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The essentials

  • Never ignore blood in your cat’s stool — Blood can be linked to a series of health problems and should be evaluated by a veterinarian.
  • Different types of bloody poop may indicate different problems — Bright red blood can be a sign of colon inflammation, whereas dark tar-like blood can be an indication that a cat is bleeding internally or has a stomach ulcer.
  • Blood in your cat’s stool can mean a visit to the emergency vet — If you notice blood in addition to symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, pain, or pale gums get your cat to a vet immediately.

Blood in your cat’s poop is not normal, and while there are many potential causes, blood should prompt a visit to your veterinarian immediately. Blood in your cat’s poo typically indicates some kind of inflammation, but it can also mean a bacterial infection or a problem with their anal glands.

If you discover bloody poop in your litter box, a trip to the vet is warranted.

What does blood in a cat’s poop look like?

Depending on the reason for blood in your cat’s poop and where in the body it’s coming from, blood in a cat’s poop can have a variety of different appearances.

Common causes of bloody stools in cats

There’s no one cause of bloody cat poop. It can occur because of everything from constipation and diarrhea to internal bleeding. Extreme stress could also be a cause, as could an infected anal gland. 

If you notice something red in your cat’s stool, they could be experiencing any of the following:

  • Diarrhea. Frequent loose bowel movements can cause ulcers or wounds in the intestinal tract, creating a bright red, bloody stool.
  • Constipation. An accumulation of hardened fecal matter in the colon can lead to constipation and excessive straining to pass stool, which can cause bleeding. 
  • Polyps or tumors. Although infrequent, rectal polyps can develop in cats. They’re usually benign and don’t spread, but they tend to bleed easily. Rectal tumors, which can also be a source of blood, are more serious and can indicate lymphatic cancer. 
  • Gastrointestinal parasites. Parasites (such as hookworms, roundworms, or tapeworms) are a common problem in cats, affecting 25-75% of cats . Parasites will often cause dark and tar-like blood.
  • Urinary tract infection. The blood you see in the litter box may actually be from your cat’s urine, in which case a UTI is probable. UTIs are a common problem in cats and should be diagnosed and treated by a professional.
  • Gastrointestinal illness. GI illnesses, such as pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, or colitis , can cause there to be blood in your cat’s stool. Blood tests run by a veterinarian are necessary to arrive at a diagnosis.
  • Ingestion of a toxic substance. Poison can be a source of blood, especially if you know your cat had access to or was around toxic substances such as rodenticides .

🚨If you suspect a toxin to be the case, contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 immediately.

When is blood in your cat’s stool serious?

Spotting blood in your cat’s poop can be jarring. Start with assessing your cat to determine if it’s an emergency. If you notice any of the additional symptoms, call a veterinarian to schedule an immediate appointment:

  • Excess blood in the stool
  • Pale, blue, or deep red gums
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Severe diarrhea
  • Pain
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy

Diagnosing and treating blood in a cat’s poop

Vets usually start diagnosis by asking you a series of questions about your cat’s health such as age, health history, injuries, your cat’s lifestyle, and questions about the bloody poop itself. 

After a physical examination, vets may conduct fecal testing, a complete blood cell count, a blood chemistry panel, urinalyses, specialized laboratory tests, X-rays, an ultrasound exam, endoscopy, surgery, or tissue biopsies.

How a vet treats a cat with blood in its stool depends on the cause. Some cats may benefit from a probiotic. Others may need to undergo food testing to determine if they have an allergy. If a tumor or underlying condition is causing their GI issues, your vet will help determine your cat’s long-term treatment plan, which could involve surgery.

While blood in your cat’s poop is certainly something to be worried about, the reasons can be many and varied, and some of the causes of bloody feces in cats can’t be prevented. 

For some cats, switching to a high-fiber diet might be effective. It’s also important to keep up with routine parasite screenings , which are typically performed at your cat’s annual wellness checkup.

Frequently asked questions

Why does my cat’s poop have blood in it?

There are various reasons why you may spot blood in your cat’s poop. It could be the result of constipation, diarrhea, or a more serious problem like colitis or poison ingestion. If you see blood in your cat’s litter box, take them to the vet immediately.

Should I be worried if there’s blood in my cat’s feces?

Blood in your cat’s poop is never a good sign. Although the underlying cause is often treatable, it’s best to err on the side of caution and seek veterinary attention as soon as possible.

What should I do if my cat has blood in their poop?

If your cat’s poop has blood in it, get them to the veterinarian where an exam, testing, and blood work can be done to determine what’s causing the issue.

Can stress cause bloody stools in cats?

Stress caused by big changes such as a move or other environmental changes can cause intestinal upset in a cat. In severe cases, this can lead to bloody stool.

Is blood in a cat’s stool an emergency?

Yes, especially if it’s bloody diarrhea. The presence of blood in your cat’s stool should be considered an emergency that warrants medical attention, especially when paired with other symptoms such as lethargy, vomiting, or lack of appetite.