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 very important to cats. Whatever the reason for your cat’s unclean bottom, it needs to be resolved. Watch your cat’s behavior closely to learn the reason 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.
Also, cats groom to hide their presence from predators and rival felines. Feces has an undeniable scent, which means the cat will be easily detected.
What’s more, cats often use their anal glands to communicate with each other. Clinging feces will mask this aroma.
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.
Cleaning Wet Feces
Wet, fresh fecal matter is the biggest risk to feline health. It will contain the Toxoplasma gondii parasites. It will also stain, smell, and look unsightly.
You’ll need a damp cloth or wet wipes. Tackle the stained areas with these tools. 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 upsetting your cat’s skin.
Pet stores sell cat-specific wet wipes. Baby wipes from a pharmacy are usually safe. Just avoid anything with perfumes.
Shampoo and Wash
In the event of a particularly messy cat, a bigger wash may be required.
Fill a sink with warm water and mix in some cat shampoo. Gently lower your cat into the makeshift bathtub. A second pair of hands may be helpful.
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 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 bottom. This will potentially increase personal hygiene in the future. This is particularly advisable in long-haired cats.
Dry waste is less dangerous than wet, but no more pleasant. You will need to take this issue just as seriously. Your cat can leave traces of dry feces all over the home – including bedding and pillows.
Why Is My Cat Not Cleaning its Bum?
Once you have cleaned up your cat, look into the reasons why this was necessary. You will not want to spend your life cleaning up your cat’s bottom.
Learn the root of the problem and take action. This will make all parties happier in the long run. Cats loathe feeling unclean as much as you dislike them being dirty.
1/ 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. You should also keep your cat supple through mild exercise. Couple this with regular massage if your cat will allow this contact.
If your cat is able to maneuver its body enough to groom, it will. This is also dependent on that cat’s weight remaining manageable. According to The Journal of Nutrition, a cat can only retain its standard calorie intake if it stays active.
Failure to clean the bottom in obese cats is common. The cat simply cannot reach the area to groom. In addition, it will lack 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.
2/ Very Long Fur
Sometimes, a cat will get feces trapped in its fur because it simply has too much. 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 it more trouble than it is worth. Reaching the bottom will already be difficult.
Build a relationship with a cat groomer to stay on top of this problem. 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 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 the cat starts to clean itself up again afterward.
If diarrhea persists for more than 24 hours, your cat is in danger. It is not digesting nutrients from food, and risks dehydration. You need to ensure that your cat drinks water.
4/ 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 the litter box, consider the litter you are using. If you have recently changed the brand, this will likely be to blame. Cats dislike change.
This alteration to routine has caused distrust in your cat. It will be keen to get in and out, doing 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 this unwelcome litter and avoiding further exposure.
5/ Swollen Anal Glands
Problems with a cat’s anal glands can cause problems with cleaning. Swollen glands can be caused by a bacterial infection or an abscess. 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.
6/ 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 easily dealt with, so should not be considered a significant concern. All the same, they should be treated urgently.
Signs that your cat is living with 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 major organ inside the cat’s body. You should seek assistance from a vet.
7/ 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 obviously 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 regularly clean up your cat.
If your cat is not cleaning its bum properly, don’t ignore the behavior, or assume the cat is being lazy. Clean your cat up and then resolve the cause.