Nobody wants an irritated bum. When your kitty scoots her booty across your carpet, she’s not trying to annoy you; she’s trying to relieve pressure on her bottom. The pressure she feels may be a result of something as benign as not enough fiber or as severe as rectal cancer.
Most kitties enjoy a quality, dry cat food and a bit of self-cleaning several times throughout the day. Sometimes, though, that dry food and excess fur she ingests during grooming can literally dehydrate her body, thus causing her to become constipated. When your kitty is constipated she may cry, strain to defecate or scoot her bottom on the floor. Mild constipation will often resolve itself. Try feeding her wet food for a couple of days or putting a bit of tuna water on her dry food to help rehydrate her body. It’s time to see a veterinarian if that doesn’t resolve the issue or her constipation becomes chronic.
Not Enough Fiber
On the other side of the spectrum, if your kitty doesn’t eat a diet with sufficient fiber, her stools may become too soft or too small to properly empty her anal glands during defecation. Your kitty will scoot her butt on the floor in an attempt to relieve her full, distended anal glands. In these cases CatChannel.com recommends high fiber diets. The excess fiber adds bulk to her stool, hopefully creating enough pressure to empty her glands naturally. Consult your veterinarian if a high fiber diet doesn’t seem to be helping her scooting; vets can manually express her anal glands.
Allergies are a common cause of itchiness in cats. Food allergies often affect the ears and rear of kitties, causing gastrointestinal upset and unbearable itchiness. Flea allergies are notorious for making cats scratch at or scoot their bottoms. Your veterinarian can help you determine the cause of your kitty’s allergy and provide her with some soothing relief in the form of hydrocortisone cream or a hypoallergenic diet.
Anal Gland Irritation
If your cat starts scooting, licking and scratching at her bottom, chances are high she has some sort of anal gland irritation. The irritation can range from mild (excessively full glands), moderate (anal sac infection) to severe (rectal cancer). It’s important to consult your veterinarian. During the visit, your vet will assess your cat's symptoms and send a sample of anal secretion to the lab for further testing. Treatment will depend on diagnosis and severity, but often includes antibiotics for infection and an Elizabethan collar to prevent your cat from further licking at her anal glands.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Christina Stephens is a writer from Portland, Ore. whose main areas of focus are pets and animals, travel and literature. A veterinary assistant, she taught English in South Korea and holds a BA in English with cum laude honors from Portland State University.