The presence of blood in cat urine is a symptom that usually frightens owners, usually for a good reason. Hematuria - as it is known medically - is a symptom that may be related to various diseases, and one that requires an immediate assessment by a veterinary surgeon.
In order to inform you and raise awareness of what might be happening to your cat, this AnimalWised article will tell you all about why is your cat urinating blood, going through the main possiblecauses.
Pay attention to the behavior of your furry companion and check for other symptoms so that you can provide the vet with as many details as possible. In many of the situations explained below, it will be better to diagnose the illness early to ensure that the cat recovers well.
What is hematuria?
As already mentioned above, the presence of blood in urine - that is, of red blood cells - is medically known as hematuria.
However, there are other symptoms that look very similar, such as hemoglobinuria - the presence of hemoglobin in urine. Hemoglobin is the pigment found inside red blood cells. Red blood cells must be thoroughly broken down and then filtered by the kidney in order to be removed via urine.
Therefore, it's necessary to be able to distinguish one symptom from the other. This can be done through an analysis of the cat's urine that can only be performed by the vet.
What can cause the presence of blood in a cat's urine?
Many diseases can cause hematuria and hemoglobinuria. Whenever you try and get a diagnosis, the most common causes are usually mentioned first as the most probable. However, you should bear in mind that the most probable causes can vary according to the cat's age, diet and lifestyle habits.
The most likely causes of blood in a cat's urine are usually:
- Traumas. It is often the case that cats that have fallen from a considerable height might suffer from bleeding in the urinary bladder as a result of the impact among other injuries.
- Infections. Cystitis is relatively common in cats, while balanitis (penis infection) is common in males. Because of the position of the urine output - cats urinate squatting - the anal-genital area can become stained. This could also be the entry points of various infections, causing the appearance of blood in the cat's urine. It is more common in long-haired cats.
- Gallstones. Being animals that don't usually drink much water, cats can gradually form urolites or gallstones if the food doesn't have a high water content and isn't lightly acidic. Gallstones rub away and erode all the mucus from the urinary tract, causing minor bleeding which can be seen in the cat's urine.
- In long-haired male cats it is very important to ensure that the hair does not get tangled around the penis, since it could lead to infections and necrosis in the area.
- Various hematological parasites. Protozoa are usually transmitted by fleas and ticks. Besides provoking anemia, the massive destruction of red blood cells can give rise to hemoglobinuria.
- Bladder tumors. These aren't too common in cats, but they can occur. They usually occur in older animals and can result in heavy bleeding owing to the infiltration of the tumor tissue in the bladder wall.
- Viral diseases that cause immunosuppression such as feline immunodeficiency. The animal is usually less resistant to bacterial diseases - like cystitis - that cause hematuria.
- For unspayed female cats, pyometra can cause the expulsion of hemorrhagic-purulent material through the genital orifice via the urine.
Go to the vet
Seeing the main causes of blood in cat urine, you might understand the importance of taking it to a vet as soon as possible. After being given information about the cat's history and habits, the vet will perform an examination and other diagnostic measures on the animal, which usually include urine and blood analysis as well as x-rays and ultrasounds. This will determine the disease that the cat is suffering from and help select the best form of treatment.
Remember that, as mentioned earlier in this article, meeting the cat's basic needs and providing it with adequate food can significantly help to prevent the emergence of these of pathologies that cause hematuria. It will also be important to update your cat's vaccine schedule and get it dewormed, especially if it is an older cat.
We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.