Cystitis is a general term which refers to irritation of the urinary bladder. Caused by high levels of bacteria and/or crystals (the most common type of crystals present in the urine are called struvites) the lining of the bladder becomes inflamed. These crystals can lead to stones or can become large enough to block the urethra. In such cases the cat can die from kidney failure due to the high levels of toxins in the body. However if caught early enough and treated appropriately most cats will not get to this stage. Cystitis can be a sign of feline lower tract urinary disease so if you notice any changes in your cats urination take him/her to the vet immediately.
Symptoms to look for:
- Frequent urination with small amount of urine actually being passed
- Blood in the urine
- Urinating in places other than the litterbox
- Discomfort while urinating (meowing or crying)
At the first signs of urinary trouble take your cat to a vet. Most cases of cystitis are easily treated with antibiotics. Your vet will take a urine sample and test it for bacteria and crystals. Depending on the what your vet finds he/she will put your pet on a course of medication. In rare situations your cat may need surgery to remove any blockages or to repair any urethra damage. However this is rare.
Make sure your cat drinks plenty of water as this will help to flush any bacteria out. Cats, as we all know, can be quite finicky so keep his/her water bowl clean and full at all times. Many cats dislike the taste of plastic so try to keep food and water in porcelain or glass bowls. Keep your cat’s litterbox clean and as free of bacteria as possible. Not only will that help limit the spread of bacteria but also many cats tend to hold their urine if a box is not clean. This can also lead to infection. Also feed your cat only a high-quality, vet-approved diet that is low in magnesium and promotes good urinary tract health.