Feline cystitis – the facts

Whilst cystitis in female cats is painful and upsetting, it can actually turn into a life-threatening condition in tom cats as the bladder tip, where it meets the urethra (where the bladder meets the winky, in boys anyway) is blocked up by swelling, blood clots and/or crystals, which means your wee man is completely and utterly unable to pass urine – no matter how full and in pain he is. As the bladder starts overfilling, the pressure on his kidneys builds and could lead to kidney failure – so it really is a very serious and dangerous condition.


Rush your cat to the vet if s/he shows any of these signs:

  • More attempts at going to the toilet than normal and particularly if those trips are unsuccessful
  • Straining to urinate and going in unusual and inappropriate places around the house
  • Crying out in pain or showing signs of discomfort while trying to go to the toilet
  • A loss of appetite and particularly disinterest in drinking any fluids
  • Restlessness and just your kitty seeming off colour and not their usual self


Pain medications are often used in treating cystitis by relieving the discomfort caused while anti-inflammatories work at reducing the swelling in the bladder and urinary tract to allow your cat to go to the toilet.

Dietary modifications are often necessary afterwards and many cats that have suffered from cystitis will be changed from normal cat food to special stuff like Royal Canin’s Urinary Tract S/O cat food and biscuits. Although these are fairly pricey if you buy from your vet, we found the exact same dietary food stuffs online at a fraction of the vet’s price – so do shop around.

Increasing your cat’s water consumption is important, as is mixing wet cat food and any dry foods with some water from the tap – just to help maximise the moisture content in your cat’s diet.

Pheromones such as Feliway are often recommended to help reduce stress levels for your cat and, in some cases, an anti-depressant may well be needed too but your vet will advise you on this while your cat is under their care.


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