Cystitis in Cats

cystitis in cats

cystitis in cats

Cystitis in cats is quite common but often undetected by owners. Cystitis is the term used to describe an inflammation of the bladder, which can be very painful, especially when a cat wants to urinate. It may be linked with other problems, such as feline urolithasis, with the accumulation of stones in the urinary tract causing irritation which can lead on to infection. Cats suffering from cystitis will try to urinate more frequently than usual, but at the same time, they will have difficulty doing so because of the pain.

  • The main symptom of cystitis in cats is painful urination.
  • Encourage your cat to drink plenty of fluids — although this isn’t easy — because it helps to flush the infection naturally out of the cat’s system.
  • Cystitis affects the feline lower urinary tract — comprising the bladder and the urethra — which becomes inflamed as a result of the infection.

Cystitis can be very painful for a cat, to the extent that it forgets its toilet-training and starts to soil around the home. Only small volumes of urine are released however, because of the pain involved. As the bladder does not empty properly, the situation is likely to worsen, because bacteria will multiply rapidly in the urine still held in the body, increasing the degree of inflammation.


Female cats are often considered to be at greater risk of suffering from cystitis than males, because the urethra — the tube leading from the bladder to the outside world — is shorter than in males. This means that if the infection moves up to the bladder through the urethra, so it will have less distance to track to reach this organ and become established.


  • A course of oral antibiotics will generally resolve the infection, but occasionally, this may not be successful. Your vet might then require a urine sample to carry out bacteriology tests and determine which type of antibiotic is likely to be most effective.
  • When trying to get a urine sample from your cat, persuade it to urinate on a dirt box lined with tinfoil, rather than absorbent litter, so that you can simply tip the fluid into a clean, screw-top container for this purpose.
  • Male cats are at risk of cystitis because their urethra is narrower, and so small stones can block the tract more easily.
  • If your cat is interested in exercising, this is good as it will increase the urinary flow, hopefully flushing the harmful bacteria from the system.
  • You need to seek veterinary help immediately if your cat continues to try to urinate over the course of an hour, but produces no fluid. This indicates a blockage in the urinary tract.

Why does cranberry juice help cure cat cystitis?

This juice serves to acidify the urine, with the result that the harmful bacteria responsible for cystitis find it harder to survive in the bladder. Although cranberry juice is often drunk to beneficial effect by people with cystitis, cats are very reluctant to consume it, even if it is used to soak their food.

Can the infection go higher?

Yes, it can progress from the bladder to the kidneys and cause pyelonephritis. That is why it is important to start treatment quickly.

Will the Cat’s cystitis recur?

Possibly, but you can lessen the chances, above all, by completing the course of antibiotics. A low magnesium diet also helps to prevent bladder stones and results in more acidic urine.