While we associate cats with effortless grace and elegance, felines can have health issues. Anybody that has watched a cat rubbing its bottom on the ground (scooting) will realize that this is the case.
If your cat is dragging its bottom on the floor, there will be a medical reason for the behavior. We will look at the different reasons for feline scooting, and how to treat the underlying condition.
- 1 Causes of Scooting in Cats
- 2 Is My Cat Scooting to Mark Their Territory?
- 3 Do Female Cats Scoot More Than Males?
- 4 My Cat is Dragging Their Bum on the Floor after Pooping
- 5 My Cat is Scooting after Being Neutered or Spayed
- 6 My Cat is Scooting and Vomiting
- 7 My Cat is Scooting and Has Diarrhea
- 8 My Cat is Scooting After Deworming
Causes of Scooting in Cats
There are four potential explanations for scooting stand out:
- Worms of other parasites are irritating your cat’s anus
- Itchy skin, particularly around your cat’s bottom
- An allergy that is leaving your cat very uncomfortable
- Swollen anal glands that need to be expressed
Let’s take a look at each of these explanations in more detail.
1) Your Cat is Scooting Due to Worms or Parasites
Worms and intestinal parasites can cause an infuriating itching in your pet’s rear end. They’ll do anything they can to ease this sensation, and scooting is arguably the easiest method.
Some worms set up home in a cat’s intestine. Here are the most common types:
- Roundworms. These are the most common parasitic worm infections in cats. Roundworm infestation often fails to manifest symptoms, so be vigilant about preventative treatments.
- Hookworms. These nasty worms live in your cat’s small intestine. They’re very small, but they can cause fatal anemia.
- Tapeworms. These are what many people associate with as intestinal worms. They can grow up to 24 inches long, and will lead to drastic weight loss.
There are other warning signs that your cat has worms. Alongside scooting, these include:
- Vomiting and diarrhea. Any parasite can upset your cat’s stomach lining. Worms may appear in your cat’s vomit, too.
- Eggs in your cat’s feces. Sometimes, it pays to take a look at your cat’s poop. If it contains white flecks that resemble grains of rice, these are worm eggs.
- Swelling around the abdomen. Worms/parasites cause swelling in your cat’s stomach.
- Coughing. Intestinal worms sometimes migrate. This means that they could reach your pet’s lungs, leading to irritation.
- Exhaustion. If your cat is very tired, they may be shattered from fighting a parasitic infestation. This may also leave your cat too tired to groom, leading to dull and listless fur.
- Change in eating habits. Some parasites leave cats constantly ravenous, but seemingly unable to gain weight. Others will cause pain in your pet’s stomach, leaving them reluctant to eat.
Look out for worms hanging out of your cat’s bottom. If you do happen to notice such a thing, don’t yank them out. There is no way of knowing how long the worm is. It may also have wrapped itself around one of your pet’s internal organs. A vet will dispose of the parasite safely.
2) Your Cat is Scooting Because They Have Itchy Skin
Worms are not the only parasites that will look to attach themselves to your pet. Fleas are just as likely to wreak havoc.
While parasitic worms attack your cat’s interior organs, however, fleas will damage their skin. It’s easy to spot a cat with a flea infection, as they’ll scratch constantly. They’ll also bite and lick at their anus.
As Pet Coach explains, fleas tend to gravitate to the base of a cat’s tail. This is right where the tail connects with the bottom of the spine. This means that your cat’s rear will become very itchy, and they’ll seek relief. As with worms, your pet will scoot their bum along the floor to achieve this.
Fleas can be prevented. It doesn’t matter if you have an indoor cat that rarely ventures out. Fleas are persistent bugs, and they can make their way into the home through various carriers. Even your clothing can attract fleas while outdoors, which will then enter your home.
Pick up a monthly flea treatment for your cat, and ensure that it’s always administered on schedule. If your cat ends up with fleas, they can be treated.
Drops and medicated shampoos will deal with the initial infestation. Fleas can be persistent though, and they’ll potentially lay hundreds of eggs. This means that, unless you completely clean every inch of your home, they will return.
Itchy skin is not always due to a flea infestation. Your cat may be struggling with a hormonal problem, or a hereditary skin disease. If your cat appears to be itching all over, coupled with scooting along the ground, this points to an ongoing skin issue.
