Mucus in the stool of cats is a natural lubricant within or surrounding feces that assists with the passage of waste through the digestive system.
• A small amount of mucus in stool is common in cats, while large amounts are not
• Mucus in stool has a variety of causes
• There is not much variation in severity, although mucus accompanied by other symptoms may indicate a more severe underlying condition
• Diagnosis may involve a number of physical exams
• Treatment varies depending on the underlying condition
A small amount of mucus in stool is not unusual for cats, as it is integral to the process of defecation.
It is uncommon to have recognizably larger amounts of mucus in stool, such as feces covered in a film of mucus, especially repeated occurrences over a period of time. Such symptoms may be a sign of a range of conditions, from intestinal parasites to colitis (inflammation of the colon) to more serious conditions such as intestinal cancer.
Common causes of mucus in stool are generally related to conditions that involve bowel inflammation, including:
• Tumors and polyps • Constipation • Colitis • Enteritis
• Intestinal parasites (e.g. roundworm, giardia, tapeworm)
• Dietary indiscretion or change in diet
• Bacterial infections • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
• Cancer • Stress • Food allergies
• Acute hemorrhagic diarrhea syndrome (AHDS)
A difference in the severity of mucus in stool does not indicate the severity of the cause, though where the mucus is found may suggest certain conditions. A lower bowel condition like colitis may present with a thin film of mucus covering the stool, as opposed to mucus throughout. The presence of mucus in the stool accompanied by other symptoms may indicate a more serious disease process.
Elderly cats, kittens, and cats with pre-existing conditions have a higher potential for serious illnesses. In these cases in particular, a large amount of mucus in the stool over a few days is enough reason for a veterinary appointment. Vomiting, bloody stool, collapse, lethargy, and abdominal pain accompanying mucus in the stool may also be a sign that veterinary care is necessary regardless of the age or previous health of the cat.
Exams diagnosing mucus in the stool include:
• Physical exams
• Rectal exam
• Fecal analysis
Potential underlying conditions causing mucus in the stool can be identified by:
• Diagnostic imaging (such as abdominal x-rays and ultrasound)
After diagnosis, treatment depends on the underlying cause and can include:
• Diet changes
• Stress relief
• Anti-nausea medication
• Fluid therapy
• Immunosuppressive medications
• Chemotherapy and radiation (if cancer)
Mature tapeworms can resemble mucus in the stool, but their presence is generally discernible upon close inspection.
Mucus in the stool can sometimes be accompanied by:
• Loss of appetite
• Abdominal discomfort
Health concern with your pet?
Start a video chat with a licensed veterinary professional right now on Vetster!