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What Are The Symptoms Of Cystitis In Cats?

Many people are all too familiar with the word “cystitis” as a result of having suffered from a bout of it themselves at some point, but not all cat owners know that cats can get cystitis too, although how they develop it and the symptoms of cystitis in cats are rather different.

If you have ever had cystitis yourself, you will know that it can be quite unpleasant, and whilst it is not a major illness in the greater scheme of things, can go on to cause secondary complications that can make it acute and more complex, as well as not pleasant.

Some cats are particularly prone to cystitis, and may develop it several times over the course of their lifetime, but there are some things that cat owners can do to reduce the risks. However, first of all you need to know how to tell if your cat has cystitis in the first place, in order to get them to the vet and get a proper diagnosis and treatment; and this is what we’ll look at in this article.

Read on to learn the symptoms of cystitis in cats, and some supporting information on feline cystitis and how cats get it.

What is cystitis in cats?

Cystitis is cats is usually known as “feline idiopathic cystitis,” which means a type of cystitis that develops for no obvious reason or without an underlying veterinary cause that can be pinpointed. 

Cystitis in cats is an inflammatory condition of the bladder that may result from an infection, but generally doesn’t; in which case it is known as idiopathic, as mentioned above. Cystitis in cats is a condition that tends to be more common in younger cats than older ones, and in cats that do have recurrent bouts of it, they will tend to reduce in frequency as the cat gets older.

How do cats get cystitis?

Cystitis in cats isn’t contagious, and as feline idiopathic cystitis is the most common type of cystitis in cats, basically it is a condition that develops out of the blue without a known cause.

However, cats are sensitive animals and they don’t handle stress well, and cats that are stressed, unsettled or unhappy are much more likely to develop cystitis than cats that are chilled out.

This means that cats that tend to be anxious or highly strung are those most likely to suffer repeated bouts of cystitis, and upheavals like a house move or the addition of a new pet are also common triggers too.


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What are the symptoms of cystitis in cats?

So, how would you know if your cat had cystitis, and are there obvious symptoms of cystitis in cats? Well, as cystitis is a bladder condition and relates to urination, you will stand a better chance of spotting if something is amiss, and faster, if your cat uses a litter tray as opposed to toileting in the great outdoors.

For this reason, it’s a good idea to provide a litter tray for even cats that also go out, and to contain them for a day or so every few months if they otherwise ignore it, just to get a look at the contents when they do need to use it!

However, getting a look in the litter tray isn’t the only clue to identifying cystitis in cats; so here are the main cat cystitis symptoms:

Blood in the pee, making it appear orangey or darker than normal.

Straining to pee or seeming to need to pee frequently, potentially without success.

Inappropriate toileting or failing to use the litter tray and peeing in the house.

Licking their back end and generally appearing bothered by or preoccupied by the underside of their tail.

How is cystitis in cats diagnosed?

If you suspect that your cat has cystitis or that something might be wrong with their bladder or urinary system, you will need to ask your vet to investigate. There isn’t a definitive method of diagnosing cystitis in cats, and so your vet will reach their diagnosis using differentials and ruling out other potential causes for the symptoms; such as for example, taking a urine sample to rule out an infection.

Can cystitis in cats be treated?

Cystitis in cats can usually be eased and resolved by your vet prescribing anti-inflammatory medications. These will also help your cat to feel better and this in itself helps them to recover more quickly, as feeling ill or having a physical problem contributes to a cat’s stress levels, which in turn, worsens stress-mediated conditions like cystitis.

On which note, ensuring that your cat feels happy and secure at home and reducing their stress levels will help to reduce the chances of them developing cystitis again in the future. Identifying the causes of stress in cats and mitigating them is therefore essential to reducing cat cystitis flare-ups.


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