What To Do If Your Cat Is Sneezing, Coughing Up, Or Vomiting Blood

Although cats are excellent predators and have outstanding survival skills and instincts, they aren’t invincible. And when it comes to indoor felines, they can be even more fragile than their stray feral counterparts.

Seeing your pet do things like coughing or even vomiting isn’t unusual, yet it’s quite stressful for many cat owners.

Alarming sounds like wheezing, panting or sneezing often indicate that there’s something wrong going on in your fluffy friend’s organism. But when these things are accompanied by blood? That’s a clear indicator that there’s something more than a hairball or a common indigestion caused by switching cat foods.

If your cat is sneezing, coughing up or vomiting blood, you shouldn’t neglect these symptoms as they may be triggered by an undiagnosed health condition.

Fortunately, there are some causes of sneezing blood that aren’t severe and can be treated even at home. However, there are also many serious conditions that could be causing the blood. And if left untreated, they can have a fatal outcome for your beloved kitty.

What’s Causing Your Cat To Expel Blood? Why Is He Doing It?

I’ll list the most common and non-alarming causes of coughing up, vomiting or sneezing blood, as well as the more serious and not so common causes below. Regardless of however your pet is producing the blood, you must never self-diagnose your cat over the Internet! Unless you’re a well-trained veterinarian, leave this task to the professionals.

Causes For Sneezing Blood

Sneezing blood can be triggered by a number of factors. Here are the most common and least troublesome ones:

  • Blocked nasal passage from food or other foreign bodies
  • Buildups of nasal fluid or mucus from allergies
  • Common cold or a bacterial infection
  • Dental problems like abscessed teeth

As you can see, sometimes something as simple as a food particle or seasonal allergies can make your cat sneeze blood. If you already have allergy medications on hand or if the kitty managed to get the foreign body out of its nose, there’s no reason to start panicking.

However, there’s also the possibility of more serious causes. Blood problems like anemia, high blood pressure, blood clotting and so forth can be the culprits.

Moreover, some types of tumors and cancers can also make your fluffy friend sneeze blood. They are often, but not always, accompanied by swelling in the problematic area. In cases like these your vet is the only one who can confirm the real problem.

Causes For Coughing Up Blood

Similarly to sneezing, coughing occurs when something is irritating your feline furball’s respiratory system. But unlike sneezing, it’s triggered by problems related to its lungs. If your pet is coughing up blood, it’s trying to clear its airways and lungs of something.

Here are the most common causes of blood coughing in cats:

  • Pleural effusion
  • Blood clotting
  • Blockage of blood vessels in the lungs
  • Lung cancer and other tumors
  • Different types of fluid buildup in the respiratory system

Coughing up blood is a crystal clear indicator for a health problem, which you mustn’t neglect. The sooner you visit the vet, the better chances you have of catching the condition on time and as such, saving your kitty’s life.

Causes For Vomiting Blood

Vomiting blood is just as serious as coughing up blood. There are no mild disorders causing this condition. It can be derived from a number of life-threatening factors, such as:

  • Heartworm infestation
  • Lung, liver or head injury
  • Exposure to toxic plants, NSAIDs or poisonous chemicals
  • Viral, respiratory or neurological infections
  • Snake bites
  • Heat stroke or severe burns
  • Ingestion of poisonous substances

Hematemesis is the medical term for vomiting blood. PetMD has an extensive article on it, which delves further into the different types of this condition. But as I mentioned before, don’t try to self-diagnose your pet on your own. Regardless of the reason behind your kitty’s behavior, if it’s vomiting blood, it will need a vet’s help.

Treatment: What To Do If Your Cat Is Sneezing, Coughing Up Or Vomiting Blood?

Unlike some other cases in which you have to find the origin of the problem before taking measures, sneezing, coughing up or vomiting blood isn’t something pet parents can deal with by themselves.

Sneezing blood

If your pet is sneezing blood and you know that it’s suffering from allergies, call your vet and consult on the medications you already have at hand. If a foreign body is stuck in your pet’s nasal passage, you might need to take it to the vet’s office so that the doctor can remove it safely.

Other causes of sneezing blood may require emergency vet care. Blood tests, X-rays, MRI, nasal biopsy and other tests can pinpoint the causes.

Keep in mind that such tests don’t come cheap. If you’re trying to save some bucks by skipping vet trips, neglecting the blood is an awful idea. Worst case scenario – your pet’s undiagnosed health condition will worsen. And this will eventually shorten your feline companion’s lifespan.

Coughing up blood

Since coughing up blood is most commonly caused by cancers, you need to visit the vet as soon as possible.

The doctor will carry out blood, urine and feces tests, chest X-rays, liver and kidney function tests. If there’s fluid blocking the airways to the lungs, the vet will also perform a biopsy. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery and a diet change are the most common forms of treatment.

Vomiting blood

If your pet is vomiting blood, you must definitely take it to the vet as soon as possible. The only thing you can really do is offer fresh water supply to your kitty to keep it hydrated. Other than that, the doctor is the only one who can help your feline friend.

Home treatment is possible, but in most cases your cat will require hospitalization.

A change of diet, fluid treatment and blood transfusion are among the most common treatment plans. Depending on the cause of the problem, your furball might also need surgery.

Regardless of the diagnosis, it’s essential that you remain calm and show your kitty how loving and supportive you are throughout its recovery plan. Keep in mind that your pet will need a stress-free environment and lots of care. Don’t put off the trip to the vet in hopes that there’s nothing serious going on! The sooner you catch an undiagnosed problem, the better chances your cat will have of making a full recovery and of leading a healthy life.

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Emily Parker

Emily Parker is the Content Manager at Catological. She's passionate about helping cat parents love their cats better by providing the best information and recommendations about everything you'll need to know about your cat, from kitten to senior years. She believes natural, biologically-appropriate products are best...why wouldn't you provide the best for a member of your family?!

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