What is cystitis?
First of all, it’s useful to know that cystitis is common in cats and while many owners assume it means a urinary tract infection, it’s actually an inflammation of the bladder that could be colonized or not by bacteria.
Bacterial or sterile cystitis?
Cats are often affected by cystitis and they are mainly diagnosed as interstitial or idiopathic cystitis (sterile). It means that there are no bacteria involved in the bladder inflammation. In young cats sterile cystitis (interstitial) is the most common form of cystitis while in elderly cats, it is more common bacterial cystitis. In any case the symptoms are the same and it is not easy to distinguish them. A cat that is not using the litter in the right way or a cat that leaves blood drops on the floor and tries to go in the litter many times during the day could be affected by cystitis. It is important to notice these signs to understand immediately that your cat needs a visit to your vet.
The causes of bacterial cystitis are different from those of interstitial cystitis. The former are caused by a growth of bacteria in the lower urinary tract that cause the infection and symptoms. The latter are linked to a condition of high stress (new animals in the house, moving, inability to go out, arrival of a newborn) that causes an inflammation of the bladder that can last for a long time until the cause is removed.
It is very important to understand the underlying causes to treat the cystitis. In any case, all cats with cystitis benefit from an increased intake of dietary water (thus using wet food) and the inclusion of a cat fountain. Cats appreciates drinking fresh and running water, so the presence of a fountain will facilitate the increase of spontaneous ingestion of water.