Liz Buchanan BVSc
Hello! I can't comment on this particular case as I have never met the cat or vet involved or even spoken to the owner. However in general, stress is a very common cause of blocked bladders and - as the things that stress cats out are completely different from the things that stress people out - it is common for owners not to realize that their cats are having issues prior to this happening. A common issue is where only one litter tray is provided and the cat doesn't feel comfortable urinating in that place for some reason, so they hold their urine and eventually end up urinating somewhere inappropriate, or unable to go. Or when an object is put down that the pet objects to. Of course, sterile cystitis can be painful and pain is also a form of stress, so a vicious cycle can occur. In order to understand the situation completely, it is helpful if the owner can have a long chat to the vet about the animal's lifestyle, the risk factors of cystitis, house layout, entry and exist points to the house, diet, water consumption etc., but this can be difficult to do in a consultation room even without Covid, as consulting rooms and vet visits can also make these cats stressed. Sometimes vets will be happy to have 'cat-free' consultations or long phone conversations to discuss the background, but it should be arranged formally so that there is time. Questions that could be asked include, 'Why do you think this is happening in my particular situation?' 'What might have changed to start this off?' 'What can we do to reduce the likelihood of this happening in future?' 'Do diet and water consumption make any difference?' 'Could my cat be in pain / could pain be making a difference to the stress levels?' 'How could we reduce it?' Further, at this stage, it is important to discuss the prognosis and chances of complicating factors being present. Sarah Caney, who writes for our blog (take a look), is a known authority on this subject and has her own website, iCatCare, which your friend might also find useful.