Do you notice your cat having some accidents or having trouble pooping in the litterbox? Well your furry friend might be struggling with cat diarrhea, which is a highly prevalent and recurring condition in felines as well as canines (dog diarrhea). Diarrhea is not only limited to adult felines but in kittens as well.
Diarrhea occurs when your cat’s stool is no longer firm, loose to the extent that it is already liquid, and irregular in texture, color, and shape. Cat diarrhea is represented by frequent defecation compared to normal litter box routines.
In addition, diarrhea also gives rise to incontinence which makes litter box accidents much more frequent in cats. Diarrhea isn’t the only problem when it comes to soft or gooey stool. In a broader aspect, it is safe to assume that at some point during diarrhea in cats, bloody stools become part of the case.
The fresh blood in the stool may be a sign of an underlying disease or condition. Acute diarrhea stays for more than a few days and is often sudden. On the other hand, chronic diarrhea, which is more likely to have fresh blood in the stool, is prevalent for at least a few weeks and may last months (i.e., become intermittent).
During cat diarrhea, your cat’s bowel movements become irregular and lead to rapid fecal material discharge due to such abnormal movements. Intestines and other digestive organs are ineffective in absorbing the vital nutrients, minerals, and water from the food and stool that passes.
What you should know is that cat diarrhea is not a disease itself. Instead, it is a symptom of many other cat diseases and health conditions. So, to answer the question regarding what is the cause and appropriate treatment for cat diarrhea, check out our guide below.
What Causes Bloody Diarrhea in Cats?
Bloody diarrhea usually appears in the chronic stages of diarrhea in cats. Nonetheless, with the impact of any other underlying medical conditions and disorders, fresh blood in the stool may also appear during acute cat diarrhea. Generally, a cat’s bloody stool points towards an underlying cause that only a professional veterinarian can identify.
During bloody diarrhea, blood quantities and texture might vary in your cat’s stool. It could mean the severity of the conditions or the level of damage the internal organs are experiencing. It is best to get your cat checked when you keep noticing blood in your cat’s poop.
Here are some of the symptoms of bloody diarrhea (chronic progression of diarrhea) other than the bright red blood spots.
- Loose Stools
- Vomiting (could point towards a serious condition)
- Frequent Defecation Accidents
- Mucus-like cat’s stool
- Weight Loss
- Appetite loss
- Increased Thirst
Below are some of the common causes of bloody diarrhea in young kittens and adult cats. These causes may occur in combination and may even be in a chain of sequence (i.e., one leading to another). So, take note of any other signs in your cat stool than those above to help your vet better understand your cat’s condition.
While it is common to feed human food to cats once in a while under care and supervision, it is not likely that cats will always be able to digest and absorb the nutrients from such food the way humans do. In fact, a sudden change in your cat’s diet can be the cause of acute diarrhea (food intolerance, food allergy, sensitive stomach, etc.).
Dietary changes may offer varying beneficial results which impact cat health to a great extent. However, you may change your cat’s diet for various reasons. Whatever you do, consider making a gradual change in the diet, starting with the introduction of new food (or anything else) slowly with the original diet.
Bowel Inflammation (Inflammatory Bowel Disease)
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is one of the main conditions that lead to severe diarrhea. One thing to know is that diarrhea is often associated with a cat’s intestinal tract (gi tract) or stomach inflammation. IBD may encompass a variety of adverse health conditions such as colitis, pancreatitis, enteritis, and gastritis.
Did you know that chronic inflammation of the digestive organs with IBD and chronic diarrhea can lead to life-threatening and damaging health diseases? Therefore, IBD requires prompt diagnosis and the best veterinary care for rapid recovery.
While blood in your cat’s poop is a sign that you may not notice early, working out the best preventative measures with a veterinarian can help to counter any sudden symptoms of such conditions. What’s more, an effective method of supplementing the immune system of your cat is giving beneficial probiotics to your feline.
Ulcers, gastroduodenal disease, or gastroduodenal ulcers are symptomatic of blood in your cat’s diarrhea fecal discharge. While there are many potential causes, bacterial infections and the spread of viral infections are the main culprits behind the occurrence of ulcers that affect the GI tract or stomach in cats.
The main part that ulcers target and reside in is the gastric system. It can lead to vomiting, abdominal pain, bleeding in your cat’s digestive tract, etc.
Ulcer pain and discomfort are highly intolerant and disturbing, especially after consuming spicy or fatty food. For one, you might get time to see more cat stool in your cat’s litter box.
Cats have a habit of garbage diving at every chance, and that’s what makes training a cat a bit more difficult. Nonetheless, it is every pet owner’s responsibility to maintain their feline friend’s health by preventing them from eating garbage food, toxic substances, or ingesting any foreign body (i.e., inedible items).
Such situations can lead to intestinal obstructions causing inefficient digestion and absorption. Moreover, your cat may also suffer from poisoning leading to severe health crises at its end, leading to life-threatening states.
Note, your cat may naturally vomit harmful or foreign body items from its body to prevent digestion or further damage.
Infections (GI Tract Infection)
A viral and bacterial infection in the stomach, small intestine, large intestine, or other digestive organs could lead to your cat’s bloody stools. In simple words, it is a gastrointestinal tract infection that causes abdominal pain, ruptured blood vessels, bloody cat poop, etc.
