A urinary tract infection can have a wide range of symptoms and, therefore, can be difficult to recognise. Cats suffering from any type of bladder infection always show abnormal behaviour when urinating. The following symptoms could indicate cystitis: more frequent urination, an urge to push, stopping urination before they are done or only letting out a few drops. Cystitis is very painful so you might hear your cat crying in or around their litter tray, furthermore, red blood cells are always present in the urine, although they might not always be visible. Finally, excessive genital licking and indoor urination can also indicate cystitis.
There are many possible causes of cystitis such as drinking less water than they should, which causes more concentrated urine and increases the chance of developing urinary crystals. Even the amount or type of cat food could increase the chance of developing urinary crystals. Stress is another main cause of cystitis. Main causes of stress for cats include moving house, a new pet, renovation or changes in family formation. Lastly, cystitis can also be caused by tumours or congenital disorders, however, these causes are much less common.
When treating any type of feline urinary lower tract disease it is important to make the distinction between an infection with or without urinary crystals.
Treating Cystitis Without Urinary Crystals
Usually, your veterinarian will prescribe painkillers or muscle relaxants for the bladder to treat cystitis without the presence of urinary crystals. It is important to determine the underlying cause, for example, if stress is the main cause you can use Feliway (available in the Feliway Classic and Feliway Refill) products to remove stress and treat bladder infection properly.
Treating Cystitis With Urinary Crystals
It is important for the urinary crystals to be dissolved in the event that this has caused cystitis in cats. Most commonly, specific (wet) food is used, which dissolves the crystals. The food that is most suitable for your cat depends on the type of crystals. Furthermore, it is important that your cat drinks plenty of water, is not overweight and that stress is removed from their lives.