It’s a common sight to find a cat hunched over and cleaning its bottom. Felines want to remain clean. They are likely to bathe every time they use their litter tray, but sometimes they stop doing so for some reason.
If your cat is not cleaning itself, it’s likely to be because it’s no longer able to do so. This may be due to stiff joints, excessive weight, or medical concern. Clean its bottom this time, but if the problem returns, you should take your cat to a vet for a medical examination.
Cats not cleaning their bottoms is not only concerning, but it’s also dangerous. Cat feces contain many harmful toxins. We will explain what to do when your cat loses the ability to stay clean, or no longer wishes to do so.
Do Cats Clean Themselves After Pooping?
Cats are very clean animals. Unfortunately, there is no feline toilet paper. This means that, yes, cats will usually clean themselves with their tongue after they eliminate.
A big part of this is the desire to be clean. However, it’s also a safety precaution. Cat still have their wild instincts intact. Cats clean them themselves for the same reason that they bury their waste in the litter. They are afraid that the smell could alert predators to their presence.
My Cat Has Stopped Cleaning Its Bum
A cat will not enjoy being unclean. If your cat has stopped cleaning their bottom after eliminating, there will be a reason. Explanations for a cat not cleaning their behinds are as follows:
As cats get older, their bodies become less supple and flexible. If you have a senior cat, they may have arthritis. Even if they don’t have a medical condition, cat joints may start stiffening with age. Senior cats not cleaning themselves are usually struggling to reach their rear end.
An overweight cat will frequently struggle to reach critical parts of their anatomy. Older cats are particularly susceptible to weight gain, as they become less active.
Sadly, senior cats start to lose some of their mental faculties as they age. This is known as Feline Cognitive Dysfunction. Symptoms of this condition could include excessive grooming – or no grooming at all.
Aversion to litter
Have you recently changed your cat’s litter, and noticed a lack of grooming since that happened? The two things may be related. If your cat loathes its litter, they will not groom themselves through fear of ingesting it.
Too Much Fur
If your cat is a longhaired breed, grooming will often lead to hairballs. They will also experience issues with matted fur. An older cat may start to see this as too much work.
Always stay on top of a senior cat’s oral health. Dental issues are common in older felines. If your cat is experiencing pain in their teeth, they will not want to groom.
If your cat loses interest in grooming, you should have them seen by a vet. It can be a warning sign that their health is failing. A cat that feels unclean may also slide into depression.
My Cat Can’t Reach Its Bottom Anymore
Cats often stop cleaning themselves because they cannot reach their rear. There are typically two reasons for this. Your cat is old and arthritic, or they have gained too much weight.
In either case, have your cat seen by a vet in the first instance. This will confirm the cause of your cat’s problem. If your older cat does have arthritis, there is sadly no cure for this problem.
However, your vet will advise you about how to reduce arthritis pain in cats. With some diet and lifestyle changes, your cat may eventually become more mobile again.
If the problem is weight-related, rule out a medical explanation. Hypothyroidism, for example, is rare in cats according to Pet Health Network – but it can happen. If the problem is too many calories and not enough exercise, however, you’ll need to rectify it.
Ensure that your cat is eating a specialist senior diet. Find a toy they enjoy and dedicate sufficient time to playing together. And, tough as it is when those big eyes look up at you, cut out treats.
Do Cats Clean Each Other’s Bums?
If you run a multi-pet household, you may find that your cats clean each other’s bottoms. This is an act of affection and bonding for cats.
They will also lick difficult-to-reach spots to help each other out. This means that a cat may clean up another’s bottom as a favor.
Be aware of this behavior, though. Sometimes it comes with a dark side. Cats may often jockey for ‘head of house’ status, and battle for territory.
If your cats don’t get along, but one suddenly starts grooming another, keep one eye open. Rather than helping out, they may be investigating a weakness and plotting a coup.
Is it Unhygienic to Leave a Cat with a Dirty Bottom?
It can be dangerous to allow your cat to roam while unclean. For a start, it’s likely to be unsightly. You’ll find remnants of your cat’s fecal matter all over the house. As cats tend to like soft surfaces, that could include your bed and pillows.
Also, there is a real risk of toxoplasmosis. Cats are prone to this parasite, which lives in their poop, as they kill live prey. Toxoplasmosis can be transferred to humans, and can cause blindness in vulnerable people. Young children, the elderly, pregnant woman and anybody with a weak immune system are more at risk.
