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Dear Katie… my cat has recurring cystitis

My cat keeps suffering from bouts of cystitis, triggered by stress-related issues. Could changing her diet help tackle the situation?

Sadly, cystitis in cats is a common problem, and it causes them significant discomfort. Sometimes referred to as Feline Idiopathic Cystitis, it tends to be brought on by stress and impacts a feline’s urinary tract and bladder.

Cystitis in cats: the basics

As we know, cats are often strong, silent types, so they’re pretty skilled at masking signs of pain; this is why it’s essential to know the symptoms of cystitis in cats. Look out for the following:

•  An increase in urination frequency •  Struggling to urinate or an inability to urinate •  Crying when urinating •  Urinating in unusual spots (away from the litter tray or garden, for example) •  Behavioural shifts (being more aggressive or withdrawn) •  Excessive grooming of the abdomen and genitals (this is likely to lead to hair loss) •  Blood in the urine

Cat with cystitis hiding

If you spot any of these signs, take your friend to the vet before you do anything else. Cystitis in cats can be an expression of an underlying health condition, so your vet must check for and rule out issues such as infection or bladder crystals first.

I’ll move on to diet shortly, but I’ll add that stress reduction should be an equally significant focus. A good behaviourist can assist you with making changes to resources and territory, hopefully leading to a happier cat and reduced cystitis episodes.

Nice and hydrated

Now we’ve covered the fundamentals, let’s take a look at the role diet plays in combatting cystitis in cats.

Diet is most definitely a useful tool for preventing additional flare-ups, and by far the most critical cystitis-fighting component in it is water. Dry cat foods contain around 10% moisture compared to fresh whole foods, which boast approximately 70%. All natural foods, in fact, all cellular life and the planet itself, are around 70% water.

This is why feeding a raw or home cooked diet is best for keeping cats hydrated – especially given felines evolved in the deserts and have a naturally low thirst drive.

Desert cat

You can also go one further and add extra spoons of water to their meals: this helps keep the urine dilute and encourages bladder emptying, aiding in the reduction of additional cystitis episodes.

Omega-3 and antioxidants

Omega-3 from krill oil and fish oil has anti-inflammatory properties. As a result, these oils work to reduce inflammation in the lining of the bladder and ease your feline’s pain, speeding up their healing process.

Antioxidants such as vitamin E and astaxanthin can contribute to the minimisation of oxidative stress caused by inflammation. You can add these to your cat’s food via supplements or by feeding whole foods such as krill oil and barley grass.

Glucosamine

The bladder lining needs plenty of glucosamine to remain robust and healthy.

Supplementing your cat’s diet with natural sources of this powerhouse ingredient can help replace any losses, and, in turn, target inflammation. Bone broth is a wonderful means of increasing hydration while delivering glucosamine – two big ticks when it comes to treating cystitis in cats.

Feline eating Hug raw cat food

Food that cares

Hug’s whole food recipes for cats and kittens are designed with their real needs in mind. Naturally high in moisture, they’re species-appropriate and contain goodies such as krill powder, omega-3, antioxidants, and glucosamine. They’re perfectly placed to support felines suffering from cystitis – and they taste delicious.

I hope this advice helps and your cat gets some relief from this painful condition soon.
Katie x

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