Feline idiopathic cystitis, formerly called FUS and FLUTD is a poorly understood condition in cats, which unfortunately is pretty common and
has a tendency to recur. In fact, about half of the cats with this condition will have at least another episode within a year.
Some or all of the following symptoms may be observed:
excessive licking of the urinary opening
straining to urinate
frequent visits to the litterbox or urinating outside of the litterbox
vocalizing in pain while inside the litterbox
inability to urinate due to a blockage of the urethra
Your veterinarian will want to conduct a urine test and take radiographs, to rule out a blockage, a bladder infection and bladder stones.
Only when all these other conditions are ruled-out, a diagnosis of FIC can be made.
Not one single cause has been identified, but environmental stress and concurrent illnesses seem to play an important part. Younger cats seem to be predisposed to this disease.
The reason why only some cats get it, seems to have to do with the way that they handle stress, and the hormones associated with it. A cascade of events is triggered that leads to
irritation of the bladder lining, pain, bleeding, and urgency to urinate.
Therapy is aimed at relieving the pain that kitties experience during an episode, and to relieve the spasms that they feel in their urethra. No therapy works right away, it may
take days to a week and sometimes even longer for the symptoms to resolve completely.
In cats that have a predisposition to these episodes, several treatments may be recommended in an attempt to prevent them:
1. Studies have shown that increased water consumption has helped with keeping the symptoms at bay. This can be achieved by feeding a canned food diet
and encouraging water drinking. A water fountain may be helpful way to do that.
2. Environmental enrichment is a great way to keep stress at bay. Although your kitty may appeared happy and relaxed, something may be missing in his daily activities.
Not being able to hunt, prey, and play outside may cause stress to your kitty who spends her day lying on the couch. There are many ways to create a more fun environment for your
indoor cat, who may be bored, or worried about sharing their litterbox with too many feline companions. The ideal number of litterboxes in a household should equal the number
of cats plus one. A wide variety of toys, scratching surfaces, places to climb and hide should be made available. Please check "the Indoor Cat Initiative" for a lot of fun ideas.
3. Supplements and medications
Pheromone diffusers can be plugged in the wall or can be delivered via a collar that the cat can wear. These may help her feel that her environment is safe and secure.
Foods are available that contain Triptophan and alpha-casozepine, which are natural calming products.
Antianxiety drugs can also be used with good success
None of these modalities work well alone, and medications should be employed along with environmental enrichment for best success.