3) Your Cat is Scooting Because They Have an Allergy
Of course, allergies are another reason for a cat to experience itchy skin. Dietary allergies are a constant battle, but it could also be an environmental sensitivity.
If you have recently changed your cat’s diet, check the ingredients of their food. If there are a substantial number of grains, this is likely the culprit.
Grain is inflammatory for cats, and that leads to scooting. You should also ensure that your cat eats a wide range of protein. If they eat the same meat every day, this can trigger inflammation.
If you do not believe food to be the issue, look at your cat’s environment. Are any strange new additions to the home? Has it been a while since you clean, triggering a dust allergy? Have you switched any cleaning products?
Something as simple as laundry detergent can cause an allergic reaction if your cat dozes on your clothing. Your pet may even be allergic to plastic. In such an instance, their food and water bowls could be irritating them.
If you suspect that your cat has an allergy, undergo a process of elimination. The good news is that allergy symptoms tend to vanish as quickly as they arrive.
4) Your Cat is Scooting Due to a Problem with Their Anal Glands
Cats sometimes experience trouble with their anal glands. It’s rare, as the problem is more readily associated with dogs, but it does happen.
A cat has two anal glands on their bottom. These are similar to those found on a skunk. They will release strong scents, especially when your cat passes a stool.
As Vet Street explains, however, these glands can become infected or impacted. This usually happens if your cat’s stools are too soft, or they eat a poor diet.
You’ll be able to tell if a cat’s anal glands are impacted or inflamed. Your cat will scoot, but they’ll also lick their backside constantly.
You may also notice that your cat’s bottom is somewhat red and inflamed. This means that your cat needs to have their anal glands expressed, which eases the pressure.
If your cat’s anal glands need to be expressed, it’s best to take them to a vet. This will not be a pleasant procedure, for you of your pet. It is possible to do at home, however. If you’re confident that you can pull this task off, follow these steps:
- Put on a pair of gloves.
- Hold your cat still, facing away from you with clear access to their posterior. You’ll need a second pair of hands to keep the cat in position.
- Shave the area around your cat’s anus, if necessary. Don’t use a razor for this, as the cat is likely to fidget. Pick up a pet fur clipper.
- Find your cat’s anal glands. These are around the size of a pea, and can be found just below the anus. They are typically found in the 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock positions.
- Give the area a clean using an unscented baby wipe.
- Position the glands between your thumb and forefinger. Gently squeeze, pushing upward, until the glands pop.
If you have been successful, the glands will release secretions. Don’t panic if there is a strong aroma at this stage – that’s perfectly normal. Blood or pus, however, is distinctly not regular. Get your cat to a vet in such instances, as their glands are likely infected.
Is My Cat Scooting to Mark Their Territory?
It’s possible that your cat is just scooting to mark their territory. While possible, it’s unlikely.
Feline anal glands contain a strong scent that helps other cats identify your pet. Sometimes, they use these glands to release a very strong-smelling scent. This is a process known as spraying.
Spraying is a way of unmistakably claiming territory, and also warning off other animals. If your cat sprays against a wall, it sends an unmistakable message. Your cat is announcing, in no uncertain terms, that they have claimed the territory for themselves.
This is a very rare behavior in domesticated housecats. It’s more likely to occur among stray and feral cats. These felines will need to very claim and guard their territory. A contented pet, meanwhile, will often settle for rubbing their head or body.
Do Female Cats Scoot More Than Males?
Female cats are no more likely to scoot than males. So, why would a female cat scoot her bottom on the floor more than a male? The obvious answer is that your female cat is in heat.
Heat isn’t the most common reason why your female cat drags her bottom, but it’s possible. If your cat is scooting then presenting her anus, it’s likely that she’s in heat. She will be doing whatever she can to attract a mate. This includes leaving their scent on the floor.
Cats are capable of marking through their anus. That arguably leaves behind the most potent aroma. If a male cat picks up that scent, they’ll be keen to track down your pet.
You won’t need to wait for a cat to start scooting to know if they’re in heat. An array of symptoms, including an increasingly pained and desperate crying, will come first. Being in heat can aggravate existing healthcare concerns, however.
My Cat is Dragging Their Bum on the Floor after Pooping
If your cat is dragging their backside after using the litter tray, inspect their behind. It’s more than likely that they sense a little poop stuck to their fur. They will be trying to remove this.
