Has your cat been missing the litter box? It could be because she has feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC). Read more about this urinary 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:

  • Urinating outside the litter box or in unusual places
  • Overgrooming because of bladder pain
  • Painful or difficult urination
  • Frequent urination
  • Blood in the urine
  • Increased irritation or aggression

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:

  • Reducing stress by:
    • 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
    • Diffusing the Feliway pheromone in areas where your cat spends most of her time
  • 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
  • Adding more litter boxes in various quiet places in your home
  • Avoiding household inter-cat conflict

Questions or concerns? Contact us.