Home remedies for Feline idiopathic cystitis, (FIC) also know as chronic interstitial cystitis, should be started only once a vet has ruled out an infection or the presence of crystals in a cat’s urine as both these conditions require a different treatment. Also, consider that a blocked bladder in a male cat can quickly turn into a life threatening event, so never self-diagnose your cat as this can turn fatal quickly. If your vet has ruled out an infection or crystals, there are chances your cat may have what is called feline idiopathic cystitis, which is sort of the feline version of the interstitial cystitis seen in humans. This condition can be frustrating to treat as the term “idiopathic” refers to the fact that the causes can be unknown. It may difficult therefore to prevent flare ups; however, in many cases, stress seems to play a factor.
A cat with feline idiopathic cystitis is suffering from an inflammatory condition affecting the bladder. A cat suffering from this condition will likely develop the following symptoms: frequent urination, painful urination, bloody urine. As seen, these symptoms closely mimic a urinary tract infection or the presence of crystals in the urine which is why it’s so important to see a vet to rule these conditions out. There are several home remedies that can be helpful for FIC.
Natural Home Remedies for Feline Idiopathic Cystitis in Cats
The following home remedies are only for cats that were diagnosed by a vet with this condition. Cats with a urinary tract infection require antibiotics, cats with crystals in their urine will need a special diet and possible surgical removal, and male cats that have trouble urinating need prompt veterinary treatment as a male cat that cannot urinate is a medical emergency. Generally, cats suffering from feline idiopathic cystitis show signs of improvement within 5 to 7 days; however, it’s estimated that about 50 percent of cats will have a flare up within a year. Following are some natural remedies for feline idiopathic cystitis.
One big role in managing this condition is reducing cat stress. Sure cats don’t have to balance their checkbooks every month and they don’t have go through divorces and child custody, but there are many events in their lives that can trigger stress, only that we don’t recognize them. Cats can easily get stressed by little things such as seeing another cat in a yard, seeing you move furniture, exposure to a rambunctious child. Bigger triggers are moves, veterinary visits or a new pet. To reduce stress, you can invest in some calming aids such as Feliway plug-in diffusers and minimize exposure to stressful events. Expect to see flare ups in feline idiopathic cystitis about 2 to 3 days after the stressful event. Providing environmental enrichment has also shown to help about 80 percent of cats suffering from feline idiopathic cystitis, according to board-certified veterinarians Dennis Chew and Tony Buffington.
Increase water intake
Increasing water intake helps cats with this condition because their urine is more diluted. There are several ways you can accomplish this. Firstly, feeding a canned food diet can help increase the amount of water your cat ingests each day. A second way to do this is by encouraging your cat to drink. Aim for about 1.5 cups of water a day, suggests veterinarian Dr Fiona. A cat water fountain can work wonders for kitties who don’t like to drink. Some cats are also drawn to licking ice cubes. Another option is to offer tasty liquids such as offering the water from a can of tuna, diluting some chicken broth with water (make sure the chicken broth is low sodium and has no onion or garlic in it) or investing in clam juice.
Protect the Lining of the Bladder
A cat’s bladder is normally covered by a layer of protective mucus containing a substance known as glycosaminoglycan. In cats suffering from Feline idiopathic Cystitis, there are defects in the biochemical makeup of their lining making the bladder wall vulnerable to the cat’s irritating urine. Supplements containing glycosaminoglycans can help increase this protective layer. There are two products that can help: Elmiron which is designed for humans and obtained by prescription and Cosequin which is available over the counter. Many cat owners claim in their reviews about Cosequin that this supplement has helped their cat with their bladder inflammation. Always consult with your vet before starting your cat on any supplements. These products can take a few weeks to become effective but can help.
As seen, there are several steps you can take to help a cat suffering from feline idiopathic cystitis. However, there are cases that may not respond to home remedies and may require prescription amitriptyline, a drug that helps with anxiety but also provides pain relief to the cat’s bladder.
*Disclaimer: this article is not meant to be used as a substitute for professional veterinary advice. If your cat is showing signs of a urinary problem, please see your vet for proper diagnosis and treatment. By reading this article, you automatically accept this disclaimer.