how to get your cat to clean its bum
Behavioral Problems

Cat Not Cleaning Bum Properly – What Should I Do?

If your cat is unable or unwilling to clean its bum, clear any lingering feces immediately. Ignoring a dirty bottom increases the risk of toxoplasmosis.

Wipe away any fresh poop from your cat’s bum with wet wipes. Trim dry, clinging feces from the fur with scissors. Once done, you need to work out why your cat is not cleaning its bottom. Chronic diarrhea, arthritis, obesity, and issues with the anal glands can all make life difficult for your cat. Dirty cat litter can also be problematic.

Cleanliness is essential to cats. Whatever the reason for your cat’s unclean bottom, it needs to be resolved. Monitor your cat’s behavior closely to learn why your cat is no longer cleaning its bottom.

My Cat Has Poop On Its Bottom

If your cat has a dirty bum, the first thing to do is clean it up. Feline waste can contain Toxoplasma gondii. This is a parasite shed through a cat’s feces, leading to the risk of toxoplasmosis. Cats that eat mice are at a higher risk of this parasite. It can also be found in unclean water.

Cats groom to hide their presence from predators and rival felines. The smell of feces means that the cat will be easily detected. What’s more, cats often use their anal glands to communicate with each other.

How to Clean a Cat’s Bottom

Your cat may initially resist the idea of having its bottom cleaned. Do not rely on your cat having a change of heart and cleaning itself up, though.

Cleaning Wet Feces

Wet, fresh fecal matter is a risk to feline health as it contains Toxoplasma gondii parasites. It will also stain, smell, and look unsightly.

Wet Wipes

You’ll need a damp cloth or wet wipes to tackle the stained areas. You may find it easier if you spray dry shampoo on the area first.

If you are using wet wipes, ensure they are unscented to avoid harming your cat’s skin. Pet stores sell cat-specific wet wipes. Baby wipes from a pharmacy are usually safe. Just avoid anything that contains perfumes.

Shampoo and Wash

In the event of a particularly messy cat’s bottom, a more thorough wash may be required. Fill a sink with warm water and mix in some cat shampoo. Gently lower your cat into the makeshift bathtub.

cat stopped cleaning bum

Cleaning Dry Feces

You may spot small clumps of dry poop clinging to your cat’s bum. You either missed a spot when cleaning up wet feces, or the cat has sat in its dirty litter. Either way, the cat is not cleaning its bottom.

Spray your cat’s bottom with water. Next, take a fine-toothed comb and run it through the fur. This will pick out some of the stubborn waste. Throw the comb away, or wash it using alcohol.

The rest of the feces will need to be trimmed out using scissors. Once you’re done, considering shaving an area around your cat’s bum. This is advisable in long-haired cats.

Why Is My Cat Not Cleaning its Bum?

Cats loathe feeling unclean as much as you dislike them being dirty. So, identify the cause of the problem:

Limited Mobility

The most common reason for a cat failing to clean its own bum is that it is physically incapable. It takes a lot of effort for a cat to reach its bottom. Senior cats are often arthritic and find this too painful to attempt.

Manage your cat’s arthritis pain to encourage grooming. It would be best if you also kept your cat supple through mild exercise. Couple this with regular massage if your cat will allow this contact.

If your cat can maneuver its body enough to groom, it will do so. This is also dependent on that cat’s weight remaining manageable. According to The Journal of Nutrition, a cat can only sustain its standard calorie intake if it stays active.

Failure to clean the bottom in obese cats is common. The cat cannot reach the area to groom or lacks the energy to do so. Fat cats tire faster and will give up on cleaning hard-to-reach areas.

To avoid cleaning a cat’s bottom for life, it needs to eat less or move more.

Very Long Fur

Sometimes, a cat will get feces trapped in its fur because it has too much fur. Longhaired cats, in particular, will experience this issue. Cats shed fur naturally, but the process sometimes struggles to keep up.

