It’s a scary moment: You go to clean out your cat’s litter box and notice spots of red or black in their stool. What does it mean? Is everything OK? And most importantly, is this an emergency situation? Here’s what you should know about finding bloody stool in cats’ litter boxes.
If your cat has blood in their stool but it’s the first time you’ve seen it and they’re acting fine otherwise, you do not need to take them to the vet. Give it a couple days. If the problem persists and their behavior changes, then yes — that calls for a vet visit.
Bloody stool in cats can be caused from the simplest of things to more serious diseases. Here are some of the conditions that can lead to bloody stool in cats:
With the exception of stress, which you can work on at home to lower, everything on the list requires a visit to the vet if your cat has been exhibiting symptoms for more than a few days.
Bloody stool in cats can appear in many different forms. The most common are bright red, dark and tarry, or mixed in with diarrhea. Bright red blood can come from damage in the lower digestive tract. The color shows that it hasn’t really been processed much by the body before coming out. Dark and tarry blood can show upper digestive tract damage; the darkness shows that it’s been partially digested. Bloody diarrhea is different from bloody stool. It’s not well-formed and can often be indicative of a larger problem, like ulcers or panleukopenia.
If your cat’s bloody stool doesn’t resolve in a couple days, you’ll need to get a fecal sample and take them to the vet. The vet will test the stool to determine the root cause, and then treat the underlying issue, like colitis or food allergies, that led to the bloody stool in the first place.
Typically, if there’s a larger problem causing the bloody stool, you’ll see symptoms of the root cause of your cat’s bloody stool, such as auto-immune disorders, digestive tract wounds, or cancer. These symptoms include the following.
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