Cats that urinate more frequently, pass blood in their urine, urinate outside their litter tray or show signs of pain when they urinate suffer from a condition that vets call feline lower urinary tract disease or FLUTD. While anatomical defects, behaviour problems, sharp crystals in the urine, bladder stones and tumours can cause this condition, in two out of every three cats that experience FLUTD the cause is "idiopathic cystitis". That translates to "I don't know." and makes treatment exasperatingly difficult.
While the cause of idiopathic cystitis is not known, the risk factors for the disease are. The disease occurs most commonly in:
Young cats 2-6 years old
Indoor cats
Overweight cats
Neutered cats regardless of the age at which they were neutered
Low activity, Garfield-like cats
Cats that eat dry food
Cats that consume little water
Most of the cats we see at the London Vet Clinic are neutered and live indoor lives. Unfortunately many are overweight. As a consequence we see many cats with idiopathic cystitis.

It is very likely that some cats are born with a genetic predisposition to develop idiopathic cystitis but because the exact cause(s) is/are unknown treatment can be frustrating.
Generally speaking drugs are of little use. Because infection is a rare cause (less than one in 100) antibiotics and urinary antiseptics are pointless although the anti-spasmodic effect of some antibiotics may alleviate discomfort.

Male cats in particular may benefit from a urinary therapeutic diet such as Royal Canin Urinary or Purina UR that contain omega-3 fatty acids that probably reduce bladder inflammation. These diets are particularly useful for cats that refuse to eat wet foods. 

Feed fresh or canned food rather than dry food.
Observe what you cat likes to drink (bottled, flavoured, running water) and always have this available.

Experiment with several litter trays with different textures of litter to discover which your cat prefers then provide this type.

Nutrients such as in Cystaid and Cystease that contain GAGS (glycoaminoglycans) are known to be beneficial for women who suffer from idiopathic cystitis. These are available on the clinic's shop (as are urinary diets) and don't require a prescription.

Finally, reduce possible 'stressors' for your cat.
When possible, allow indoor cats access to the outdoors.
Encourage activity by hiding food for your cat to find.
Play with your cat in ways than mimic hunting. Routinely offer new toys.
Allow access to plenty of resting places including elevated ones.
Provide scratching posts and hiding places
Ensure at least one litter tray per cat and one extra, with unscented litter, and keep them clean and away from food and water.
If you would like suggestions of wet foods or home cooking for your cat please ask the nurses.


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