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Hello Everyone!

This is my first time posting in this forum, though have been reading through it for the past few days (you people sound wonderful and oh so informed!). I'm very excited to (hopefully) get some advice to help out my poor kitty who was diagnosed with FIC earlier this month :(

This is Lancelot, being a Sir:



I've had him for a little over a year now, he's a 4yo DMH and the best kitty ever! Sadly, he's been experiencing urinary problems for almost a month now, and has not been the same since. He's been to the vet 4 times since his initial symptoms, and after the x-rays, ultrasound, blood and urine tests, we know:

- Kidneys have no visible stones.
- He has no crystals in the urine.
- Bloodwork's fine.
- No blockages.
- He did initially have a bacterial infection, but after a round of antibiotics is bacteria-free.
- His last visit had 'debris' in his bladder- white and red blood cells from the bladder walls.

In the end his bladder is getting really inflamed and causing him discomfort. Every 7-10 days it seems to flare up, he starts crying in the littlebox and producing penny-sized clumps of urine. I'm trying to help him any way I can, and have been doing extensive research online about FIC. It's breaking my heart seeing the change in him, from a chill "King of the Apartment" kitty, to a timid thing living under the bed :(

I'm curious as to whether anyone has any experience/answers to the following. Any advice would be GREATLY APPRECIATED by Sir Fuzzball and myself:

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Has anyone dealt with 'chronic' cystitis before? (I'm not sure if that's the appropriate term?)
Has your kitty had a flare-up which just would NOT clear up? How did you deal with it?

What food has helped your kitties with bladder problems?
Before the flare-up, he was on a mainly dry food (Before Grains) diet. After his second vet visit I started him on grain-free canned Wellness. He *loved* it! (He's a wet food lover.) But then the inflammation came back and the vet put him on Hills c/d canned. I'd prefer to have him back on Wellness since it seems to be the better-quality food- or if not Wellness, than an equally good grain-free urinary food (wet).

Feeding Schedules?
I've never free-fed him (refilling the bowl whenever it's empty), he's always been given a set amount of food twice a day. I do give it to him and leave the bowl out until the next feeding though. How important is it to take un-eaten food away after a set amount of time? Right now he cries if I take his wet food away and I'd rather not upset him while he's on the mend.

Glucosamine?
I've been reading good things about glucosamine and it's effects on a cat's bladder lining. Has anyone given their kitty glucosamine for bladder problems? Can cats use human glucosamine supplements with the proper dosage? (I'm assuming it's much easier to find human supplements than cat supplements.)

Apple Cidar Vinegar and/or Cranberry Juice

I've been reading that ACV is almost a 'miracle cure' for urinary problems in cats. I tried to give him some yesterday and may have scarred him for life :O Does anyone feed their cat ACV? How do you feed it to them? Does cranberry help?

Omega 3 Fish Oil
The vet also gave me some fish oil to add to his diet. I'm curious if anyone here has seen a difference in their cat's urinary health with using fish oil? FYI, I plan on giving it to him anyway since it's so good for him, just curious specifically about FIC :)

How can I make his environment better?
I'm doubting environment has been a big factor in his flare-ups, since nothing has changed at home for him. He has regularly-changed toys to play with, but he doesn't play with them himself (oy cat!). He'll play with his cat dancer, and a mouse-on-a-string with me, but not on his own. His litter box is cleaned twice a day. He has 24hr availability to fresh water. There's nowhere in the apartment he isn't allowed to go. I haven't been away since Christmas. I never turn him away if he wants to play or cuddle. Any other suggestions?

If a cat is known to have re-occuring cystitis like this, is it necessary to bring him to the vet every time?
I'm by no means trying to advocate not bringing a sick kitty to the vet! But if it's chronic (again, the correct term?), happening every couple weeks and his symptoms are exactly the same (no hint of blockage), does a urinalysis and vet stay have to happen every single time? Especially since the vet will just send me home with wet food to wait out the flare-up? Is there ever 'Vet Visit Overkill" when it comes to cystitis?
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Please forgive the long first post, not being able to help him is really upsetting me and I'm trying to be thorough. Aside from these, any advice you have about how to help Lance would be greatly appreciated by the both of us! Aside from the obvious stress it's been causing, any further extensive vet bills are really going to start causing money issues :(

<3
Tina & Lancelot
 

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First, welcome to you and your beautiful kitty!

