Seeing blood in cat stool is obviously alarming. Does it mean that your beloved pet has a serious disease? Is your cat experiencing some sort of blood clotting problem? Do you need to get veterinary help?
Blood in your cat’s stool can be caused by everything from diet to more serious issues. Here are some of the reasons you may see blood in cat poop, and what you can do about it.
Signs that Something is Wrong
Bright red blood in the stool is a condition known as hematochezia. In cats, hematochezia can sometimes be a sign of an underlying condition. Your pet could be suffering from some sort of disease that is causing the anus or rectum to be irritated, leading to bleeding.
If your pet is showing any of these symptoms, get them to the vet to find out what’s wrong:
- Anal lumps
- Blockage of the anus due to matted hair and fecal matter
- Crying during defecation
- Diarrhea that is bloody or filled with mucus
- Draining of pus from the anal area
- Feces that is harder than normal
- Loss of appetite1
Causes of Blood in Cat Stool
Now, there are many potential reasons why there might be blood in your cat’s stool. If your pet is showing symptoms of a problem, it could be related to their diet. A change in food might be causing an upset stomach. You might be sneaking your pet too much human food.2
Your cat might be experiencing symptoms due to stress, or eating too much. A constipated cat could be straining to defecate, causing bleeding in the large intestine as a result. If your pet is vomiting blood and also has blood in the stool, that is a medical emergency.
There are several other reasons for blood in fecal matter. Here are a few of them.
Something could be causing chronic irritation to your cat’s GI tract, or gastrointestinal tract. They might have a food intolerance, or even a bacterial infection. One of the more common symptoms of a bowel problem is continual vomiting. Diarrhea is also common, as is constipation, and a loss of appetite.
Your vet may want a fecal sample so they can make a definitive diagnosis. Your vet may also take a tissue sample, perform blood work, or administer an ultrasound test. Medications may be given to address symptoms. Your vet may also recommend changes to your pet’s diet.
Thankfully, the prognosis for bowel issues is usually good. Medications or changes in food/diet may help manage the problem.3
Colitis is an inflammation of the colon. Symptoms include blood in the stool, soft stool, or chronic diarrhea. One of the causes is dietary indiscretion, meaning your pet is eating something they shouldn’t. This could lead to foreign bodies in their digestive system. Food allergies are sometimes associated with this condition.
Your cat may also have an intestinal infection. This could be due to bacteria or parasites, such as roundworms.
Colitis is also a potential sign of an even more serious issue. There might be a problem with how blood is clotting in your cat’s digestive system. If your cat has diarrhea for several days, get them to the vet.4
Anal Sac Abscess
Cats have two anal sacs, located on each side of their anus, near their rectum. These pouches secrete chemicals that cats use to mark their territory. The anal sacs can sometimes develop an infection or become plugged, or filled with fluid. When sacs become infected, they can develop an abscess.
An abscess leads to swelling near the rectum. If not treated it can rupture. If this happens repeatedly, your pet may need surgery to remove the sacs.5
What if I See Blood in My Cat’s Urine?
You might notice the presence of blood in urine clumps when cleaning out your pet’s litter box. This could be a sign of a disease known as feline lower urinary tract disease. Symptoms include trouble urinating, pain while urinating, and increased urination.
Feline lower urinary tract disease is often seen in obese cats who don’t get a lot of exercise. Potential causes include bladder or urethra stones, a urinary infection, or an obstruction of the urethra.6
If you have any reason to suspect your cat has a urinary tract problem, get them to the vet as soon as you can.
What to Expect When You Go to the Vet
If you see blood in cat stool, you’ll want to visit your veterinarian. You can expect them to ask you about when the symptoms started, and how they’ve been eating. They will run tests to figure out what’s going on, including blood work.
Do You Need to Change Your Cat’s Food?
If your vet diagnoses your pet with an intestinal problem, they may recommend a change to your cat’s food. They might recommend an exclusion diet to see what food ingredients might be causing the issue. Your kitty might have a food intolerance.7
Now, an exclusion diet involves eliminating certain ingredients in food for a few weeks to see if symptoms subside. If they do, then you’ve found the reason for the dietary intolerance! Unfortunately, there is no foolproof exclusion diet. It’s more of a trial and error process.8
Your vet can work with you to spell out exactly how to try an exclusion diet. They can advise you about what type of food ingredients to give your pet during this time.
Be Alert, But Don’t Panic
It’s understandable if you notice your cat pooping blood and automatically assume the worst. But while this is a disturbing problem, it doesn’t necessarily mean your pet has a life-threatening disease. It could be the result of food intolerance, medication, constipation or something else.
The bottom line? The best thing you can do for your cat’s health is to get them veterinary care as soon as possible. Let the vet know about any symptoms your cat is experiencing. Also, discuss your cat’s diet and the food they eat with your vet. This could be part of the problem if your cat is pooping blood.
Once your vet makes a diagnosis, they will put a plan in place to help get your sweet kitty back to full health as quickly as possible!
Disclosure: The Dr Marty’s Pets team creates these articles as a way to provide you with the latest information on health and nutrition. Unfortunately, we cannot make specific product recommendations for our website visitors, such as “Dr Marty’s Nature’s Feast” or “Feline Prime” Please consult with your healthcare provider to determine the best products for you.