Overweight and older, arthritic cats are the most likely felines to behave this way. A cat grooming requires a great deal of effort, and they’ll need to be somewhat lithe. If your cat is immobile, they’ll struggle to reach their bottom. Likewise, if they’re overweight, they won’t be able to reach.
Help your cat out in these situations by using unscented baby wipes. Naturally, you’ll have to get this problem resolved. If it’s a matter of bulk, speak to your vet about a diet plan.
If it’s old age, supplements will ease at least some of the burden on their joints. Also, take a look at the length of your cat’s fur. They may appreciate a trim to prevent any feces from becoming trapped.
It’s also possible that your cat needs to have their anal glands expressed. Troublesome elimination can case all manner of inflammation in this area.
My Cat is Scooting after Being Neutered or Spayed
If your pet undergoes one of these intrusive but essential procedures, they’ll know about it. Your poor pet will be in at least some discomfort afterward. This will likely take the form of itching around the wound, where stitches are located. Your cat will then scoot in an attempt at relieving that itching.
Of course, this behavior should not be encouraged. Your cat could easily burst or break something, causing lasting damage. However, your cat will also need some sympathy. They will have a constant itch that they cannot scratch.
The best solution is protective clothing. Speak to your vet about a onesie, or invest in a jumper. Clothing has replaced the Elizabethan cone as the avoidance measure of choice in the 21st Century.
Also, however, you’ll have to restrict your cat’s movement. If they have the free run of the house, they’ll scoot all over the place.
After your cat has been spayed or neutered, it’s best to house them in their crate. This may seem cruel initially, but remember that your cat needs to rest after their procedure. You’ll actually be doing them a favor in the long term.
My Cat is Scooting and Vomiting
This behavior frequently follows a change in a cat’s diet. Their digestive tract is battling to adjust to the new regime. As a result, they will regurgitate the food and suffer from sub-standard fecal elimination. The latter can lead to inflamed anal glands, hence the scooting.
If you haven’t changed your cat’s diet, they seemingly have an issue with their large intestine. This may be something serious, such as a blockage. If your cat’s vomit looks or smells like fecal matter, rush them to a vet. They will need to undergo urgent testing, and potentially surgery.
Check the vomit for any signs of parasites. Sure, it’s not pleasant to examine cat vomit. All the same, you’ll need to know if they have worms. Sometimes a parasite will migrate through your pet’s body, and be exhumed through vomit.
If you do find any traces of a worm, see a vet. You can potentially kill any existing parasites with a worming tablet. If further eggs have been laid inside your pet’s body, however, they may require prescription medication.
My Cat is Scooting and Has Diarrhea
In this instance, check your cat’s hindquarters. It’s possible that your cat’s anal glands are agitated, and need to be expressed. However, it’s equally like that your cat is experiencing an intestinal issue.
Your vet will likely want to see a stool sample, first of all. A lot can be told about a cat’s health from their poop. This will be an issue if your cat has diarrhea, however. Your pet will likely need to stay overnight, so your vet can get the answers they need.
Of course, your cat’s old nemesis intestinal parasites could also be to blame. Worms in your cat’s gut can cause stomach upsets, and lead to scooting. Check for all the signs of a parasitic infestation, and use a worming tablet if necessary.
My Cat is Scooting After Deworming
Surely, a pet that has taken the appropriate medication should not scoot? Well, you need to remember that deworming kills worms. It doesn’t dissolve them.
It’s possible that your cat is purging themselves of the last traces of these parasites. Often, worms only become visible once they are dead.
What’s more likely is that your cat’s scooting has no relevance to parasites at all. Do their anal glands need to be expressed? Is your cat experiencing an allergic reaction, or living with a skin condition? Are they being dominant and territorial?
Scooting may look quite amusing, but it’s no laughing matter for your pet. They will likely be in some discomfort. It’s not normal behavior, even if your cat is ‘just’ claiming territory.
Using their anal glands to do this is not typical feline marking. There will be a reason for your cat’s actions, and it’s potentially medical.
Be vigilant about any warning signs of itchy skin, or allergies. Monitor your cat’s stools to ensure they’re healthy., and don’t skimp on the deworming treatments.