While I don't have experience with the exact issue - I would say that you are absolutely right on with your instinct to give him really high quality wet food - even raw if you are up to it (check the sub-forum on raw feeding under Health and Nutrition). Most vets are not specifically taught about nutrition issues - maybe only one short class during all their vet training, and the pet food industry floods schools and clinics with advertising, samples and so on. Don't be afraid to buck the trend!

Also, since he was recently on antibiotics, probiotics would probably be a good idea - just as for humans, cats need beneficial bacteria in their system for good health. A pet product or even a human one from the health food store will be fine.

Lots of luck, I am sure others will chime in, too. Sundays are usually quiet here so hang in there!

Fran
 

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Also, for chronic inflammation, a "normal" course of antibiotics is often not enough. You may be looking at months of antibiotics.
As you know, a lot of vet practices are based on human medicine. Several/many children with reoccuring cystitis have been put on a low dose, daily antibiotic for a full year - after they complete a normal course of antiobics for it. This has been common practice for many years (I am a school nurse). I have seen many kids come off of the year's treatment and do great.
Just another thing to consider. Good luck!
 

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Hi Tina,

I am sorry to hear that Lancelot is having bladder pain. It is possible for cats to get intersticial cystitis (painful bladder syndrome) just like people. I have IC and it can be terribly painful though the symptoms vary somewhat person to person.

Cranberry is not a good idea, I just wanted to point that out up front. You want to avoid anything acidic. If he has IC then the bladder wall lining is basically gone...so anything acidic will inflame it. You want to avoid large amounts of potassium too. When my symptoms first started I thought it was a UTI and drank cranberry juice...BAD idea!! Made it 100 times worse.

I ended up going to an IC specialist in NC and am on daily meds to control the pain. The doctor also said I could take Desert Harvest Aloe to help with the inflamation. Believe it or not this company also sells a pet friendly version too. If you want to talk to them about it's use with cats I would email or call them. I am not sure if I can post a link on here but look up Desert Harvest Aloe...they are in Colorodo and the product for pets is called "Desert Harvest Pet-Friendly Aloe Vera (160 Capsules)". I am pretty sure they ship to Canada too.

You could try mixing it into food or maybe mixing it with a little water and feed it via syringe. If you have wet food it would probably be the easiest and least traumatic way.

There is a forum for IC patients called the IC-Network...I see some threads on there about cats with IC, but you need to be a member to read them. The members there are very compassionate and helpful...maybe you could post about Lancelot there.

If you have any other questions let me know...IC pain can be managed but finding the right meds and treatment for each person, or feline, can take some time and a lot of research. I hope your little guy feels better soon.

Nerina~
 

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We have a 4 year old male cat that had chronic cystitis. His started when he was a little over a year old. Our vet put him on Cosequin For Cats which is a glucosamine product and it has worked REALLY well. He has not had any further problems since then. He takes one capsule (opened and sprinkled on his canned food) every day. He does eat some dry food but the majority of his food is now canned. I also add a tiny bit water to the canned.

I hope Lancelot feels better soon.
 

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My fur baby had the same issue with the litterbox: going back and forth and only producing pebble sized amounts of urine. He would cry in the litterbox and when he had these flare ups he didn't want to be held and hid most of the time. I actually signed up to this forum to get help for this because after several ( and that's putting it mildly ) vet visits and then on to a cat specialist with all the tests; blood work, ultrasounds, you name it, he's had it done, we came up empty handed.
For me, I feel like three things have turned this around. I took the advice from this forum and put him on a daily dose of cosequin. It's suppose to help coat the lining of his bladder. I bought some feliway diffusers for any stress that may have been contributing to the problem; ( although like you, I couldn't fathom what would be a source of stress for him ). And lastly, I went from an all dry diet to an all wet diet. I feed him three times a day because that was the advice I received from my specialist. So far he's doing a million times better. He had one incident early on during all these changes I was making but it was a very mild episode. Like you, I wondered, "is it back to the vet?". But I knew what was happening and I just kept a real close eye on him, and talked with my specialist about it on a Monday morning first thing. ( he always liked having these issues on the weekend. I started to wonder if it had anything to do with me being gone for my long day at work on Saturday's? There are plenty of people at home on that day, but I'm the one he chooses to cuddle with.
You came to the right place. I got the most helpful advice from some wonderful people here. I took that advice and spoke with my specialist and together we formed a plan that so far has really benefitted him as well as my other 2 babies. It's wet food from here on out.
 

