March 20, 2008

Warning: Particularly Gross Post Ahead

[By Crabby]
(This is just a random cat. Ours was far too humiliated to permit photos).

Seriously, if you don't want to read about my cat's ass, this may be a good day to visit another better blog or website. Go check out Glam's bikini quest, or read Mousearoo's Inspiring Weight Watchers profile, or go see what the Bag Lady is up to today. Check out any of our great commenter's blogs, there's some great stuff going on!

You just don't want to be here today. Particularly if you haven't eaten breakfast yet.

As unsavory as the topic is, I can't even claim to be original in writing about it. There is a much more hilarious post about cats and their anal glands over at 15 Minute Lunch, a consistently funny blog that Cranky Fitness can only envy.

In fact, I owe a great debt to Mr. Virgil. Had I not read his post (and the accompanying educational material about Feline Scooting and What it Can Mean), I would not have recognized the recent butt-scraping behavior of our beloved cat as a medical symptom. I might have thought she was "acting out," or perhaps just being creative because she was bored.

(Would you like purchase photographs of some of her art? "Abstract Browns on An Off-White Wall-to-Wall Carpet, Morning Light Series #4," by Maile Moo, 2008, is still available--at least until the multiple applications of stain remover start to work.)

Alas, it turns out that The Moo (yeah, we call her that, don't ask) wasn't creating art after all. Nor even demonstrating ill humor. True, she was "expressing" herself-- but only in the sense that cats apparently have anal glands that can get clogged up or something gross like that if they don't get properly "expressed." Old cats, in particular, have these self-expression problems.

Good thing I knew from 15 Minute Lunch that upon seeing a cat scoot, one should visit the vet, not the kitty psychiatrist.

I know it's not the cat's fault. So I try to keep any hint of reprimand out of my voice when I see her start to lower her hindquarters toward the floor.

"Maile, no, sweetie, nuh-huh, please don't do that!" I try to say this in a cheerful, non-threatening tone, but with enough emphasis to catch her attention before touch-down. In the meantime, I'm grabbing up handfuls of Kleenex and scurrying rapidly towards the descending animal.

Does your cat have that little sensitive place at the base of her tail? If so, rubbing that spot can often keep the cat from lowering all the way to the floor if you get there fast enough. I don't know why they are powerless to resist this rubbing, but it is a useful trick. If you can get there fast enough with the Kleenex and are up for wiping the cat's hindquarters, that is.

However, one can't possibly anticipate and prevent scooting with any consistency, so we sought professional help to take care of the problem. Unfortunately, after two vet visits and two unpleasant little procedures (for the vet and for the cat--it was no sweat for me!) we still have no guarantee that it's going to go away.

(Curiously, the vet has seen a sudden inexplicable increase in cat anal gland problems. What's that about? What sort of bizarre conspiracy theories can we come up?)

Anyway, our treatment options are, apparently: (1) take the cat to the vet a lot; (2) hope the scooting gets better on its own; (3) opt for surgical anal gland removal; (4) become connoisseurs of Feline Anal Floor Art or (5) learn how to express the cat's anal glands ourselves.

And you know what?

We love that cat--but there is no f*cking way we're going with Number Five.

Gosh, what a fun post to try to comment on! Please do NOT feel obliged to express yourselves on this issue. But if you have any pets or any thoughts on pets and their medical or other needs, feel free to share!


  1. Oh poor Moo! As disgusting as I am sure #5 is for an option, it will be much cheaper in the end. Sorry, unintentional pun. The things we do for our beloved pets though!

  2. You're a braver pet owner than I, Reb! Though I'm sure you're right.

  3. It was interesting and informative.

  4. You might want to opt for the surgery. My cat recently had problems with his urinary tract, and, I don't know any nicer way to say this, but they turned him into a girl to keep him from having almost daily pain urinating. He was almost immediately back to his old self (well, minus the male parts) and now sleeps, eats, and plays even more vigorously than before. Of course, in his case it was potentially life threatening, and I guess it's not the same with the anal glands, but who wants to go through life rubbing her butt on the carpet every few hours?

  5. Maybe this is why I'm afraid of animals...

    Thanks for the shoutout :)

  6. Sheesh, the Bag Lady thought she was scraping the bottom of the barrel the other day with her unpleasant odour post!!

    Poor kitty. Hopefully, the problem will correct itself now that she's "expressed" herself with the vets' help!

    And thanks ever so much for the link to my humble blog!

  7. Thanks leah!

    Anonymous--glad to hear your cat's surgery went well.

    Fortunately, the scooting is a few times a week at most--and we're told to watch out, if it gets more frequent than that it could lead to some sort of icky rupture or something. In that case, it's surgery time as far as we're concerned.

    Marie and Bag lady--
    It's the poor CF readers who will be most grateful for the links elsewhere today!

  8. Euuuuuuuhhhhhhhhh!
    NOT the kind of problem you want kitty to develop when on the verge of a cross country trip! (How cross will this trip be?)

  9. Poor kitty! I would probably go for the surgery, assuming there are no unpleasant side effects?

    And yes, my cats love to have that spot at the base of their tail scratched.

  10. Perhaps you should look into wall-to-wall linoleum in the new house.

  11. holy moley.

    I seriously thought my 140 pound bullmastiff's drool and flatulence sucked.

    duly noted


  12. How little doggy has been doing the same thing lately. I know he's in discomfort but it sure is funny to see him scooting across the floor with a strained looked on his face!

