Your poor cat can't get a break -- a decent potty break, that is. If he suffers from chronic urinary tract inflammation, or feline idiopathic cystitis, antibiotics aren't going to help unless a specific infection is present. A combination of medication, and dietary and environmental management best helps Kitty.
Feline Idiopathic Cystitis
If your cat exhibits symptoms of feline lower urinary tract disease, but vets can't narrow down the cause, he's diagnosed with feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC). The good news is that he doesn't have urinary stones, a blockage or tumor in his urinary tract. The bad news is that you really don't know what's causing his chronic or recurrent urinary issues. One ray of hope is that FIC tends to strike younger cats, who might outgrow the condition as they age. Your vet can suggest medications that might help Kitty.
Because stress might be involved with chronic urinary tract inflammation, your vet might prescribe antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications to help Kitty. Yes, your Kitty might take Prozac (fluoxetine), one of the most common medications given to calm anxious felines. Other, similar drugs developed for people, but useful in cats, include Elavil (amitriptyline) and Clomicalm (clomipramine). How long your cat remains on these medications depends on his response. In some cases, he could be taking them long-term, especially if urinating outside of the litter box also is an issue. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs also are prescribed for house soiling, which could be related to FIC.
Because it hurts Kitty to pee, your vet might prescribe analgesics to ease his pain. Cats are very sensitive to most nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Never give Kitty the medication you take for pain relief, such as ibuprofen, naproxen or acetaminophen, as they could kill him. Medications, such as tramadol or buprenophine, can relieve Kitty's pain, but don't address inflammation.
If Kitty is going through an episode of FIC, his urethra could be in spasm. Two drugs used primarily as tranquilizers also have antispasmodic properties. Diazepam, marketed under the name Valium, stops spasms -- it's commonly used to treat feline and canine seizures -- and loosens the urethra so Kitty can pee more easily. However, long-term use can cause liver problems. Acepromazine, marketed under the name Promace, can produce aggressive reactions in some pets.
You should take a holistic approach when dealing with FIC. Ask your vet about special prescription diets for cats with urinary tract disease. Kitty always must have access to fresh, clean water. Keep his litter box very clean. If you have other cats in the house, ideally have one litter box per feline. Try to keep his living environment as calm and stress-free as possible.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.