Cats quite enjoy rubbing their butts on us, even near our faces. For them it's a sign of affection and territory. But this area of a cat's body is more significant than just a method of communication. In fact, it's quite remarkable!
You wouldn't necessarily think of your cat's butt as being something so complex and important (apart from the obvious reasons of playing a big part in toiletry needs). But, understandably, cat parents often don't worry about their cat's rear end until there is a visible problem.
Do you take care of your cat's butt?
All animals have a digestive tube and a zone encircling the anus called the perineum. The anus represents the end of the gastro-intestinal route and is the exit for partially-digested food or waste.
Of course, the subject is entirely unglamorous. But it's still important to know about it for the health of your cat. In particular, we think you should be across the following three areas.
#1 The anal glands
The rectum and anus function as a way of ejecting the body's waste, but this is not their only role.
Your cat has anal glands situated at each side of the anus that produce a malodorous fluid. This fluid is contained in two small pockets called the anal sacks. The fluid may be liquid or sticky, being a variant of yellow or dark brown.
Though for humans this liquid is unpleasant to smell, for our cat this odour is very important. It is in fact a kind of ID. The odour diffused by this liquid allows other cats to obtain information about the social standing, emotions or even location of the cat in question.
#2 The sensitivity of the butt
The peri-anal zone is very sensitive because it is home to many nerves. For this reason, any injury to this part of the body is particularly painful.
Bites, lacerations or infections can all affect this area, and if so, will cause your cat to suffer enormously.
It is also important to know that if your cat is overweight, they will be even more likely to develop problems in their rear end because they will not be able to groom themselves properly. Often, obese cats will require veterinary care because of inflammation of the anal zone, which needs special care to be cleaned.
Coming back to the anal sacks, these empty automatically when your cat excretes. During excretion, pressure is placed on the anal sacks thus emptying them of their liquid. As this liquid can be sticky, cats will clean themselves in order to avoid their fur becoming stuck together. Therefore, if your cat is obese, they will likely have trouble cleaning themselves properly of this liquid. This can lead to inflammation, pain, and further complications.
#3 Signs of itching
The anal zone can not only be sensitive, it can also become quite itchy.
These itches are often associated with allergies, intestinal parasites or even fleas. In any of these cases, you should visit your vet in order to remedy the situation.
If there is a problem with your cat's hindquarters, this can become very uncomfortable for your cat. If you see that your cat is presenting signs of discomfort with regard to their rear end, you should inspect it and promptly get professional vet care to avoid it becoming a more painful experience.