5 Things Your Cat’s Butt Can Tell You About Their Health

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Cute kitten butt

Your cat’s butt is probably an area you don’t pay much attention to, or generally tend to avoid! But this part of your cat’s body can tell you a lot about their health. Our feline family members can’t tell us how they’re feeling, so we must use other ways of spotting problems.

Key Takeaways

A cat’s butt can tell you a lot about their health, and changes can be a symptom of a number of health problems.

Parasites are one of the most common problems we can spot by looking closer at our cat’s butt and poop.

Pain around the back end or a dirty butt could be a sign that your cat is struggling to groom properly.

Paying close attention to your cat’s poop and their butt might help you to pick up early signs that something isn’t right and can help diagnose underlying health problems faster. So, what exactly can we learn from our cat’s back end?

5 Things You Can Learn From Your Cat’s Butt

1. The Presence Of Parasites

Serval cat butt

With certain types of intestinal parasites, you might see small worms clinging to the outside of your cat’s butt.

Internal parasite infections occur when a parasite enters a cat’s digestive system and takes up residence in the gut. Worms are extremely common in cats, and there are lots of different worms that they can catch.

Worms make their way into a cat’s gut when they eat mice or rodents that contain worms. But they can also catch worms from the feces containing worm eggs, or from fleas. Worms are more common in crowded environments where there are lots of cats.

You might notice worms in your cat’s poop, or sometimes notice a worm hanging from their anus! But we don’t always see worms, or even know our cats have them. Other symptoms are watery or bloody feces, vomiting, a bloated belly, increased appetite, and weight loss.

If you think your cat might have worms, it’s important to speak to your vet and get a suitable deworming product as soon as possible. You should use a regular parasite control product to prevent your cat from catching worms.

Also Read: 5 Best Cat Dewormers

2. Blocked Anal Glands

Checkup and treatment of kitten

If your cat is scooting their butt on the floor or licking it excessively, they might have anal gland issues.

The anal glands are tiny sacs that sit at 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock positions just inside a cat’s anus. They contain a smelly fluid secretion that is used for scent-marking territory, and naturally empty themselves when your cat poops.

We don’t fully understand why anal glands become blocked, but it’s a common problem. It seems to be more common in overweight cats, cats with narrow anal gland openings, and following a bout of diarrhea. The glands become blocked when they don’t empty naturally, so they fill up and become large and uncomfortable. In some cases, the glands can then become infected.

Scooting is the most common symptom of blocked anal glands, but you might also notice your cat licking excessively, appearing uncomfortable when sitting, or having a distinctive fishy smell.

Blocked anal glands need to be emptied by a veterinarian, and in cases where there is an infection or the glands are very swollen, antibiotics and painkillers are needed. Some cats need their anal glands emptied regularly.

Also Read: How To Clean A Cat’s Butt In 6 Simple Steps

3. Diarrhea

cat diarrhea

Cats suffering from ongoing diarrhea often have telltale remnants left on their read ends.

Diarrhea is a very general term for loose, watery stools. And it can be caused by a huge range of health problems, so you can often tell a lot about your cat’s health from their poop.

Diarrhea can be caused by:

Diarrhea can be mild and is often self-limiting, but it can become an ongoing problem for some cats and make them feel very unwell. In severe cases, they can become dehydrated and require treatment in the hospital with IV fluids. Many cases of diarrhea are resolved with bland food such as plain chicken or white fish, probiotics, and binders such as kaolin.

If your cat has diarrhea, either acute or ongoing, you should always get them checked by their usual vet. The vet might want you to collect a feces sample to check for parasites and bacteria, and sometimes ultrasound imaging or blood tests are needed to check for underlying medical conditions.

Also Read: The 9 Best Cat Foods For Diarrhea

4. Dingleberries

cat walking in the garden

If you notice dingleberries, remove them and find out what you need to do to keep them from coming back.

It’s a strange word, and you’re probably asking what a dingleberry is. It’s a common slang word to describe small pieces of poop that get stuck in your cat’s fur around their butt. This is often a problem in long-haired cats, as their poop can stick to their fur and form hard dry lumps of poop. But it can also happen if your cat has an upset tummy, or if they are struggling to groom.

