By Jennifer Copley (Last Updated 6 December 2011)
Causes of Blood in a Cat’s Urine
A common cause of blood in the urine is urinary tract infection. A broader list of causes includes the following:
- Cancer or noncancerous tumours
- Coagulopathy (also known as bleeding disorder or clotting disorder)
- Congenital (present at birth) urinary tract abnormalities
- Consumption of certain toxins (such as anticoagulant rat poisons)
- Excessive steroid production by the adrenal glands
- Infections (bacterial, viral, and fungal)
- Inflammatory diseases
- Injuries afflicting the urinary tract (including the bladder, kidneys, and urethra) or genitalia
- Kidney disease
- Reactions to certain medications or chemotherapy
- Urinary tract parasites (rare)
- Urinary tract stones
Additional symptoms that may be present, depending on the underlying cause, include:
- Abdominal pain
- Difficult/painful urination
- Straining to urinate
- Urinating frequently but only producing small amounts
Blood in the urine requires veterinary intervention. Severe bleeding can trigger anemia, causing the cat to become increasingly weak (in some cases a cat may even collapse without treatment). Also, the bleeding may signify a treatable but life-threatening underlying disease. If there is blood in your cat’s urine, take him to a veterinarian for an evaluation, and if possible, bring a clean urine sample to assist the veterinarian in making a diagnosis.
How to Get a Cat Urine Sample
You can get a sample by catching some urine in a small, clean container when you see the cat using the litter box (this method requires keeping a container on standby, keeping an eye on the cat, and being ready to move fast when the opportunity arises).
If the cat is willing to urinate in a clean, empty litter box or on another clean surface and you’re able to scoop some up into a container, this can be used as a backup method, though it’s not as good because there is more opportunity for contamination.
If you can’t obtain a sample, the vet may have to do this using a catheter or a needle directly into the bladder, which is painful for the cat, though it usually doesn’t take very long (the needle method provides the cleanest possible sample).
Treatment depends on the underlying cause of the bloody urine. Bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics, whereas dietary changes may be used to remedy certain types of stones. A severely dehydrated cat requires fluid therapy, whereas a cat that has consumed anti-coagulant rat poison may receive vitamin K therapy. A cat that has become anemic due to bleeding may need a blood transfusion. Surgical intervention is required in some cases, for example, to remove tumours or stones, or correct congenital abnormalities. Appropriate treatment can be implemented once a diagnosis has been made.
This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for veterinary consultation and care.