Is Stress Causing Your Cat to Have a Bladder Infection?

Feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC), also known as feline interstitial cystitis, is a stress induced inflammation of the bladder lining, resulting in blood or elevated white blood cells in the urine.

This is caused when your cat's cortisol levels (stress hormones) increase from stress. An inflammatory response can affect multiple areas in the body, but in cats, veterinarians see it manifest primarily as bladder inflammation.

While sometimes you may be able to point to a recent stressful event, like a family member visiting with a dog or a recent move into a new home, many times we cannot determine conclusively the cause of the stress.

The inflammation in the lining of the bladder can result in bleeding, pain, irritation, and a secondary bacterial infection. This in turn causes its own level of stress, resulting in a vicious cycle. When veterinarians see chronically recurring urinary tract disease, and have ruled out other metabolic disease, crystals or stones as a cause, they will often diagnose feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC) by default, as there is no easy test for this. The only way to definitively diagnose FIC or interstitial cystitis is to do a biopsy of the bladder which is invasive and rarely done.

Initially, veterinarians will treat with antibiotics for secondary infection, pain medications to help block the pain cycle as a stressor, anti-anxiety medications to reduce the cortisol levels from stress, and prescription diets to make the urine less irritating to the inflamed bladder lining.

Until now, there has been no solution to help treat the reoccurrence of FIC and manage stress with nutrition. Hill's Science Diet recently introduced a food that can both promote urinary bladder health and manage stress! By adding tryptophan and a milk protein hydrolysate (hydrolyzed casein), Hill's Prescription Diet c/d Multicare Stress formula has made headlines.

If your cat has had reoccurring bladder issues causing them much discomfort, stress may be the culprit. Sometimes the stress can be from lack of stimulation, sort of a boredom stress. Increasing stimulation in the home can help.

Please feel free to contact Cat's Meow Veterinary if your cat is showing any systems of urinary distress. Male cats with a bladder problem could become life threatening. Signs can be frequent trips to the litter box, crying out when urinating, constant licking of genital area, and one of the worst for many people, urinating all over your house. Many cats unfortunately will end up being surrendered to a shelter. The inappropriate urination is their way of trying to talk to you. Let our qualified veterinarians help you get to the bottom of your cat's problem. In addition to the new c/d Stress diet, there are many advances in medicines to help an angry bladder. If stress turns out to be the problem, Cat's Meow Veterinary can help.

Kim Hurley, Owner/Vet Tech

Cat's Meow Veterinary Hospital