According to International Cat Care, the symptoms of toxoplasmosis in cats include:
- Loss of appetite and sudden, unexplained weight loss.
- General lethargy.
- Tremors and seizures.
- Trouble breathing.
- Inflammation around the eyes.
- Vomiting and diarrhea.
If you spot these warning signs, see a vet and vigilantly keep your cat clean.
What If My Cat Has Diarrhea?
If your cat has an upset stomach, it’s best to clean up the remnants. Your cat may struggle to clean everything up. Also, re-ingesting whatever made them sick is potentially dangerous. Diarrhea can be a warning sign of serious health concern in cats.
How to Clean a Cat’s Bottom
If your cat’s rear end needs a clean, it may be tempting to drop them in the bath. Avoid this if it’s at all possible. Many cats loathe being soaked to the bone, and find it to be very stressful.
A stressed cat may have trouble managing their bodily functions. This, in turn, could lead to a lot more mess. You’ll be back at square one.
The most efficient way to clean a cat’s bottom is to use wet wipes. Pick up unscented wipes designed especially for pets, as these will not aggravate your cat’s skin.
If you do not wish to, use wet wipes, a damp cloth is just as effective. In the interested of hygiene, throw the cloth away afterward though.
Once you’re ready, wipe your cat’s bottom in much the same way as you would a baby. Work gently and methodically, ensuring that you are not hurting your pet. Once everything appears to be clean, apply a couple more wipes.
If your cat is visibly uncomfortable to give them a break and return later. If your cat grows upset or frustrated, they may bite or swipe you with their claws.
This is unhygienic, given where your hands are. It may be safest to wear gloves before you start for this very reason.
How to Get Dried Poop Off a Cat’s Fur
If you have a longhaired cat, then dried fecal matter may become a problem. If your cat cannot clean this themselves, the responsibility may fall on you.
To clean your cat up, use a fine-toothed comb first. This will bring anything that needs to be cleaned up to the fore. You can then use a wet cloth to pluck and wash anything that requires your attention. Once you’re done, change your cat’s litter. Once they’re clean, they will want to stay that way as long as possible.
Prevention is always better than cure where dry feces is concerned. Take your cat to a groomer, and get them a ‘personal shave.’ The less fur found around their bottom, the less likely it is to trap dried poop. If you can’t get to a groomer, do it yourself using scissors.
Does My Cat Want Me to Clean Its Bottom?
It’s possible that your cat is demonstrating they are unclean when they show you their butt. There will certainly be no mistaking it if that is the case. However, as The Dodo explains, this behavior is often a mark of affection.
Cats can tell a lot about each other from their bottom. The glands found within release particular scents. When cats lift their tail and show their behind, they want you to enjoy these aromas. According to experts, it’s the feline equivalent of a hug.
My Cat is Scooting Along the Ground
The most common explanation is a worm infestation. If your cat has worms, they will have an itchy anus that drives them crazy. Scooting is an attempt at relieving this discomfort.
Always ensure that your cat’s worm prevention treatments are up to date. Don’t wait until you can see them in your pet’s poop. By this time it’s too late, and your cat’s health may be at risk.
There could be other explanations. It’s possible that your cat is struggling to clean itself conventionally. Felines don’t ask for help. They may also be having an allergic reaction.
Whatever the cause, scooting is concerning. If your cat has started doing so, take them to a vet. A happy and healthy cat will not scoot. They will need help to deal with the issue.
My Cat is Not Using the Litter Tray
A cat that insistently cleans their rear outside of using the bathroom may be sick. The most likely explanation is swollen anal glands, but older cats may need to learn to use a litter tray.
Every feline has two glands, every side of their bottom. These glands are not visible to humans, as they are found inside the cat’s body. They release a unique scent when a cat poops, which is how a feline marks territory. These glands get a workout every time your cat uses their litter tray.
If a cat’s bowel movements are unhealthy – usually too hard or soft – the glands swell. This can be painful for your cat. The only solution is to take them to a vet. A professional will be able to empty these glands through massage.
If your cat shows an unwillingness or inability to clean themselves, see a vet. It can become an issue. Even if they are not in pain, the problem will need to be managed. Your cat will not enjoy being unclean, and you will not appreciate having to clean them. This is without even taking the health risks of feline fecal matter into consideration.
Remember, cats are rarely unclean by choice. This applies to their fur all over, but especially their bottom. If you want your cat to remain happy and healthy, they’ll need to groom themselves. As a pet owner, it’s your job to help them do so while they still can.