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Great suggestions, all things I was going to say myself.

Canned grain and fruit and vegetable free diet. Wellness wet foods seem to cause inflammation in cats with urinary tract issues (based on my own experience and other anecdotal reports).

Find a different grain free canned diet. Try to avoid fruits and veggies too. NO dry and NO fish. :)

Cosequin for cats is an excellent product for reducing inflammation in the bladder/urinary tract. I have a female who takes it daily, and always will. (she is prone to struvite)

Feliway plug ins to reduce stress.

Sometimes cats with IC have to go on a course of amitriptyline (elavil). This medicine helps reduce anxiety, which reduces inflammation. Often, after a few months the cat can be weaned off the medicine.

Lancelot is a gorgeous Red Boy! I hope he is back to his happy self soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Wow, thank you all so much for all the advice! I'll definitely be looking in to the cosequin and will be sticking with wet food from now on. He'll be avoiding anything acidic and have seen Feliway at the vet and may pick some up :) After his antibiotics Lance was on a round of probiotics to help him out a bit, he took to them well as long as they were hidden.

Update on Kitty: He was acting much more his usual self yesterday, which was so wonderful. Turns out he does NOT like the Hills c/d, and will only eat half-and-half at best. Still crossing my fingers in hopes that his urinary upset doesn't flare up again!
 

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lovetimesfour- Wellness is bad for urinary issues? Do you happen to know of any wet foods on the market which would be better?
I am currently feeding my struvite kitty By Nature Organic canned food. It contains no grains, no fruit and veggies and no carrageenan. The main "bad" thing (all commercial foods have something "bad" I find) is that it contains menadione sodium bisulfate (synthetic vitamin K) but it is the last ingredient listed, a very small amount, and as this food is working for her, I have had to make my peace with it.

She eats the By Nature Organic food daily, (rotating flavors) with one cosequin capsule a day and one ProViable DC (probiotic) daily. 6 1/2 years on Hills c/d kibble (she wouldn't eat the canned) has ruined her digestion. She's been off it now for 8 1/2 months.

My opinion of Wellness canned is based only on personal experience and other experiences posted in other cat forums, so there is no concrete evidence. However, why take a chance, is my opinion. Wellness, while grain free, is heavy on the fruits and veggies and raised the urine pH of all my cats, not just the one with struvite trouble.
 

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I am currently feeding my struvite kitty By Nature Organic canned food. It contains no grains, no fruit and veggies and no carrageenan. The main "bad" thing (all commercial foods have something "bad" I find) is that it contains menadione sodium bisulfate (synthetic vitamin K) but it is the last ingredient listed, a very small amount, and as this food is working for her, I have had to make my peace with it.

She eats the By Nature Organic food daily, (rotating flavors) with one cosequin capsule a day and one ProViable DC (probiotic) daily. 6 1/2 years on Hills c/d kibble (she wouldn't eat the canned) has ruined her digestion. She's been off it now for 8 1/2 months.

My opinion of Wellness canned is based only on personal experience and other experiences posted in other cat forums, so there is no concrete evidence. However, why take a chance, is my opinion. Wellness, while grain free, is heavy on the fruits and veggies and raised the urine pH of all my cats, not just the one with struvite trouble.
I've been having a hard time finding canned food like you said, without the grains, fruits, vegis, and especially the carrageenan. Is Nature Organic only available online or does a particular store chain carry it?

My vet was recently telling me about the male cats of their employees who were on wellness having a outbreak of urinary tract issues. She said it wasn't just one or two but most of the employees male cats that ended up with problems. Considering I have two boys I won't be trying that anytime soon either.

And Tiny good luck with your boy. If you want the cosequin I normally get it from my vets office. It is probably available online somewhere too.

