Why Is My Cat Rubbing Their Butt on The Ground?

Do you have a scooter cat? Is your cat rubbing their butt on the ground or worse, your carpet? This odd cat behavior may be a good reason to visit your veterinarian. This is because this behavior is commonly linked to anal gland problems in cats. In this article you will learn why cats drag their butt on the ground and what to do to make it stop.

Orange kitten with light green eyes looking scared as they may have an anal sac problem
I have a problem with my what?!

Table of Contents

Why do cats drag their bottoms on the floor?

The most common reason for this behavior is irritation of the anal glands. When I discuss this with my patients, they usually get an odd look on their face and ask “What’s an anal gland?”

Anal glands, which are often called anal sacs or scent glands, are situated near the anus and secrete a cat’s individual scent. Their scent plays an important role in territory marking with feces and gives them the name scent glands.

Why do cats drag their butts on the carpet?

If the anal glands are itchy, your cat will try to relieve the uncomfortable sensation by scooting their butt on the ground, floor, or unfortunately the carpet. Itching may occur in the following situations:

  • The anal sacs do not empty – There is no need to empty the anal glands manually unless something is preventing their natural expression when the cat has a bowel movement and they become impacted. In such cases, the disimpaction can be accomplished at a veterinarian’s office. Do not try this at home. Although there are many tutorials on the Internet that explain how to express impacted anal glands, it is best left to a professional. And the smell is something you really don’t want to deal with.
  • The anal sacs are infected. The infection causes irritation. In such cases, a visit to your veterinarian is necessary to diagnose the problem and choose the appropriate treatment. In most cases it’s as simple as a prescription which include antibiotics to treat the infection.
  • The anal sacs are ruptured – After rupture, the anal gland problem will become painful and irritating. Don’t wait for the area to heal on its own. Please visit your veterinarian as soon as possible.
  • Other problems are present –  Other conditions may cause an anal gland issue which may also cause itching or irritation to your cats butt.
  • Allergies – You may find your cat presents other symptoms in addition to running their butt on the ground. Note any recent changes to your cats environment. Most often this is triggered by a food allergy. Allergies can cause a few or more of these symptoms:
    • Skin inflammation or a skin infection
    • Ear infection or itchiness
    • Vomiting
    • Paw licking, checking, or swelling of the paws

What are the symptoms of worms in cats?

Can intestinal parasites cause cats to drag their bottoms? Yes. One species of intestinal parasite from the tapeworm family can cause an itchiness of the anus, though it isn’t among common cat worm symptoms. If you haven’t de-wormed your cat in a while, it might be a good idea to do so. It won’t stop your cat from scooting if the problem lies with the scent gland, but regular worming is necessary for both indoor and outdoor cats. Please consult your veterinarian as intestinal worms are a common pet health issue which can be resolved easily.

Can bottom dragging be caused by diarrhea? Yes, and diarrhea may also be present in cats with anal gland problems. Do you see loose or runny stools in the litter box? Is your cat trying to clean poop from their butt or under their tail? This may be simply a case where your cat ate something they shouldn’t have and they have a viral or bacterial infection of their digestive tract. In this case, this common cause may be temporary and likely resolve itself quickly. If not, please read more below.

What are other symptoms of anal sac diseases?

If your cat has problems with his or her anal glands, you are likely to spot these tell-tale signs:

Cat licking his perianal area.
Excessive licking of the perianal area or dragging the hindquarters against the carpet may indicate anal sac problems in cats, which call for a vet visit.
  • More self-grooming around the anal area than usual
  • Hair loss around the anal area
  • Diarrhea and fecal incontinence
  • Constipation
  • Decreased appetite
  • Ulcers in the perianal area

Should I take my cat to the vet for scooting?

When you visit your veterinarian, he or she will most likely manually extract the contents of your cat’s anal sacs and will also prescribe antibiotic therapy and pain control. Your veterinarian will examine your cat thoroughly, inspect your cat health, and look for anal gland irritation. As a loving cat owner, you’ll want to discuss with them all the symptoms you’ve seen, behavior changes, etc. Expressing impacted anal glands is something we commonly do in our veterinary clinic for both cats and dogs. Yes, dog anal glands are in the same place as your cat. Yes, a dogs butt is similar to a cats butt in this regard.

How to prevent your cat from rubbing their butt on the ground

You can take the following actions to prevent a recurrence of anal sac problems:

Remember, scooting on the floor is not a normal cat behavior. And while it may be cute, the “skid marks” on your carpet certainly aren’t. Worse, your cat’s health is at stake. Training, such as punishment for bad behavior, will not be effective at stopping your cat from rubbing their butt on the ground or your carpet. The action of scooting is prompted by the itchiness of the anal sacs. Worse, your cat may also feel discomfort or even pain. There is no way to train your cat not to feel the effects of an anal gland problem. If your cat is dragging their bottom on the floor, they are asking for your help. Your cat it trying to tell you that something is wrong with their butt. Please visit your veterinarian to find out why and what you can do to help.

Now that you understand the reasons why your cat is rubbing their butt on the ground, the cause, and solutions you are on your way to help your cat to be healthier and happier. This will go a long way towards a happy life for you and your cat. And keeping your Pet Happy is what we all want.

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