Why is My Cat Peeing Blood?
If you notice blood in your cat’s urine, this is not normal. It could indicate that there is something medically wrong with your cat. We will discuss causes of cats peeing blood, treatments, and when to know if your cat peeing blood is an emergency situation. If your cat is currently peeing blood of any amount, you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. They will examine your cat and find out what is going on.
Causes Of Blood In Cat Urine
The technical term for “blood in urine” is hematuria. The most common causes of hematuria include:
- Urinary tract infections
- Bladder or urethral stones
- Urinary blockage
- Feline Lower Urinary Tract Syndrome
- Bleeding disorders
We will break each of these down and discuss them in a little more detail below.
Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections are usually caused by bacteria. They can cause a lot of inflammation in the bladder and urethra. All of the inflammation causes spasms in the urethra, making your cat feel a constant urge to pee. The inflammation also causes irritation along the lining of your cat’s bladder and urethra, which causes the bleeding.
Urinary tract infections may develop if your cat has bouts of stress and anxiety. Also if they are not drinking enough water, or if your cat has another underlying disease, such as diabetes.
Bladder or Urethral Stones
Bladder stones can be pesky little things. Since they can sometimes move around within the bladder, or even get stuck in the urethra, they can cause a variety of clinical symptoms. If your cat has a small bladder stone, they may not even have any symptoms at all. Bladder stones are sometimes diagnosed by accident if your cat needs an x-ray for another reason.
If your cat has multiple bladder stones or a stone that is growing, your cat may have blood in their urine that comes and goes. You may notice a pink tinge to their urine one day, drops of blood another day, and clear, normal colored urine the next. Your cat may also have intermittent urinary accidents outside of the box or occasional straining in the box.
If your cat gets a stone stuck in their urethra, they will not be able to urinate, will feel very uncomfortable, and may become lethargic, stop eating, and hide. They may also lick at their genitals frequently. If you notice this, take them to a veterinary clinic right away.
Males cats are especially at risk of developing a urinary blockage. A cat becomes blocked when either a mucous plug or stone gets stuck in their urethra. When their urethra is obstructed, they are unable to pee. This is a life-threatening emergency and they should be taken to a veterinary clinic right away.
You may notice blood coming from their urethra if they are licking at it a lot to try to ease the pain. A blockage can be evident if they are straining so much that small drops of blood come out. Cats may become blocked if a urinary tract infection goes untreated, if they develop a lot of urinary crystals, or if they suffer from too much stress.
Feline Lower Urinary Tract Syndrome
Feline Lower Urinary Tract Syndrome is a disease that many cats suffer from. There are many different factors that can cause a cat to develop this disease and we do not yet know 100% why some cats get it and others don’t. What we do know is that oftentimes it is set off by stress. It is worse in cats who, for some reason, do not have enough healthy, protective cells in their bladder wall.
Cats with Lower Urinary Tract Syndrome will have bouts of straining to urinate, frequently urinating small amounts, and peeing blood. It will come and go. They may have a week where they have these symptoms, then get better on their own. Weeks or months later, they may have a flare up again and show symptoms for 3 days or longer.
When diagnostics are done, usually nothing abnormal is found other than the blood in the urine. Your vet may prescribe certain medications to treat pain and inflammation. They may also recommend ways to enrich your cat’s environment and decrease stressful factors that may be playing a role.
Many cats that suffer from this will also benefit from starting on prescription foods that help with the health of the bladder. If prescription food is too expensive, feeding your cat canned, moist, or wet foods can help due to their increased moisture content, better hydrating the bladder.
Bladder and urethral tumors can develop in cats, though they are quite rare. Some cats may be genetically predisposed to cancer. Unfortunately, we do not yet know why certain cancers develop in some cats. Cancer can be slow growing and your cat may not show any symptoms until the tumor gets quite big.
If your cat had a recent traumatic episode, this could also cause blood to be in their urine. For instance, if your cat was hit by a car or attacked by a bigger animal, they could have had damage to their bladder. If their bladder was not directly affected, just the stress of the traumatic event could cause your cat to pee blood.
Certain bleeding disorders, which cause the body to lose the ability to clot, can cause your cat to leak blood into their urine. Some of these conditions can be genetic in origin. Others may develop if your cat ingests something toxic. A common toxin that can cause bleeding disorders is first generation rat poison.
If you have a cat, do not put out rat bait. Not only could your cat get very sick if they eat the bait, but they can also develop a bleeding disorder if they eat a rodent that ate the bait. This can be life threatening. If you think your cat may have eaten rat poison, call your vet immediately.
