Redness & Irritation on a Cat's Bottom

My bum hurts!
i David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images

Nobody likes to think about his cat’s bottom. It’s one of those private matters best left to your kitty herself. However, sometimes her bum gets red and inflamed making her scoot and scratch; what a bummer. Several culprits may be responsible for her unwelcome public suffering.


Sometimes dehydration is the cause of your cat’s bottom problems. Dry cat food is notoriously, well, dry. Most cats don’t have a problem with a well-balanced dry food but some cats just don’t drink as much water as others. Defecating becomes harder, in every sense of the word, when your kitty is dehydrated. This can irritate her bottom. Try putting a bit of tuna water in your kitty’s water and feeding her wet food once or twice a week if you think she may be a bit dehydrated. This rehydration may be all she needs in order to solve her bottom problem.


Allergies are another prevalent cause of irritated feline bottoms. Of these, flea and food allergies are the most common. Flea bite dermatitis causes itchiness, redness and irritation of the skin. The base of your cat’s tail is commonly affected, though hair loss and scabbing can occur anywhere on her body. Food allergy symptoms mirror flea bite dermatitis. Redness and hair loss are most common on the ears and rear of cats with food allergies. Consult your veterinarian if you think your cat has either a flea or food allergy. In most cases topical flea medications and food trials can clear up her symptoms.

Anal Sac Disorders

Your cat has two anal sacs on either side of her anus that hold scented fluid. When she defecates, a drop or two of this fluid serves to delineate her territory. Her anal sacs may be the cause of her redness and irritation. Some common anal sac disorders include inflammation of the sac(s), impaction of anal sac fluid and abscess of the sac(s). These disorders cause her to scoot her butt on the floor, dig, scratch and lick at her anus as well strain to defecate. Consult your veterinarian if your kitty has any of the aforementioned symptoms as she may have an anal sac disorder. She may need surgery or antibiotics to effectively treat her ailment.

Rectal Prolapse

Rectal prolapse is when one or more layers of your cat’s rectum protrudes through her anus. Straining to defecate is common cause of rectal prolapse but other digestive disorders may be involved. Your cat’s anus will appear very swollen and red if she has a rectal prolapse, and it’s important to take her to the vet as soon as possible for treatment. Treatment includes massage and surgery to put the tissue back in its proper place.

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.

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