When the Cat Goes Sledding

Inflammation of the anal glands causes cats to slide across the floor on their hindquarters. What looks funny is associated with a great deal of pain for the affected animal.

The so-called sledding is known more from dogs. From time to time, however, it also happens that the cat slides over the floor with its rear end and does not look happy at all. Often accompanied by licking of the buttocks and defensive reactions when you get too close to the buttocks while stroking. Some cats then avoid sitting down. The cause of these affectations is usually inflamed anal glands.

Once inflamed, it is very itchy and the skin on the anus is red instead of pink. If the cat doesn’t come to the vet now, its rear end will soon be surrounded by an unpleasant odor cloud. If an infection develops in addition to the inflammation, an anal gland abscess can quickly develop. If left untreated, a fistula can form, i.e. a small opening through which the secretion can drain. Or the abscess may need to be opened surgically.

The good news? “Dogs with anal gland inflammation are presented much more frequently than cats. Only around three to five cats come to us with this problem each year,” says Isabelle Schmutz from the small animal practice in Moos in InsBE.

Main Cause Diarrhea

Normally, the secretion of the pea-sized glands located to the right and left of the anus is used to mark territory. If the cat defecates, it also always excretes a little of it. However, if the animal suffers from soft feces or diarrhea for a long time, the secretion accumulates, clogs the glands, and thus offers an ideal breeding ground for germs. In this case, diarrhea is the main cause. “Due to the lack of pressure, the anal glands are not emptied,” explains Schmutz. Furthermore, anal gland problems can be triggered or promoted by obesity, anal tumors, or intestinal inflammation. Or the cat simply has a genetic predisposition to it.

If you’re lucky and it’s a minor infection, the vet can squeeze out the glands from the outside without hurting the cat. If the inflammation is very severe, the cat is sedated. Then the glands are emptied and flushed without the patient noticing. In addition, there is treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs and, if necessary, antibiotics. Sometimes multiple sessions are required. If an anal gland abscess develops, a surgical opening of the abscess is necessary.

If the glands are emptied, the spook is usually over after a few days. However, depending on the cause, the spectacle can be repeated. If the problem recurs, surgical removal of the anal glands should be considered.

If the cause has been clarified or if any diseases underlying the problem can at least be ruled out, it is important to prevent it. The be-all and end-all here are regulated digestion. The veterinarian Isabelle Schmutz relies on fiber-rich feed and supplementary feed with probiotics.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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