Feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC) is a term used to describe an inflammation of the bladder associated with abnormal urination in cats.
While usually there is no direct cause, links have been made between behaviour and environmental stress as common factors. Bacterial infections are rarely involved in FIC. Stress has now been found to have an insidious effect on a cat’s health, with links being made between the bladder and the nervous system as a whole.
Common signs of stress in cats include hiding, inappropriate urination, nervousness, or spending most of their time in one room. Signs that the bladder can be affected include bloody/discoloured urine, as well as mentioned earlier, inappropriate or frequent urination.
There are some ways to help reduce stress in cats, mostly revolving around environmental enrichment. These include providing multiple litter trays to your cat (if they use them) and cleaning them daily. Make sure they like the type of litter you use and change the substrate type if necessary. The location of your litter trays is also important; make sure they are not placed in a high traffic area and that they are away from the cat’s food bowls.
Providing fresh water in multiple places is also important, and a bowl to catch rainwater outside may be helpful. Providing hiding areas for nervous cats to easily access can also be beneficial, especially if they are getting harassed by other pets or marauding animals. Introducing pheromone therapy such as Feliwayâ can also be helpful. Feliwayâ is a pheromone that can help cats feel safe and secure in their environment, with plug in diffuser and spray available. Encouraging exercise is also a cornerstone of environmental enrichment; as in people, it helps with a reduction in both anxiety levels and body weight.
If you think your cat could be suffering from FIC, please contact us and we can organise a vet consult for you and your cat.