Why Does My Cat Have Blood in Her Stool?

CatChannel and CAT FANCY cat veterinary expert Arnold Plotnick, DVM, shares information on whether a cat has colitis.

By Arnold Plotnick, DVM | Posted: September 30, 2011, 3 a.m. EDT

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Q: My 14-year-old female shorthaired domestic cat lives strictly indoors. When she defecates, there’s a bit of blood at the end, a drop of blood afterwards. Her appetite is good and she seems to be her normal self. Earlier this summer, I brought a sample of her stool to the vet to have it analyzed and it came back normal. Why is she still having the bit of blood at the end of defecation?

A: When cats bleed from their stomach or small intestine, the blood gets digested. This turns the stool a dark, tar-like color. When cats bleed from their colon (large intestine), it is beyond the point where digestion occurs, so the blood comes out looking red, like blood. Because you’re seeing red blood, I believe it is coming from your cat’s colon. Your cat might have colitis.  

Feline colitis has several causes, such as intestinal parasites, infection with giardia (a protozoan parasite), inflammatory bowel disease and stress colitis, to name a few. A 14-year-old indoor cat is unlikely to have intestinal parasites. The negative fecal test confirms that. I would make sure, however, that the fecal test also included analysis for giardia, as this protozoan can sometimes flare up and cause intermittent colitis and blood in the stool.

Try switching your cat’s diet to a high-fiber food. Your cat’s veterinarian can recommend a prescription diet designed for feline colitis. You may also want to try a short course of a colitis medication such as metronidazole and see if your cat responds.

My main concern is that your cat is 14 years old. Senior cats are at increased risk for cancer. Colorectal cancer is uncommon in cats, however, a tumor or growth in the colon or rectum has to be on the list of possibilities. If your cat doesn’t respond to symptomatic therapy — diet change and medication — you may need to have further diagnostics performed, such as a rectal exam, or colonoscopy, to determine the origin of the blood.
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Reader Comments

April Max-Martin    International

7/29/2014 9:20:50 AM

Thanks for the information.

CatChannel Editor    Irvine, CA

12/5/2013 3:01:18 PM

Darlene -- You should, as we advise, keep your cats indoors. It keeps them safe from predators, people and fellow cats that could carry disease. If you want to know exactly what's happening with this neighborhood cat, talk to your vet and see if he/she would like to test a stool sample.

Darlene    Provo, UT

11/25/2013 8:00:36 AM

We have a female cat that was abandoned from her owner she is about 9 years old. we have noticed she has very smelly bloody feces. I do not want my cats to be in danger.She roams the neighborhood and is around all the other cats.

Lynn    Wilkes Barre, PA

2/7/2013 5:58:15 PM

Our 15 year old female cat, was having trouble defacating for a few days back in October. We took her to the vet and she was diagnosed with colon cancer, such a shock to us because we thought she was constipated!!! Our options were to put her to sleep right then and there, or take her home and feed her messy meals. We decided on taking her home and trying the messy meals. She is experiencing no pain, still eats alot, and drinks as she should. She has trouble going to the bathroom til this day, but is no distress. Every so often, she does experience vomiting as well but still exhibits no signs of suffering. I'm happy that she was here to spend another Christmas with us, and she will be turning 16 in April. Also, the vet already told us that Surgery is out of the question because of her age and weight.

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