It may sound quite odd to think that a predominantly carnivorous species such as a cat can become anemic. However, anemia tends to occur in cats, it may not be that common as in humans, but it is not unheard of. The causes may be various, but are normally not diet related since most cat foods are naturally supplied with all the nutrients the cat requires.
Since cats generally do not get anemic because they lack iron in their diets, the main causes of cat anemia are diseases and conditions that cause extensive blood loss, that disrupt the production of red blood cells and that destroy red blood cells interfering with proper blood clotting.
The causes for cat anemia can be various and also serious, therefore, have your cat properly assessed by your veterinarian. The following remedies are only for cats that have been diagnosed with anemia and are recovering properly.
Home Remedies for Cat Anemia
- Pump up the Iron
When cats become anemic, giving foods rich in iron and B vitamins helps, explains veterinarian Lee R. Harris in the book “The Doctor’s Book of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats.” In particular, some cooked liver may be very helpful to anemic cats. One ounce of liver given for 1 to 2 weeks may help the cat recover faster.
- Look for Supplements
There are several over the counter supplements that provide iron and extra nutrients to sick pets. Always best to consult with your vet before changing diet or giving supplements to your cat.
- Limit Exercise
Anemic cats tend to get tired easily, by limiting exercise, you may expedite recovery. Rest is also helpful since, exercise causes more oxygen intake and oxygen in cats with anemia may be scarce to start with.
- Check Mouth
Since cats are furry, it is hard to tell when they are pale. However, anemic cats will exhibit pale mucous membranes. Normally, cats have bubble gum pink gums and pink tongues, however, when anemia strikes them, these gums and the tongue turn a very pale pink or even white.
- Check Eyes
The conjunctiva as well may help determine anemia. This can be observed, by pulling down the lower eyelid. Normally, this area is pink.
- Check for Parasites
Heavy infestations of parasites that feed on blood such as fleas, ticks and hook worms may cause anemia especially in small kittens. Ensure your cat is free of fleas by using safe monthly topicals and have your vet run a fecal sample.
- Avoid Onions
Studies reveal that cats fed onions (and even garlic) are prone to a certain type of anemia called Heinz Anemia. Ensure you are not feeding foods with onions in them such as broth, baby food or other commercially prepared foods.
Anemia in cats may have various origins however, it is almost never diet related. Therefore, an injury that causes copious external or internal bleeding may cause anemia and shock. Heavy infestations of parasites that feed on blood such as fleas, ticks and hook worms may cause anemia especially in small kittens. Hemobartonella felis, a parasite beloging to a group of bacteria called “mycoplasmas” is also associated with causing anemia. Ingestion of toxins such as Tylenol and Zinc (often found in pennies) have been associated with anemia. The feline Leukemia virus and the Feline Immunodeficiency virus may cause anemia. Cancers may cause blood loss that may go undetected until tests are run. Rat poison also may cause extensive blood loss. There are also several blood diseases including some immune related conditions that may affect cats ultimately causing anemia.