Long-haired cats should be groomed regularly to keep their coat clean and free of mats. Some people choose to trim the fur around their cat’s butt to help keep it clean. You should use a brush to groom your cat regularly, and you can trim out dirty fur or dingleberries. You should only ever wash your cat with pet shampoo. You can also use pet wipes for small cleanups, but don’t use human wipes or other human products to clean your cat.

If your cat is struggling to groom, it could be a sign that there’s another problem. As cats get older, they can develop arthritis, which means twisting and bending to clean themselves can become challenging and even painful. Arthritic cats struggle to clean their butt, so a dirty butt in an older cat might be a signal to get your cat checked by their vet as they might need pain relief medication or joint supplements. Cats that are very overweight can also struggle to groom certain areas.

Also Read: How To Get Poop Out Of Cat Fur

5. Pain

Domestic Long Hair Cat

Painful absences caused by a bit on the butt are common injuries sustained by the the losing party in a catfight.

The area around your cat’s butt is very sensitive as it has many nerves. This means that any injury to your cat’s back end will be very painful for them. They might feel uncomfortable because of blocked anal glands, or if they have an upset tummy. But they can also be in pain if they have injured themselves.

When cats fight, they will often get bitten by their opponent. The cat that does the biting will often bite the other cat on its butt as they try to run away. Cats have a lot of bacteria in their mouth, so a bite from another cat will easily become infected causing a cat bite abscess—a pocket of infection around the bite. This can form a large swelling that is filled with nasty pus and is very painful.

If a cat is in pain around their butt, they will often not let you stroke or touch that area or cry out if you do, and might seem reluctant to sit down. Other injuries to a cat’s back end such as tail injuries, arthritis, and back pain can cause similar symptoms.

If you think your cat is in pain or has any wounds you should always get them checked by a vet as soon as possible to get pain relief and suitable treatment. Cat bite abscesses often require thorough cleaning under sedation, and antibiotics to treat the infection.

Also Read: How To Clean A Cat Wound: Step By Step Guide

What To Look Out For Around Your Cat’s Butt

cat scooting

Healthy cats generally keep their butts very clean, so if you notice something unusual, it’s worth investigating.

You probably don’t want to pay too much attention to your cat’s rear end, but as we’ve learned, you can get a lot of useful information about your cat’s health from their butt. A few things to look out for that might indicate a problem around your cat’s butt are:

  • Excessive licking
  • Scooting
  • Feces around the anus or fur
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Itching
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation

If you think something isn’t right either with your cat’s butt or their poop, it’s important to speak to your usual veterinarian and get your cat checked over.

Also Read: Why Do Cats Raise Their Butts When You Pet Them?

Final Thoughts

We can learn a lot about our cat’s health by paying close attention to their butt. Poop can tell you a lot about how your cat’s body is functioning and their health, so next time you empty the litter box it might be worth a closer look.

Changes in poop can be a symptom of a range of health problems. Excessive licking or scooting might signal a problem with their anal glands. It’s important to get your cat checked by a vet if you think they are in pain or struggling to groom themself properly.

Also Read: My Cat Doesn’t Finish Pooping In Litter Box: Is This Normal?

Frequently Asked Questions

What are dingleberries?

Dingleberries are hard and dried lumps of poop that get stuck in your cat’s fur around their butt. It’s common in long-haired cats, if cats have an upset tummy, or if they are struggling to groom.

Should I wipe my cat’s butt?

Cats are very clean and spend a lot of time grooming themselves. Some cats might struggle to groom if they are overweight or have arthritis, so they might need help. You can brush their fur or trim their fur short around their back end to keep it clean. Never wipe your cat’s butt with any human products such as baby wipes, only use shampoos and wipes designed for pets.

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About Dr. Holly Anne Hills BVMEDSCI MRCVS

Holly has worked as a small animal vet in several clinics across the UK and has taken short breaks to volunteer in India and the Caribbean working with street dogs. Her interests are in surgery, caring for geriatric patients, and client education. She writes behavior and nutrition articles for Cats.com.