Home treatment for cat cystitis is only part of what should happen when a cat has this disease. The other part is that a vet’s diagnosis is essential because you have to know the cause before you can administer the treatment. However, some causes of cystitis can be treated at home. Also cat caretakers can take proactive steps to reduce the risk of cystitis occurring. That is why I am writing this article.
What is cystitis?
It is an inflammation of the bladder. It is part of a range of urinary tract diseases affecting the cat called ‘feline lower urinary tract disease complex’ – FLUTD.
What causes it?
It can be caused by stones (uroliths), bacterial infections and tumors. There may be no obvious cause, in which case it is called ‘idiopathic’ cystitis.
What are the signs?
Frequent urination of small drops of urine around the home in corners, on carpets or in the bath for example. The urine may contain blood.
Your vet will provide a treatment. He will suggest things that you can do too. Most cases resolve without medical treatment. There are two central planks to home treatment.
Stress exacerbates cystitis. Reducing stress can speed up healing and proactively prevent recurrence. There is a long list of possible causes of feline stress. Often the causes are environmental such separation anxiety or being in a cat group with relationship stressors (i.e. dominance/subservience). The cat caretaker needs to look hard and honestly as to why her/his cat might be stressed. The signs are not obvious except for cystitis.
Reduce or eliminate plant-based foods specifically dry cat foods
These sorts of foods are very low in moisture and high in processed cereal cause urinary tract infections. Even prescription dry diets designed for urinary tract diseases can make things worse. So convert to meat-based wet food.
The problem for cats is the extremely low moisture content, highly processed, high carbohydrate dry food. It produces alkaline urine. Meat eating carnivores produce acidic urine (low pH, below neutral at 7.4). Dry cat food causes urine above pH 7.4. This unnatural urine causes inflammation in the bladder.
The dryness of dry cat food means the cat is slightly dehydrated even when compensating with drinking more. This results in concentrated urine. This in turn results in high concentrations of the constituents of urine leading to the infection.
A wet food, high quality diet results in a natural urine of the correct pH. It is more dilute. This does not cause inflammation of the bladder. Adding water to, for example, microwaved raw fish can be a way of adding water to a cat’s diet to help keep the urinary tract flushed and healthy.
Binnie was living in a large flat. She was eating mainly dry food. Her caretaker was working all day. She was perfectly healthy and normal and about aged 10. She was well-loved. She developed cystitis. She was put on wet can food and fed a limited quantity of fish with added water. She was cured.
Missy was a 2-year-old cat. She was in good condition. She was fed premium dry cat food and some treats of wet food. Dry food was the principle diet. She started to eliminate outside the litter box for no apparent reason. Veterinary tests indicated a urine pH of 8 and a specific gravity of 1.055 (concentrated). There was no bacteria. The bladder inflammation was due to the concentrated, high pH urine. Missy’s diet was changed to wet food. It was meat based, no corn, no carrots, no potato, no fruit ingredients. No dry food at all. Within 2 weeks her urine pH was 7.0 and specific gravity of 1.036. After a month the pH was 6.5. There was no blood in the urine. She remained normal.
The first example is mine and the second is a patient of Elizabeth Hodgkins DVM. I hope this page helps.
As is constantly mentioned, unqualified people cannot provide medical advice in the classic sense as per a veterinarian. However, long term, educated and concerned cat guardians can share experiences and the recipient can judge for themselves (with a vet’s input if that suits the person) whether the information is good or bad. This is education.