Your cat’s bathroom habits may not be the first topic you want to talk about or even pay attention to for that matter. But what if you see that there is blood in their stool? Now this symptom would probably raise some concern for you, and that’s for a good reason. In a normal healthy cat, blood should not be present in your cat’s poop or any other regular bathroom business. If it is, there may be an underlying problem your cat is suffering from that you are unaware of.
The sooner you can identify a bathroom problem with your furry friend the faster you can get them to the vet to find out what’s wrong with them. Even though it might be an alarming symptom, the presence of blood in cat’s stool is actually a fairly common occurrence according to pet owners. With that being said, however, it is something that needs to be checked out by a veterinarian.
Unless your cat has done their business outside or in an area other than their litter box, identifying blood in cat poop can actually be difficult. Cat litter can make analyzing your cat’s stool more challenging, especially if it has been a few hours since they have gone to the bathroom.
If your cat’s issue is caused by a problem in the lower intestinal tract, the blood will appear bright red and in smears or droplets. If the problem is coming from the small intestine, it will be brown or black in color. For issues regarding the small intestines, blood will resemble coffee grounds.
Now that you have a general idea of what to look for, it’s time to learn about all the possible causes that can lead to blood in your cat’s stool. If your cat has blood in his poop and you don’t know why it’s highly advised to take him in for a thorough check-up with your veterinarian. Even though his problem can be something as minor as diarrhea, it can also be something more serious that requires professional veterinary care.
What Causes Blood in Cat’s Stool?
As said before, there are many possible causes for blood in cat’s stool, some being more severe than others. Keep in mind that depending on what’s causing the problem, some cats may experience pain while defecating. Some of the most common problems that can affect your kitty’s bathroom habits can include:
It is not uncommon for your cat to have a difficult time going to the bathroom. It is actually one of the most likely health problems in animals associated with the digestive system. When a cat is healthy, they will defecate at least once a day. If you notice your cat skipping a day or two, straining while trying to go, or can only go a small amount after persistent effort, that probably means your cat is constipated. Keep in mind that this condition is common and will not need immediate medical attention unless your cat is also exhibiting other concerning symptoms.
If your constipated cat is not improving on its own, take him to the veterinarian. Through a thorough examination and possible fecal sample, your vet will be able to rule out all other potential health problems that may be more severe. For minor cases, vets will often recommend a stool softener or laxative to alleviate the constipation. If this issue is caused by an obstruction in the bowels, a surgical procedure may be necessary.
Bleeding will normally result if a cat has been injured in the rectum or anus area. If this is the case for your cat, you will notice fresh blood in his stool when he goes to the bathroom. Along with his bleeding, you can expect other symptoms to be present, such as pain or discomfort. Rectal polyps is also another issue that can cause similar symptoms to occur. These abnormal growths form in the small intestine and can restrict stool from passing through, causing serious pain for your furry feline. Do not expect polyps to clear up on their own. The only way a cat will be alleviated of their symptoms is through professional veterinary care.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
IBD is known as chronic inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract (specifically the stomach, small intestine, and large intestine), which can lead to vomiting and diarrhea. Aside from these two factors, some cats will also experience lethargy, depression, weight loss, gas, and abdominal pain. Although there is no single known cause of this condition, many professionals think IBD is the result of either a food allergy or a hypersensitivity to bacteria.
Once you go to the vet to get your cat checked out, they will want to know about your pet’s complete medical history and any prior symptoms that may be present. Some possible testing that may be run can include a total blood count, urine or fecal analysis, and a biochemistry profile. Although IBD cannot be completely cured, your vet can still provide medication that will help to alleviate some of your cat’s symptoms.
Giardia is one of the most common intestinal parasites that can inflict your feline. Cats can either get giardia directly or indirectly, but they are usually exposed to these foreign bodies when they come into contact with contaminated feces from an infected source. Once the parasite is in the body, it travels to the small intestines where it wreaks havoc on the digestive system. If you assume your cat has parasites, your vet will need to complete a full exam to see what type of parasite is present.
Your vet will recommend specific drugs that will help to rid the body of its parasites. During this period, it is also recommended to bathe your cat often until he is completely free of his parasites. Depending on the parasite and severity of the case, your vet may recommend further treatment plans or other testing. Even though it can be difficult to completely prevent exposure to another parasite infection down the road, it is highly recommended to keep your cat away from kennels or other locations that have a high concentration of other animals.
Did you know that cats have sensitive stomachs? They are also finicky eaters which can make finding them the right food a little more difficult than you might have anticipated. Even if your cat has been eating one brand of food, switching to a different one may cause your cat to develop an upset stomach and show other symptoms as well. If you are changing to one brand or type of food to another, it is always recommended to make the transition by slowly adding in the new product with the old product. That way your cat will be able to adjust to the new ingredients little by little without having to adapt to a new formula all at once.