  13. Oh, the anal glands. I have a cat that periodically needs to have that done, although she never leaves marks - she just scoots. The vet charges me $10-$20 for it when I take her in, but it's TOTALLY worth not having to do it myself. Ew. Gross.

  14. Crap - wasn't done.

    At some point, you may need to look into getting her the surgery. If it's chronic, it can cause so many problems (my vet showed me a picture of an abscessed/ruptured anal gland once and.... dude. No.) that she'll probably be much happier sans glands. Whatever you decide to do, good luck and may your carpets remain streak free!

  15. Crabby, that post was beyond hilarious. (I know, I wouldn't be nearly as funny if it were happening to me.)

    Seriously, "Feline Anal Floor Art" made me spit coffee at my monitor.

    Normally, I'm not one to laugh at the misfortune of others, but since you told it in such a funny way and it's so gloomy outside, I'm taking what I can get.

  16. Ugh, I'm sorry Crabby.. what a tough situation. I have an epileptic cat who also has severe (and painful) arthritis of the spine. Other than the pain, she's a very happy cat. There's no cure for either and I basically have to pump her with meds to control both, which sucks.

    If there was a surgery that they could do for her, I think I'd do it It's really hard for anyone else to treat my cat, even my hubby. It makes leaving town for business very difficult..

  17. surely there's a 'Nob's Market' for this sort of thing... train the anally-obsessed feline to 'scoot' on a big white canvas... (pick it up and turn it around occasionally to vary the 'strokes')... then show the works at an upmarket gallery (the sort that handles elephant-dung and monkey-vomit etc).. call it 'Feline Anal Scoot Art' or somesuch. And voila! Instant bloody fortune!

  18. no, but, seriously, i hope your puss gets better...!

  19. I told Karen that if she came anywhere near that part of my body she wouldn't live to talk about it.

    Anyway, I know a couple of cats who've had the procedure and it's worked for them. That anal sac stuff is nasty. I wouldn't want to deal with it.

    -- P

  20. i wonder if dogs have the same problem? i know they have anal glands that need to be expressed, and that most groomers do that when you take them to get groomed, but my dog has been doing the same thing a lot lately, i wonder if that's why.

  21. [groomer raises hand] I have a lot more experience with dog glands than cat glands, but usually in older animals the glands stop expressing themselves naturally in the litter box as the Squeezing Muscles get tired with old age just like all the others.
    I am a groomer; you cannot gross me out. I've had anal juice (Technical Groomer Terminology) in my hair more than once.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  22. To Anonymous the Groomer: I believe you just gave a whole new meaning to the movie/famous pic from "There's Something About Mary (Anne)"

  23. OK, so now you folks have me spitting beverages at the monitor. Too funny. Never thought of her potential career in art as being a money maker! And the Something About Mary (Anne)--hilarious.

    (Note to self: Rule out future career as animal groomer).

    And thanks everyone, I do really appreciate the kind wishes for my cat and her rear end. If it doesn't clear up we probably will end up doing the surgery. We may fool around with her diet too, as the same prescription food she's been eating for years doesn't seem to be agreeing with her lately and may be contributing to her "self-expression" issues. TMI again, I know.

  24. You may have something there with the food. Low fiber diets in DOGS can cause impaction because the stool helps expel the fluid normally, as nature intended (why dogs sniff poop, it tells them all sorts of stuff about who left it).

    Cats and dogs are both carnivores, but we often feed them the soy based CRAP (Science Diet sounds great, huh?) that the vets say is good because the pet food companies that make it from leftover stuff the govt. won't let them sneak into human "food" TEACH them it's "healthy", which is pure BS. Soy isn't good for humans, and definitely should not be fed to pets. Nor should they have grains.

    Dogs are NOT omnivores, as my vet told me with a straight face, when she also said that corn was a great source of nutrition. Corn is notoriously bad for canines. They have the digestive tract of wolves, basically, and domestic cats that of wild cats. So what they need is protein from muscle meat and organ meat, and the closest they get to being omnivores is eating the contents of the stomachs of their prey, and some hair and fur and feathers and bones.

    So maybe do some research (like you have the time NOW, LOL!)at some point for her problem and see what connection diet has.

    And try to get a food made from US only ingredients. Innova makes a pretty good food.

  25. I'm a dog person so I was surprised to find that cats have this problem too. I didn't know that.

    Hope your kitty gets over this.

  26. When our dog "scoots" we all yell out "TOBY!!!"

    If you haven't seen that commercial, then you have no idea why we do that.

    (our dog's name is Sasha)

  27. I'm ready to try a diaper. For my cat, not me.

  28. I used to have two female cats that had gland issues. Luckily for them, they never got to the scooting point. However, if you picked them up and hugged them when the gland was full (and there was never a way to know that).. un-huh just like Mary Anne.. on the hair and/or clothes. Nothing short of an immediate shower and laundry load could get rid of the foul smell. I don't envy you.

  29. My oldest dog has had anal gland issues forever (she's only 6). I had my vet teach me where to push to express them myself (she does it from the INSIDE, but I'm not even considering that shit). I'm not sure I can do it, though. I mean, have you SMELLED what comes out of there? Poo is one thing, but the butt juice is just wretched!

    Hope your kitty's problems end up going away without surgery, but good luck to you, whatever you end up needing to do!


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