Happy Cat = Healthy Cat
Feline Idiopathic cystitis (FIC) is commonly diagnosed as a cause of lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) in cats. FIC is thought to account for approximately 2/3 of all cases of FLUTD – these cats show signs of cystitis, but have no underlying cause which can be diagnosed.
At the moment there is no diagnostic test which will confirm that your cat is suffering from FIC, so the diagnosis is made by excluding other recognised causes of FLUTD by:
• Analysis and bacterial culture of urine samples
• Bladder x-rays
• Bladder ultrasound
Because we have not been able to establish a specific cause of your cat's urinary signs, we have assumed that your cat has FIC. The best approach to managing cats with FIC is to make a number of changes which will reduce the likelihood of recurrent FIC episodes.
Changing your cat's diet
• Encouraging more frequent urination and producing urine which is more dilute (and therefore less irritant to the cells lining the bladder) is helpful
• Increasing the water content in the food, by changing to a wet rather than a dry food will help increase your cat's water intake
• Your cat can also be encouraged to drink more by providing several bowls of fresh water in places where your cat is comfortable to spend time and drink. Use shallow, ceramic bowls which don't leave an unpleasant taste. Shallow water bowls will allow your cat to see what is going on at the same time as drinking, and prevent the whiskas from brushing the sides of the bowl, which can irritate cats.
• Your cat might prefer flavoured water (chicken broth or tuna juice), or a water fountain or free flowing water.
• Make sure your cat is encouraged to urinate frequently.
• There should be at least 1 litter box for every cat in the household, situated in quiet, private places, not noisy or busy areas.
• Hills c/d Multicare Feline Stress is a diet specifically formulated to support your cat's urinary health while also helping to manage stress. Using c/d Multicare Stress has been shown to lower the recurrence of most common urinary signs by 89%.
Addressing your cat's Mental Health & Wellbeing
• Stress plays a significant role in triggering FIC, and modifying the environment to reduce stress, and encourage cats to drink and urinate in important factor in the management of FIC – remember that a happy cat is more likely to be a healthy cat!
• Attempt to identify, modify or avoid specific triggers of stress in your cat's life e.g. another pet in the house, abrupt changes in diet, overcrowding, changes to the human members of the household.
• The most common cause of stress is conflict with another cat
• Indoor cats are more susceptible to stress as they live in confined spaces with minimal environmental enrichment to occupy their time and minds. You could try:
- Playing with your cat every day, using new and different toys
- Allowing "safe" access to outside to allow engagement with the outside world
- Provide scratching posts, hiding places and high perches
- Additional ideas can be found on our website under the heading "Environmental Enrichment for Cats"
• Feliway synthetic pheromones ('happy hormones') reduce the impact of environmental stress
• Hills c/d Multicare Feline Stress diet contains ingredients to help manage stress.
Maintaining a Healthy Bodyweight
• Inactivity and higher body weight are both risk factors for developing FIC
• All cats (like all people) benefit from an increase in activity levels – provide your cat with opportunity for play and predatory behaviour
• Multiple short periods of play (1-10 minutes) with laser pointers and fishing pole toys decrease boredom and increase activity levels.
• Using feeding devices which require your cat to actively acquire food can occupy a significant part of their day, these can include food balls, puzzle toys and small food caches located throughout the house, including in elevated locations.
• A weight loss program is recommended for overweight or obese cats with FIC, however it is important to remember that a diet change can be a cause of stress and result in FIC
• Hills Feline Metabolic + Urinary has been specifically formulated to support your cat's weight loss journey and maintain optimal bladder health.
Will drugs help?
• FIC is not primarily a drug-responsive disease. There are some drug therapies which may help, but these should be used only your cat has not responded to dietary and environmental changes.
• FIC is a painful condition, so if your cat is showing signs of discomfort then an analgesic drug can be used.
The key to managing FIC is the understanding that in many cases this is not a disease that we can cure, but it is a disease that needs long term management to minimize the impact on your cat's health and wellbeing.
No one thing will cure your cat, but management using a combination of the strategies listed above will make a difference.
You are a vital component in helping your cat control this disease – don't let this disease control your cat!