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Cat Has Blood in Its Stool

What would you do if one day, when you’re cleaning the litter box, you notice some of the stool has slimy, red clumps of blood on it. Don’t panic! Let’s talk about what to do if your cat has blood in its stool.

Blood in Its Stool
Says Dr. Hanen Abdel Rahman This blood will often appear as dark flecks, specks, or coffee grounds. It’s important to note that both constipation and diarrhea can cause blood in the stool of cats. Bright red blood without either diarrhea or hard, dry stools generally indicates the problem is closer to the rectum and anus.

Normal cats poop
Normal cat poops are about two to three inches long, one-half inch in diameter, well-formed, and brown to tan in color. If you’re wondering, researchers at the U.K.’s Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition published a handy illustrated “Faeces Scoring System” you should check out. If your cat has abnormal stools, you can “grade” the feces. Grading the fecal quality and estimating the quantity can help your veterinarian more quickly, and correctly, diagnose your cat’s condition.

Most cats defecate once daily. The odor shouldn’t knock you out. You should be able to pick up the stool without it running through your fingers (if you’re into picking up poop by hand). I’ll leave it at that. They make litter box utensils if you’re wondering. And gloves, if you insist on handling these sorts of things.

Potty time then back to sleep

What does blood look like in my cat’s poop?
Says Dr. Hanen Abdel Rahman Blood in a cat’s poop can be challenging to identify. For starters, litter can sometimes alter the color and conceal – or create – changes in appearance. If the blood originates in the lower intestinal tract, especially the distal colon (large intestine) or rectal region, it will most likely look like, well, blood. Red or pink drops or smears are frequently discovered on the sides of the litter box and on top of the stool or litter.

Blood from higher in the intestinal tract, particularly the small intestine, will be black or brown. This color change is due to partial digestion by enzymes secreted in the small intestine. This blood will often appear as dark flecks, specks, or coffee grounds.

It’s important to note that both constipation and diarrhea can cause blood in the stool of cats. Bright red blood without either diarrhea or hard, dry stools generally indicates the problem is closer to the rectum and anus.

What about mucus in poop?
Slimy. Slippery. Yucky. These are all terms I’ve heard from cat parents describing excessive mucus in their cat’s stool. Mucus is a normal secretion of the intestinal tract to help lubricate and moisten the linings and facilitate fecal passage. It’s not unusual to observe some greasy or slick coatings on your cat’s feces. It is abnormal to see lots of slimy, often clear to pale yellow-green liquid accompanying your cat’s bowel movements. Fecal mucus is an example of “more is worse.”

Causes of blood or mucus in my cat’s poop?
There can be many causes of blood or mucus in a cat’s poop. Some common reasons include:

  • Trauma or abscess
  • Rectal polyps or tumors
  • Anal gland abscess or infection
  • Constipation or idiopathic feline megacolon
  • Poisons or toxins
  • Cancer
  • Dietary changes and food intolerance
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Intestinal parasites such as Giardia
  • Infections

RELATED: Signs That Your Cat Is Sick

Advice
Any changes in your cat’s bowel movements should be reported to your veterinarian immediately. Today’s constipation can become tomorrow’s intestinal obstruction. This morning’s loose stool can lead to dehydrating diarrhea overnight. Blood in the stool, red or black, is always concerning. Digested dark blood can signal a serious condition while red blood can be anything from benign food changes to cancer.

Dr. Hanen Abdel Rahman