Blood In Stool

You can learn a lot about your cat’s health from their stool. Whether you’ve just adopted your first kitten or you’ve shared your home with cats for years, watch for a few key signs when you scoop out the litter box.

Cat Poop: What’s Normal?

Most cats will poop at least once a day. If they’re healthy, their stool should:

  • Be deep brown in colour
  • Feel not too hard or too soft or mushy
  • Not smell too foul, although some odour is normal.

Diarrhea

Diarrhea is not uncommon in cats, and there are a number of reasons why your cat might have this. Sometimes, it comes and goes quickly. Other times, it can last for days, weeks, or months, or reoccur on a regular basis.

Diarrhea that lasts for 24 to 48 hours is probably not of concern, unless you have an older cat or a kitten. But if it lasts longer, your cat can become dehydrated, which can be dangerous.

Some common causes of cat diarrhea include:

  • Changes to their diet or food allergies or intolerances
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Colitis
  • Worms (intestinal parasites)
  • Pancreatic disease
  • Cancer
  • Hyperthyroidism

If your cat has diarrhea that lasts more than a day or two, see your vet to determine the cause. Call your vet right away if the diarrhea is black or bloody, or if it happens along with fever, vomiting, sluggishness, or a loss of appetite.

The treatment your cat will need depends on what is causing their diarrhea. Some will need prescription medications, such as metronidazole or prednisolone, to control inflammation. Your vet may recommend a special diet if they think a food allergy or intolerance, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), or colitis is the problem. For some cats, a deworming medication or probiotics may also be needed.

To prevent diarrhea, don’t give your cat dairy products like milk or yogurt as many cats can’t digest these properly. If you switch the brand or type of food you give the cat, introduce it over several days by mixing it with smaller and smaller amounts of the old food until they are eating only the new food.

Constipation

When a cat is constipated, it will strain a lot when it tries to poop or it won’t be able to produce anything for the litter box. There is no need to be concerned if it only happens sometimes. However, if it happens more frequently for your pet, you should contact your vet.

Cats can become constipated for a number of reasons, including:

  • Over-grooming, which leads to extra hair in the digestive tract
  • Kidney problems
  • Feline megacolon — when the colon becomes very large and the muscles no longer squeeze, leading to hard, dry stool build-up inside
  • Something blocking the colon, such as string or bones
  • Diets that don’t contain enough fibre
  • Problems inside the colon, such as tumours or narrow places
  • Spine problems or pain

To ease your cat’s constipation, your vet may suggest that you give them more fibre, for example by adding canned pumpkin to their regular food. Or they might tell you to change to food that is easier for your pet to digest. HAirball medications might also help.

It also helps to make sure they have more exercise and drink more water so that waste will move through their system more readily.

You should talk to your vet about any poop problems your cat may have, but this chart may help you to figure out what may be causing them:

Symptom

Appearance

Frequency

Possible causes

Constipation

Small, hard, dry poop

Less than once a day

Dehydration, megacolon, dietary issues

Constipation

Small, hard, dry poop that has a lot of hair

Less than once a day

Hairballs, over-grooming

Constipation

Thin, ribbon-like poop

Less than once a day

Colon problems, like a tumour

Diarrhea

Black, tarry, runny poop

It varies

Stomach or intestinal bleeding. Call the vet right away

Diarrhea

Smelly, pudding-like poop

2-3 times daily

Food intolerances, inflammatory bowel disease

Diarrhea

Gooey poop filled with mucus

It varies

Too little fibre; colitis

Diarrhea

Can vary – sometimes soft, frothy, greasy poop with mucus and/or blood

It varies

Parasites