Nerina~
 

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Lance has some cosequin now, so we'll see how it goes :) If it works for him I'm going to have to find a cheaper place than the vet to buy it- they're selling it for $2/pill! Yikes!
 

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Lance has some cosequin now, so we'll see how it goes :) If it works for him I'm going to have to find a cheaper place than the vet to buy it- they're selling it for $2/pill! Yikes!
Yeah meds & supplements from the vets do run high. I recently saw some cat treats at Petsmart that are called HipAction that have glucosamine and chondroitin. You could look into those and see if they are something that you could use along with the cosequin.

Nerina~
 

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I've been having a hard time finding canned food like you said, without the grains, fruits, vegis, and especially the carrageenan. Is Nature Organic only available online or does a particular store chain carry it?

My vet was recently telling me about the male cats of their employees who were on wellness having a outbreak of urinary tract issues. She said it wasn't just one or two but most of the employees male cats that ended up with problems. Considering I have two boys I won't be trying that anytime soon either.

And Tiny good luck with your boy. If you want the cosequin I normally get it from my vets office. It is probably available online somewhere too.

Nerina~
I get By Nature Organics by the case on line at nationalpetpharmacy (.com) usually. But when I first tried it, I bought it in indivdual cans at my local feed store.

At the By Nature website there is a link to search for local retailers.

Cosequin can be purchased at Amazon for a good price. I get it at entirelypets, even though it cost a little more because Amazon won't ship the cosequin to my PO Box and entirelypets will.

Since there are rules about posting links in this forum, feel free to PM me for direct links if you like.
 

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Lancelot is gorgeous!

I first found this forum when dealing with a similar issue with my Josie last August. I've learned so much. Josie has had no problems since I switched her to 100% wet food, but I still give her a Cosequin every other day to help keep her bladder lining strong. I buy mine at either Drs. Foster Smith or Amazon, the prices are about the same and much lower than in local stores.

Also, you may want to look into Weruva cat food, if no one has mentioned that yet. The Paw Lickin Chicken and Nine Liver flavors are chicken with no veggies and they have lots of gravy, which I like. Weruva isn't the most cost-efficient brand, however. And I don't know if anyone has suggested that you add a couple of teaspoons of water to whatever food you decide on, as the additional water helps with urinary issues.

Hope Lancelot is back to 100% soon!
 

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may I firstly say that you Lancelot is absolutely gorgeous :) what a handsome young man xx bless him

my Teddy was diagnosed with FLUTD early this year he started to pee in the bath which lead to the vet visit & diagnosis

he was producing very small amount's of urine & sometime's crying in the litter box :-(

he was also mainly on a dry food diet before this.

he now has grain free wet food & has Cysteaze every other day which is a life long maintenance supplement that contains glucosomine

Cysteaze is excellent in my experience, Teddy has only had one very minor flare up since his diagnosis which was dealt with by upping the Cysteaze to twice a day for 7 day's

you can safely increase the dose of Cysteaze in situation's that are likely to stress the cat & cause a flare up & when the cat is suffering from a flare up

I administer the Cysteaze by emptying the capsule & dissolving the powder in water & the giving it through a syringe, this is perfectly safe to do & does not effect the Cysteaze in any way another reason I like to do it this way is it also get's that lil bit extra fluid into him

I would avoid feeding Lancelot any food that contain's fish & of course dry food

I would feed him a good quality grain free wet food & add a lil water if he will eat accept the watered down food

try to provide your boy with a stress free life as possible & give him lot's & lot's of love :)

good luck & hugs to you both xxx
 

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Thanks for the advice, LadyK and Victoriax! Kitty's a big dope but he's a cutie if I do say so ;)

I'll have to go looking for online Cosequin/Cysteaze/Cystaid suppliers- if the vet's selling it $2/pill there's no way I'll be able to afford it long-term. Is anyone here from Canada? Or know of online stores that ship to Canada?

What about human Glucosamine supplements for cats? From ingredients lists they look similar...

Right now Lance is on the Royal Canin urinary food, since he wanted nothing to do with Hills. The only non-grain, non-veggie foods I've been able to find around here are Before Grain and EVO, and have been mixing half-and-half. He gets it with some Omega 3, and watered-down. No complaints so far :)
 
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