6 Signs Your Cat has a Problem with their Anal Glands and What to do

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Have you noticed any changes with your cat lately? Is it more aggressive or grumpy? Or have you noticed your cat having a foul odor? Then, your cat might be suffering from an anal gland problem.

What’s a Cat Anal Gland?

Beside your feline’s anus, lies the anal glands at the five o’ clock and seven o’ clock positions. They are small ducts that lead into an opening next to the anus.

The glands are smelly fluid secreted during defecation or released to prevent predators and mark territories. However, cats can unconsciously release these secretions when frightened, anxious or overly excited.

Causes of Cat Anal Glands Problem

There are several causes of the Cat Anal Glands Problem. Some of them include:

1) Bacteria infection

Feces in the colon contain bacteria and can contaminate the anal sacs during bowel movement. The anal sacs are close to the anus, which means they can be infected with bacteria.

2) Inadequate usage of the anal glands

The anal glands are primarily used to mark territories. But, it seems that reason is going into extinction due to domestication. 

Thus, inadequate usage of the cat anal glands can lead to increased accumulation of the smelly fluids – causing impaction.

3) Diarrhea

It’s necessary that your feline pass out solid stool for the oily smelly fluid to be secreted. So, loose stool and diarrhea can lead to your cat’s anal glands problems.

4) Overweight

Cats with too much weight are at risk of anal glands problems. The fat can restrict the fluid secretion since it prevents poop from pressing the sacs.

What are the Symptoms of a Cat with Anal Glands Problems

Anal glands problems can be quite painful for cats and can even induce aggression. The symptoms of this condition includes:

1. Biting the anus area

You’ll see your cat dragging the anal part, biting, licking and rubbing the tail and rectum.

2. Hair loss

If your cat is suffering from the anal glands disease, it might lose hair on the belly or around the tail.

3. Scoot

Your cat may scoot to reduce the itch in the anal area. You’ll see the cat sitting on the ground with the front paws forward and the hind scoot.

4. Excretion issues

The Anal glands disease is quite painful and  can lead to your cat’s reluctance to poo. Likewise, defecating outside the litter box is another symptom.   

5. Swelling

The swelling of the anal sacs is a symptom of the disease. The sacs are located beside the anus, so they shouldn’t be hard to miss.

6. Fishy odor

Cats normally should have an ordinary and healthy smell. But when you notice a foul and fishy smell, you should pay more attention.

How do You Recognize if your Cat needs a Vet for This Problem

It’s advisable to seek out your Vet immediately if you notice any or all the symptoms above. Anal glands problem can be a serious issue if left untreated. But, your cat needs a Vet if the anal glands are impacted, infected or abscessed.

  • Impaction

Impaction is when the glands secretion tubes are clogged and there is over accumulation of the smelly fluid. The fluid, can’t thus, be passed out via defecation and you’ll need a Vet. You’ll know that your cat’s anal glands are impacted when it exhibits some of the above symptoms.  

Your Vet will then express the gland by exerting pressure on them with the thumb and forefinger. It usually removes the impaction and your cat can secrete the fluid normally.

  • Infection

Chronic bacterial infection is a sign that your cat needs a Vet for its anal glands problem. Since the glands are near the anus, the fluid and bacteria can come in contact, hence, the infection.

The signs of an infected gland include irritation, inflammation, pain around the rectal area, grumpiness, and aggression.

  • Abscess

Abscess is more painful than the other two conditions. It’s the accumulation of pus in the anal sacs. The signs are similar to those of infection and impaction. Swelling of the anal glands is also a good symptom to look out for.

Abscess is a more serious anal glands condition as it can rupture the skin and there’ll be a pus-filled blood discharge from your cat.

This discharge will have a foul odor- such that you’ll have no choice but to take your cat to the Vet.

6 Signs your cat has a problem with Anal glands and What to do

Cats can develop anal glands problems – irrespective of the sex, age or breed. Some of the signs of this disease include but isn’t limited to :

  1. Irritation
  2. Obesity
  3. Redness of the rectal area
  4. Hair loss
  5. Reluctance to defecate
  6. Rubbing and biting the anal area

Here are some of the things you can do to keep your cat healthy.

  • Always monitor your cat’s poop

For adequate secretion of the anal glands, the poop must be solid and firm. Thus, you have to monitor your cat’s poop to keep track of the anal glands. You can also feed your cat higher fiber  food to encourage healthy stooling.

  • Weight control foods

One of the causes of Cat anal glands problems is Obesity. Cats with obesity are susceptible to the anal glands problems because the fat prevent the poop from pressing against the sacs, thereby reducing the fluid secretion.

You can make use of weight control food high in fiber to reduce your cat’s weight. Moreover, you can have your Vet draft an effective weight loss plan as a safer treatment.

  • Surgery

 Some cats only feel completely better when the Vet performs surgery on them. Thus, you can use surgery to treat cat anal glands problems although the removal of the glands might be administered.

  • Administer antibiotics

Antibiotics is an effective drug for cats anal glands problems. So, if your Vet prescribes antibiotics, you must follow the instructions and administer correctly.

  • Abscess treatment

Abscess is a worse condition of the cat’s anal glands. Hence, if your cat was treated for this condition, you might see signs of swelling after the treatment. 

So, always apply warm compresses around your cat’s tail to reduce the swelling and any pain that comes with it. 

Bottom Line

Cat’s anal glands problem is a disease that must be cured as soon as you notice it. But how do you know that your cat has this disease? Fortunately, we’ve compiled the symptoms, signs, causes and treatment of anal glands disease in this post. You should go through it, learn and leave your thoughts in the comment section.


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