Cat With Bloody Mucus

A bout with an upper respiratory infection makes you appreciate the beauty of a healthy cat nose.
A bout with an upper respiratory infection makes you appreciate the beauty of a healthy cat nose. (Image: DmitriMaruta/iStock/Getty Images)

Bloody mucus in a cat signals various conditions, and can come out of either end of the feline. A bloody, mucousy nasal discharge most often means the cat has an upper respiratory infection, while blood and mucus in the feces can indicate parasites, bacterial infection or colon inflammation. If you notice bloody mucus coming from anywhere on your pet, call your vet. If feces are involved, bring a stool sample.

Upper Respiratory Infection

If your cat has an upper respiratory infection, you'll notice mucus coming out of his nose and possibly an eye discharge. The nasal discharge is generally yellow, tinged with red blood -- indicating freshness -- or older, brownish blood. Severely affected cats often lose their appetite. Various bacterial or viral infections can cause upper respiratory problems. If your pet is vaccinated against feline herpesvirus or calicivirus, he's less likely to come down with upper respiratory infections causes by those germs, but the vaccines don't provide 100 percent immunity. Bacteria including Bordetella, Chlamydophila felis and mycoplasma are often responsible for upper respiratory infections. Your vet will take a sample of the discharge and culture it to find the culprit. If it's bacterial, she can prescribe antibiotics. For viral infections, treatment generally is supportive care and supplements such as lysine that aid immune function.

Nose Cancer

Although rare, bloody mucous emanating from the nose can be a sign of nose cancer. Formally known as chondrosarcoma, other symptoms include breathing difficulties, sneezing, coughing, excess tear production, bad breath, appetite and weight loss and seizures. Your vet might conduct magnetic resonance imaging of the nasal area, along with X-rays of the entire body to see if the cancer has spread. She must take a nasal biopsy to definitively diagnose cancer. The prognosis for this type of rapidly metastasizing tumor isn't good, but your cat might be treated with radiation or chemotherapy. In most cases, surgery isn't advisable because of the tumor's location.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

It's normal for a cat's feces to contain some mucus. It's not normal for feces to contain large amounts of mucus and blood. Your cat could suffer from inflammatory bowel disease, or large colon inflammation. His colon's intestinal walls thicken, so his bowel no longer absorbs or moves its contents properly. Other IBD symptoms include vomiting. Making a definite diagnose requires putting your cat under anesthesia and retrieving tissue for a biopsy. Treatment includes dietary changes and the use of anti-inflammatory medications.

Colitis in Cats

If you spot blood and mucus in Kitty's loose feces, you're possibly dealing with colitis. The episode might be brief, and resolve quickly, or become chronic over several weeks. Other symptoms include frequent defecation, often with straining. Colitis lasting more than a short time can result in weight loss. The cause of colitis includes dietary allergens, colon cancer, viral or bacterial infection, trauma, pancreatitis and a reaction to antibiotics. Your vet will test fecal, blood and urine samples, as well as X-rays, to determine the cause. Treatment depends on the diagnosis. Your vet might recommend relatively simple, noninvasive treatments such as dietary changes or anti-inflammatories to see if symptoms resolve. If not, further diagnostics, such as a colonoscopy, may be necessary.

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