While our feline friends are known for their fastidious grooming and all-around good hygiene, you may notice that your kitty sometimes gives off a rather unpleasant aroma. When frightened, a kitty may express fluid from his anal glands, resulting in a smelly situation. Fortunately, this behavior is perfectly normal.
A kitty's anal glands are two pea-sized sacs located on the inside of his anus, with one on each side. Your furry feline typically emits the fluid from these sacs when he makes a bowel movement. The scented fluid marks the feces as his own and communicates to other felines that he's claimed the area he has eliminated in. Your kitty may also emit this fluid if he becomes excited, stressed or frightened, according to the Humane Society of the United States. If you notice a musky or fishy aroma around your little one, he may have been spooked and simply sprayed his anal fluid from all the excitement.
The Smelly Emission
The liquid inside your feline friend's anal glands is dark and odorous, and the way the glands expel it is similar to that of a skunk. Like a skunk, your kitty gets scared and sprays anal sac fluid to communicate to another member of his species or a potential predator that she should stay away, according to the Drake Center for Veterinary Care. Once your furry friend releases the fluid from his anal glands, it could get on the fur of his backside and the scent may linger for a short amount of time, but it should dissipate within a few hours.
If your constantly spooked feline is making you live in fear of his stinky smells, your vet can help. Have your furry friend checked to rule out any medical cause of his odorous emissions, like an upset stomach. She'll also check to see if his anal glands are impacted or infected, which may also result in an odor. With a clean bill of health, have your vet empty the anal glands of the stinky fluid inside. By eliminating this fluid, your kitty won't have anything left to spray if he becomes scared around you. Ask your vet how often she recommends coming in to the office to have the anal glands manually emptied if the problem continues. She may also recommend supplementing your kitty's diet with fiber to bulk up his stool. Firmer and larger stools help to empty the glands naturally when your furry friend goes potty, recommends the Greenbriar Animal Hospital.
The Scaredy Cat
While regular expression of your feline friend's anal glands takes care of his odorous issue, it doesn't address why he's becoming frightened if this happens very often. Consult with your vet or an animal behaviorist to work on ways to decrease your kitty's upset and to determine the cause of his fears. Fearful kitties may benefit from using prescription calming medications or pheromone sprays designed to comfort them. Most importantly, don't punish your kitty for spraying his anal fluid if he gets scared as this only serves to frighten him further, overall making him more fearful and likely to spray.
- Manhattan Cat Specialists: Foul-Smelling Felines
- Michigan City Animal Hospital: Anal Glands
- PetPlace.com: Structure and Function of the Anal Glands in Cats
- Friends of the Animals Baton Rouge: Behavior Help: Cat -- The Fearful Cat
- The Humane Society of the United States: Fearful Cats
- The Drake Center for Veterinary Care: Anal Sac Disease in Cats
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.