Coming across a bedsheet soaked in cat urine is distressing, not just because of the laundry you now have to do. Why did your cat pee outside of the litter box? One of the main causes of inappropriate urination is feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC). To discover if your cat has this urinary condition, read on to learn about the disease signs, diagnosis, and treatment.

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
  • Painful or difficult urination
  • Frequent urination
  • Blood in the urine
  • Increased irritation or aggression
  • Overgrooming because of bladder pain

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:

  • 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
  • Reducing stress by:
    • Playing with your cat daily
    • 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
    • Avoiding household inter-cat conflict
    • Allowing daily outdoor activity in an enclosed run to provide mental stimulation

Has your cat been missing the litter box? Call us to make an appointment so we can treat this potentially serious problem.