Blood in Cat Urine

Blood in cat urine can be an unsettling sign of various feline health problems. The condition, known as hematuria, can seem frightening to almost any cat owner, especially if his pet has not had prior or related cases of blood in her urine. In many instances, blood in the urine is a symptom of urinary tract disease or infection. Although less common, feline hematuria may also indicate injury or poisoning. Blood in a cat's urine is typically a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention. Learning how to identify the problem and its possible causes may help cat owners make informed decisions regarding the care and treatment of cats suffering from blood in their urine.

How to Identify Blood in Cat Urine

Hematuria can often be observed clearly as urine that appears brownish or red in color. When the red blood cells cause discoloration that can be observed by the naked eye, the condition is called gross. Cat owners may discover drops of discolored urine in or around the litter box or on the fur of the affected animal. In other cases, urine samples viewed microscopically by an animal medical professional may also indicate the presence of blood in the animal's waste product.

Causes of Hematuria

Blood in cat urine may be caused by a number of illnesses, injuries and other physical conditions. Here is a summary of some of the most common causes of this problem.

  • Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) is one of the leading and most serious causes of hematuria. It is often associated with urinary stones (calculi), life-threatening obstructions and bladder inflammation (cystitis). In addition to hematuria, cats with FLUTD will often have difficulty urinating or cry out in pain while attempting to use the litter box.
  • Cancer of the urinary tract, bladder or genitals
  • Internal injury to the urinary tract, genitals, bladder or other body part
  • Ingestion of rat poison or other anticoagulants found in household products
  • Birth defects
  • Reaction to certain prescribed medications
  • Parasite infestation—generally regarded as a rare source of hematuria

Diagnosis and Treatment

Generally, a veterinarian will need to conduct a series of tests in order to determine the specific cause of blood in cat urine. This typically begins with a complete physical exam that is accompanied by a history of the cat's health. Owners can assist in this process by providing as much detailed information as possible regarding the animal's diet, behavior and overall condition. In addition, a veterinarian may recommend a urinalysis, or chemical test of the urine, to determine signs of illness or infection. Other tests may also be requested, including blood counts, abdominal x-rays (radiographs) or ultrasounds. Treating hematuria depends on the source of the condition. FLUTD-related blockages of the urinary tract and certain injuries may require emergency surgery. Bacterial infections often involves the use of antibiotics. For rat poisonings, many animal medical professionals administer injectable forms of vitamin K. If cancer is diagnosed, treatment such as chemotherapy may be recommended for the affected animal. For problems related to the urinary tract or kidneys, veterinarians may suggest a prescription diet or certain medications.