Cystitis in cats - Causes, symptoms and treatment


One of the most common problems in cats is the cystitis. It affects both males and females and can get very aggravated if we do not detect it in time. We tell you how to detect the first symptoms and what we can do to prevent it.

What is feline idiopathic cystitis?
Also known as interstitial cystitis, it is an inflammation in the bladder wall of cats. Its causes are not entirely determined, but there do seem to be a number of factors that influence the appearance of this disease in felines.


Stress is one of the main causes of cystitis in cats. But we can say that stress would be the trigger, not the cause that causes it.

It may also be due to an infection caused by parasites, insects or viruses.

Idiopathic alterations, this is what they are called when the causes are not fully defined, can be another trigger for the appearance of cystitis in these animals.

The signs of idiopathic cystitis last between 5-7 days, recur at varying intervals and in some cats they can persist for weeks or months. The
Obstructive conditions are due to the presence of urethral plugs composed of protein matrix, cells and crystals.

As it is the inflammation of the bladder, there are two signs that clearly show this disease. One is called polaquiuria and consists in increasing the frequency of urination with small volumes of urine. On the other hand, there is the dysuria or urination with effort. When the cat suffers from cystitis, it goes more than normal to urinate and stays longer in the sanitary drawer, since it has the feeling of continuing with the elimination.

To detect them, we must frequently observe the behavior of our pet, so that we can distinguish if their habits are normal or act differently than usual.

Tips for prevention

What is cystitis?

Cystitis is a disease that causes inflammation of the urinary bladder, so it is very similar to human cystitis. It may be caused by different causes, but the consequences are the same. It causes problems when urinating, causes pain and can make the cat suffering from it very nervous. Likewise, he goes to the sandbox again and again but hardly urinates. Therefore, it is important to go to the veterinarian as soon as we observe the first symptoms.

The feline cystitis It is a common disease that with proper care can be overcome, but if complications arise can cause major problems. If an obstruction of the urethra occurs and is not treated, it will cause the animal to die.

Causes of cystitis in cats

Cystitis in cats can be caused by several factors:

  • Bacterial, viral or parasitic infection. Your veterinarian will determine the origin of the infection through a urine test. Bacterial infections are the most common and will be treated with antibiotics.
  • Bladder cancer. Bladder cancer or other tumors can cause urinary problems that lead to cystitis. Other symptoms will be present.
  • Obes>

    Symptoms of cystitis in cats

    At first it can be difficult to determine the symptoms of feline cystitis. But, as it progresses, our cat will show more clearly the signs of this disease. That is why it is important to observe your cat as soon as it behaves strangely. The sooner we act, the better.

    The symptoms of cystitis most common in cats are the following:

    • Painful urination: meow or show signs of pain when urinating.
    • The genital area is licked more than usual.
    • Polish: urinate many times but small amounts, sometimes only a few drops.
    • Dysuria: Urine with effort.
    • Urine out of the drawer.

    If you notice that your cat does not urinate anything at all it can be a urethra obstruction. It is produced by the formation of crystals in the urethra, and usually occurs more frequently in male cats. When this happens, your cat, even if he tries and makes an effort, fails to urinate anything. In these cases you must go immediately to your veterinarian.

    Treatment for feline cystitis

    As soon as you take your cat to the vet, he will perform a blood and urine test to determine the origin of cystitis.

    If it is a bacterial or viral infection it will be treated with antibiotics. Respect the duration of the treatment advised by the veterinarian and do not medicate your cat on your own. It is very important not to leave the treatment halfway, even if our cat is already well. If the infection does not heal well relapses can occur.

    During this period you should take care of your cat's food and keep it hydrated until it recovers.

    Cystitis prevention in cats

    The hygiene It is essential to avoid infectious problems such as feline cystitis. We must have the litter box as clean as possible and observe every time you change it that the bowel movements and urination are correct. On the other hand, the place where the sandbox is located must be airy, accessible, with low humidity and away from other animals.

    Cats with cystitis may have problems with sandboxes. Ideally for them is a wide and preferably open tray. Closed boxes with doors are often more difficult to clean and some cats do not like to lock themselves in to urinate. You better than anyone know your cat, so choose the litter box that best suits him and keep it as clean as possible.

    The hydration It is equally important to avoid urinary problems. They should always have fresh and clean water at their disposal. Leaving a cat long periods without access to water can damage your kidneys.

    If your cat goes outside and stays out for hours. Place a container with water on the outside. Although cats are looking for alternatives to drink, it is always better to drink the clean water that we put on it.

    If you want to know more about other diseases that may affect your cat, read our article Common diseases of cats.

    This article is purely informative, at we have no power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian in case he presents any type of condition or discomfort.

    If you want to read more articles similar to Cystitis in cats - Causes, symptoms and treatment, we recommend that you enter our section on bacterial diseases.

    Hi Alfonso, I advise you to call your veterinarian whenever you have doubts about the symptoms your cat experiences. I understand that you have an appointment today, I hope it is not serious.

    Hello, I have a black cat of approximately 4 years, it is sterilized, a few weeks ago I have noticed that it has problems to urinate, we have been taking it to the veterinarian but without permanent improvements.
    About 4 days ago I saw him very desperate, the floor was full of sand and the cat lying down without moving, we took him urgently to a veterinary hospital, they put a catheter and took urine, they told me he had inflammation and retention of urine, that's how it was for two days with probe.
    The veterinarian told us that she didn't find any remains in her urine, she said it was cloudy but without blood.
    He was also tested for AIDS and leukemia and was negative. He had an exam and had some anemia, we are giving him treatment, which is an anti-inflammatory and an antibiotic and a capsule, he told me he could have a parasite in his blood that causes him to have anemia.
    But I have not been able to say because he has problems urinating.
    Today we did an echo sonogram and apparently there is nothing, the veterinarian told me that he could have cystitis and one cause is stress, my other veterinarian tells me that it is not possible (that stress causes him not to urinate).
    Coincidentally, we noticed the problem when we brought another cat, (which I have for adoption, I am a bridge house), and this situation had never happened, since it is not the first one we carry, there are already two veterinarians who tell me that it could be because of the stress, because he feels invaded, and well, now where is the new cat, is where my other cat used to go to the sandbox, that sandbox was only his but he had time using the other one too.

    What worries me is that the necessary thing is not being done to assist him, we change the sand and an extra sandbox for him.
    When I put the sandbox, then he did it again, his postures were with some effort and little urine.

    Then he lay down inside the sandbox and I took it out, then he used it again and made poop and urine, I don't know if it's a sign that part of it is the problem, we haven't stopped medicating him and his treatment as is.

    You will have some other opinion and some recommendation.