Feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC) literally means an inflammation of the urinary bladder. This syndrome has been described in cats for nearly 100 years and continues to be a common condition. Despite many years of research, the cause of FIC remains unknown. Factors that may play a role in the development of FIC may include stress, obesity, diet, viral infections, immune dysfunction, or genetics.
- Urinating outside of the litter box
- Straining to urinate
- Painful urination
- Discolored or bloody urine
- Frequent attempts to urinate with little or no success
- Distressed meowing while urinating
- Increased grooming of the genital region
WHAT TO DO:
There are two parts of therapy: treating the episode and preventing future episodes. This is a highly treatable disease yet sadly many owners give up on their pets before finding out how easily it can be treated. Since multiple factors can contribute to FIP, the keys to helping your cat are a little patience and willingness. The solutions will take some effort, but no doubt the end result will be worth it.
Stress Relief and Environmental Enrichment
Research has shown that cats with FIC tend to have a neurohormone imbalance, making them especially sensitive to environmental stress. So while all cats benefit from environmental enrichment, it is an essential part of treating cats with FIC. Indoor cats are primarily stressed by boredom, so play with your cat, regularly rotate the toys that are available, routinely buy or make new toys, keep several different types of scratching posts available, and place a comfy perch near a window (even better if it is screened and you can safely open it). Cats also don't like surprises, so try to keep your cat's routine as predictable as possible.
Dirty litter boxes are another common source of stress, so keep them extremely clean. Open boxes don't smell as bad and are less cramped than those that are covered, and you should have multiple boxes (at least one more than the number of cats in the house) to spread the waste around and prevent conflicts around elimination sites.
Dietary Changes and Water Consumption
Eating canned food can help cats with FIC. The reason this works is because the primary ingredient in canned food is water, so feeding canned food is a simple and effective way to increase a cat's water consumption. Cats that are well-hydrated produce dilute urine, which is less irritating and "washes away" inflammation from the bladder wall. Dilute urine is also beneficial if your cat has been diagnosed with urinary crystals or stones.
These medications address the stress component that is believed to have been the trigger the episode. These medications typically require several weeks to reach maximum effect in most cats. These medications are better for preventing future episodes rather than for curtailing an active episode. Still, some patients seem to respond very quickly to this type of therapy so it may be worthwhile.
For additional information about FIC
The contents of this page are provided for general informational purposes only. Under no circumstances should this page be substituted for professional consultation with a veterinarian.