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Cat and Kitten Health Updates, Advice and Tips from Devoted Vets

Managing cats with cystitis

Cystitis is a common disease of both male and female cats. Cystitis is inflammation of the bladder. Signs of cystitis include increased frequency of urination, straining to urinate, passing only a few drops of urine, and blood tinged or bloody urine. Bladder pain causes distress. In male cats it can be associated with blockage of the bladder which is a very serious condition requiring immediate emergency treatment.

The technical name for the condition is "Feline Idiopathic Cystitis". Idiopathic means "cause not identified."

This article is reproduced from a Royal Canin information handout.

Stress is a key factor in feline idiopathic cystitis. Important in preventing recurrence of this very painful condition is to take all possible measures to improve and enrich the cat's environment and reduce conflict with housemates.


  • Make sure the cats food is placed in a quiet area away from other pets and drafts.


  • Make sure the litter tray is kept clean.
  • When several cats live together, litter trays should be placed in several areas.
  • If two cats live together, they may benefit from a 3rd litter tray if room allows.
  • Each litter tray should be in a quiet area and not in a dead-end spot, so the cat can easily escape if it feels threatened.
  • Clumping, no-perfumed litter is preferable.


Ensure your cat drinks plenty of water to encourage urination and avoid LUTD (lower urinary tract disease).


Provide your cat with somewhere to scratch, climb, hide and rest.


Provide your cat with toys it will enjoy. Most cats like small and mobile toys so they can mimick the behaviour of prey. Some cats like toys to vary so changing toys regularly is ideal. Other cats prefer cuddles to playing.


Conflict is very common when a new cat is introduced or when cats that grew up together become adults.

  • Provide your cat with its own areas to relax, eat, play and toilet, ideally in spots where it is protected from its housemates.
  • If a cat is particularly anxious, isolating it from other cats while owners are away cab be beneficial.

These simple measures can be very helpful for your cat. They may be supplemented by pheromones that are specially developed to reduced stress-related behaviour in cats. these are available from your veterinary clinic.


  • Provide access to fresh water at all times.
  • Keep the water bowl full.
  • Some cats prefer to drink from large bowls so their whiskers do not touch the sides.
  • Offer several types of water: eg. hot or cold tap water, filtered water, bottled water.
  • Some cats prefer to drink running water.
  • Special cat drinking fountains are available.
  • Keep the water bowl clean as cats have a highly developed sense of smell and are easily put off by unpleasant odours.
  • Some cats prefer glass bowls, others prefer stainless steel or ceramic.
  • Some cats do not like to share their water bowl, particularly with dogs. Ensure they have their own bowl.


  • Spread their normal feeding amount over the whole day.
  • Increase the frequency of meals to encourage your cat to drink more water.
  • Do not overfeed your cat.

If the cat is used to dry food:

  • Feeding a diet with a higher salt content is a way of significantly increasing water intake and urine production.


So phone Devoted Vets, Warragul and West Gippsland, on 5623 2525 if you think one of your cats has symptoms of cystitis, or drop in and ask one of our Devoted Nurses or Vets. While your here, say "Hi" to Clara!