Cardiovascular diseases

Anemia in Cats

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: February 22, 2018
Anemia in Cats

See files for Cats

Although cats and dogs are very different animals, the fact is that cats need veterinary care, just like dogs do. They also need adequate food, companionship, time and all the commitment you can possibly give them.

As an owner, you are responsible for making sure your cat enjoys a full state of health and well-being, both physically, mentally and socially. This all depends on you being informed about various diseases that can affect your feline.

In this AnimalWised article you will find out some of the symptoms and treatments of anemia in cats, so that you know what is this disease, how it manifests itself and how to take action against it.

You may also be interested in: Anemia in Dogs - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment


  1. What is anemia?
  2. Causes of anemia in cats
  3. Symptoms of anemia in cats
  4. How is anemia in cats diagnosed?
  5. Treating anemia in cats
  6. Can you prevent anemia in cats?

What is anemia?

Medically, the term anemia means a lack of red blood cells in the blood. Humans can also suffer from this disease. Red blood cells carry oxygen to nurture tissues and transport carbon dioxide until it is eliminated through respiration. When there are not enough red blood cells, not enough oxygen reaches its destiny and the organism becomes weak.

As outlined below, anemia can be caused by many factors, but they all lead to a decrease in red blood cell count and hemoglobin, which is the pigment responsible for the uptake and transport of oxygen.

Anemia in Cats - What is anemia?

Causes of anemia in cats

The main causes of anemia in cats include:

  • Blood loss through external or internal bleeding
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Viral infection
  • Renal disease
  • Cancer
  • Adverse reaction to drugs

Symptoms of anemia in cats

As previously mentioned, red blood cells are responsible for transporting oxygen. Therefore, in case of anemia, the tissues in your cat's body will not get enough oxygen.

This condition manifests itself mainly through lethargy, fatigue and low exercise tolerance. However, other symptoms that may indicate anemia include:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Pale mucus
Anemia in Cats - Symptoms of anemia in cats

How is anemia in cats diagnosed?

In order to diagnose anemia in cats there are two main analytical tests which are carried out by taking a blood sample and then studying it:

  • Hematocrit: This will indicate the volume of red blood cells in the cat's blood. It will determine whether this level is normal or, on the other hand, whether it corresponds to a state of anemia.
  • Hemogram: Also known as a complete blood count, this analysis provides information about all the cells in the blood including red cells, white cells and platelets.

Obviously, it is not enough to diagnose anemia; the most important thing is to identify the primary cause. In order to do this, the veterinarian will consider the patient's clinical history, all the symptoms presented and perform a complete physical examination. The vet must also rule out the presence of viral diseases such as leukemia.

Anemia in Cats - How is anemia in cats diagnosed?

Treating anemia in cats

The treatment of anemia in cats mainly depends on the cause. In the case of severe anemia, a blood transfusion may be required to restore the level of red blood cells.

This method is considered not only when anemia is severe but also when it is caused by any type of bleeding. Several blood transfusions may be required until the animal's body is able to synthesize new, healthy red blood cells.

Other therapeutic treatments will depend on the underlying cause; their aim is to remove or treat the causative factor of anemia.

Anemia in Cats - Treating anemia in cats

Can you prevent anemia in cats?

Some causes of anemia are unforeseeable, and preventing it may be difficult. However, you can take steps to help maintain your cat's overall welfare and prevent this disease as far as possible:

  • Try to keep your cat indoors to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases. If your cat has contact with the outside environment, consult your veterinarian to see which vaccines are appropriate for the prevention of these diseases.
  • Try to feed your cat a healthy and balanced diet and pay attention to any changes in its behavior.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Anemia in Cats, we recommend you visit our Cardiovascular diseases category.

Write a comment
Add an image
Click to attach a photo related to your comment
What did you think of this article?
1 of 5
Anemia in Cats