Longhaired cats can also experience knots and mats in their fur. This can make grooming difficult and painful. A senior cat may eventually decide that grooming is more trouble than it is worth. Reaching the bottom will already be difficult.

Your cat will not need an all-over groom too often. Longhaired breeds will lose an appropriate amount of hair. Just arrange for regular hygiene trims around the bottom area.

You can do this yourself, if confident. Pet clippers are available from a range of retailers. Be careful not to nick a cat’s delicate skin while trimming.


If your cat’s dirty bottom is an immediate occurrence, check if the cat has a stomach upset. Your cat may be attempting to stay clean but struggling to do so. Diarrhea can be messy, trapping feces in the fur. Your cat may run out of energy before it completed a full groom.

A one-off bout of diarrhea is not necessarily a concern. Cats can experience stomach upsets for a range of reasons. Just clean your cat up and watch it for a while. If the cat is acting normally, it was an isolated incident. Ensure that your cat starts to clean itself up again afterward.

If diarrhea persists for more than 24 hours, your cat is not getting nutrients from food. It’s also at risk of dehydration, so you need to ensure that your cat drinks water.

Dirty or Inappropriate Litter

If your cat seems to have lost interest in cleaning its bum, check its litter box as this may be to blame.

Look for signs that the tray is dirty. Litter boxes should be cleaned at least once a day. Most cats will reject a soiled litter box. Senior cats are sometimes less fussy, though. Your cat may be sleeping in its own waste.

If your cat is expressing reluctance to use its litter box, consider the litter you are using. If you have recently changed your brand, this will likely be to blame as cats dislike change.

This alteration to routine has caused distrust. Your cat will be keen to get in and out and do what it needs to. It will then be reluctant to groom afterward. The scent of the litter will linger. The cat is associating its own waste with the litter, so it is avoiding further exposure.

do cats clean themselves after pooping?

Swollen Anal Glands

Problems with a cat’s anal glands can cause problems with cleaning. A bacterial infection or an abscess can cause swollen glands. This creates a blockage, making it difficult for a cat to pass waste.

Feces will then become trapped in the fur. As the cat is already in pain, it will be reluctant to clean up. The problem will continue, and your cat’s bottom will remain dirty until the anal glands are expressed.

The longer the issue lasts, the more reluctant your cat will become to clean its own bum. It will associate the anus with physical discomfort. Anal glands can be expressed at home if you are confident or by a vet.

Intestinal Worms

Perhaps your cat’s hygiene issues are being caused by intestinal parasites. Worms in your cat’s stomach will leave the cat with an itchy anus. Eventually, it may become too painful for the cat to clean itself.

Worms are common in cats, affecting up to 45% of the feline population. They are not be considered a significant concern. All the same, they should be treated. Signs that your cat has intestinal worms include:

  • Scooting on the ground to relieve itching
  • Inexplicable weight loss, especially if the cat’s appetite is enhanced
  • Stomach bloat
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Small, rice-like white flecks in the stool

Sometimes, you may even see a worm hanging out of a cat’s bottom. Do not pull on this to remove it. The worm may be wrapped around a vital organ.

Feline Cognitive Dysfunction

Senior cats start to experience cognitive decline. The formal term for this is feline cognitive dysfunction.

According to Topics in Companion Animal Medicine, many cats aged 11 or over begin to show symptoms. By the age of 15, the condition becomes far more likely.

One of the key warning signs of cognitive decline in cats is a lack of grooming. The cat will stop taking care of its fur, leaving it looking greasy and clumpy. This will include the fur around the bottom. The cat will also start to eliminate outside the litter box.

You will not be able to cure cognitive decline in cats. This is the one condition that will leave you forced to clean up your cat’s bum regularly.

If your cat is not cleaning its bottom, don’t ignore the behavior or assume the cat is lazy. Clean your cat up and discuss the matter with a vet.