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What is Yellow Skin?

If your cat is exhibiting signs of yellow skin, which is also referred to as icterus, it is imperative that they visit a veterinary clinic. Jaundice can happen to cats of any age, breed, or sex and whether they are an indoor cat or an outdoor cat.

Yellow skin in cats is a direct result of jaundice, which is a sign of liver issues just as it is in humans. Since cats are usually covered in fur it is often in the whites of the eyes, in the cat's gums, or in the flaps of their ears that you will notice the yellow skin discoloration.

Yellow Skin Average Cost

From 538 quotes ranging from $500 - $5,000

Average Cost

$2,000

Symptoms of Yellow Skin in Cats

A yellowing of the skin is only one of the symptoms of liver disease or failure in a cat. If your cat is exhibiting yellow skin it is likely to display some of the following symptoms as well:

  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Frequent urination
  • Orange-colored urine
  • Weight loss
  • Changes in eating habits
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Causes of Yellow Skin in Cats

The main causes of yellow skin in cats are liver issues. These can include:

  • Fatty liver 
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Inflammatory issues in the bowels and the liver
  • Viral and bacterial infections
  • Some drugs and toxins, such as heavy metals
  • Cancer

There are also non-liver related problems that can lead to yellow skin in cats.

  • Parasites in the blood
  • Heartworm disease
  • Anemia 
  • Immune deficiency
  • Reactions to blood transfusions
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Diagnosis of Yellow Skin in Cats

It is an increased amount of bilirubin in the system that causes jaundice and the yellowing of the skin, both in animals and in humans. Your veterinarian will do a blood test on your cat that will tell them if the bilirubin count is abnormal.

Your vet will also do urinary tests to identify possible causes of yellowing of the skin. Since it could be anything from a viral infection to cancer or a failing liver, it is important that they run as many tests as possible to plan the most effective course of treatment.

Your veterinarian may also ask you some questions to help with the diagnosis. They will want to know when you first noticed the yellowing of the skin, if there have been recent changes in urination habits or bowel movements, and what those changes have been. You should monitor your cat's bathroom habits prior to the visit, as well as after.

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Treatment of Yellow Skin in Cats

Once your veterinarian knows the cause of the skin yellowing, they can make a treatment plan for your cat. Jaundice is something you simply cannot treat at home since there are so many underlying factors that could be leading to the skin discoloration. 

Fatty Liver

There are underlying diseases that can lead to fatty liver, or hepatic lipidosis, in cats, including cancer and diabetes. Once the underlying cause is determined, treatment can be started. However, if the illness has progressed to cirrhosis, it may be too late for successful treatment. At this point the best bet is to help the cat remain comfortable for its final days.

The best treatment for a fatty liver is changing the cat’s diet to a healthy one that promotes healing the liver. Because cats with this condition may not be able to eat, a feeding tube could be required, which is not painful but may be needed for many weeks.

Liver Cancer

If your cat’s jaundice is being caused by liver cancer there is potential for a successful recovery. Up to 75 percent of your cat's liver can be removed and still have proper function. Your vet will determine if your cat needs something a drastic procedure depending on the findings of tumors or nodules. 

Oftentimes, liver cancer can be treated with chemotherapy on an outpatient basis without surgery. 

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Recovery of Yellow Skin in Cats

Once your cat has received the treatment they need for whichever ailment has caused their yellow skin you will want to keep an eye on them during recovery. Cats that have undergone surgery will need time for lots of rest and should be confined to a small area to promote healing and prevent injury.

It is important to monitor the color and condition of the cat’s skin, eating and drinking habits, urinary and bowel movements, as well as its energy level. Your veterinarian will also recommend you bring your cat in for regular checkups periodically following any treatment.

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Yellow Skin Average Cost

From 538 quotes ranging from $500 - $5,000

Average Cost

$2,000

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Yellow Skin Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Stormi

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long hair

dog-age-icon

1 Year

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Moderate severity

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3 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Weakness

My cat skin gums and ears are yellow he is starting to loose weight we tried to wash it off because we didn't know if it was something he got into he lives outside but we are looking for a place to get him fixed so we can bring him back inside he is seeming to act weak lately and not eat as much and his skin has been yellow for the past few days if you could help give us suggestions or solutions that would be great

July 24, 2018

Stormi's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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3 Recommendations

Yelllowing of the skin is usually a sign of serious liver disease, and Stormi's decreased appetite and weakness are worrisome. It would be best for him to see a veterinarian right away, as he may need medical treatment.

July 25, 2018

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Milo

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Cat

dog-age-icon

1 Year

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss
Frequent Urination
Not Moving

My cat was urinating outside his litter box, he sleeps in the litter box and he’s not eating his food and he barely drink his water this been going on for 2 weeks and his nose is white, what should i do?

July 18, 2018

Milo's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

There may be problems happening with Milo's urinary system, and he should be examined by a veterinarian right away, today. They'll be able to look at him, see what is going on, and get him treatment if possible.

July 18, 2018

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Isabella

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Calico

dog-age-icon

11 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss
Loss Of Appetite
Yellow Gums
Yellow Toe Pad
Rarely Drinks Water

I may not be able to take her into the vet for a while and I’m hoping to help her as much as possible. Is there anything out of a vet visit that I can do to help her?

