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Dear Christopher Cat

My cat, Phoenix, was diagnosed with idiopathic cystitis. Despite urinalysis, urine culture and ultrasound, her veterinarian is unable to determine the cause.

He prescribed medication, and others suggest cranberry extract. Do you have any additional recommendations?

Christopher Responds

I, too, suffered from idiopathic cystitis many years ago. I got through it, as I hope Phoenix will.

Cystitis is inflammation or infection of the bladder, and idiopathic means the cause is unknown. Even so, there are some treatments that can help.

One of the best things you can do is increase Phoenix’s water consumption. Water dilutes the irritating substances in the urine, and it ensures more frequent voiding, reducing the time the irritants are in contact with the bladder lining.

Offer multiple water bowls and fill them often, because we cats don’t like to put our faces down into bowls. Studies show that we drink more when our water bowls are topped off frequently.

Mom encouraged me to drink more by buying a Drinkwell Pet Fountain. Its water flows continuously, cascading over the waterfall into the pond below, enticing me to drink.

You also can increase Phoenix’s water consumption by mixing canned cat food with water to create a soup.

Over-the-counter treatments for idiopathic cystitis include Cosequin for Cats, a glucosamine-chondroitin product that contains components of the protective layer lining the bladder. In addition, the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil have anti-inflammatory effects.

If these ideas don’t solve the problem, your veterinarian can refer you to a specialist.


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