No one wants to see blood in their cat's litter box. It's a scary sight that has many pet parents rushing to call the veterinarian. While it's certainly an alarming situation, bloody urine is actually a pretty common reason cats need to visit the vet. Sometimes the cause is no big deal, but more often than not, that reddish or pinkish tinge in the litter is a warning sign that something needs medical attention. This guide will help you understand what could be causing your cat to pee blood, how to spot the signs, and what you should do about it to get your furry friend feeling better fast.

What is Normal Cat Pee Supposed to Look Like?

To know if something's not quite right with your cat's pee, you first need to get familiar with what normal, healthy urine looks like. Generally, you'll want to see a pale yellow to amber colored liquid that's pretty clear - no cloudiness or funk.

A fresh clump might look like a vibrant lemonade yellow at first, but it should still have a see-through quality before it dries. As it starts crusting over, it may deepen to more of a yellowy-brown tinge, but it shouldn't ever look neon or glow-in-the-dark yellow.

Using that pale yellow to amber color range as the norm, it'll be easier to spot when your cat's pee doesn't look quite right. Any sudden reddish, pinkish, orangey or brown discoloration could be a sign of blood.

Same goes for any cloudiness or grit - healthy urine should be clear with no particles floating around. Pay attention to your cat's typical pee color, smell and texture so you have a baseline to compare against. That way you can catch any changes early before they become a bigger problem.

Blood in cat urine

Hematuria: When You See Blood in Cat Litter Box

What is Hematuria?

The medical term for blood in urine is hematuria. When hematuria is present, it means there is a problem somewhere in your cat's urinary tract that is allowing blood to leak into the urine. This could be anything from an infection to bladder stones to an injury or other underlying condition.

Visible Signs of Bloody Urine

In some cases, hematuria leads to very obvious signs of blood in your cat's urine and litter box. Things to look for include:

  • Pinkish or reddish tinted urine
  • Clumps or clots of blood in the urine
  • Urine that appears brownish-red in color

Subtler Symptoms

However, hematuria doesn't always produce such visible, overt signs of blood. Sometimes the bleeding is microscopic and can only be detected through veterinary testing. More subtle potential symptoms include:

  • Urine that appears orangish in color
  • Foamy or frothy textured urine
  • Increased frequency of urination

Changes in Consistency and Frequency

In addition to color changes, hematuria may also cause your cat's urine to vary in consistency from the norm. It may appear more concentrated or contain visible clots or debris. Many cats also urinate more frequently when blood is present due to irritation or discomfort.

If you notice any unusual colors, odors, consistencies or patterns with your cat's urination, it's a good idea to have your vet evaluate them for potential hematuria and underlying conditions.

Litter Box Habits and Behavior Changes to Watch Out For

The appearance of your cat's pee itself isn't the only potential sign that blood or other urinary issues may be present. You'll also want to keep an eye out for any changes in your cat's litter box habits and behavior. Catching these early can be crucial for getting the right treatment.

Red Flags in the Litter Box

Some key behavioral symptoms that could indicate a urinary tract problem like bloody urine include:

  • Avoiding or no longer wanting to use the litter box
  • Having to go way more frequently than usual
  • Crying out or vocalizing when trying to pee
  • Excessive licking or over-grooming of the genital area

Why You Need to Stay Observant

Cats are pretty good at hiding when they're feeling unwell, so paying close attention to even subtle changes in their potty routines is really important. A sudden switch in litter box habits could be your first clue that something's not right down there, even before any visible blood appears.

If your cat starts peeing outside the box, seems to be straining with little coming out, or is vocalizing in discomfort, it's time for a vet visit stat. Catching urinary issues early can help prevent them from progressing into an obstructive emergency that requires urgent care.

By staying observant and knowing your cat's typical bathroom behaviors and patterns, you'll be better equipped to get them properly diagnosed and treated before any bloody urine or other urinary condition gets worse. With urinary health, you can't afford not to be paying close attention.

Blood in cat urine

What Could Be Causing That Blood in Cat Litter Box?

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

One of the most common culprits behind bloody urine in cats is a urinary tract infection or UTI. These bacterial infections can occur anywhere along the urinary tract - the kidneys, ureters, bladder or urethra. Besides hematuria, UTI symptoms in cats may include increased thirst and water consumption, weight loss, and general lethargy.

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD)

FLUTD is an umbrella term encompassing various conditions that affect a cat's bladder and urethra, often leading to bloody urine. Possible signs include straining to urinate, frequent litter box trips, and urinating outside the litter box. In male cats, FLUTD can cause a life-threatening urethral obstruction blocking urine flow - this requires immediate emergency treatment.

Stones and Crystals

The presence of stones (calculi) or grit-like crystals in the bladder or urethra can allow blood to seep into the urine. While both can cause hematuria, stones are larger, solid masses while crystals are smaller gritty particles. Symptoms vary but may include pain while urinating. Dietary changes can sometimes dissolve some types of stones/crystals, while others require surgery.

Cystitis and Inflammation

Cystitis refers to inflammation of the bladder lining. The most common form is interstitial cystitis, which has an unknown cause. Other types result from radiation therapy, cancer, or excessive mineral supplementation. Besides bloody urine, symptoms of cystitis include increased urgency and frequency. Treatments may involve anti-inflammatory medications, dietary changes, or environmental modifications to reduce stress.

