Understanding Anal Glands in Cats
Did you know that anal glands are located on either side of the anus?
When cats defecate, a very strong, foul smelling substance is secreted, allowing cats to track presence of other cats in their territory as well as to recognize each other. I call it a business card! It is territorial in nature, although sometimes, when kitty is frightened or excited, they may spray their anal glands.
The anal secretions should be liquid. When the anal secretions are ribbony or hard, I recommend discussing with your vet at the next appointment and in the meantime try changing the diet.
When anal secretions are irregular, that could be an indication of impaction, infection, abscess or other disorders. CFMGs or Certified Feline Master Groomers such as myself are trained to express anal glands and as petpreneurs, we can tell the owners or indentured servants, the condition of the expression.
Signs that your cat is having anal gland issues:
- Dragging its bottom across the floor. As funny as the sight may be, dragging the bottom across the floor can help relieve anal gland discomfort. It may leave a mark, smell and even blood if done excessively.
- Licking the area excessively. If you see that your cat is licking the butt area for long periods of time, it may need help expressing it’s anal glands.
- Tail chasing. As funny as it may be to watch a cat chase it’s tail around, this behavior may be a sign of anal gland discomfort and should be checked out.
- Swelling anywhere around the tail and anus area. Swelling around the top of the tail, just under the tail may indicate a blockage or impacted anal glands and requires a vet visit before it becomes an abscess.
- Any seeping substance such as blood or puss warrants an immediate visit to the vets office. At this point, the anal glands are abscessed and infected.
Most of the time, veterinarians will express the glands and treat an infection with antibiotics and pain meds/anti-inflammatories.
Frequently, diet is the culprit. Sometimes, vets will add fiber to the diet or switch the diet to something more digestion friendly.
One of the best things to do is add probiotic to the diet and digestive enzymes that will help break down the food before it is ingested.
I use PBAssist Plus tabs and Terrazyme for digestive enzymes daily with my cats.
I also recommend a supplement called KittyBloom VM 900+3. Sprinkle it on cat’s food or put some right on the inside of the lip.
It is one of the easiest ways to keep our kitties guts and anal glands healthy.