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New lockdown - impact on cat health

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by Deleted member 1510209, Oct 31, 2020.

  1. Guys having spoken to two feline specialists, they say the last lockdown created a sharp rise in cases of FIC (feline idiopathic cystitis). Cats are very sensitive to changes in their environment and the stress it can cause can trigger an inflammatory attack of cystitis.

    FIC cases do usually fix themselves in a week and don’t become emergencies but in a small number of cases they can lead a male cat to block. And given the global shortage of Hypovase (a drug used to treat blocked cats when the FIC doesn’t resolve itself and instead becomes an obstructive emergency), the situation is precarious.

    If you have an indoor cat, male, overweight, on dry food (even prescription dry food which is problematic in its own way - see catinfo.org) then that cat is at risk of urethral blockage if the cystitis attack gets out of control. This is dangerous as a blocked cat cannot pee and can die in 3 days. So please try and make sure he is kept on wet food only, avoid any stress or changes to routine (unfortunately the lockdown itself will be disorientating enough in some cases to trigger the FIC), encourage play/avoid boredom and perhaps add Cystease to food if not already, as a precaution. There is nothing more important than wet food as it stimulates urine production which constantly flushes out the bladder. A cat cannot mechanically block if his bladder is emptied frequently. He can still functionally block (due to urethral spasm as a result of the inflammation) but that’s why Metacam is very useful. Again most cases of cystitis don’t lead to blocking, but it’s always better to be vigilant.

    It’s much better to prevent any escalation than cure it and it can be prevented. Unblocking a cat is very expensive (£1,600 odd) and really traumatic for a cat. Because of the stress of the intervention they can reblock and the whole horrible cycle starts again. I speak as one who lost my boy due to this horrible illness.

    The “classic” symptoms of an initial cystitis attack include:

    Blood in urine
    Frequent trips to litter tray
    Small volumes of urine produced

    These occur because the bladder has become inflamed and the urine is irritating the bladder walls and causing the cat pain so the cat wants to empty the bladder as quick as possible. The whole issue is the inflammation and so often Metacam is prescribed to provide relief as it reduces pain and is an NSAID.

    But as long as your cat pees (usually it will be small amounts) then it is likely a classic non-obstructive episode and he should recover within 7 days. That said, if you have a male cat, please monitor his litter carefully every day to ensure he is peeing (at least once every 12 hours, though this really is the bare minimum and he should be peeing every few hours if he’s well hydrated). Compare moisture intake to urine output if you want to be really precise. If he stops peeing at all ie he strains but produces nothing in the litter tray (or only produces isolated drops called “spotting”) then that is an emergency and he needs a vet. This is what is called a “blocked cat” but I don’t want to create unnecessary anxiety in anyone. Most cases of FIC do not degenerate into blockage.

    If the classic symptoms last beyond 7 days then there is a possibility he is struggling (even if he can still pee so doesn’t appear blocked). As you can’t see what’s going on inside (especially since cats hide their discomfort so well), a prolonged illness could mean it could get worse. It will then be essential to get some Metacam to bring symptoms under control if you haven’t already, possibly a urine test or an ultrasound of the bladder to check nothing bad is going on (eg crystal formation which can contribute to a block). I would say take him to the vet, but a) vets are hard to see in lockdown b) FIC is a stress related condition so a visit to the vet itself will probably make him anxious and possibly trigger him more. Ask your vet in that case either for a home visit, an online/telephone consult or find a mobile vet close to you to visit you. Viovet is doing online vet consults with Paw Squad if you are self-isolating and can’t get to your vets. They will also prescribe and send any medication your cat needs.

    In all cases, keep the hydration up and the stress low. Keep the gut healthy with good food, omega 3 oil fish for cats and immunity supplements for cats. Maybe a dose or two of probiotics too just to be safe. 90% of a cat’s immunity lies in his gut and it is always better for his own recovery systems to heal him rather than medication.
    #1 Deleted member 1510209, Oct 31, 2020
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 1, 2020
    ChaosCat likes this.
  2. Please also note cats with UTIs also present with similar symptoms but if your cat is under 10, a UTI is extremely unlikely and straining etc will most probably be caused by FIC. In that case please don’t seek unnecessary antibiotics. They can produce resistance and they destroy healthy gut bacteria which is essential to feline immunity.
    #2 Deleted member 1510209, Oct 31, 2020
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 1, 2020
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