Pale gums in cats

In a healthy cat’s mouth, you’ll find clean teeth, unremarkable breath, and nice pink gums. But if those gums start getting paler than normal, either to a very light pink or even white, you’ll want to take notice.

Should I be concerned about pale gums in cats?

The color of your cat’s gums says a lot about their health. If you notice they’ve changed from their typical pink, make an appointment with the vet. Gum color is a key indicator of whether a situation is an emergency or life threatening. Pale, gray, or white gums are one of the first things your vet will look at to determine urgency.

What are the potential causes of pale gums in cats?

Pale or white gums typically are not normal. Here’s what could be causing them:

  • Anemia
  • Blood loss
  • Shock
  • Injury
  • Liver problems
  • Low oxygen
  • Feline leukemia

All of these conditions require an evaluation by the vet as soon as possible.

What are the different versions of pale gums in cats?

Pale gums in cats can be a few different colors depending on what the problem is. Extra-pale pink or white gums can mean your cat has anemia, blood loss, or is in shock. Pale yellow gums might be indicative of liver problems, and pale blue or purple gums can show a lack of oxygen.

What are the next steps and tests for pale gums in cats?

If your cat’s gums change color, take them to the vet immediately. For white gums, the vet will test for anemia by doing a complete blood count and a reticulocyte count. This test will determine whether it’s due to internal or external bleeding, or to your cat’s immune system trying to destroy its own red blood cells. For yellow gums, the vet will need to test for liver function. And with pale blue or purple gums, your vet will likely put your pet on oxygen while they do an exam to find out why there’s a lack of oxygen to your cat’s system.

What other symptoms are often associated with pale gums in cats?

Pale gums in cats can be associated with an underlying condition, like anemia or blood loss. Watch for the following:

  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Fever
  • Yellow in the whites of the eyes or skin near the ears
  • Weight loss
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Blood in the stool or urine
  • Vomiting

Want to speak to a vet now?

Book an appointment

Time for a check-up?

Start a video chat with a licensed veterinary professional right now on Vetster!

Book an online vet

Online veterinarian and virtual pet care services available on-demand.

Available now on Apple and Play stores.

Vet on phone