Is Your Cat Anemic?

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If your cat seems to be chronically under the weather, there's a chance that anemia is to blame. Determining if your cat is anemic can help them to get the treatment they need as soon as possible to protect their overall health and well-being. Here are a few easy ways to determine if your cat might be anemic.

Pale Skin

Like humans, cats who don't produce enough blood or red blood cells may appear pale. Of course, it's a bit more difficult to notice with cats, since they're usually furry. So, look at the parts of their skin and tissue that you can see: their gums, their pads, and their noses.

While it's not an exact science, if your cat's visible skin and tissue seems to be paler than usual, it's one possible sign that they're anemic.


Cats who are anemic generally don't have the get up and go of their healthier counterparts. If your cat is usually spunky and energetic, but seems to be lacking interest in their usual activities, they could be anemic. An even stronger sign is if they become exhausted quickly after playing. If your cat seems as though they need to to lie down and rest after playing for only a little while, anemia could be to blame.

Detecting this step can be tricky if your cat is a little older. Keep in mind that weakness and lethargy aren't necessarily a normal part of the aging process, so if your cat seems to be suddenly exhausted, you shouldn't assume it's due to old age.

Shortness of Breath

Cats who are anemic may experience shortness of breath, whether they're engaging in physical activity or not. Blood circulates oxygen through the body, and if your cat doesn't have enough of it, they may not be able to circulate oxygen quickly enough to oxygenate all of their tissues and organs.

Cats experiencing shortness of breath will show it in the early stages after playing or performing any kind of physical activity. However, in the more severe stages, even a cat at rest may seem to pant. This is a natural reaction to try and get as much oxygen into their body as they can to compensate for their anemia.


If you believe that there's even a chance that your cat may be anemic, you should take it to Bramalea Animal Hospital or another veterinarian right away. Anemia has a wide variety of potential causes; it can be caused by parasites, like fleas, diseases, like haemobartonellosis, or simply from poor nutrition.

Your veterinarian will perform a physical exam and draw some blood to determine your cat's red blood cell count. Depending on the severity, your cat may need a blood transfusion. Afterwards, improving your cat's nutrition, iron intake, and killing any nasty pests that may be inducing the anemia are all possible courses of action.

If your cat is experiencing anemia, it's important to get them help as quickly as possible. Taking your cat to a vet can mean the difference between life and death, so don't delay.