Feline Interstitial Cystitis

Interstitial Cystitis in Cats

Feline interstitial cystitis (FIC) is one of most perplexing of the cat illnesses to manage and treat. The problem partly lies in the fact that the symptoms of this disease can be so unclear and broad, that pinpointing an accurate diagnosis can be difficult. The typical victims of interstitial cystitis are young male cats, although it can afflict female cats as well. Cats who are afflicted with this illness, in most cases, outgrow it eventually.Cat Spraying No More

Symptoms of Feline Interstitial Cystitis

Diagnosis of interstitial cystitis is normally made on a basis of the symptoms that the cat is exhibiting. In most instances, there is no sign of infection. However, your veterinarian will suspect feline interstitial cystitis if you cat displays some of these symptoms:

  • Straining when trying to urinate
  • Frequently urinating (with sleep disturbed by the necessity to urinate)
  • Blood usually presents in the urine
  • Symptoms appear when the cat is subjected to stress

Causes of Feline Interstitial Cystitis

Feline Interstitial Cystitis

Research is still in progress to fully understand exact causes of interstitial cystitis in cats. Theories of the cause of this illness have not been absolutely agreed upon, but several lines of thought have been suggested. The nervous system seems to play a major role.

  • Nerves that serve the cat’s bladder may have become inflamed. Some veterinarians believe that stress alone is accountable for this bladder inflammation. Others say that an irritated bladder lining initiates the cycle.
  • A protective coating of mucus inside the bladder protects it from becoming irritated and inflamed by the waste products filtered out by the kidneys. Harm can be done to the bladder wall if the mucus is somehow damaged.
  • Stress is just as detrimental to cats as it is to humans. Flare-ups of interstitial cystitis are often associated to a stressful situation. This particularly concerns cats that remain indoors exclusively or in households where several cats live.


Despite the seriousness of interstitial cystitis, it is one of the more complicated of urinary tract illnesses to treat successfully. Antibiotics are generally ineffective in providing relief; however, bacterial infection should be ruled out to begin with.

In most cases veterinarians treat interstitial cystitis in cats with anti-inflammatory medications such as prednisone. These help reduce inflammation. Anti-inflammatories are generally given in combination with pain relievers.

Another method, considering stress appears to be a major component, is to give the cat anti-anxiety and antidepressants medications. Veterinarians may prescribe drugs that will help restore and strengthen the mucus coating, thus helping to heal the bladder, making it less susceptible to damage.

You can help avoid a recurrence of interstitial cystitis by feeding your cat canned food (rather than dry food) and ensuring that he/she drinks plenty of water. Making the home stress free for your cat, giving your cat plenty of affection and providing cat toys all help to keep your cat free from feline interstitial cystitis.

Not Using Litter Box

Interstitial cystitis may be a reason why some cat refuse to use the litter box, electing to urinate around the home instead. This leads to angst and frustration for the pet owner and for the cat. This can become a vicious cycle, the more stressed the cat feels the bigger the problem with not using the litter box.

Effectively treating FIC, will likely see your cat using its litter box.

There are a multitude of reasons why cats suddenly stop using their litter boxes, FIC being one of them. To understand more about why cats urinate outside their litter box and what you can do to rectify the problem CLICK here.

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