Cystitis in cats: symptoms and treatment


 Cystitis in cats is one of the diseases that are deceitful, difficult to treat and prone to relapse. In this case both pets and their owners suffer: pets are exhausted by constant pain, and owners are tired of useless efforts, bad smell, cat’s urine on the floor and obsessive thoughts that tedious and long-term cystitis treatment in cats often leads to mercy killing. How to protect your cat from this dangerous disease and what should you do in order therapy had the desired effect?


 Bladder is a hollow organ that can grow and shrink in size. Inside it is covered with submucosa, covered with a thin layer of mucous tissue riddled with blood vessels. Any cystitis in cats is an inflammation of the mucous membrane. After going to the toilet cat’s bladder shrink forming lots of folds. When urine accumulates, the bladder grows in size, and its mucous membrane gets stretched together with blood vessels.

Cystitis symptoms

 At the beginning of the disease the symptoms aren’t easy to notice: the pet urinates more often, doesn’t let the owner touch its belly, sometimes drinks a lot. However, such behavior may indicate the beginning of almost any other disease, the approach of estrus or some distress. Therefore, in most cases, owners visit vet clinics later that symptoms of cystitis in cats become apparent:



  • frequent visits to the toilet become obvious;


  • at the cat litter the pet is making plaintive sounds;


  • because of pain associated with cat’s litter, even smartest cats may urinate on the floor. Sometimes suffering cats may defiantly do that right on the kitchen table or on the owner’s clothes without hiding, waiting for the moment when somebody could see it (to draw attention);


  • cat’s urine becomes darker, sometimes it may include blood clots or grayish blotches (it is pus). The fluid is turbid, heterogeneous and has a very bad smell;


  • after visiting the cat litter the pet leaves it moving on bent legs. During the sleep it carefully turns on one and then on the other side, obviously experiencing discomfort in the abdomen;


  • the stomach is tight, extremely painful;


  • in severe cases the cat can’t urinate, although visit the toilet regularly making efforts.


Forms of cystitis

 Cystitis in cats can be acute or chronic. In the latter case, the pet might look quite healthy, occasionally suffering from short-term pains during urination. Chronic cystitis is no less dangerous than the acute form of the disease, as exacerbation may occur at any time. In addition, low-grade disease impairs the whole body, depletes the immune system and reduces life expectancy of the pet. 


If the mucous membrane is damaged so that there is a rupture of blood vessels and blood can be detected in the urine “hemorrhagic cystitis in cats” is diagnosed. It also can be acute or chronic. Acute hemorrhagic cystitis is dangerous for its effects: anemia, blood clots duct blockage or intoxication. In many cases, the causes of hemorrhagic cystitis are bladder or kidney stones. The cat should be provided with medical aid as soon as possible!


 Often veterinarians are baffled by idiopathic cystitis in cats. In such cases there is no apparent reason for the development of pathological process in the bladder. Symptoms may be expressed or hidden and the cat may either look healthy or barely stand on its feet. But beyond the immediate manifestations of cystitis, vets can’t find any causes which could lead to the development of this disease.

Causes of cystitis

 It is possible to suspend the inflammatory process using symptomatic drugs: the pet doesn’t feel pain any longer, can normally urinate and looks healthy – the owners can calm down. However, over time the disease will relapse and it’s course this time is likely to be more difficult. Therefore it is extremely important not to fight with symptoms, but immediately find out the cause of cystitis in your cat.


The inflammation of the bladder mucosa can be caused by many factors, such as:


  • wrong feeding;


  • infection;


  • chronic diseases;


  • poor quality water or inadequate fluid intake;


  • malnutrition or overfeeding;


  • urolithiasis (kidney stones);


  • traumas, stress etc.


Treatment of cystitis

 The first step is to have your cat examined and let it pass an ultrasound, urine and blood tests (biochemistry, clinical and bacteriological analysis). The results of tests only can help in finding the cause of the disease. If the vet appoints cystitis treatment before examination and tests – look for another specialist.


 Of course, the symptoms should be removed to facilitate the general state of the pet. For this purpose anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic drugs, as well as hemorrhage suppressing medications. But it can’t be called treatment, is just the elimination of symptoms!

 Alright, the tests are ready. If there was pathogenic microflora detected (usually staphylococci), the treatment of cystitis should include antibiotics. Since antibiotics have a negative impact on the whole body, the vet should also prescribe medications, eliminating their action – sorbents, probiotics, etc. Selecting random antibiotics isn’t a trustworthy approach. It is important that the treatment using antibiotics was directed, i.e. you first need to pass a test for sensitivity to the drug, and only then begin the course. If the results of the test sensitivity are defined as “high”, but there are no improvements, it is possible to use immune system stimulators.


 It can be both complex and simple, if the cause of cystitis is a chronic disease. The causes can be very different: metabolism disturbances, urolithiasis, digestive tract disturbances, nephritis and so on. How to cure cystitis in cats if the disease relapses again and again? Of course, only removing the cause, taking the underlying disease under control.


 Idiopathic cystitis in cats is more difficult to treat, since there is actually nothing to treat except for symptoms. In this case, it is important to make sure that the diagnosis is correct. Sometimes the vet doesn’t have sufficient skills or a technician makes a mistake during the materials study, so it is advisable to make tests in two different vet clinics. If it is idiopathic cystitis for sure, it is important to get a good treatment scheme that stops attacks, and another one to prevent exacerbations. Pay attention to the conditions at home: the cause of cystitis may be chronic stress (as in people constantly visiting the bathroom before an important meeting) or banal hypothermia.


Cystitis and housing conditions

 As it is impossible to cure cystitis in a short time, you should consult with your vet about feeding and housing conditions. This is important as anything may influence the treatment course.


  First, you need to provide comfortable room temperature (no draughts). You shouldn’t use hot water bottles in any case, as they can provoke or exacerbate bleeding and accelerate the process of pathogenic bacteria growth. All you need is making sure there are no drafts and lots of cozy places for the cat to rest. The pet shouldn’t sleep on the window sill, tiled floor or other cold surfaces. You need to arrange warm cat beds or cat houses in the cat’s favorite places at home.


Using antibiotics against cystitis in cats, even if there is significant improvement, impose certain obligations on the owner. Within three months after the treatment course the cat shouldn’t take part in exhibitions and mating.


 Secondly, it is important to determine the type of feeding and wisely choose the diet. The easiest way to do that is using dry or canned feeds for prevention and treatment of various urological disorders. However, you must first consult with your vet: as incompetent selection of cat feed can significantly worsen the situation.

 The best prevention of cystitis implies creating comfortable living conditions, providing timely vaccination, reliable feeding and annual laboratory urine test for control over the state of your pet.


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