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Health & Wellness

4 causes of blood in cat urine and how to help

It might be difficult for your cat to go to the bathroom during this time.

Because cats usually go to the bathroom in their private litter boxes, you might not be too familiar with what their healthy pee looks like — it's usually yellow, clear and doesn't have gritty or sandy material inside of it.

Why is that important to know? Well, it's not the most glamorous topic, but knowing what's normal versus abnormal with your pet's bodily functions can help you spot when something's off — like if there's blood in their urine.

What does blood in a cat’s urine look like? 

The color of a cat’s pee changes depending on how much blood is present. For example, Dr. Emily Singler, VMD, Fetch's on-staff veterinarian, shares that it can have a pink or brown hue or you might even see clumps of blood in what otherwise looks like healthy-looking urine. 

“Blood in a cat's urine can make the urine look bright red if there is a lot of it,” Dr. Singler adds. “If there’s just a very small amount, however, the urine may look totally normal with no signs of blood.”

Causes of blood in cat urine

Blood can appear in cat urine for many reasons. Here’s a breakdown of four common causes: 

  • Cystitis: when a cat’s bladder wall becomes inflamed because of stress, diet and weight changes (it’s the most common cause of blood in cat stool)
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI): a bacterial infection in the bladder
  • Bladder stones: stones that are formed by crystals in a cat’s urine (read Diego the cat’s story)
  • Bladder cancer: although uncommon, tumors and cancer can be the culprit

Are there other symptoms that might come with bloody cat urine? 

The underlying cause of blood might present changes in how your cat goes to the bathroom, from going to the bathroom more often (but producing less urine) to going outside of their litter box to straining or crying while they pee, Dr. Singler explains.

"Being completely unable to urinate because of an obstruction in any part of the urinalysis tract can result in severe pain and can cause bladder rupture, cardiac arrhythmias and kidney failure," Dr. Singler shares. "This condition is typically fatal if it isn't treated."

Monitor your cat while they're peeing to ensure that urine is coming out (as some will just pass blood). Contact your veterinarian if your pet is having difficulty going to the bathroom.

RELATED: How to tell if blood in your cat’s stool is cause for concern

Treatment options for bloody cat urine

Solutions for blood in cat urine often depends on the underlying condition, Dr. Singler says. Antibiotics and sometimes pain medication are used to treat cats’ bacterial infections.

Cystitis will usually clear up naturally, but your veterinarian will likely recommend pain or anti-inflammatory medication, a prescription diet (or canned food), increased water consumption or stress therapy to treat it.

Bladder stones can dissolve when pets eat a prescription diet and take medication, although they might need to be surgically removed, Dr. Singler explains. 

“A bladder tumor or cancer may be treated with surgery, chemotherapy and anti-inflammatory medication, but this will be very case-dependent,” Dr. Singler adds. 

Are there any home remedies for bloody cat urine? 

You should always talk to your veterinarian about the proper treatment plan for your cat. However, Dr. Singler says that following directions for administering medication, using a drinking fountain to encourage water consumption and reducing stress at home are all ways to make your cat more comfortable during this time.  

The Dig, Fetch's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

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