It can be alarming to see blood in your cat’s poop, although it may not be as dangerous as you think. But if you are wondering why there is blood in your cat’s poop, you should know that bloody cat poop can be the result of different categories of diseases such as constipation, parasites, food intolerances, infections, intestinal irregularities, anal gland abscess, trauma and cancer.
Blood in cat stool is usually a sign of any of these conditions. It can be a common or secondary illness, or it can be an indication of an infection or a serious underlying disease. Monitoring your cat’s poop can be a good way to keep track of any health problems your feline pal may have. Therefore, in this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about bloody cat poop.
What Does Normal Cat Poop Look Like?
Most cat owners are too busy to concern about what is going on inside their cat litter box. Although it may sound disgusting, keeping an eye on your cat’s poop can provide important information about its health. Knowing what a normal cat poop should look like, will help you know when something is not okay with your cat and enable you to act fast.
Normal cat poop will appear dark brown and not too soft, too hard, or mushy. It won’t stink too bad, even though some odour is normal. Any colour other than dark brown should be discussed with your vet. Bloody cat stool can be a frightening sight to cat owners. If you see your cat pooping blood, don’t panic, not all unusual cat poops are cause for panic, in some situations they may just be a mild issue. You should contact your vet immediately and carefully observe your cat’s condition.
Types of Blood in Cat Poop
There are two different types of blood in cat poop, light or bright red blood and dark or black blood. Knowing the one you are dealing with is very important to identify the source of the problem. The two types are explained below:
Bright or Light Red Poop
This type usually appears as specks. The colour of the speck depends on where the blood is coming from. It indicates a potential problem in the lower gastrointestinal (GI) tract, the colon or rectum. This could be a result of stress, dietary issues or constipation. This blood is known as hematochezia.
Dark or Black Poop
This type can appear as a dark red or black substance that covers your cat’s stool. It may not resemble blood, but it reveals to you that something has changed. This is a result of partial digestion by enzymes concealed in the upper intestine and is normally an indication of a problem in the intestinal tract. This blood is known as melena.
Clinical Signs of Blood in Cat Poop
Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if there is blood in a cat’s poop. The signs depend on what causes blood in the cat’s digestive system. Observe the colour of the blood in your feline’s poop. As stated earlier, the bright red indicates bleeding that is likely from the lower intestine, while the dark brown or black indicates that the bleeding is from the upper digestive tract. In addition to blood signs, you may also notice any of the following symptoms:
- Difficulty or pain when pooping
- Constipation/straining to poop
- Weight loss and loss of appetite
- Frequent drinking or urination
- Bloody diarrhoea or mucus in diarrhoea
- Worms in stool
- Hard stool
- Foul-smelling poops
Causes of Blood in Cat Poop
Blood in the cat poop can occur as a result of stomach or small intestine diseases, colon or rectum, anus, or systemic diseases. The most common causes are explained below:
Worms or Parasites
These are the most common cause of blood in cat poop, especially in a kitten’s poop. Infestation of worms and parasites in the system can cause blood in the cat poop. Giardia and Trichomonas are normal examples of these parasites, they are frequent in cats. Roundworms, hookworms and coccidiosis are often the cause. A poop test will be able to detect them.
A Sudden Change in a Cat’s Diet
Suddenly changing your cat’s food can cause your cat vomiting, diarrhoea, and in some more serious cases, bleeding stool. That is why it is important to do food transitioning from old food to new food gradually especially for cats with a sensitive stomach.
This can happen if your cat has just eaten something they are allergic to or that upsets its stomach. In some cases, this can lead to vomiting and diarrhoea with a bit of blood and mucus coating.
Severe infection can cause blood in your cat’s poop, examples of such infections are Campylobacter and Salmonella. These bacteria are more dangerous if your cat is fed raw food. Raw chicken, for instance, is often infected with Campylobacter. These can lead to persistent cat diarrhoea with blood in the poop.
Anxiety or Stress
Like humans, anxiety or stress can cause cats an upset stomach, in severe cases, blood in the stool. Situations like having a new pet or baby in your house, moving to a new living environment or fireworks at night can all cause stress and depression for cats. It is advisable to consult a veterinarian or an animal behaviourist if you suspect that your cat is pooping blood as a result of stress.
Anal Gland Disease
This disease is not common, but it can certainly cause bloody cat poop. If your cat’s stool looks very normal but there is little blood on the surface, then your cat may be suffering from anal gland disease. Also, if you notice your cat constantly licking its rear and there is fresh blood on its poops, you may need to see a vet.
Toxins like rat poison that damage the intestines or cause clotting problems can result in bloody cat stool. If by mistake your cat eats rat poison intended for rodents, this will meddle with the feline’s blood clotting system and lead to spontaneous bleeding from the nose, mouth, rectum and under the skin.
Another common cause of bloody cat poop is cancer. The most common type of intestinal cancer in cats is known as Lymphoma. The cancerous lumps in the cat intestine usually turn into ulcerate and bleed, resulting in fresh blood in the cat poop.
What Should I Do if My Cat Is Pooping Blood?
If you notice blood in your cat’s poop, don’t delay; call your vet right away to make an appointment and get your cat check. If possible, take a fresh sample of your cat’s poop to the vet for the test. Even if your cat is acting fine, at least it is okay to have a conversation with your vet about the situation. There are many reasons for the appearance of blood in the cat poop, some of which are very serious.
Without a veterinary test, it is difficult to know the exact causes of blood in your cat poop. Your vet can help you with a few questions and tests to help determine if it is an emergency condition or not. Consulting veterinary attention is very important whenever your feline pal is pooping blood, regardless of whether it is dark, black, bright red or tarry-looking poops.
Diagnosis of Blood in Cat Poop
Diagnosing blood in your feline’s poop will entail your vet tracking down the underlying condition that causes the problem. Some causes may not be as serious as we think and may not require emergency medical attention. However, while it may be mild and not a major cause for concern, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Therefore, it is always advisable to go to the vet for a thorough examination.
The vet will first perform a physical checkup which often includes a digital rectal check. In addition, he may need the sample of your cat’s urine, blood and poop for examination. It may be a good idea to go with a sample of your cat’s poop so that your vet can quickly evaluate it for symptoms of parasites or dangerous bacteria.
At times your vet can perform an endoscopy in which a little camera is passed through the cat anus or mouth while he is under anaesthesia, this allows the intestine lining to be carefully examined. He may also use X-rays to examine the pet digestive system.
Treatments/Remedies for Cat Pooping Blood
After the diagnosis, a specific treatment can be started. Sometimes specific treatments are combined with supportive and symptomatic treatments to make sure the problem is resolved. The treatment depends on what causes the problem. If food is suspected to be the cause, your vet may recommend the diet to help eliminate the problem. Generally, food changes should be done gradually to prevent further digestive upset.
If inflammatory bowel disease or cancer is the suspected culprit, biopsies may be indicated. Balloon dilation may be required in cats with rectal strictures. Dehydrated cats may need intravenous fluids and anaemic cats may need blood transfusions. Further treatments may include anti-emetics, antibiotics and pain reliever.
Recovery from Blood in Cat Poop
The outcome of the treatment will vary depending on the cause of the problem. If the cause of the infection is something more severe, your vet may choose to treat your cat and let it recover in his office, where it can receive 24-hour medical care. The sooner the treatment begins, the better your pet’s chances of recovery.
In most cases, a bloody cat stool will clear up shortly after treatment or a change in diet. If not, your cat will recover with time and proper care. Give your cat more attention and love while he is recovering, it will help speed up the healing process and help him return to a normal, happy and healthy life.