June 3, 2018

Isabella's Owner

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1 Recommendations

The problem with yellow skin (jaundice) is that it is a symptom and not a disease or condition; to have the correct treatment it is important to understand why the skin has turned yellow so that the specific cause may be treated. Typical causes for jaundice may include liver failure, blocked bile ducts, haemolytic anaemia among other causes; it is important to visit a Veterinarian immediately as any delay will result in a poorer prognosis. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 4, 2018

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Buddy

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Dimestic

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6 Years

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Serious severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

My cats nose is starting to turn yellow but we don’t notice it anywhere else. We had bloodwork done last night because of vomiting and it showed the liver in high levels now he is throwing up again. What do you think is wrong with him?

May 23, 2018

Buddy's Owner

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1 Recommendations

There are many different causes for an increase in liver enzymes and bilirubin which may include infections, tumours, poisoning, bile duct obstruction among other causes. Without examining him and seeing test results it is difficult to narrow in on a diagnosis. For the short term, fluid therapy and Denamarin (silybin and SAMe) may be beneficial but you should discuss with your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

May 24, 2018

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Waffle

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stray

dog-age-icon

2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Yellow Skin
Yellow Gums

My cat has been losing weight very quickly, not only that but he also vomiting quite often, he also has yellowish skin , the only reason I can think of is because my mom couldn't afford a vet so she medicated the cat with meloxicam after an injury he suffered in one of his legs, he's been quite thirsty, but hasn't lost appetite, the skin in his nose, ears and gums are all quite yellow

May 19, 2018

Waffle's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

1 Recommendations

Jaundice (yellowing of the skin etc…) may be caused by a few different causes which may include liver failure, blocked bile duct, haemolytic anaemia among other causes; without examining Waffle and running a blood test I cannot say what the specific cause is, but would recommend you visit your Veterinarian to determine the specific cause so that the right treatment may be given. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

May 19, 2018

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Spot

dog-breed-icon

tabby

dog-age-icon

6 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Jaundice
Lethargic
Not Eating
Not Drinking
Irritable
Hiding
Yellow Gums
Not Pooping
Yellow Urine
Orange Urine
Yellow Ears

Is my cat going to die? Spot and I got into it about his cat food. Our water went bad so I put him on wet food, which he didn't like. Finally he went on a food strike to get his kibbles back, which he did (a week before he got sick). Sunday before New Years he was eating, the next day he wouldn't eat drink or poop. I looked at him, he's a yellow (ginger)tabby cat, and his mouth/ears were yellow not white. He also was irritable with the younger cat he rescued and kept hiding under bed. He slid fast, Monday I wasn't sure if he would die during the night, his eyes were black shaded. I put him in his crate (carrier) and put a blanket over it and waited to see if he was alive in the morning. He was, so New Year's Eve day I jumped a vet for emergency care (went to office at open and insisted on being seen/squeezed in as emergency). We did blood test and talked about it might not work. He was put on a drip, given antibiotics, and an appetite increaser. He only has the drip once a day, but the poor guy is looking like a pin cushion and sprouting leaks. He is such a trooper, but with 10 days or so he cries when that needle goes in now. And with the drip he can't tell when he has to pee until it is coming out, which distresses him. It was a horrific orange, now it is yellow, still strong smelling. But he is still being hand fed and shows no interest in eating by himself. He is confined to his crate with a plastic covered pillow in a pillow case, I am able to keep that clean even though it is a losing battle trying to keep him clean. I bought diapers but he takes them off, and with the drip he doesn't know when it's coming-he uses the box when he knows when it's coming. The food is fed thru a syringe and is watered down enough to be a liquid. I try to feed him 20 ml 3x day, sometimes he eats 40 ml, I just keep trying until he refuses to open mouth. I feed him to the side of the mouth. Monday he pooped one little bm, but not since then this being Wed. I tried thickening food for a bm but he won't eat as much. We had a fight today with me trying to clean yellow pee off and he was stronger yesterday when he was trying to escape drip. Am I going to have a healthy cat or a dead cat?

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Violet

dog-breed-icon

short hair

dog-age-icon

3 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Yellow Eyes
Yellow Skin
Yellow Gums

My cat was fine yesterday but this morning my brother found her laying under the bed, not able to move. I put her on the bed and looked for anything wrong and found that her skin was yellow. No symptoms before this. My mom has a broken ankle at the hospital with the car so no one can drive. No car so can't take her to the vet so I don't know what to do...

dog-name-icon

Oreo

dog-breed-icon

Domestic house cat

dog-age-icon

2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Loss Of Appetite
Loss Of Consciousness
Rarely Drinks Water
Yellow Skin And Gums
Wight Loss
Rearly Drinks Water

Hi to make the long story short, My mother in law Has recently took her cat into the vet and was told that she had Jaundice and it was do too some thing with her liver and was told to put her on a high protein diet and other things and when she asked the Veterinarian what is the lowest weight we need to watch out for cause she's losing weight fast, (she's was at 11lbs and now she's at 9lbs) His reply was any weight right now is good for her scenic we have to force feed her and left it at that. So she came to me and asked me what she should do I told her to take her in to another vet and ask them about it and right now she doesn't have the extra money to do so for at lest for awhile and is very worried. So I told her I would look to see what I could find. and I found you so I'm hoping I can get some type of help for her right now so please and thank you.

Yellow Skin Average Cost

From 538 quotes ranging from $500 - $5,000

Average Cost

$2,000

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