This retrospective, case-controlled study examined risk factors and clinical presentation seen in 64 cats with feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC) and 64 age- and gendermatched controls. Inclusion in the FIC group was based on physical examination, urinalysis, urine culture, and abdominal ultrasound results showing no evidence of urinary tract infection, urolithiasis, or neoplasia. Controls had never had signs of feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD). Information gathered included signalment, body weight, diet, water intake, use and number of litter boxes, outdoor access, activity level, number of cats in household, general behavior, and occurrence of stressful situations in the past 3 months. For FIC cats, additional indices included clinical signs, urinalysis and ultrasound findings, onset, duration, number and timing of episodes, length of hospital stay, and outcome. Comparisons were made between FIC cats and controls, male FIC cats with and without urethral obstruction, and FIC cats with and without struvite crystalluria. Significant risk factors for FIC were higher body weight, lower water intake, lower activity level, and less outdoor access. FIC cats tended to be more nervous and less dominant. However, several common stress factors were not significantly different between groups, suggesting that deficient environment alone does not trigger FIC.

Identification and correction of risk factors associated with FIC in this study are the same as factors previously associated with FLUTD. The authors also observed that hematuria, pyuria, and proteinuria (measured by UP/C) were more common and severe in male cats with obstructive FIC versus those with nonobstructive FIC.Whether these findings are part of the pathophysiology of obstructive FIC or simply reflect more severe urinary tract inflammation remains undetermined.— Gregory F. Grauer, DVM,MS, DACVIM

See Stranguria in a Siamese Cat by Drs. Smee and Grauer at a-siamese-cat-2011

Risk factors and clinical presentation of cats with feline idiopathic cystitis. DeFauw PAM, Van deMaele I, Duchateau L, et al. J FELINEMED SURG 13:967-975, 2011.