Other Serious Conditions May Cause Blood in Cat Litter Box

While the causes mentioned above are among the most common reasons for hematuria in cats, there are some other serious health issues that can also lead to blood in the urine. These conditions are less frequently seen but still important to be aware of.

Urinary Tract Neoplasia (Cancer)

Although rare in cats, cancers of the urinary tract like lymphoma can sometimes cause bleeding and hematuria. Symptoms depend on the location and extent of the cancerous growth but may include difficulty urinating, incontinence, and weight loss in addition to bloody urine.

Anatomical Abnormalities

Cats can potentially be born with anatomical defects or malformations in their urinary tracts that make them prone to urinary bleeding. Examples include kidney deformities like polycystic kidney disease or abnormalities in the urethra. These may not cause issues until later in life.

Coagulation Disorders

Certain bleeding or clotting disorders can allow blood to pass through into the urine, resulting in hematuria. Potential causes include inherited coagulation defects, rodenticide (rat poison) ingestion, or diseases affecting platelet counts like immune-mediated thrombocytopenia.


Physical injuries or trauma to the abdomen, urinary tract, or genital area can potentially rupture blood vessels and cause bleeding that presents as hematuria. Blunt force impacts are a possible concern for outdoor cats that may experience vehicular accidents or attacks.

While these conditions are less common causes of bloody urine compared to UTIs or FLUTD, they still need to be ruled out, especially if other typical urinary symptoms are not present. Proper diagnostic testing is essential.

When to Call the Vet About Bloody Urine

Don't Wait - Seek Medical Attention Right Away

If you notice any signs of blood in your cat's urine, it's important to make a veterinary appointment as soon as possible. While sometimes the cause ends up being minor, bloody urine can also signal a serious underlying health condition.

Don't adopt a "wait and see" approach, as delaying treatment could allow the issue to progress and worsen over time. The sooner you have your cat evaluated, the sooner you can get an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan in place.

Be Prepared for an Urgent Care Visit

In some cases, bloody urine accompanied by an inability to urinate at all constitutes an emergency, particularly for male cats. If your male cat is straining frequently with little to no urine output, this could indicate a life-threatening urethral obstruction.

In this type of obstructive crisis, you should seek urgent veterinary care immediately, as this condition can prove fatal in as little as 24-48 hours without proper treatment. Don't wait for your vet's normal operating hours if you suspect an obstruction.

Keep Your Vet Updated on Recurrences

Some underlying causes of hematuria, like FLUTD, are chronic conditions with a tendency to recur periodically. If you notice repeated episodes of bloody urine after initial treatment, it's crucial to maintain an open dialogue with your veterinarian.

Make sure to schedule follow-up appointments to have your cat reassessed and keep your vet informed about any worsening or return of symptoms between visits. Staying on top of recurrences provides the best chance of getting flare-ups properly managed.

Blood in cat urine

Ongoing Care to Avoid Future Blood in Cat Litter Box

Keep Them Well-Hydrated

One of the best ways to prevent urinary issues like bloody pee is to make sure your cat is drinking enough water. Increase their intake by leaving out multiple water bowls around the house, getting a pet fountain, or adding some low-sodium broth or water to their food. The more hydrated they are, the less concentrated (and problematic) their urine will be.

Special Prescription Diets

If your cat has had urinary problems in the past, your vet may recommend a prescription diet designed to reduce the mineral levels that contribute to stone/crystal formation. Some premium regular cat foods also contain ingredients that promote urinary health and make peeing easier.

Reduce Stress Factors

Since stress and anxiety are thought to play a role in feline urinary diseases, making your cat's environment as calm and enriching as possible is key. Provide hiding spots, cat trees, clean litter boxes, and plenty of playtime. Minimizing household stressors may prevent urinary flare-ups.

Stay On Top of Vet Visits

Be sure to keep up with your cat's regular check-up schedule at the vet. During these visits, your vet can do a urinalysis screening and discuss any concerns about urinary health issues. Catching anything early makes treatment easier.

It's An Ongoing Effort

While there's no guaranteed way to fully prevent urinary tract infections or other problems, being proactive with these strategies can really help reduce risks over time. Urinary diseases often have multiple Contributing factors, so staying on top of management and working closely with your vet makes a big difference long-term.

Get That Bloody Pee Checked ASAP!

Seeing red in your cat's litter box is never a good sign. While sometimes the cause ends up being no big deal, bloody urine could also mean a serious underlying issue. Don't wait it out - get your furry friend to the vet pronto. The sooner you get them examined, the quicker you can get an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment plan in place before the problem potentially escalates into an emergency. Being observant of changes in your cat's bathroom habits can help you catch issues early too. And simple preventative steps like keeping your cat well-hydrated and reducing home stressors may lower risks long-term. But when that telltale bloody tinge shows up, don't delay - make that vet appointment right away to get your beloved pet feeling better fast.


  1. Blood in Cat Urine | Hematuria in Cats | PetMD
  2. Blood in Cat Urine: What Does it Mean?
May 30, 2024 — MeowantFeiou

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