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Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:

My cat’s nose has been white/pale for a while, usually her nose is pink and her mouth too. She is not as active as she used to be. She is only 8 years old — I know 8 isn’t young, but it isn’t old either. Can you tell me what’s going on with my cat?

~Agnes

Siouxsie: We can’t tell you for sure what’s going on with your cat, but it sounds like she may be anemic.

Thomas: Anemia means that your cat doesn’t have enough red blood cells to carry all the oxygen she needs to fuel her body. Symptoms of anemia include pale mucous membranes and lethargy, and it sounds like your cat is showing both of these signs.

Dahlia: Look in your cat’s mouth. Are her gums and tongue pale? Healthy gums are pink in color; if they’re pale pink or white, your cat is anemic.

Siouxsie: Another way to detect anemia is to gently move her eyelid away from its normal position and expose the skin underneath. The “third eyelid,” which will pop out from the inside corner of her eye when you pull at her eyelid, is naturally white, but the skin on the inside of the eyelid is normally pink. If your cat is anemic, it will be pale or even white.

Thomas: Even if after you do these checks you’re still not sure, call your vet and schedule an appointment anyway. Anemia isn’t an illness in itself; it’s a symptom that something else is going wrong in your cat’s body.

Dahlia: Conditions ranging from parasites such as hookworms to chronic illnesses like feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), feline leukemia virus (FeLV) or kidney failure can cause anemia, so it’s very important that you take your cat to the vet.

Siouxsie: Your vet will draw blood and do a test called a CBC. This will tell him or her whether your cat is producing enough red blood cells and if the cells being produced are normal.

Thomas: Your vet may do other tests like a FIV/FeLV screen, urine analysis, and a blood chemistry panel. The urine test and blood chemistry test will show whether your cat has kidney disease, liver disease, thyroid problems, or diabetes.

Dahlia: Depending on the results of these tests, your vet will recommend a course of treatment that should get your cat feeling better and allow her to spend many more years with you.

Siouxsie: To learn more about anemia in cats, read CatHealth.com’s article on the subject.

Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:

My 17-year-old female cat has a growing, bleeding sore under her chin. The vet tried to squeeze it, and the groomer swears it’s a wart. I’m trying to figure out how to stop it from bleeding. She scratches it with her paw when she grooms herself, but otherwise it doesn’t appear to bother her at all. Any suggestions?

~ Jenn

Siouxsie: Jenn, we suggest that you find another vet. Growing, bleeding sores in elderly cats should be a warning sign that further testing, not attempted zit squeezing, is needed.

Thomas: Although your cat’s condition could be nothing more than feline acne, it could be something more serious.

Dahlia: Warts are extremely rare in cats, so we doubt that your groomer’s assessment is correct.

Siouxsie: Dental abscesses can break through the skin and cause sores. But so can cancer.

Thomas: As with humans, one of the warning signs of skin cancer is a sore that won’t heal. And as cats get older, their risk of cancer increases.

Dahlia: Even if your cat does have cancer, if it’s only in the skin it should be fairly easy to remove and allow your cat to live out her natural lifespan.

Siouxsie: And if it’s feline acne, a good vet should be able to offer you easy treatment options that will clear it up for good.

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