My Cat Has Bloody Mucus

CatChannel veterinary expert Arnold Plotnick, DVM, discusses colitis and some ways of treating it.

By Arnold Plotnick, DVM | Posted: April 17, 2009, 3 a.m. EDT

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Q: I recently rescued a 7-year-old male cat. Since I've had him I have noticed bloody mucus around my house. I checked his litterbox and saw some in his stool and some droplets outside his litterbox. I've taken him to a vet and he didn't have any parasites, but he is FIV-positive. He was dewormed by my vet. After still finding the bloody mucus, my vet suggested changing his diet to a more high-fiber food. I changed food very gradually so as not to upset his stomach. I've been feeding him this new food exclusively for about a month and am now once again finding the bloody mucus. Do you know what could be wrong with him? Thank you so much for your help.

A: When cats bleed from their stomach or small intestine, the blood gets digested, turning the stool a dark black color, like tar. When cats bleed from their colon (large intestine), it is past the point where digestion occurs, and the blood comes out looking red, like blood. It sounds to me like this blood is coming from your cat’s colon. Also, the colon is lined by cells that produce mucus. When the colon is irritated, the cells produce excessive mucus. Based on the presence of bloody mucus, I suspect that your cat has colitis. There are several causes of feline colitis, such as intestinal parasites, infection with giardia (a protozoan parasite), inflammatory bowel disease, and stress colitis, to name a few. Deworming your cat and switching to a high-fiber food is definitely the proper approach, and most cats respond to treatment. FIV puts cats at increased risk for infection, and infectious causes of colitis would have to be high on the list. I would consider testing the feces for giardia. Overgrowth of large intestinal bacterial is also a possibility. Metronidazole is an antibiotic that is particularly effective at treating both giardia and intestinal bacterial overgrowth. You should ask your vet about this. Your cat might need an occasional short course of this antibiotic when the colitis flares up. 

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Reader Comments

Nicole    San Pedro, CA

1/9/2014 4:49:28 PM

we've had our cat for 5 1/2yrs, I found he had a bloody mucus in his stool. We I looked it up it said it has to do with his kidneys and there is not much a vet can do. The solution was to give the cat wet food, apparently the cat needs water but in a substance not just by drinking water. I notice its better and stops with wet food. But it can be hard to keep up if you have multiple cats and you have to watch the piggy cat in the house.

Susan    Johnstown, NY

3/23/2012 4:42:37 PM

Thank you so much you have given me a logical, to the point answer to my question. This I can deal with and get treated. I had imagined all the worst case scenarios.

Melissa    Manitowoc, WI

9/18/2010 4:05:40 PM

My cat has the same problem but no fiv. She hashadtheendoscopy think it was called done ad colon was enflamed. Ste wend on metronidzole i think it was called for 10 days but also has to take steroids for the rest of her life to help it. She has to go back on te antibiotic if it flares up and eat natures touch venison and pea food. I'm ashamed to say it but I haven't kept up with any of the medicine because it's so hard to catchher ad is traumati zed every time I give her some meds. I've had her for 9 years and to this day am the only perso she comes by. y husband and I have been together 5 years and he still only gets a quick occasionaltouch of her fur. Most people don't even know Ihave a third cat because she hides all day waiting for me to be alone so she cn soak up all the love all at once! I somehow believe that this may have been caused by stress buy will probably never know.

bob    rochester, NY

7/31/2010 6:43:42 AM

Lots of great advice! We just found a little bloody mucus in a litter box shared by three cats. now we know what to look for. Thank you.

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