Sunday, January 1, 2012

Cat Health - Feline Idiopathic Cystitis

Stress, dry cat food, obesity, lack of exercise put your cat at risk for Feline idiopathic cystitis condition. 

Feline idiopathic cystitis or commonly known as sterile cystitis. This condition is inflammation of the bladder. The veterinarian checks the cat’s urine to determine if the urine is sterile or if it has tiny crystals or sand like particles in the urine.
Niki after 1 week of treatment

My cat is Niki is a 12 year old socialized feral Maine Coon Cat was recently diagnosed with feline idiopathic cystitis.  She is independent,territorial and  aggressive with our other cats.  Her bad behavior and aggressive nature has caused her to have stress. 

Watch for Symptoms
Cats that are sick will urinate in places that would get your attention; sofa, chair, bed, kitchen counter.  This is their way of telling you that something is not right.  If you cat is urinating outside of their litter box and it is not due to new cat or dirty litter box then contact your veterinarian.

Other symptoms are excessive urination with signs of strain or pain and blood in urine.

As a pet owner you know your cat and thus know when something is not right.  My cat showed signs of wanting to sleep more and she also had tear stained eyes. She appeared to be putting on weight but her appetite seemed to lessen. 

Over the course of three weeks she became more aggressive with cats and with me. She did not want to show weakness so she hid in the back of the closet and did not sleep at the foot of our bed. She did not want to be held and she did not want to be groomed or petted.  

I noted all of her symptoms in a journal. I treated the home with feliway mood modifier and it seemed to help some. Her illness came on quickly and when she showed no interest in food and urinated on my kitchen counter I made an appointment for her to see her veterinarian.

If you note behavior changes in your cat, a loss of appetite, and urinating outside of litter box when box in clean then note the signs and contact your veterinarian.   

Diagnosis  Treatment Prevention

The veterinarian will give your cat a wellness exam and will do a urinalysis.  Urine appearance that is red or brown in color, has a cloudy look and has a strong ammonia odor could indicate a serious cat health condition. 

In Niki’s case, her veterinarian examined her urine under a microscope to look for white blood cells which indicated inflammation, and crystals; bladder stones.  Her urine showed signs of blood and tiny crystals. 

Further tests are needed; mature cat blood screen and ultrasound.  These tests are needed to rule out serious kidney, liver and bladder disease. 

What you can do to Prevent Feline Idiopathic Cystitis

Prevent this cat health condition by feeding your cat a high protein and low carbohydrate canned food or make your cat a raw food.  Raw food with no fillers, chemicals or preservatives is very healthy for cats. 

Make sure your cat is hydrated.  Do this by mixing the canned cat food with two tablespoons of filtered water or low sodium chicken broth.  

 Keep your cats water fresh.  If your cat is finicky about drinking water than enhance the flavor with low sodium chicken broth or add a tablespoon of tuna water from canned tuna. 

Another way to prevent feline idiopathic cystitis is to keep your cat active.  Plan a play time for your cat.  Choose a feather type toy like and interactive toy like Da Bird.  Niki plays with Da bird daily and she likes her catnip mouse and balls.  

If your cat is lazy and does not want to play then use a clicker to train them with low fat treats.  You can get your cat to do anything provided there is a food reward.  

Install an outdoor cat enclosure for your cat.  Allow your cat to spend time outdoors in a safe area. The fresh air and the natural vitamin D will improve your cat’s health.  If not a cat outdoor enclosure, then consider walking your cat on a leash in your yard.

Make sure you have a litter box for each cat in your household. Keep the litter box clean.  A cat will feel stress if they have no access to a clean litter box.

Control your cats stress by eliminating stressful situations.  

I set up a cat room for her on the heated/air conditioned sun porch.  The floor is cement and there are 8 windows that provide fresh air and a view of bird feeders. 

The room has all that she needs; bed, toys, litter box, cat tree and window seats.  Niki loves her room and both my husband and I have seen an improvement in her disposition.  She is using her litter box, eating well and aggressiveness is gone.  She likes being the center of attention.

Note from Sgolis

If you have a cat has feline immunodeficiency virus or leukemia then it is best for you to feed your cat a high protein, low carbohydrate diet and to make sure that they are hydrated.  

Plan to keep your cat active by playing with them for one hour each day.  Keep your cat in a happy state of mind. Stress is a factor for this cat disease.

Notes from Susan:   
It was hard for me to see that Niki was sick because she is a cat with a bad behavior.   She showed no signs of strain in litter box, no blood in urine or odor.  Her appetite was always good until one day she did not eat and she urinated on my kitchen counter.  She was telling me loud and clear that something was wrong. 

