Feline cystitis

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Feline cystitis is associated with feline urological syndrome, feline lower urinary tract disease, and feline idiopathic cystitis. Feline cystitis means "inflammation of the bladder". The term idiopathic translates to unknown cause. This is because the direct cause of feline cystitis is unknown; however, certain behaviors have been known to aid the illness once it has been initiated. It can affect both males and females of any breed of cat. It is more commonly found in females cats; however, when males do exhibit cystitis, it is usually more dangerous.[1]

A common nickname for this type of illness is "crystals". This is because tiny crystals or sand like particles form within the urine. This can be treated. If this illness trails on too long then the cat's life may be at risk.[citation needed]

Signs and symptoms[edit]

  • Frequent bathroom trips to the litter box.[2]
  • Attempting to go to the bathroom with little urine passed.
  • Blood is present in the urine.[3]
  • Odorous urine is being exhibited.
  • Irritability in their personality.
  • Urinating in other places of the house; not in their litter box.
  • Licking their genitals.
  • Lying on cold surfaces, such as tile floors or in showers (the cold surfaces help ease pain).
  • Experiencing pain when urinating


Feline cystitis blocks a cat's urinary tract. This blockage can be from a bladder stone or a buildup of crystals, which are bacterial build up in the form of sand.[4] These crystals lead to an obstruction causing stagnant urine to evolve in their bodies. The urine will eventually build up to a point where it can harm the kidneys. If the buildup goes on for a long period of time the cat's kidneys may fail. Stagnant urine will also create a perfect atmosphere for bacteria to build up even faster.[5] The main reason as to why feline cystitis is more dangerous in male cats is because their urethra is much narrower than females.[6] Therefore, when a buildup occurs in their system, time is not on their side. Females do not commonly experience a complete obstruction due to their wide urethra.


The direct cause of feline cystitis is unknown. Research is still being pursued for the causes of cystitis in cats; however, they have found many correlations.[citation needed] Cats who are neutered or spayed too early have experienced a higher incidence of feline cystitis.[citation needed] Too much dry cat food can aggravate the cystitis once it has already occurred in a feline.[citation needed] These correlations do not initiate feline cystitis, however, they do worsen the illness once it does occur.[7]

Factors that may be associated with an increased likelihood of developing feline cystitis include:

  • Increased body weight[8]
  • Stress from house moving[9]
  • Stress from having conflicts with other cats[10]
  • Being kept strictly indoors[11]


The veterinarian may use a urine sample from the cat to carry out urinalysis tests. An appropriate antibiotic may be given.[12] Within a week the cat should be doing much better. However, feline cystitis is commonly known to reoccur, therefore precautions should be taken. Prescription diet cat food may be recommended by your veterinarian to ensure that it does not reoccur. An antibiotic may prevent some but not all cases.


  1. ^ Cannon, Martha. "Feline Medicine a practical guide for veterinary nurses and technicians". Feline Medicine Elsevier Sciences
  2. ^ Cannon, Martha. "Feline Medicine a practical guide for veterinary nurses and technicians". Feline Medicine Elsevier Sciences
  3. ^ Sands, David. "Cats 500 questions answered" Cat Questions Barnes and Noble
  4. ^ Fenner, William. "Quick reference to veterinary medicine".Veterinary Medicine Blackwell publishing
  5. ^ Duno, Steve. "The only cat book you'll ever need".Cat Book Adams Media
  6. ^ Simon, John. "What your cat is trying to tell you".Deciphering your cat Macmillian
  7. ^ Pawprints and Purr Incorporated. "Feline Cystitis". Feline Cystitis (summary without references)
  8. ^ Lund, H. S.; Krontveit, R. I.; Halvorsen, I.; Eggertsdottir, A. V. (2013). "Evaluation of urinalyses from untreated adult cats with lower urinary tract disease and healthy control cats: Predictive abilities and clinical relevance". Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery. 15 (12): 1086–97. doi:10.1177/1098612X13492739. PMID 23783431.
  9. ^ Defauw, P. A. M.; Van De Maele, I.; Duchateau, L.; Polis, I. E.; Saunders, J. H.; Daminet, S. (2011). "Risk factors and clinical presentation of cats with feline idiopathic cystitis". Journal of Feline Medicine & Surgery. 13 (12): 967–975. doi:10.1016/j.jfms.2011.08.001. PMID 22075439.
  10. ^ Cameron, M. E.; Casey, R. A.; Bradshaw, J. W.; Waran, N. K.; Gunn-Moore, D. A. (2004). "A study of environmental and behavioural factors that may be associated with feline idiopathic cystitis". The Journal of small animal practice. 45 (3): 144–147. doi:10.1111/j.1748-5827.2004.tb00216.x. PMID 15049572.
  11. ^ Sævik, B. K.; Trangerud, C.; Ottesen, N.; Sørum, H.; Eggertsdóttir, A. V. (2011). "Causes of lower urinary tract disease in Norwegian cats". Journal of Feline Medicine & Surgery. 13 (6): 410–417. doi:10.1016/j.jfms.2010.12.012. PMID 21440473.
  12. ^ Pawprints and Purr Incorporated. "Feline Cystitis". Feline Cystitis