Blood in Cat Poop

Dr. Jason Gagné, DVM, DACVIM
By Dr. Jason Gagné, DVM, DACVIM
Updated: 5/14/20242-4 minutes
Cat and little girl sleeping

Your cat’s poop is a great indicator of how their body is functioning and whether everything’s normal. 

Normally, your cat’s poop will appear firm and brown in appearance, but if you start noticing light to dark red flecks in their feces, it can be a sign of a larger problem. 

Blood in cat poop can have many different causes, including everything from stress to a more life-threatening health issue. We’ve created this handy guide to tell you all you need to know about blood in cat poop, from the possible causes to the treatment options available.

Blood in Cat Poop

Bright or Light Red Blood

Blood in your cat’s feces will usually appear as flecks, and the color and amount of these flecks will depend on how much they’re bleeding and where it’s coming from. According to Dr. Justin Molnar DVM, if the blood appears as bright or light red, it usually means that it’s coming from the lower intestinal tract. It could be due to an inflammation of the GI tract, which could also be caused by dietary issues, stress, parasites or constipation

Dark or Black Blood

If the blood is dark red or black and looks like coffee grounds, this is due to the partial digestion by enzymes secreted in the small intestine and is usually an indicator of a problem further up the intestinal tract. 

This could indicate a serious issue such as a blockage.

Blood in Cat Diarrhea

If your cat has loose stools with blood in them, it’s more than likely caused by irritable bowel syndrome which is a condition that affects the sensitivity of your cat’s lower bowels. It can result in your cat needing to relieve itself more often. It may also cause constipation or vomiting. The primary cause of IBS is stress factors within the home, but it can also be brought on by dietary changes. If you’re dealing with blood in cat diarrhea, it’s best to take them to the vet right away, so that they can recommend a treatment plan and rule out any larger problems.

Causes of Blood in Cat Poop

There are numerous causes for blood in cat poop – the most common are as follows:

Diagnosis

If the blood in your cat’s poop appears light or bright red, wait a day or two and see if it passes on its own, as it could be caused by stress or because they’ve eaten something bad. If it doesn’t get better on its own, or if your cat is acting unwell or losing weight, take them to the vet as soon as possible. Also, if it appears dark red to black in color, it will require immediate veterinary attention.

Your vet will give them a check-up and may take samples of their blood, urine and poop to test. It can be a good idea to take a sample of your cat’s poop with you, so your vet can quickly assess it for signs of parasites or harmful bacteria.

Sometimes the vet may perform an endoscopy which is where a small camera is passed through the mouth or anus while your cat is under anesthetic, allowing the lining of the intestine to be thoroughly examined. X-rays may also be used to examine the gastrointestinal tract.

Treatment for Blood in Cat Poop

The first step will be to either remove or help them adjust to any possible stressors, which could be anything from a new animal in the home, to a change in their routine. If the stress is caused by a new animal or person, you can help them by providing them with their own safe place that they can escape to. If it’s due to a different routine, you may need to revert back to your original schedule and then work in the new routine over a period of time to help them slowly adjust to the change.

If the problem is connected to a dietary issue or food intolerance, your vet may suggest changing their food for a while, or may try an elimination diet in order to discover which ingredient in your cat’s food is causing the problem.

When the blood in cat poop is due to parasites or infections, the necessary prescriptions will be given, and it’s essential that the course is continued until the end for the treatment to be successful. When the blood is dark, more serious treatment is usually required and could result in surgery as it might be a blockage.

If you’re concerned about your cat and they seem to be displaying extra symptoms as well as having blood in their poop, be sure to take them to the vet right away. Your vet will be able to perform a thorough examination and can help get your cat back to normal as soon as possible.

For more tips from Purina experts on cat digestion, explore our other cat digestion articles.

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