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 scooting, he likely has worms or other parasites. He could also be easing the symptoms of an itchy skin condition or allergy. Sometimes your cat needs his anal glands expressed.
If your cat is dragging his 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 it can be effectively treated.
- 1 Causes of Scooting in Cats
- 2 Is My Cat Scooting to Mark Territory?
- 3 Do Female Cats Scoot More Than Males?
- 4 Cat Dragging 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
Causes of Scooting in Cats
There are four reasons why cats scoot on their bottoms:
- 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 uncomfortable
- Swollen anal glands that need to be expressed
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1) Worms or Parasites
Worms and intestinal parasites can cause itchiness in your pet’s rear end. he’ll do anything that he can to ease this sensation, and scooting is the easiest method. Some worms set up home in a cat’s intestines. Here are the most common types of worms in cats:
- Roundworms. These are the most common parasitic worm infections in cats. Roundworm may now have symptoms, so be vigilant about giving your pet preventative treatments.
- Hookworms. They live in your cat’s small intestine. They’re small, but can cause fatal anemia.
- Tapeworms. These are what many people associate with the term as ‘intestinal worms.’ They can grow up to 24 inches long, and will lead to dramatic weight loss in cats.
There are other warning signs that your cat has worms. Alongside scooting, these include:
- Vomiting and diarrhea. Any type of parasite can upset your cat’s stomach lining. Worms may also appear in your cat’s vomit.
- 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, and could reach your pet’s lungs.
- Exhaustion. If your cat is very tired, it may be because he’s 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 him reluctant to eat.
Look out for worms hanging out of your cat’s bottom. If you notice any, don’t just pull them out. There is no way of knowing how long the worm is. It may also have wrapped itself around one of your cat’s internal organs. A vet will be able to remove the parasite safely.
2) Itchy Skin
While parasitic worms attack your cat’s interior organs, fleas will damage his skin/fur. It’s easy to identify a cat with fleas as he’ll scratch away constantly. He’ll also bite and lick at his anus.
Fleas prefer the base of a cat’s tail. This is where his tail connects to the bottom of the spine. This means that your cat’s rear will become very itchy, so he’ll seek relief. As with worms, your pet will scoot on his bum along the floor to reduce his discomfort.
It doesn’t matter if you have an indoor cat that rarely ventures outside. Fleas are persistent and make their way into the home through various carriers. But fleas can be prevented. 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, then he can be treated. Drops and medicated shampoos will deal with the initial infestation. Fleas can be persistent, and they’ll lay hundreds of eggs.
Itchy skin in cats is not always due to a flea infestation. Your cat may be struggling with a hormonal problem or hereditary skin disease. If your cat appears to be itching all over, coupled with scooting along the ground, this suggests that your cat has an ongoing skin issue.
Of course, cat allergies are another reason for dry, itchy skin. Dietary allergies are a constant source of trouble, but it could also be an environmental sensitivity.
If you have recently changed your cat’s diet, check the ingredients in his 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 he eats 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. Has it been a while since you cleaned, perhaps triggering a dust allergy? Are you using any different 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. His food and water bowls could be irritating them.
If you suspect that your cat has an allergy, you’ll need to undergo a process of elimination. The good news is that allergy symptoms tend to vanish as quickly as they arrive.
4) Problem with 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 in his 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, these glands can become infected or impacted. This happens if your cat’s stools are too soft due to a poor diet.
You’ll be able to tell if a cat’s anal glands are inflamed. Your cat will scoot, but he’ll also lick his backside constantly. You may also notice that your cat’s bottom is red and inflamed. This means that your cat needs to have his anal glands expressed, which eases the pressure.
If your cat’s anal glands need to be expressed, it’s best to take him to a vet. This will not be a pleasant procedure. It is possible to do at home by following 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 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 worry if there is a strong aroma at this stage. Blood or pus isn’t normal. Get your cat to a vet as his glands are likely to be infected.
Is My Cat Scooting to Mark Territory?
It’s possible, but unlikely, that your cat is just scooting to mark his territory. Feline anal glands contain a strong scent that helps other cats identify your pet. Sometimes, they use these glands to release a strong-smelling scent, called spraying.
Spraying is a way of claiming territory and warning off other animals. If your cat sprays against a wall, it sends a message. Your cat is announcing that he has claimed the territory for himself.
This is a rare behavior in domesticated house cats. It’s more likely to occur among stray and feral cats. These felines will need to claim and guard their territory. A contented pet will often settle for rubbing his 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 her 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, he’ll be keen to track down your pet.
You won’t need to wait for a cat to start scooting to know if she’s in heat. An array of symptoms, including an increasingly pained and desperate crying, will come first.
Cat Dragging Bum on the Floor after Pooping
If your cat is dragging his backside after using the litter tray, inspect his behind. It’s more than likely that he senses that there’s poop stuck to his fur. He will be trying to remove this.
Overweight and older, arthritic cats are the most likely felines to behave this way. Grooming requires a great deal of effort. If your cat has stiff back legs, then he’ll struggle to reach his bottom. Likewise, if he’s overweight, he won’t be able to reach that area. Help your cat out in these situations by using unscented baby wipes.
If it’s old age, then supplements will ease the burden on his 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. Help your senior cat with his grooming if he’s finding it much harder to stay clean and tidy.
It’s also possible that your cat needs to have their anal glands expressed. Troublesome elimination can cause 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, then he’ll be in discomfort afterwards. This will likely take the form of itching around the wound where stitches are located. Your cat will then scoot in an attempt to relieve that itching.
The most effective solution is protective clothing, such as a onesie or jumper. Clothing has replaced the Elizabethan cone as the avoidance measure of choice in the 21st Century.
After your cat has been spayed or neutered, it’s best to house him in his crate. This may seem cruel initially, but remember that your cat needs to rest after this procedure.
My Cat is Scooting and Vomiting
This behavior frequently follows a change to a cat’s diet. His digestive tract is finding it hard to adjust to his new dietary regime. As a result, he may regurgitate food and have substandard fecal elimination. The latter can lead to inflamed anal glands, hence the scooting.
If you haven’t changed your cat’s diet, he may have an issue with his large intestine. This may be something serious, such as a blockage. If your cat’s vomit looks or smells like fecal matter, take him to a vet. He will need to undergo urgent testing, and potentially surgery.
Check the vomit for any signs of parasites. You’ll need to know if he has worms. Sometimes a parasite will migrate through your pet’s body and be removed through vomit.
If you do find any traces of worms, you should take your cat to see a vet. You can potentially kill any existing parasites with a worming tablet. But if further eggs have been laid inside your cat’s body, he may require prescription medication to clear up the problem completely.
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 dead worms. It’s likely that your cat is purging himself of the last traces of parasites. Often, worms become visible once they’re dead.
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. A lot can be told about a cat’s health from his poop. Your pet will likely need to stay overnight so that your vet can gather more information.
Intestinal parasites could also be to blame. Worms in your cat’s gut can cause stomach upsets, and lead to scooting. Check for signs of a parasitic infestation, and use a worming tablet (if necessary.)