Low White Blood Cell Count in Cats

There are a lot of health conditions that involve cats. Now, if a cat’s first line of defence – the white blood cells – is the one affected, it would really be rather difficult. A low white blood cell count in cats can mean multiple things. Do not worry though, because there are symptoms to watch out for in order to detect this condition in your cats. Get to know more about low white blood cell count in cats as you read further.


Getting to Know The Soldiers in Your Cat’s Body

In human beings, white blood cells act as a defence mechanism against foreign bodies that may destroy the natural flow of the body’s processes. They are most often referred to as soldiers because once an unrecognized organism is detected inside the body, white blood cells will immediately rush to the location of this foreign organism and immediately eradicate it. This is also how it works for cats.

Does it Affect Male & Female Cats?

Low white blood cell count in cats sees no gender, age, and breed. All cats are at risk for developing this condition. This is due to the fact that cats can get really vulnerable to a number of diseases that lead to a lower white blood cell count.

To better illustrate this, imagine a cat suffering from flea infestation. The presence of fleas in a cat’s body would eventually lead to a lower white blood cell count due to their parasitic relationship. In this particular situation, we are lucky that addressing the flea infestation by taking measures for flea treatment, may minimize the problem. But in some cases, it could be worse and would take a lot in order to properly address the lower white blood cell count.

Symptoms of Low White Blood Cell

We say that a lower white blood cell count is a result of a number of diseases. Therefore, it is safe to say that the symptoms we will discuss here are general and broad symptoms only. The symptoms that your cat will exhibit will depend on the health concern or disease they experience. Here are some of the symptoms:

  1. There is a loss of appetite leading to weight loss

  2. Gingivitis and pale gums

  3. Vomiting

  4. Diarrhea alongside with dehydration

  5. Seizures

  6. The feeling of lethargy and weakness

  7. Evident changes in your cat’s behavior

Causes of Low White Blood Cell

There are a number of reasons as to why a cat’s white blood cell count lowers at a dangerously low level. Here are some to watch out for:

Viral infections 

Viral infections such as the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and the Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP). These types of viral infections are directly concerned with white blood cells as they invade the cells with the goal of duplicating them. This ability makes the viruses undetectable to white blood cells, aggregating its strength while depleting the white blood cells in the process.

Bacterial​​​​ infections

Infections caused by viruses, just like mentioned above, are not the only suspect in the drop of a cat’s white blood cell count. Bacterial infections can also have a role in the drop of your cat's white blood cell count. These would include respiratory infections, sepsis, and abscesses or sores and swelling

Bone marrow disease

This is the powerhouse where white blood cells are produced. It is then going to be quite a difficult situation if a complication in the powerhouse itself. Due to these diseases, tissues which produce white blood cells are destroyed, resulting in a lower white blood cell count.

The bone marrow which produces white blood cells at a very rapid rate is a likely target for the panleukopenia virus or known to many as the feline parvovirus, as the virus has an aggression to cells that reproduce at a rapid rate.


A drop in the white blood cell count is not always about developing a disease or any other health complication. It could also be eventually caused by stress and discomfort that a cat may be feeling. Unnecessary distress is also a plausible suspect.

They say prevention is better than cure

Before things get too late, it is best that you address the possible causes and take steps to avoid them. Take measures against viruses and bacteria that may come in contact with your cat. Watch what your cat consumes, make sure your cat has a balanced diet and perhaps even give your cat vitamins and supplements.

Bottom Line

As a cat continue to grow, develop and mature, you will notice several changes in their appearance, behavior and other preferences. These things can perhaps be your indicators when your cat transitions from one life stage to the next. Bottomline is that cats do stop growing in size, but their growth in other aspects of life will carry on. Hopefully we have answered your question, At What Age Do Cats Stop Growing?

Rebecca Welters

Yes, I am that weird cat lady with 200 cats and live in the darkest corner of the city where no one dares to go! Joking! But I am a cat lover and have 2 Ragdoll cats called Toby, he's 3 years old and Dory, she's 8 years old. I'm 36 years old and live in the quiet town of Washington.

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