Feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC) is one of the leading causes of inappropriate urination in cats. Learn about the signs, diagnosis, and treatment of this condition.
Feline idiopathic cystitis signs
FIC can develop without any obvious underlying cause, and more than one unidentified, underlying condition that leads to FIC is possible. Cats with FIC will show signs that indicate an issue with their lower urinary tract system, including:
- Increased irritation or aggression
- Frequent urination
- Blood in the urine
- Urinating outside the litter box or in unusual places
- Painful or difficult urination
- Overgrooming because of bladder pain
If you notice your cat struggling to urinate, contact us immediately. Male cats—and occasionally female cats—can develop a life-threatening urinary blockage.
Feline idiopathic cystitis diagnosis
Since no diagnostic test can confirm that your cat is suffering from FIC, the diagnosis is made by ruling out other potential urinary conditions. To do that, we will examine a urine sample for the presence of red, white, and abnormal blood cells, bacteria, or crystals, and take X-rays to rule out urinary tract stones and bladder masses. An ultrasound of the entire urinary tract may also be indicated. Blood work is necessary to check kidney function and to search for other potential causes of urinary issues.
Feline idiopathic cystitis treatment
With no definitive cause of FIC, treatment is challenging and focuses on encouraging frequent drinking and urination, reducing stress, and stimulating your pet mentally. Management measures include:
- Adding more litter boxes in various quiet places in your home
- Switching from dry to canned food to increase water intake
- Providing a drinking fountain instead of a water dish
- Investigating prescription urinary diets
- Offering more drinking stations throughout your home
- Reducing stress by:
- Diffusing the Feliway pheromone in areas where your cat spends most of her time
- Avoiding household inter-cat conflict
- Playing with your cat daily
- Allowing daily outdoor activity in an enclosed run to provide mental stimulation
- Creating elevated perches for napping and observing
- Offering scratching posts and climbing towers
Missing the litter box could potentially signal a serious problem for your cat. Contact us for help.