Rescue Journal

bladder cats

Carol  ·  Jun. 12, 2011

it is freaking cold this morning! brrrhh. cocoa....

cocoa is a 4 year old incontinent is not behavorial....his incontince is mechanical, meaning parts of his urinary tract system are broken.
from what i can gather from his history...cocoa has for quite a long time suffered from chronic cystitis and urinary tract crystals. he did get good medical care, including appropriate medical diets and a couple of surgeries. the last surgery damaged something permanently..probably the nerves around the urethra and now he leaks urine constantly.

anyway..i wanted to just give folks who don't know... a bladder cat basic treatment plan for chronic bladder infections, chronic cystitis (inflamation of the bladder wall) and chronic crystal formation a good portion may actually be able to avoid these kind of risky surgeries..(not all..some even with this treatment plan may end up on the operating cocoa...but many of them can avoid it too.)

anyway...there are 5 critical components to long term management of chronic bladder cats...

1. water....these cats need to drink A LOT. get it into them anyway you can..mix extra water into their canned food, given them the packing water out of tuna fish cans and water it down even further and keep their water bowls sparkling fresh and clean and add cool fresh water to them thru out the day.

2. diet...a strict medically appropriate diet is critical to keep the urine's Ph at the proper level. don't cheat, don't get lazy when you run out and substitute. also try to get them to eat greater amounts of the canned moist food vs. dry kibble.

3. frequent urine specimens with antibiotic follow ups for when there is infection...and give every single dose of antibiotics..don't stop them early cuz he seems better or you forgot. when the full course of each set of antibiotics is complete..a post antibiotic urine specimen is critical. make sure the infection is completely gone cuz if it isn't he needs to stay on antibiotic therapy longer. and just a note here which your vet might not agree with..if this is a second or more infection within the same year..that cat needs a minimum of three weeks of antibiotics plus a C&S culture to make sure the right antibiotics are being used.

4. reduce their stress levels...bladder cats in the middle of acute bladder episodes...feel like crap. if they start peeing all over the house..instead of getting mad or sympathetic to their pain and distress and work with them patiently to help them feel safe and well again.

5. cartrophen injections are critical to chronic infection/chronic cystitis, and/or crystal producing cats. the cartrophen does 2 basic reduces inflamation (which includes both swelling and pain) and it coats the mucosal lining of the bladder and urethra with a thick mucous layer thus preventing further trauma, inflamation and scarring. the injections are given once a week for 4 weeks, then every 4 weeks for a while..eventually they go down to a maintenece dose of once every three months and that must continue for the rest of their lives.

i want to stress the following..these cats need strict management and dedicated time sensitive care. you can't let the days and the weeks slip away on you and start pushing the cartrophen off a week or two, or a month or three, or 6 or 7 months down the road either cuz the cat is fine right now or you are busy and will eventually get around to it.

the pain they suffer from chronically inflamed bladders from infection or crystals or cystitis is akin to their whole bladders and urethra's feeling like they are constantly on hurts like scares them and it mentally and emotionally traumatizes them cuz they feel like they are constantly under a painful attack from which they cannot escape. it is a terrible place to be for a cat.

ok, i have done my teaching duty..that is the basic lesson on managing bladder cats.


Meredith Smye

Have been giving cat, Toby, cartrophen for the last year for his bladder lining.Did the initial routine suggested but have discovered it lasted for 3 weeks, then 2weeks, and now all signs from him indicate that a 7 to 9 day interval is required. Is this ok? Even adding Cerenia does not reduce his symptoms. Appreciate your opinion and will certainly donate to help out. Thanks Meredith


I did the popcorn trick with my boy Jones, worked like a charm. I got his urine and he didn't have a nasty car ride and doctor's visit.
As for the cartrophen, my guy Sam is on the every 3 months maintenance program and he hasn't had any issues since he started his shots.

Cheryl Stef

fantastic tip...thank you to buy me some orvil redenbaker


if they are asymptomatic you don't have to check all that frequently, but maybe once a year would be a good idea. and another trick for folks who maybe do not know this..the easiest way to get a clean catch urine speciman from a cat is to take a freshly clean and dry litter box and put unpopped pop corn kernals in the bottom ( salt or butter!) and since the pop corn does not absorb the can suck the urine up in a syringe to take into the vet for testing...the cats are happy cuz they can still happily scratch around in their box.

Cheryl Stef

we have one of those bladder cats, she is about 6 years old and has had infection after infection, She also had to have her anal glands removed so she had problems from all sides. cartrophen every 3 weeks for life so far is what she is on. along with special food, extra wet food feedings, small amounts of dry food. but did not know that we should be checking her urine on a regular basis. I will have to get on it. Thank you for that blog. I learn something new all the time from your experiences.