If a cat has a food intolerance, their GI tract will be very irritated and they will experience excessive vomiting or diarrhea anytime they consume that specific ingredient. Cats can develop a food intolerance to any ingredient in their cat food. Some common culprits include soy, wheat gluten, corn, lamb, or dairy. Unfortunately, finding out which element is causing your cat issues can be quite the difficult challenge. Your vet will be able to do a thorough analysis of your cat’s health to conclude a proper diagnosis. From there, you will need to change your cat’s diet to alleviate their symptoms.
Colitis or inflammation of the colon can be caused by a wide range of sources including bacterial infections or inflammatory bowel disease. Depending on the severity of the issue and the underlying cause, colitis can be short-term, off and on, or long-term in duration. Cats with colitis will normally have diarrhea with fresh blood within their stool. Other common symptoms with this condition are straining to defecate and an increased urgency/frequency of trips to the litter box.
After running a series of tests on your cat’s abdomen and overall health, your vet will be able to diagnose that their issue is in fact due to colitis. Depending on the cause, your vet will recommend a specific treatment plan that caters to your cat’s needs. The purpose of these medications is to get your pet’s bowel movements back to normal, reduce inflammation in their colon, and mitigate their diarrhea or vomiting issue.
Consuming Human Food
We all know that human food should not be fed to our furry companions, but does it really hurt if we give them just a little? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. While some foods such as boiled potato or cooked chicken are completely fine, some human foods can do a number on their stomachs, causing discomfort, diarrhea, and vomiting.
One of the most common food items that cause your cat to become sick is milk. This may be a surprise to you because most people assume cats are a big fan of a little warm milk. Cats beyond their kitten years should avoid dairy products at all cost since most of them are lactose intolerant. Talk to your veterinarian before feeding your cat any food that is not their usual chow mix.
Diagnosing Blood in Cat’s Stool
If your cat’s issue is not getting better on its own after a day or two, take them in for further testing with a professional. No matter what is causing your cat’s problems, a complete health exam is the only way your cat will be able to be properly diagnosed. From there, your vet will start off the diagnosis process with several exams including a microscopic fecal examination and blood work. This is the perfect opportunity to inform your vet of all prior symptoms or issues your cat has been suffering from thus far. Make sure to also inform them if your cat has recently had a change in diet or intolerance to specific products.
In the case that your vet assumes your cat’s condition is due to parasites or other intestinal infestations, they will need to run a fecal smear. This test will help to identify any lingering parasites that may be present in your cat’s stool. By examining your cat’s prior health history, their recent physical testing, and current symptoms, they will be able to accurately diagnose your cat’s issue and provide a recommended treatment plan.
Treatment for Blood in Cat Stool
The treatment depends on the underlying issue that is causing your cat’s problems. If the problem is due to parasites, your vet will recommend specific prescription medication that will kill off the infestation. If this is the problem for your cat, it is especially important to follow the treatment plan throughout the entire recommended course. If you cut the treatment short, you are putting your cat at risk for becoming reinfested.
In the case that your cat is suffering from a food intolerance, your vet will recommend switching to a bland diet until their symptoms have disappeared. From there, you will need to slowly add in a regular cat food diet to see if that product is safe for your pet. If you don’t know which food brand you should be feeding your pet, talk to your veterinarian for recommended products.
In severe cases where your cat has some type of trauma, infection, or disease, your vet may need to take a more hands-on approach. If your pet is dehydrated from excessive diarrhea or vomiting, they may put them on an IV to replenish their fluids.
No one ever wants their furry friend in pain. That’s why when you see your cat bleeding while going to the bathroom, you begin to worry. If your cat has blood in his stool, do not panic. Although it may be an alarming symptom to see, digestive issues are very common, which will usually result in blood in your cat’s stool. Of course, it depends on the underlying issue, but most cats have a very good prognosis once he has been checked out by a veterinarian and given medication for their problem.
Since there are so many possible causes of blood in cat stool, it is highly advised to seek professional help. This is especially important if your cat is experiencing other symptoms such as vomiting, lethargy, or generalized weakness. If your cat is experiencing any of these symptoms, the best thing you can do as their owner is to talk to your veterinarian for guidance.
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- Farricelli, Adrienne Janet. “What Causes Blood in Cats’ Stool?” PetHelpful, 15 Aug. 2018, Accessed 3 Feb. 2018. www.pethelpful.com/cats/auses-of-Blood-in-Stool-in-Cats.
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