Skip navigation

Cat Blood Disorders

Share article on Facebook Share article on Pinterest Share article on Twitter (opens new window)
orange tabby cat getting blood drawn

Cat blood disorders can affect any cat, no matter their breed, size, or age. Though some of these disorders may seem a little intimidating or even scary, by learning more about the symptoms, causes, and treatments available, you can rest assured that you are looking out for your pet’s health.

Cat Blood Clotting Disorders

If your cat is diagnosed with a blood clotting disorder, this means that their blood has the inability to clot properly (which can be due to many factors), and they are more prone to hemorrhaging. In the process of hemostasis, which is the stopping of the flow of blood, many items work together in order to fix the problem

There are many types of blood clotting disorders, both inherited (when the condition is passed through generations, from parents to offspring, because of a mutation in the genes) and acquired (the condition develops after birth or sometime later in life), which can affect cats. Some of these common blood disorders in cats include,

  • Thrombocytopenia: Low platelet count that can be caused by decreased bone marrow production or an underlying disease, such as cancer
  • Chédiak-Higashi syndrome: Though a rare disease, it can negatively affect the platelets and cause further bleeding disorders
  • Von Willebrand’s disease: Platelet counts can be normal, but they will lack the ability to adhere to injured sites
  • Hemophilia: Overall, a lack of blood clotting factors
    • Hemophilia A: Most common form, typically occurring in males
    • Hemophilia B: Second most common, also known as Christmas disease
    • Factor VII: Additionally referred to as Hageman factor, does not involve abnormal bleeding
  • Disseminated intravascular coagulation: Blood clots can form throughout the bloodstream

Symptoms can often overlap with blood diseases in cats, though the root causes can still remain different. In other words, by piecing together your feline friend’s symptoms, you may be able to conclude that they have a blood clotting disorder. Still, it’ll be necessary to visit your veterinarian and have them run tests in order to diagnose your cat with the specific problem.

On the other end of the spectrum, it’s also possible for cats to experience blood clots. Cardiomyopathy, which is the most common heart disease in cats, occurs when the heart muscle thickens, making it more difficult for blood to be adequately pumped and overall lowering the heart’s efficiency. This can consequently lead to blood clots.

As convenient as telehealth veterinary services are, if you suspect that your cat has a blood-related health problem, it is best to schedule an in-person visit so proper lab work can be completed.

What Are the Symptoms of an Anemic Cat?

Anemia, which is a condition that can also affect people, is when a cat has a reduced red blood cell or hemoglobin count, or possibly both. If your cat is anemic, one of the first symptoms you may recognize is them acting more lethargic than usual. Your cat may seem to have little energy or run out of steam quickly. They may not be having their normal zoomies around the house, or their playtime will be incredibly short.

Another symptom of anemia is the presence of blood whenever your cat uses their litter box or when they get sick. Your feline friend may even have a higher risk of a bloody nose. Though it may not initially be as obvious, an anemic cat will not have normal, bright pink-colored gums. Instead, they will typically appear much paler in color, possibly even close to white.

If you notice these symptoms, it’s essential that you take your cat to the veterinarian as soon as possible. It will be necessary to run a few tests in order to receive an official diagnosis.

There can be multiple causes for your cat being anemic, and depending on the cause, treatment can also vary. In more severe cases, your feline friend will need a blood transfusion. In other instances, they may require treatment of corticosteroids, other medications, or surgery.

Hemolytic Anemia in Cats

Also called autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA) or Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA), this specific type of anemia is when the cat’s body destroys its own red blood cells. AIHA can also be brought on by cancer or various diseases when the red blood cells are altered to the point that the cat’s body views them as foreign objects.

If your cat requires oral medication as part of their treatment plan, you may find it incredibly valuable to read up on how to give your cat a pill.

cat sitting on a veterinary exam table

What Causes Low Platelet Count in Cats?

Cats can experience a condition called thrombocytopenia, which is when they have a lower than average platelet count. Though there is inherently no way of knowing that your cat’s platelet levels have dropped, there are many physical symptoms you will be able to notice. Items such as frequent coughing, runny nose, fever, blood in the urine, lack of energy, and, in severe cases, possible collapse can all appear.

There can be many causes behind why your cat has a low platelet count. Certain types of cancers, lymphoma, significant blood loss, various toxins, and even your cat’s own immune system can cause their count to be lower than what it should be.

Officially diagnosing your feline friend with a low platelet count can easily be done with a regular blood test. A platelet or blood transfusion may be recommended to help treat this problem. However, in order to determine the best course of treatment, your veterinarian may need to run additional tests to ensure that there is no underlying condition.

Do you know how much it costs to have a cat? Of course, you can factor in the initial adoption fee and supplies, like toys, food, and litter, but don’t forget to consider reoccurring veterinary visits and emergency medical costs.

What Are the Outcomes for Feline Blood Diseases?

In the instance that your cat is diagnosed with a blood disease, it’s important that you are upfront and honest with your veterinarian about any questions or concerns you may have. In the initial moments after receiving your feline friend’s diagnosis, the situation may seem stressful or overwhelming. However, you and your cat’s veterinarian can work together on finding the right treatment plan.

The specific prognosis or outcome for your cat will be dependent on numerous factors. You will want to take into consideration the particular disease your cat has and the cause of that disease. You will also need to look at your cat’s age, breed, and general health. Depending on your cat’s treatment plan, for instance, if you are in charge of giving them an oral medication, it’s vital that you provide the correct amount at the recommended time and ensure that your feline friend isn’t sneakily spitting the pill back out or eating around it.

Although there are many facets to consider when looking at your cat’s health and well-being in the long run, your veterinarian can additionally provide their professional opinion on your cat’s future. Keep in mind that there are many blood-related health issues that do not have a cure, but with proper treatment, your best pal can continue to live a happy and healthy life.

The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.


apricot toy poodle with a green sweater

All About Toy Poodles

The elegant Toy Poodle is full of hidden talents and they may surprise you with just how intelligent they really are.


gray mixed breed dog licking lips and hoping for a treat

16 Things NOT to Feed Your Dog

There are many harmful foods that you should never feed your dog, if ingested, they can cause severe reactions. Learn which foods your pup should avoid.


A cat lies on a windowsill, licking their front leg

Cats and Allergies

Learn how to recognize the common allergy signs and symptoms in cats and what you can do to treat them.