5 Gross But Common Cat Butt Problems

5 gross but common cat butt problemsIn the interest of happy litter boxes everywhere, we asked Dr. Jean Hofve, holistic veterinarian, author and founder of the site, Little Big Cat, to talk to me about cat butts. We know, it’s a riveting topic (but you’re still reading, aren’t you?)

Here’s the thing: Your cat’s butt health is a great indicator of his overall health and well-being. And, these two things can impact your cat’s litter box habits, so it behooves you to know more about this topic for many reasons.

Here are some things Dr. Hofve tells us are common issues cat owners – and their beloved felines – face.

1. My Cat Has Poop Clinging to His Butt Fur
You may have come across little pieces of poop clinging to your cat’s “pants” now and then. These “dingleberries” happen if your cat’s poop is especially soft or he’s suffering from diarrhea. If he does have runny poop, take him to the vet to get checked out!

The easiest way to keep poop from clinging to your cat’s derriere hair is to keep that area trimmed. Obviously, this is a very delicate procedure that requires a steady  hand! Try a small pair of scissors specifically made for pet grooming. Or, take your cat to the groomer for a “sanitary trim” which helps reduce instances of poopy pants.

By the way, we have heard that some long haired cats don’t like the feel of their fur dragging in the litter so they decide to do their biz outside the box somewhere. Try trimming the fur in that area and seeing if that helps. It’s worth a shot!

2. Do I Need to Wipe My Cat’s Butt?
Technically, your cat should be able to keep himself clean down there, says Dr. Hofve. However, she adds, there are situations when your cat may need some help.

Overweight cats – If your cat is carrying around some extra poundage, it might be hard for him to reach aaaalllll the way around his chubby belly and back to his nether regions to clean up, explains Dr. Hofve.

Cats with arthritis – If your senior cat has arthritis, it might be hard for him to bend that far to get to his derriere.

Soft poop – As we mentioned above, if your cat has soft poop or diarrhea, pieces might cling to his fur. Your cat should be able to clean himself but he may need an assist from you.

You can use fragrance-free, sensitive wipes specifically made for pets (don’t use human baby wipes as they can be irritating to a cat’s skin). Warm water on a soft washcloth is also a great cleaning tool, advises Dr. Hofve.

3. Ewww, My Cat is Dragging His Butt on The Floor
“The scoot” strikes dread in many a cat (and dog) parents’ heart. Not only does it mean some nasty clean up but it’s also an indication something is amiss – from diarrhea to worms, to swollen anal glands to even allergies. If there are poop colored skid marks on your floor, take your cat to the vet.

4. OMG What the Heck Are Cat Anal Glands?
This one makes us gag but what’s a loving cat owner to do? Grin and bear it.  If your cat is scooting or excessively licking his bottom he might have swollen anal glands.

Dr. Hofve explains that the anal glands are located on either side of the cat’s anal opening and secrete an important marking scent that coats the cat’s poop when it comes out. A typical bowel movement coming through the poop chute puts just enough pressure on the glands to release the scent. But if a poop is too hard or too soft, it won’t create the right amount of pressure to initiate the release of the secretion. That can cause a back up and swelling of the glands, which – oh boy – must be uncomfortable.

Dr. Hofve says you probably won’t be able to see the glands because they swell inside your cat’s rectum, not on the outside. So if your cat’s scooting or uber-licking, have him checked out. Your vet can manually “express” (empty) them. Dr. Hofve says don’t try to do it yourself as it can be quite messy – and smelly.  We couldn’t agree more.

5. There Are Things Wiggling Around in My Cat’s Poop
Here’s another vomity topic:  if you see little things wiggling and hanging out of your cat’s butt hole or in his poop, he probably has worms. Get that kitty to the vet ASAP. If you can see the worms, they’re likely in the advanced stages.

Dr. Hofve adds that anything weird hanging out of your cat’s bottom is cause for concern – and a vet visit, fast.  Sometimes cats ingest string or other similar items. Even if it’s come out in his poop, there still may be pieces left in his intestines. Take him to the vet to get checked out.

We all know that being owned by a cat also means we have to deal with some icky stuff (as well as many, many wonderful things!)

If you’re worried or anything is odd with your cat’s butt or poop, get him to the vet.  Don’t mess around with issues of the nether regions.  Okay, now, back to your lunch!


  1. My male cat is eight yrs old, and has ALWAYS ALWAYS used the litter box for pee and poop since he was six weeks old, but since he turned five he started pooping on the carpet. A trip to the vet revealed very very full anal glands. Once expressed, he took his business back to the box. This lasted for a while, but then back to the carpet he went. There are times I would yell and scold him, but eventually take him back to get glands emptied. Now that doesn’t even work. I live in a “rental” house, so I need some expert advice like yesterday.
    He licks down there ALOT, and I’m thinking he is trying to make something feel better, and I want to help, but can’t if I don’t know what’s wrong.
    I have him on a stool softener in case his poop was hard and it hurt to go. We don’t have the best Vets around here. What if this is behavioral? How can I tell?
    Thank you to any and all who took time to read this. Please help me with some suggestions.

  2. My poor cat is a little chubby, and we just got done treating her for worms. (Over the counter AND the ppm drugs from the vet) The problem is that she still has poop just leaking out of her bottom, not diarrhea, like random balls of pop falling out. She also keeps yowling and meowing really loudly like she wants all the attention on the planet right now….but she’s fixed so she can’t be in heat. I don’t know….I can’t quite afford to take her back to the vet right now, but hoping someone can help me.

    • Your cat may actually be in heat. I had the same thing happen to my cat. She too was fixed. I took her back to the vet who did the surgery, and basically I was called an idiot (NO longer use that vet!). Took her to a vet, that specializes in farm animals. And honest to Abe, the 1st vet DIDN’T REMOVE the entire ovary! I suggest go to different vet. My cat is now, quiet (except when hungry), happy and PLUMP! And I too, couldn’t be happier!

  3. I have no idea if my cat has one of these problems or something worse but hopefully I can get some kind of answer.

    For the last few months my cat, named Sasha who’s age I have no idea of considering she’s a rescue, has been bloated around the middle ( not fat, bloated ) but it comes and goes. She’s also been leaving yellow, milkish stains on everything. She’s irritable as all hell, hissing and hissing and hissing whenever anyone even moves within five feet of her. And the final symptom? A lot of ‘down there’ licking.

    I originally thought worms, those things just happen after all, so we, the family, gave her a round of worm treatment and she got better for a good two, two and a half months but then it came back and here we are. Any ideas?

  4. I have another butt issue. When my cat goes poop, she somehow manages to get litter up her butt. I’ve tried kitty crystals and arm n hammer clumping which is like sand and both kinds go up her butt. She has a bladder infection and her anal gland were blocked so in wondering if the litter is causing this. What other types of litter can I try?

  5. Our cat started scooting after she went potty and poopie, so we took her to the vet. He cleaned her anal gland and gave her a sanitary cut. She is still scooting.
    We are at a loss of what to do next. She is an indoor cat. The odd thing is, she used to leave what I called pellets (things that looked like light brown watermelon seeds) at times around the house. They kind of smelled like poopie but slightly stronger. She has since stopped that and that’s when she started scooting. Not sure if that has anything to do with it. Thanks for you time.

  6. This is brilliant! Made me laugh out loud. I have a ‘Scooty’ cat which is freaking me right out! Off to the vets we go then…..

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