Feline Rectal Bleeding

Mychelle Blake
cat licking himself

When a cat is bleeding from the rectum, it can frighten owners who first notice it. There could be any number of causes from an anal sac infection (usually treated with antibiotics) to something more serious.

Rectal Bleeding in Cats

One incident with only a small amount of blood could be from something as simple as straining when going to the bathroom. However, a significant amount of blood can indicate a problem. Cat owners should take the cat to the vet as soon as possible.

  • Try to collect a fecal sample to take as well even if you must take it prior to the actual appointment.
  • The vet can test for worms or other problems from this sample.
  • Most common issues can be easily treated with medication, but it is usually best not to delay in taking the cat to the vet.

Anal Sac Disease

If your cat begins to bleed from his rectum when he passes a stool, he may be suffering from anal sac disease. This happens when the anal sacs become impacted which can lead to infection and abscesses. A cat will experience pain when defecating which can cause bleeding.

  • If you notice your cat scooting his rear on the floor, straining to defecate or going outside his litter box, and over grooming or biting his anus, take him to the vet who will want to do a digital exam of the rectum to check for any polyps or tumors.
  • The vet can empty the anal sacs and he may also give antibiotics if they have become infected. Cats that are prone to anal sac impactions do well on a high-fiber diet. If the problem keeps occurring, your veterinarian may recommend surgically removing the anal sacs.

Growths on the Rectum and Anus

Two types of growths that can form in the rectal and anal regions are polyps and tumors. Polyps are growth that form on the rectum and anus. They are not malignant, but they can cause the cat pain and make it difficult to defecate which leads to bleeding. Your veterinarian can surgically remove them to relieve the cat's discomfort. Another type of growth found on a cat's anus or rectum is a cancerous tumor. These must be surgically removed and depending on the severity, your vet may also prescribe chemotherapy.

Constipation

A constipated cat is one that can't properly defecate because his feces has become hard.

  • You will notice your cat using the box to defecate less than normal and straining when he tries to.
  • Constipation is due to several causes which can include parasites, impacted anal sacs or some type of foreign body or growth in the anus or rectum.
  • It also is a symptom of colitis and disorders of the digestive tract.
  • For mild cases, your vet will prescribe a higher fiber diet with some supplements. He may also give you stool softeners to help your cat pass the feces.
  • Olive oil can also be a useful addition to their diet.
vet with constipated cat

Parasites

Hookworms, tapeworms and protozoan parasites can lead to a cat bleeding from the anus. A sign of a parasitic infestation is tarry, dark stools that may have blood on them, as well as on the anus.

  • Your vet will need to examine a stool sample to diagnose parasites and will prescribe medications such as Drontal, Profender, Interceptor or Revolution to remove the parasites.
  • Parasites can become a serious problem and affect a cat's immune system leading to worse diseases so do not delay in bringing your cat to a veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.

Physical Trauma

Any trauma to the anus will cause bleeding to occur.

  • If something is inserted into the rectum, such as a thermometer by your vet, some bleeding can happen.
  • Foreign objects from the inside can also cause problems, such as if your cat ate something hard such as bones and the edges are causing trauma in the colon and rectum.
  • Your veterinarian will examine the area and may use a colonoscopy to determine the cause. If it's a foreign object, they will perform surgery to remove it.
  • Another type of trauma is bite wounds which can be caused by the cat attempting to ease their discomfort brought on by other conditions such as constipation, polyps, and parasites.

Rectal and Anal Prolapse

This disorder is caused by layers of the cat's rectum moving into the anus. If the rectum is protruding only into other parts of the rectum, it is called rectal prolapse. If it moves further into the anus, this is anal prolapse.

  • Any cat can get rectal prolapse, but it affects Manx cats the most.
  • Common causes for prolapse are disorders of the digestive, urinary or genital systems, as well as constipation and tumors.
  • Your veterinarian will use x-rays or ultrasounds to diagnose the condition as well as a biopsy of the protruding tissue.
  • The vet will also massage the protruding tissue with lubricants to bring down the swelling and may suture the loose areas back into their proper place.
  • If the prolapse is due to an underlying condition, they will initiate treatment for that as well, but they generally will work on the prolapse first to relieve the cat's pain. They may also prescribe pain medication.

Perianal Fistula

This is a disease that affects the area around the cat's anus where open, ulcerated sores form.

  • Perianal fistula is very painful and you will notice your cat straining to defecate.
  • Another sign to look out for is your cat licking its anus constantly.
  • The disease can be caused by an immune response in cats and your veterinarian will prescribe medications such as tacrolimus, cyclosporine or corticosteroids. They may also give you an antibiotic ointment or one combining corticosteroids and antibiotics.
  • Other causes for prolapse can be any number of conditions affecting the anus and rectum.
perianal fistula

Rectal Strictures

A stricture is a constriction due to some type of inflammation, injury, fungal infection or cancerous tumors. Because the cat's rectum is constricted, it becomes more painful for them to defecate.

  • Signs will include diarrhea, constipation, and blood on the anus and on their stool.
  • Your veterinarian will use x-rays and a colonoscopy to diagnose your cat.
  • The strictures treatment will first involve making your cat more comfortable which can be done with an enema or stool softeners as well as pain medication and corticosteroids.
  • If the cause is an infection or parasites, medication will be prescribed to control that condition. More serious conditions such as cancer will need chemotherapy and possible surgery.
  • Your veterinarian may also decide to open the rectal area up with a procedure involving inserting a "balloon" into the rectum and using it to open up the stricture.

Curing Feline Rectal Breeding

While it's probably upsetting for a cat owner when they see signs of blood on their cat's anus, the treatments are generally successful in mild-to-moderate cases. Because this is indicative of pain for your cat, it's important to get to a vet right away to diagnose his condition and get him some relief for his discomfort.

Feline Rectal Bleeding