Bloody poop is one of the most common causes of panic with pet owners and it’s easy to understand why. Somewhere inside your cat is a wound that is bleeding out.
Your mind starts racing, wondering what could have caused it. You go back and forth pondering if you should play it safe and rush to the vet, or if it would be possible to let it blow over on its own.
Here we list some things you can look out for to get to an informed decision quickly, for the sake of your cat and your peace of mind.
What Does Bloody Poop Mean?
Blood indicates a tear in the mucosa: melena is black and tarry poop that indicates a problem with the small intestines upwards, while hematochezia points to problems farther down and nearer the tail.
There are many different reasons behind bloody cat poop. It could be because your cat ate something she shouldn’t have, or because there is something living inside her that shouldn’t be living there. It may be caused by a sudden change in diet or present as a side-effect of medication you give your cat. It could be anything from hormonal imbalances to tumor growth. Veterinary professionals are best equipped to find out what’s wrong with your cat and treat it, but the first responder is you.
As your feline buddy’s owner (some might argue, “slave”) you have the responsibility to recognize when bloody stool is serious or when it’s not.
Here are some vital things to look out for to determine if bloody stool warrants a visit to the vet.
Change In Poop Consistency
The good thing about always having to clean your cat’s litter box is that you know how her poop usually is: its color, its shape, size, texture…heck, even its smell. And if you think it’s useless and slightly gross information, you’re wrong (about the “useless” part anyway).
Poop is an easy way to know if your cat is healthy or not. Feline feces is usually firm and solid, shaped like a log, and range from light to dark brown depending on her diet. Having a little fur stuck on it is normal given that cats groom themselves with their tongues. If your cat uses the potty 1-3 times a day, she falls within the usual pooping frequency of her species.
Altered consistency and stool size point to absorption issues. Whether it’s liquidy diarrhea or dry and hard constipation, it means your cat is not getting what she needs to remain healthy. It may lead to weakness, dehydration, and nutritional deficits that can have detrimental effects on your cat in the long term. These stressful conditions make your feline buddy more vulnerable to attacks from infectious agents.
Change In Behavior
Cats are pretty good at hiding if they’re sick or in pain. They’re wired to put on a brave face because failing to do so will make them look like easy prey. It’s a good tactic for surviving in the wild, it’s not at all helpful when cats live with humans who need to know what they’re feeling to be able to help them out.
So even if your cat’s bowels are bleeding, chances are, she’ll look pretty normal up until the time it’s too late to do anything about it.
Luckily, researchers in feline medicine have made advances in helping cat owners figure out when their feline friends are oh-so-subtly calling out for help. These 25 subtle behaviors are usually seen in the early to middle stages of the disease. Cat owners should learn to recognize these signs so they can seek treatment before their pet’s condition gets any worse.
While this list of behaviors has been compiled by experts in feline medicine and psychology, it’s worth considering the opinion of an expert in your particular cat’s health and psychology: you. You know your cat best. You know her daily routine, the spots she hangs out at, the toys she likes, the food she gobbles up. If you see that she’s suddenly not climbing that shelf anymore, or if she somehow forgot to pee in the litter box she’s been using for years, then you know something’s up.
A streak of tarry black or bright red in your cat’s poop is worrying, but you may wait for the next poop session to see if it occurs again. However, if there is more black or red than brown, it’s a sign of hemorrhage. If this happens suddenly and without any preceding changes in behavior or stool appearance, it is likely a case of trauma to the gastrointestinal tract. This is an emergency situation and you should take your cat to the vet immediately.
Bloody poop is a symptom of a large number of different conditions. Some can be resolved without treatment, others will take time before they significantly affect your cat’s health, and yet others can pose an immediate threat to your cat’s life.
If you notice your cat poop has a streak or two of blood but with no changes in texture or no difference in behavior, then you may wait and see what happens.
But if bloody stool is accompanied by one or more of the symptoms mentioned above, take it as your cue to bring your cat the vet straight away.