My cat has bloody stool - what's wrong?

First of all, don't panic. Blood in a cat's stool is a sign of something wrong, but it is fairly common as a disease symptom even for minor diseases. It's also called hematochezia.

   

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If the blood is bright red, your cat could have the following issues:

1) It could just be a problem with the feces itself. Sometimes when it's too hard or dry, it can cause minor tears and injuries to the cat's anus coming out. This is a common problem and can be fixed by changing your cat's diet. Wet food can be a good solution to this if your cat will eat it. If not, ask your vet about a dietary supplement or changing brands of cat food.

2) Sometimes cats get this because of intestinal parasites. Tapeworms and roundworms are common causes. Usually, though, you will see segments of the worms or the worms themselves in the stool - it won't just be blood. Another parasite to watch out for is hookworms. In that case, the blood usually looks dried up by the time it passes.

3) Bacterial infections. Get your vet to test for this - e. coli is a good example of something like this.

4) Mice and rat poison can cause this sometimes, but it usually has other symptoms associated with it such as depression and generally acting sick.

5) Cancers and other major diseases can cause this as a symptom if they do damage to the intestines. You will usually see other symptoms, though.

6) Sometimes it's just nothing - general irritation or just a problem the cat has that's not really caused by anything in particular.

Because it could potentially be serious, it's recommended that you take the cat in for testing.

If the blood looks dark, dry, and generally not fresh, then it is usually a problem with the small intestines caused by viral infection.

What if I have multiple cats and I don't know which cat it came from?

This can be a problem for a lot of owners - they find something wrong in the poop, but which cat is sick? You can take them all into the vet, if you can afford it. But then, it still might not be obvious what the problem is and it might be something only tests can reveal. Watch your pet's behavior. If there is one acting particularly sick, feed them and isolate them in different rooms with different litterboxes after they eat. If you don't have a regular feeding schedule, give them wet food as a treat or pick up the food dishes and don't give them anything but water for about 4-5 hours or so. They'll usually be hungry by then. Then you've just got to wait for the cats to have a bowel movement.

Sources and Useful Links:

http://www.petplace.com/cats/hematochezia-blood-in-stool-in-cats/page1.aspx

http://www.feednfarm.com/CatBloodyStools.html

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