Bleeding in Cats

Veterinary reviewed by: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

Why is my cat bleeding?

Veterinary reviewed by: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

Why is my cat bleeding?

What is Bleeding?

Cats can develop several different types of conditions related to bleeding. These conditions could be related to wounds on the skin or the bleeding may come from other body parts, possibly indicating further trauma is occurring internally. Some of the most common types of bleeding in cats include:

  • Bleeding from the anus
  • Bleeding from the ear
  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • Bleeding from the nose
  • Bleeding from wounds
  • Blood in the urine

Why Bleeding Occurs in Cats

Bleeding in cats can occur for many reasons. Knowing where the bleeding is coming from is one of the first steps in determining why the bleeding has started in the first place.

Bleeding from the Anus

Bleeding from the anus frequently signifies a serious disorder and veterinary professionals should be consulted when this symptoms strikes. Possible causes of bleeding from the anus can include polyps or tumors of the colon or anus, intestinal cancer, abscess or infection of the anal gland, severe constipation, blood clotting disorders, or even certain types of poisoning. 

Bleeding from the Ear

Some of the conditions that may cause bleeding from the ear are serious whereas others are trivial. It depends on where on the ear the bleeding is coming from and the amount of the bleeding. Scratches or hematomas on the outer portion of the ear may require only minimal treatment; however, underlying disorders such as infestation by mites or carcinomas will require assistance from a veterinary professional. 

Bleeding from the Mouth

The most common type of bleeding that originates in the mouths of felines is due to injury to the mouth, teeth, or tongue, but it can also indicate a foreign body lodged in the patient’s mouth, gum disease, some forms of poisoning, and even the rupture of the internal organs. With a very few exceptions, bleeding from the mouth should be evaluated by a veterinarian.

Bleeding from the Nose

Like humans, cats may get a bloody nose simply from running into something nose first. This type of injury should stop bleeding after twenty minutes or so; if it does not stop bleeding or if it becomes a recurring condition it may be indicative of a more serious origin such as a foreign body trapped in the nose, a dental abscess, a blood clotting disorder, a nasal polyp, a fungal infection or even cancer, and further diagnostic tests should be run.

Bleeding from Wounds

Cats can receive external wounds without any internal damage from a number of sources including cat fights, falls, and general misadventure. Although small lacerations may be able to be treated at home, wounds larger than an inch should be treated by a veterinarian and wounds of any size that exhibit discharge, swelling, or a foul odor should be medically addressed as these are signs of infection. 

Blood in the Urine

Urine with blood in it is a reddish-brown, pink or red color and can indicate disorders like a urinary tract infection (UTI), exposure to certain poisons (such as rat bait), and bleeding disorders. Although rare, finding urine in the blood may also indicate the presence of bladder cancer in felines. If you find evidence in the litter box that there is blood in your cat’s urine you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

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What to do if your Cat is Bleeding

Where the blood is located, the amount of blood present, the length or frequency of the bleeding, and additional symptoms will all need to be taken into account when deciding how to handle cases of feline bleeding.

In many cases, the length of a nosebleed can be reduced by both keeping the animal calm and by placing an ice pack on the bridge of the cat’s nose in order to constrict the blood vessels in that area. 

While small lacerations generally do not necessitate contact with the veterinarian, cats often benefit from some sort of treatment. 

With small lacerations and hematoma wounds you can apply gentle pressure to stop any active bleeding, then the area will need to be flushed out gently, with something like a syringe without a needle, and then it should be dried by patting dry. Once it is clean and dry it may be treated with a disinfectant like betadine. Do not use hydrogen peroxide on cats as this can actually slow the healing process. 

Most of the other types of bleeding that your cat can experience should be evaluated by a veterinarian as they can indicate disorders that are much more detrimental if they are not properly treated.

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Prevention of Bleeding

Some circumstances that are related to bleeding, such as hereditary bleeding disorders, may not be preventable once the feline is born, however, actions can be taken to lessen the chances that many of the other types of bleeding might develop. In these cases, breeding parents should be screened to ensure the genes are not passed on.

Indoor cats, by and large, are less likely to get wounds or run across toxins that are out in the open like snail and slug bait or pools of antifreeze that may cause internal damage and bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract. Cat owners will also want to ensure that their houses are cat proof and that there are no small, interesting objects in their cat’s reach that might get caught in the animal’s throat or sinus cavity and regular veterinary examinations may help to catch certain disorders before they progress to the point where bleeding is seen. Cancers can attack any body part and in many cases they cause bleeding as well so steps to prevent cancer, such as not allowing smoking or vaping in their environment, reducing the number of toxic cleaning materials they may be exposed to, and creating a low stress environment at home should be taken.

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Cost of Bleeding

In some cases, the cost of treating bleeding may only be the cost of the disinfectant used to prevent infections; in many of the other cases the expenses run quite a bit higher. Urinary tract infections average around $500, and tooth loss tends to set owners back around $800. As the conditions become more life threatening and complicated, the cost to treat them increases with disorders like anemia costing an average of around $3,000, and averages for treating cancer between $6,000 and $8,000.

The health problems associated with bleeding can be expensive to treat. To avoid high vet care expenses, secure pet health insurance today. The sooner you insure your pet, the more protection you’ll have from unexpected vet costs.

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Bleeding Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Siberian Black and White Cat

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Two Years

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3 found helpful

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3 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Skin Scab

Hair loss, blood in urine, skin scabs. For his scabs I’ve been putting Vaseline and a gauze over it, I’ve been monitoring him to drink his water as usual so he’s not dehydrated. I’ve been feeding both (not at the same time) dry and wet food. But Im not sure if it’s his diet that makes him have blood in his urine and has been licking his bum very often. For his hair loss he’s been having for about 1 1/2 months at first I thought like he losses his hair to grow a new hair coat but I wanna make sure from a vet that that’s what it is.

Dec. 19, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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3 Recommendations

Hello this hair loss can be from many different t thing. You can put Neosporin on the scabs to help. The blood in his Irvine could be a bladder infection or crystals in his urine. It would be best for your vet to see him. They can start him on antibiotics that would help his skin and urine. Switching him to a urinary diet will help if he just has crystals in his urine but I would suspect that he also has an infection and needs antibiotics. I hope you cat starts to improve soon.

Dec. 19, 2020

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domestic cat

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3.5 Years

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25 found helpful

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25 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Blood In Urine

We just got our fixed female cat looked wet around her bottom area and in wiping it, it was noted to be blood. We did observe her going to the bathroom and she seemed to only urinate a little bit and it appears rusty colored. She has no other symptoms.... Seems to be eating and drinking fine. Just wondering if this could be a urinary tract infection?

Oct. 22, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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25 Recommendations

Hi there, you are through to Dr Linda. Blood from a spayed female coming from the back end (assuming it is not her bottom) is most often associated with a bladder issue at her age. It would be best to have the urine analysed by a vet to check for crystals, bacteria, protein etc. Oftentimes, there is not an actual bacterial infection so antibiotics are not needed. Many cats develop a condition known as FLUTD (feline lower urinary tract disease) which can be associated with being over weight, not drinking enough water, stress etc. These cats typically respond well to lifestyle and diet modifications as well as a short course of anti inflammatories.

Oct. 22, 2020

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