Diagnosing Urinary Problems In Cats
The first step in diagnosing why your cat is peeing blood is a physical exam performed by your veterinarian. Your vet will feel their belly, listen to their heart, look at their gum color, and evaluate their urethral opening. This will help guide you in what the underlying cause could be.
Your vet will also talk with you and ask detailed questions to get a bigger picture of your cat’s home life and stress levels. Cats are very susceptible to stress and do not like change. If there have been any recent changes at your home, such as a recent move, the addition of a new pet, or even a change to your normal routine, your cat may be experiencing stress that could cause them to have urinary problems.
Next, your vet will need to collect a urine sample. If you are able to bring a sample in for them, they will likely appreciate it. Unless your cat’s bladder is full of urine at the particular moment they are in their appointment, your vet may need to keep your cat in the clinic for the day to wait for their bladder to fill up.
By checking the urine sample, your vet can see if there are any bacteria, white blood cells, crystals, cancerous cells, or even sugar in your cat’s urine. If they see crystals or if your cat’s symptoms do not resolve with typical treatments, your vet may recommend doing an x-ray to look for bladder stones. Crystals are the building blocks for stones which may contribute to lower urinary tract disease.
Some bladder stones do not show up on x-rays. For that reason your cat may need to have an abdominal ultrasound performed. An ultrasound is also the best way to look inside your cat’s bladder and urethra to check for any tumors.
Treatment For Blood In Urine
Treatment for your cat when they are peeing blood will depend upon what the underlying reason. If they have a urinary tract infection, antibiotics will take care of it. If your cat has a urinary blockage, they will need to be sedated and have the blockage relieved. Bladder stones may require surgery or to be started on prescription food to try to dissolve the stone.
If your cat has Feline Lower Urinary Syndrome, this is a complex disease as mentioned above. It will require a variety of treatments and environmental modifications throughout your cat’s life. Your vet will prescribe pain medication, medicine to help decrease the spasms of your cat’s urethra, and a special food. They may also recommend you get feline pheromone diffusers to help your cat relax, and minimize any on-going stressors in your cat’s life.
My Cat Is Peeing Blood But Acting Normal
If you are seeing some blood or pink to red discoloration in your cat’s urine, but your cat is acting normal, you still need to get veterinary care. Cats are great at hiding that anything is wrong with them. It can be difficult to see or know that they are sick just by looking at them. They are extremely resilient creatures and prefer to deal with ailments on their own.
When a cat finally outwardly shows that they are not feeling well, such as hiding, not interacting with you, or not eating, something is usually very wrong. It is always best to take care of medical problems in cats at the first sign of them. Otherwise they will get worse and become too late to save them.
Home Remedies For Blood In Cat Urine
If you see blood in your cat’s urine, you need to schedule a veterinary appointment as soon as possible. While waiting for your appointment, there are some things you can do at home to help your cat feel more comfortable and to try to avoid the problem from getting worse. These include:
- Keep fresh water easily available to your cat at all times.
- Encourage drinking water – you can do this by providing your cat with a cat water fountain. Another trick is to let your sink water drip slowly for them to play with.
- Offer canned, wet, or moist food for your cat to eat.
- Add cat cranberry supplements to your cat’s daily diet. This supplement has the potential to help with the health of the lining of their bladder.
- Transition them to a bladder health diet.
- Identify any stressors on your cat in the home and try to decrease them.
- Use a “Feliway” diffuser to help your cat feel relaxed.
You can also continue doing these things even after your cat sees their veterinarian and is prescribed a more specific treatment. Encouraging more water intake, feeding foods and supplements that are beneficial to bladder health, and decreasing your cat’s stress can all work together to decrease the chance your cat will have urinary problems again in the future.
When Seeing Blood In Your Cat’s Urine Is An Emergency
If your cat is peeing blood and is only able to get a few drops out at a time, this is a medical emergency. First, contact your regular vet’s office and let them know what is going on. They may be able to see your cat otherwise you need to get your cat to an emergency vet or animal hospital as soon as possible.
These signs indicate an emergency:
- Straining to urinate with no to little urine production
- Yowling while in the litter box, as if in pain
- Being painful in the belly
- Not eating
If your cat is a male cat, this is even more so an emergency. Male cats, especially overweight male cats, can get a life-threatening urinary blockage. If not treated immediately, your cat could die. It is always best to be on the safe side and have your cat examined to see if they are blocked than just waiting and seeing if they get better on their own.
Leslie Brooks graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine in 2012. After graduation she moved to Indianapolis to do an intensive one-year internship at a specialty practice and then began working as a small animal general practitioner. She ran her own house call practice for three years, visiting pets in people’s homes. Currently, she works part time in clinical practice and volunteering her free time to serve pets of the homeless. Read more about us here.