Most owners would have a litter box all set up for your cat to safely and privately conduct his or her business without leaving such a mess everywhere around the house. One of the annoying, but important, things that we need to do is to ensure that we regularly replace or clean the litter box to prevent infections from happening to your cat. However, what would you do if you notice that your cat’s fecal matter is different than usual? What if you find that there is a degree of blood in the sample?
That is what this article is all about. Everything there is to know about blood in stools and the implications it can have will be discussed in detail here.
Possible Reasons for Blood in Stool
Blood is an important resource in every living thing’s body. It is the essence that keeps us alive and well. From fighting diseases to prolonging our life, blood should be something that is regularly being produced into our and your cat’s system. However, there are situations in which blood could come out alongside your cat’s stool. There are a variety of reasons as to why that is happening and some are more serious than others.
One of the most common reasons for blood in a cat’s stool is due to constant diarrhea. This simple illness can range from simply uncomfortable to severe in an instant if left unchecked. The illness causes the cat to have an irritation with the lining of their lower gastrointestinal tract. Thus, this could lead to some internal bleeding on the intestines. You may find bloody stools more common on cats whose diarrhea is more on the soft side stool than hard ones.
Another simple but potentially dangerous reason would be due to constipation. This is the complete opposite of the former reason, wherein diarrhea is the constant need to release stool, constipation on the other hand is the lack of stool production regardless of effort. The strain that your cat will attempt could lead to their lower GI tract’s blood vessels to pop or rupture, leading to some form of bleeding. Constipations often produces hard and small stools with blood on the outside due to scratching the sphincter muscles.
These 2 reasons are commonly derived from severe stress, dietary changes, food intolerance, parasites, foreign bodies, infections, bowel disease, genetics, toxin exposure, and a host of other illnesses. One thing to note is that most dehydrations are caused by diarrhea, but dehydration can also cause constipation. In addition, megacolon could cause more chances of constipation on your cat.
Other reasons that could play a factor would be growths like polyps, cysts, and tumors that can all cause some blood to appear on your stool. Most of these feline diseases would cause some gastrointestinal (GI) problems that could damage the tract itself leading to some degree of bleeding. Oftentimes a cat can have a normal stool but still contain some blood.
One important thing to watch for when it comes to your cat’s bloody stools is the color. A dark-colored stool might just seem like a regular dark stool, but it is actually covered in partially or fully digested blood. This tar-colored or coffee ground-colored stool means there is some bleeding that is occurring somewhere within your pet’s GI tract such as their stomach or intestine.
Blood droplets around the litter box do not automatically mean there is blood present on your cat’s stool. Cats can also receive urinary tract infection (UTI) which means the blood can come out via their urine rather than a stool. This is also another thing that should be watched over and consulted by a professional veterinarian should the issue arise.
What Should You Do?
It is generally a good idea to consult your veterinarian if your cat is showing some abnormal bowel movements as of late regardless of whether there is blood on their stool or not. Maintaining a healthy GI is always a better option than treating it when it is already damaged and bleeding.
A feline with a healthy and regular bowel movement may have blood on their stool at least once in their lifetime. In cases such as that, you should closely monitor your cat for the next day or 2 to determine if it is a common occurrence or not. A consistent bloody stool is a sign of an underlying sickness present on your cat’s overall health.
Diarrhea, on the other hand, that lasts for more than a day or 2 should be consulted with your veterinarian whether or not there is blood present. It is always better to prevent any form of injury rather than treating it when it is already in a bad state. Straining or lack of any sort of bowel movement is a clear sign that your cat is suffering from constipation. A quick visit to the veterinary clinic can help determine the cause of constipation and help appease your cat. Your veterinarian may suggest that you use a teaspoon of pumpkin on your cat’s next meal to relieve mild constipation. However, do keep in mind that blood on the stool should be a go-to signal to bring your cat back to the vet for proper medical attention.
Your cat may be subjected to a parasite screening should the situation prove worse than previously expected. A healthy routine of at least once a year is recommended when it comes to parasite screening on cats. Although, a feline with irregular or bloody stools may need more than 1 check-up a year, especially if your cat is the outdoorsy type.
The parasite screening will start with a full-body check-up. Afterward, a stool sample may be required to distinguish any bacteria growth or parasites. In some of the more severe cases, the veterinarian may recommend administering a blood cell, organ function, and urinary tract examination to rule out any other underlying causes and concerns. In addition, an ultrasound may be used to determine any foreign substances lodged in the abdomen alongside an X-ray just in case there is some structural damage preventing the healthy production of stool.
Treatment will vary depending on the underlying cause of the bloody stools. You may receive some GI support medicines and supplement for your cat if the cause is acute or undetermined. A dietary change alongside some probiotics may also be needed to enhance your feline’s health.