January 17th:
Niki's blood tests showed that there is no reason to worry.  Her blood was normal.  The veterinarian wants her to stay on  Hills cd multicare bladder health diet for the rest of her life and we are to recheck her urine in six weeks.  As of this date the diet and the low stress has agreed with Niki and she is using her litter box.  One thing that I did notice about her litter box behavior is that it has to be clean at all times or she gets grouchy.


Janet Ford said...

Thank you for sharing this information. As the owner of several cats, I appreciate the education!

SGolis said...

Janet Ford: Like you I am a cat lover and am interested in learning as much as I can to take care of my cats so that they do not get ill. When I learn something new I like to share with others.

Feline idiopathic cystitis surprised me since Niki did not have all of the symptoms. I think sharing the risk factors are important it helps cat owners to prevent their cats from getting sick.

Thanks for commenting and sharing this post.

Angella said...

I wish you luck with Niki, I am going through cystitis with my cat Diaa at the moment. All I want is a magic wand to wave and make her feel better.

SGolis said...

Angela: What I learned is that diet and stress are the two most important factors with the cystitis. Is Diaa on Hills prescription CD? (chicken flavor is the best) other flavor Niki hissed. I dilute the canned food with water. Water is helpful to flush toxins. Plus stress is a huge factor...I made up a room for Niki with day bed and is the sun porch has heat and air conditioner...she loves it and so far she is good....Of course we are waiting for the blood work to come I will know more later. I hear you with the magic wand...hope Diaa feels better soon!

Alice Smith said...

Its Good that Nikki has been cured from Cytitis and is hale and hearty now! This blog was really helpful as I have two cats and will keep a track of their behavior Thanks to your Blog..... :)

S Golis said...

Alice Smith: Niki has not been cured. My Vet told me she will have the condition for the rest of her life. The prescription diet and her low stress living helps to control. But it is not a cure. I learned a great deal from Niki illness and that is to keep my other cats at low risk by feeding them canned food that is 70% water. Dry kibble may cost less but it is bad for cat health as it has only 10% water. Cats need water to prevent illness.

simply k said...

Thank you for sharing your story and suggestions. I too have a male cat with chronic episodes of FIC. I have tried everything, bought a running water fountain, changed his food to a raw diet and wysong uretic dry food. this is his second episode in the past 4 months. It pains me to see him in pain. I do not know what more I can do to prevent these episodes. I have pain medication and antibiotics, but that is just a temporary fix, at least it seems. I recently brought a dog in the house and the dog does not leave him alone, although they seem to get along and the cat seems to like him, the dog at times can play a bit rough or want to chase him.Do I need to get rid of the dog to bring back harmony in the cats life? Before the dog he has about 3 episodes within a time frame of 3 years. My cat is also obese, he does not eat a lot here, but he does go outside and I suspect he is eating the junk food the neighbors keep outside for their cats. I welcome input..thank you

S Golis said...

simply k: Stress is not good for a cat who suffers from FIC. However if your cat likes the dog and they get along then this is good, because the exercise and companionship will make your cat happy.

This is what I would do, allow the cat to play with the dog in moderation, if you note that your cat is tired of playing then take the dog out of the room and put in another room, or install a gate in your kitchen or laundry room. Then if the cat enters the dogs area it is because the cat wants company. Cats prefer to be in control of play time with the family dog. You should still supervise them playing because dogs tend to never want to stop playing.

You have also noted that you permit your cat to graze your neighbors food bowl, this is why your FIC cat is getting sick, they cannot eat regular food they must eat the food that prevents the cystitis. ( Hills cd multicare bladder health diet for the rest of your cats life) No more letting your cat out unsupervised, try walking your cat around the block if the cat must go outside.

Now about obese cats I have 2 cats that are overweight and published an article on the topic you may view it here: Weight Loss Diet for Cat

S Golis said...

aimply k: Cats with FIC need the right balance of minerals to maintain good bladder health. Excess minerals can encourage the formation of crystals in the urine, and this is why when your cat visits the neighbor’s house and grazes from the food bowl your cat is getting sick, the neighbor’s food is creating bladder stones. I would recommend that you stick with the diet that your veterinarian recommended and feed only that food.

Willow Jan said...

I have had great success with Animal Essentials Tinkle Tonic for cystitis. It is a natural herbal product and very safe. I've tried antibiotics, and the cystitis recurs. Go to to order Tinkle Tonic, or your health food store may have it. With the good diet and Tinkle Tonic for flare-ups, I have had no more problems.

Willow Jan said...

My cats used to have trouble with cystitis, and I now use Tinkle Tonic from Animal Essentials. I tried antibiotics, and the cystitis always recurred. With a good diet (I use Purina One chicken and rice dry food and canned cat food) and Tinkle Tonic for flare-ups, I have had no more problems with cystitis. It can be ordered from It is a natural herbal product that is very safe.