All cats have ’em. However, feline “buttological” problems are uncommon. Here are some common questions that you were probably too afraid to ask:
Why does my cat scoot
his rear across the floor?
There are many potential reasons for
this behavior. Of course, there’s the
simple one: Something (and we all
know what that something is) has gotten stuck on the cat’s butt or on the
fur immediately surrounding it, and
the cat is scooting to try to get it off.
Another reason might be pruritus.
That’s the fancy medical term for itchiness. A cat’s anus is comprised of skin,
and some cats with skin allergies have
itchy skin, including the skin back there.
They may try to relieve the itchiness
by aggressively licking, but overweight
or arthritic cats might not be flexible
enough to posture themselves properly,
so they scoot to scratch the area.
Another possible reason is tape-
worms. You might discover that your cat
has tapeworms by noticing tapeworm
segments clinging to the fur around the
cat’s rear end. Or, you might have had
the distinct displeasure of seeing a tape-
worm segment actually wriggle out of
your cat’s … balcony door. A few cats will
feel the segments wriggling around back
there and will scoot because it itches.
And finally, some cats will scoot
because their anal glands are full.
Which leads me to the next question …
Do cats need their
anal glands expressed?
Like dogs, cats have anal glands. If you
think of your cat’s anus as a clock (stay
with me here), the anal glands are located just inside the anus at the 4 and 8
o’clock positions. They are similar to the
scent glands of a skunk; however, they’re
smaller and don’t serve much purpose
anymore — except to gross out cat
owners. Did you ever startle your cat
and soon afterward detect a nasty, kind
of fishy smell? Those are the anal glands
in action. As a cats-only vet, I’ve been
“glanded” many times in the exam room.
It’s a unique occupational hazard.
When a cat defecates, the stool
passing through the rectum will put
a little pressure on the anal glands,
causing them to express their contents, which pass out along with the
THE VET IS IN
MInD & bODY
By guest columnist arnold plotnick, d.v.m.
Therearesome rearendissues thatcanbe serious
continued on page 68
Dr. Arnold Plotnick is the
founder of Manhattan Cat
Specialists, a feline-exclu-
sive veterinary practice on
Manhattan’s upper west
side. He is also an author
of The Original Cat Fancy Cat Bible. Dr.
Plotnick is a frequent contributor to feline
publications and websites, including his
own blog, Cat Man Do. He lives in new
York City with his cats, Mittens and Glitter.