Making sure that your cat stays healthy is one of your biggest responsibilities as a pet owner. In the event that your cat becomes unwell, your responsibility extends to seeking the appropriate treatment for your cat. Knowing whether your cat is healthy or not requires you to notice any changes to their body, behavior, routine, and bodily functions. One part of the body that is very revealing about your cat’s health is your cat’s butt. Here is an overview of what your cat’s butt tells you about its health.
What to Look for in Relation to Your Cat’s Butt
Your cat’s butt is probably part of its body that you pay very little attention to but some general observations of their butt and their behavior can sometimes let you know that something is wrong. Some of the problems to look for include:
- Excessive licking
- External feces
Blocked Anal Glands
Cats have glands just inside the anal opening called anal glands. These create a scent that is individual to each cat, says Vet Street. This scent coats the poop and is used for marking. The glands are stimulated by the pressure of the feces moving through the rectum. Unfortunately, the pressure is sometimes not right to release this scent. This is usually when the poop is too soft or too hard. The glands continue to produce the scent, even if it is not secreted. This leads to the glands becoming swollen and uncomfortable. In most cases, there are no external signs that your cat has blocked and swollen anal glands because all the swelling is within the anus. However, there are some signs that you should watch for that could indicate your cat is suffering from swollen anal glands.
First, you might notice them scooting. This is an action when animals put their bottom on the floor and drag it along using their front legs. Second, you might notice that your cat is excessively licking their butt. If your cat is displaying these symptoms, book an appointment with the vet to get the cat checked out. In most cases, the vet will manually empty the cat’s anal glands. This is not something that you should attempt yourself.
Another common problem is parasites, with worms being the worst offenders. If your cat has worms, you may see them wiggling in your cat’s poop or hanging out from their butt. By the time worms are hanging out of their butt, the problem is already advanced. Generally, worms are easy to treat, and you can get some worming medications over-the-counter from pet stores. If these do not resolve the issue, then you should take your cat to the veterinarian who can prescribe the best treatment for your cat.
It is worth noting that if you see something hanging out of your cat’s butt, it is not necessarily a worm infection. Your cat may have eaten something that is not digestible that is now making its way out of its digestive tract. If that is the case, then it is important that your cat visits the veterinarian to get it checked out. They may need to do an x-ray to make sure there is nothing left inside the cat, even if you believe that the item has made its way out naturally.
Dingleberries is a strange word, and it is one that you may have heard of before if you are a first-time cat owner. This word is the common terminology used to describe pseudocoprostasis, which simply means cat poop that has got caught up in the hair around your cat’s butt, says Petful. This is something that is particularly problematic for long-haired cats. The most common cause of dingleberries is the cat’s poop being too soft, such as when it has diarrhea. The poop then sticks to the fur around the cat’s butt and then dries to form hard lumps of poop that are hanging from your cat’s butt. There are two steps to take to avoid this situation. The first is to treat the cause of diarrhea, which may mean a trip to the vet to diagnose the problem. The second way to resolve the issue is to keep the area around your cat’s butt trimmed. If the hair around their butt is short, it reduces the likelihood of dingleberries forming.
Should You Wipe Your Cat’s Butt?
If you are worried about your cat’s butt health, then you may ask yourself whether you should wipe their butt or not. According to Catster, this is usually unnecessary as cats are generally great at taking care of their own butt health. However, there are some circumstances in which you might consider giving them a helping hand, including:
- Arthritic cats- Cats suffering from arthritic conditions can sometimes have trouble maintaining their own hygiene routines due to limited movement.
- Overweight cats- Similarly, cats that are overweight can have restricted movement and may need a little help.
- Soft poop- If your cat’s poop is softer than usual, it is possible that they might not get all of it and the poop can get stuck in the fur around their butt. You might then need to offer some assistance.
The Final Verdict
As unpleasant as it is, your cat’s butt is a part of the body to which you should pay attention as it can indicate a variety of problems with your cat’s health. Two of the most common problems are parasites and blocked anal glands. These are both issues that are easily resolved with a trip to the vet. For some cats, dingleberries are also an issue. Most problems relating to the butt are treatable, and a cat can generally take care of their own butt hygiene. However, there are occasions when you may need to offer some help by wiping away soft poop or keeping your cat’s butt hair trimmed.