Symptoms of Feline Anemia

A cat with a low red blood cell is diagnosed with feline anemia. Anemia may be a serious condition and can be an indicator for more severe diseases. There are a few symptoms of cat anemia, which the owner can notice, so as to act and deliver treatment in a timely manner. Unfortunately, anemia may have vague symptoms and may be unnoticeable.


Feline anemia is caused by a decreased number of red blood cells; the red cells deliver oxygen to the tissues in the cat's body.

However, if the hemoglobin, an essential molecule in the red cells, lacks the normal ability to bind the oxygen, this results in anemia also.

When the blood is oxygen rich, it will have the normal red color. If the amount of oxygen transported to the tissues is not sufficient, the cat will be pale.

You will notice discolored gums, tongue and mucous membranes.

The tongue is pink in a healthy cat; an anemic cat will have a whiter tongue.

Take a look at the mucous membranes surrounding the eyes of the cat; these will be white if he is anemic.

If you see that your cat is paler than usual, visit the vet to get a diagnosis.


The cat is lethargic and weak. He will seek less attention from the family and won't show interest in games. You will notice that he is sleeping more than usual. When performing a physically challenging task, the cat will have difficulty in breathing.

Irregular Heartbeat

Cats with anemia will have irregular heartbeat. The body will try to compensate the lack of oxygen by pumping more blood into the tissues. The slow heart beat will alternate with a faster heart rate. This leads to palpitations and fast and superficial breathing.

Urine and Feces

An anemic cat may have discolored urine. In some cases, there will be blood in the stool and in the urine.

Loss of Appetite

The anemic cat is lethargic and will have no appetite. This may be due to nausea.

If the anemia is not detected, the lack of appetite will result in significant weight loss.

Decreased Immunity

The anemia may cause a decreased immunity to different diseases. The cat will be more susceptible to cold and infections.

Less common symptoms include easy bruising, fever, swelling of limbs, vomiting and excessive sweating.

Blood Tests

A proper diagnostics will be given after a series of blood tests. A low red blood cell count or a lowered hematocrit means that the cat is anemic.

Causes of Cat Anemia

Cat anemia may be caused by blood loss, kidney disease, hemoglobin oxidation, parasites in the blood, intestinal parasites, fleas, bone marrow disorders, lymphoma cancer, congenital blood disorders or iron deficiency.

Feline Anemia Treatment

The anemia in cats may be treated according to the type of anemia and the factor that causes the anemia. In severe cases, blood transfusions are needed.

The vet may prescribe some nutrition supplements or a special diet to stimulate the formation of red blood cells. Iron supplements are commonly prescribed.