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Painful Bladder Syndrome (PBS) in Cats

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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Painful bladder syndrome is a urinary condition that affects cats. It is a condition that causes symptoms of straining to urinate, crying when urinating, frequent urination, bloody urine and inappropriate urination (urinating outside of the litter box).

It is recognized as much by what it is as what it isn't. With this condition, the urinary symptoms are neither caused by stones nor are they caused by infections.

There are several terms that have been used in the past to describe recurrent urinary symptoms that were not caused by infection or stones. Some terms include Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD), Feline Urologic Syndrome (FUS), and Feline Interstitial Cystitis (FIC). Painful bladder syndrome appears to be another term to describe these vague and difficult signs.

Many specialists have researched this urinary problem in cats. Most recently they believe that a large percentage of cats with this problem have an underlying bladder inflammation or that the symptoms stem from a stress related response on the bladder. Essentially, they believe that some cats over-react to stress.

The same thing can happen to people. Some people seem oblivious to stress and only show it internally, some incessantly talk and complain, some have nervous breakdowns, and others seem to thrive on it. Cats seem to be the same. Some can hyper-react to simple things such as company, a new cat in the home or even seeing a new cat outside. And some of these cats can respond to their stress with urinary symptoms as described above.

Treatment

Treatment for painful bladder syndrome evolves around the following factors:

  • Plenty of fresh clean water
  • Canned food (with some dry)
  • A large clean litter box with appealing litter
  • Minimal stress
  • Environmental enrichment opportunities
  • Plenty of Playtime
  • Positive reinforcement (no punishment based training)

    A couple articles that may also be helpful include:

    The Fine Art of Litter Box Care
    Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (FIC)
    The Top 8 Reasons Why Your Kitty Won't Use the Litter Box
    Cat Toys - Selecting the Right Toys for Your Cats Play Preference
    Selecting the Right Environmental Enrichment for Your Cat

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