Cat Cystitis (Bladder Inflammation): Symptoms, Causes, Effects, and Treatment

Cat Cystitis (Bladder Inflammation): Symptoms, Causes, Effects, and Treatment

Cystitis, also known as bladder inflammation, is a common condition in cats. It can cause discomfort and lead to serious health issues if not treated promptly.

This article provides an overview of the symptoms, causes, effects, and treatment of cystitis in cats.


Cats with cystitis often exhibit the following symptoms1234:

  • Frequent urination or attempts to urinate
  • Urinating in inappropriate places, such as outside the litter tray
  • Painful urination
  • Presence of blood in the urine
  • Over-grooming around the genitals and lower abdomen, often causing hair loss
  • In severe cases, the urethra can become obstructed and the cat cannot pass urine, which can be fatal1



Cystitis in cats can develop for many reasons125:

  • Infections
  • Bladder stones
  • Tumours
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Urine crystals (mineral build-up in the urinary tract)

The most common cause of cystitis in cats under 10 years is Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (FIC), where no specific cause is found or known12.

Research suggests that both FIC and interstitial cystitis in people are caused by an abnormal stress hormone response in susceptible individuals1.



Cystitis can have serious effects on a cat’s health.

It is a painful condition as the bladder and urethra become inflamed1.

FIC, in particular, is usually recurrent, with repeated bouts causing damage and thickening of the bladder wall1.

In severe cases, the urethra can become obstructed, preventing the cat from passing urine, which can be fatal1.



Treatment for feline cystitis traditionally involves increasing water intake, which has been shown to improve the outcome1.

Various medicines, including nutraceuticals, antidepressants, and anti-spasm drugs, have also been used1.

However, none of these medicines are curative, and it is hard to prove a clear benefit associated with their use1.

In recent years, stress reduction, alongside increasing water intake, has been studied as a treatment for FIC1.

This method, called Multimodal Environmental Modification (MEMO), involves assessing stressors, triggers, the cat’s behavior, and the home environment, then undertaking measures to modify the environment and reduce stress1.

In some cases, your vet may recommend a supplement or, in some cases, an antidepressant drug, such as amitriptyline4.



Cystitis in cats is a serious condition that requires prompt veterinary attention. If your cat is showing signs of cystitis, it is essential to seek veterinary care immediately.

With the right treatment and care, most cats with cystitis can lead comfortable and healthy lives.


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Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. It is not meant to substitute for medical advice or diagnosis provided by your veterinarian. If your cat shows symptoms, please consult your veterinarian immediately.

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