Rectal Prolapse in Cats: A Detailed Guide What Causes Rectal Prolapse In Cats and How to Treat It?

Rectal Prolapse in Cats: A Detailed Guide

Rectal prolapse is a very uncommon but potentially dangerous disorder in cats that develops when a portion of the rectum becomes inverted and protrudes through the anus. Learn more about this condition in this article.

Rectal prolapse is a relatively uncommon but potentially serious condition in cats that occurs when part of the rectum becomes inverted and protrudes from the anus. This condition can cause discomfort and pain for the affected cat and can also lead to further complications if left untreated. 

In this article, we will explore the causes, symptoms, and treatments for rectal prolapse in cats, as well as tips for preventing this condition from occurring.

Can Cats Get Hemorrhoids?

Rectal prolapse in cats can come on from a variety of underlying factors. Some of the known causes include:

  • Constipation: Rectal prolapse can result from straining during feces, which can weaken the rectal muscles. Chronic constipation can also cause this.

  • Diarrhea: Prolonged diarrhea can cause inflammation and damage to the rectal tissues, leading to cat hemorrhoids.

  • Odd anatomy: Some cats may have unnatural anatomy that predisposes them to rectal prolapse. For instance, individuals can have weak rectal muscles or an elongated rectus.

  • Trauma: Cats that have had abdominal or pelvic trauma, such as through a fall or a car accident, may be more susceptible to undergoing rectal prolapse.

  • Parasites: Parasites, such as roundworms, can cause rectal prolapse by irritating and inflaming the rectal tissues.

  • Intestinal tumors: Tumors in the rectum or colon can lead to rectal prolapse.

Regardless of the cause, it is important for cat owners to seek veterinary care if they suspect their cat may be suffering from rectal prolapse.


Some of the signs include:

  • Protrusion of the rectum: The most obvious symptom of rectal prolapse is something sticking out of the cat's bum. The prolapsed tissue may appear red, swollen, and irritated.

  • Straining during defecation: Cats with rectal prolapse may strain during defecation, which can cause further irritation and damage to the rectal tissues.

  • Blood in the stool: With a red thing sticking out of the cat, blood in the stool is a common symptom of rectal prolapse, as the protruding rectal tissue can become irritated and bleed.

  • Diarrhea: Diarrhea may occur in some cats that have rectal prolapse, which can make the situation worse.

  • Loss of appetite: Cats with rectal prolapse may lose their appetite due to discomfort or pain during defecation.

  • Lethargy: Cats with rectal prolapse may become lethargic and have decreased energy levels.


Rectal prolapse in cats is normally diagnosed by a physical examination and assessment of the patient's medical history by a veterinarian. The following procedures may be carried out by your veterinarian in order to determine rectal prolapse:

  • Physical inspection: Your veterinarian will check your pet physically for any indications of rectal prolapses, such as the protrusion of rectal tissue from the anus.

  • Review of medical history: Your cat's symptoms, recent medical history, and any underlying illnesses that might be causing the rectal prolapse will all be discussed with your veterinarian.

  • Radiographs: In some cases, veterinarians may recommend radiographs (x-rays) to get pictures of cat hemorrhoids, assess the structure of your cat’s pelvis, and rule out any other conditions that could be causing similar symptoms.

  • Rectal examination: Your veterinarian may perform a rectal examination to evaluate the extent of the rectal prolapse and to look for any other underlying issues.

  • Laboratory tests: In some cases, your veterinarian may recommend laboratory tests, such as a complete blood count (CBC) or a serum biochemistry profile, to help assess your cat's overall health and to rule out any underlying conditions.

If your cat is diagnosed with rectal prolapse, your veterinarian will work with you to develop a treatment plan that is appropriate for your cat's individual needs.

Treatment Options

The treatment options for rectal prolapse kittens or adult cats will depend on the severity of the condition and the underlying cause. Some of the most common treatment options include:

  • Manual reduction: In some cases, the rectal prolapse can be manually reduced back into place by a veterinarian. This is typically performed under general anesthesia and may need to be repeated if the prolapse recurs.

  • Medications: Anti-inflammatory medications and/or pain relief medications may be prescribed to help reduce inflammation and relieve discomfort associated with rectal prolapse.

  • Surgery: In cases where manual reduction is not effective or if there is a risk of further complications, surgery may be necessary to correct the rectal prolapse. This may involve repairing any damaged rectal tissues and strengthening the rectal muscles to prevent a recurrence.

  • Lifestyle changes: Changes to your cat's diet and lifestyle, such as increasing fiber intake or providing more opportunities for physical activity, may help to prevent constipation and reduce the risk of rectal prolapse.

  • Parasite control: In cases where parasites are contributing to the rectal prolapse, your veterinarian may prescribe flea sprays and oral medications to eliminate the parasites and prevent a recurrence of the condition.

How to Prevent Feline Rectal Prolapse

Some tips for preventing feline rectal prolapse include:

  • Provide a healthy diet: Feeding your cat a balanced diet that includes appropriate amounts of fiber can help prevent constipation, which is a common contributing factor to rectal prolapse.

  • Encourage exercise: Regular physical activity can help to maintain healthy bowel function and prevent constipation.

  • Address any underlying medical conditions: If your cat has any underlying medical conditions that could contribute to rectal prolapses, such as parasites or colitis, it is important to have them treated promptly by a veterinarian.

  • Avoid harsh laxatives: These might irritate the tissues in the rectal area more and raise the chance of rectal prolapse. Before utilizing any over-the-counter medicines, it is crucial to consult your veterinarian if your cat is having trouble passing feces.

  • Watch for signs of straining during defecation: If you notice that your cat is straining during defecation, it is important to have them examined by a veterinarian, as this can be a sign of rectal prolapse or other underlying conditions.

By following these tips and working closely with your veterinarian, you can help reduce the risk of rectal prolapse in your cat and ensure its entire health and well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you treat rectal prolapse in cats? 

Treatment for rectal prolapse in cats, where the rectum protrudes through the anal opening, involves various methods depending on the severity and underlying causes. It may include manual reduction of the prolapsed rectal tissue, applying purse-string sutures, or, in severe cases, rectal resection. Veterinary medicine also employs additional treatments, such as stool softeners or warm water baths, to aid in prolapse repair and recovery.

Will rectal prolapse heal itself? 

Rectal prolapse, where the rectal mucosa protrudes through the anal opening, may resolve on its own in mild cases, especially if the underlying issue, such as parasitic infestation or chronic straining during bowel movements, is addressed promptly. However, more severe cases often require veterinary intervention and additional treatment.

How serious is rectal prolapse? 

Rectal prolapse, where the rectum and anus are involved, can lead to serious complications such as fecal incontinence, infection, inflammation, and tissue death if left untreated. Therefore, it should be taken seriously, and a complete physical examination, including blood work, is crucial to assess the extent of the prolapse and identify any underlying issues.

How do vets treat rectal prolapse? 

Vets typically conduct a thorough physical examination, including a rectal exam, to assess the extent of the prolapse, which may involve one or more layers of tissue protruding through the anal opening. Treatment may include manual reduction, applying purse-string sutures, or, in severe cases, surgical removal of the prolapsed tissue or rectal resection.

Is rectal prolapse reversible? 

Rectal prolapse in older cats, especially those with a history of persistent straining, may be reversible in mild cases where the prolapsed tissue retracts on its own. However, intervention like surgery may be necessary to correct the prolapse and prevent recurrence. The recovery period after treatment involves monitoring for swelling, infection, or other complications, and additional treatment may be required to address underlying issues such as urinary stones or foreign bodies.

Was this article helpful?