Besides, infections can also cause kidney disease, liver disease, and other symptoms of severe health conditions.
Parasitical infections are common in young kittens, vulnerable older cats, and cats that spend the majority of their time outdoors. Parasites can lay eggs and incubate within the stomach and intestines of a cat leading to inflammation and damage.
Parasites include tapeworm, hookworm, roundworm, etc. Deworming exercise with your veterinarian’s help can relieve your cat of occasional discomfort.
Did you know that single-cell organisms like protozoa can be dangerous if in large amounts in a cat’s body? While some may not pose any serious effects, others are capable of disrupting the digestive functions by procuring serious illnesses such as diarrhea.
Protozoa infections are harmful to hosts, in this case, cats. Depending on the state of the infection and its type, your vet may be able to figure out the best treatments and medications.
Panleukopenia is a contagious viral condition that commonly occurs due to parvovirus. Although canine parvovirus and canine distemper virus sound similar to feline parvovirus and feline distemper virus, their treatments and medications differ.
In addition, the culprit bacteria that cause such infections are also different in both cases. Panleukopenia is a form of parvovirus infection that kills rapidly growing body cells in the body. Hence, it is valid to assume that bone marrow and intestines are at high risk.
Types of Bloody Stools
Hematochezia (Fresh Blood in the Stool)
Does your cat’s stool look more reddish than before? Are you able to spot out the digested blood quantities in it? After physical examination of your cat’s litter boxes, you may find fresh blood spots indicating the condition known as “hematochezia.” The bright red blood in hematochezia indicates inflammation in the lower tracts of the intestine.
Coagulated, dark blood, dark-brown, or black firm or hard stools are the indicators of inflammation in the intestines and stomach of your feline pet. Most cats with upper intestine infections discharge black blood in their stool.
Bloody Diarrhea: Is it an Emergency?
When a diarrheal condition persists in cats, it leads to the loss of fluids, minerals and decreased absorption of vital nutrients in the body. The important minerals and vitamins that the intestines may fail to absorb efficiently are signs that immediate vet care falls in line.
Only an expert vet might be able to assess the condition, identify potential problems, and prescribe the right treatment for the betterment of your pet. Your vet might also require you to carry a stool sample with you the next time you make a visit.
Subsequently, all such data will allow your vet to formulate the correct treatments and veterinary medicine plans. Here are some of the signs and symptoms of a diarrheal cat that may help a vet better understand its condition.
- Blood in the stool
- Appetite Loss
- Occasional Discomfort (abdomen)
While there are extensive home remedies to help many cats with diarrheal conditions, a visit to the vet is paramount for a speedy recovery. A vet may advise immunosuppressive drugs, conduct diagnostic tests, stool lab tests, x-rays, blood work, etc.
In addition, your vet may also suggest home remedies in the form of a bland diet that your cat may prefer to suppress the revolt inside its stomach.
Treatment for Bloody Diarrhea
For healthy cats, treatment options may include withholding food for the first 24 hours of the symptoms of diarrhea. Withholding food helps in calming down the stomach while letting the other digestive organs settle/calm down.
Following that, your vet may advise you to introduce fasting with the gradual introduction of bland food like white rice, bone broth, lean meat, boiled beef, etc. Fresh drinking water is a must in the case of diarrhea as it causes intense dehydration.
Soluble fibers in bland food may help to formulate firm stool and lead to better digestion in the intestines. Furthermore, you can keep your cat hydrated to allow the electrolyte imbalance to settle and get back on track while the water sufficiency helps in recovery.
Blood in the stool requires adequate attention and proper treatments to counter any chronic progression and alleviate the pain and symptoms. In case of toxic ingestion, medication to counter poisoning or natural vomiting may be helpful.
In other cases like colitis, your vet might suggest ways to improve stress conditions for your cat. While in other conditions like chronic intestine wall inflammation or stomach diseases, your vet may run tests to discover any underlying condition that requires careful treatments.
In the case of parasites and bacterial infections, antidiarrheal medications and probiotics can help support the immune system and carry out digestive functions with ease.
Our Final Thoughts on Bloody Diarrhea in Cats
If your cat is experiencing blood in the stool, it is best to seek veterinary care immediately before you try out any natural remedies. It is the cat’s intestine and stomach at high risk in a condition like bloody stools and diarrhea.
If your cat’s stool is consistent after a few spans of bloody stools, natural home remedies may do the trick, and you may not need to make veterinary visits. However, if the litter tray is full of bloody stool every few hours (or even minutes), then it may be time to run to a veterinarian.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you treat a cat with bloody diarrhea?
Treating a cat with bloody diarrhea in acute cases includes feed a bland diet, disinfecting the blood litter trays, and letting your pet fast when their stomach revolts.
Is bloody diarrhea an emergency?
Blood in your cat’s poop is a matter that raises more than several concerns. For one, fecal blood may be an indication of blood leaking or hemorrhaging in the intestines.
Can worms cause bloody diarrhea in cats?
Worms can inflame and spread viral bacteria throughout the stomach and intestines. This affects the healthy membranes and cells, leading to damage. Hence, blood in diarrhea.
When should I be concerned about bloody diarrhea?
In case of dark blood, black and tarry blood, bright red blood stools, mucus-like blood content, and so on in your cat’s stool requires veterinary attention. More so, blood in the stools may be an indicator of a mild condition but can also prove otherwise.