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Cat Anal Glands Woes and How to Deal With It

Cat Anal Glands

Just like any other animal, cats too face problems with their anal glands. Cats have two glands filled with dark, smelly fluids that they release when confronted with danger or an emergency and to mark out its space.  The cat squeezes its anal glands every time it excretes. It goes a long way in helping your cat to deal with this painful stage of its life. Read on to know all about it, the symptoms treatment and other related aspects.

Common Cat Anal Glands Problems

Anal glands are one of the most vulnerable parts of your cat’s body. It is prone to infection and clogging. Several reasons might cause it. It is much more common in cats than any other animal.

1. Infection:

The accumulation and secretion of smelly fluids in the anal gland sacs leaves it open to infections.  It can be painful and itchy for your cat. You can quickly identify signs of an infection when your cat exhibits aggression or fear.  Any sudden erratic behavior calls for an appointment with the veterinarian to treat the infection immediately.  If left untreated, it might become septic and lead to an abscess and ultimately death of the cat.

2. Impaction:

Impaction is the typical process where the ducts that connect the anal glands get blocked.  It happens as a result of hot weather conditions, pressure build-up; infection, or the accumulation of fluid.  It is common when your cat is constipated or is sick.

3. Abscess:

Abscess can be a very painful experience for your cat.  It comes with inflammation, swelling and the build-up of septic pus. The only remedy is for a surgery that cuts open the sac and drains out all the fluid.  Timely surgery done by a veterinarian can prevent the abscess from rupturing.

4. Symptoms:

Your cat can exhibit various symptoms or signs that indicate trouble with its anal glands. Look out for any sudden difference in its overall behavior.  Here are some of the changes that you can quickly identify.

5. Pain:

Your cat will not be able to cover up its pain, and this is one of the simplest symptoms to detect.  Anal Gland pain is experienced around its tail area. The pain is generally accompanied by straining during discharge of its stool or even a few drops of blood.  You can find out your cat is in pain when he tries to sit or move into a standing position.

6. Scooting:

The inflammation, pain and swelling might cause your cat to feel the need to scoot his rear across the floor. You might also find him rubbing it against the wall or a smooth surface to ease the pain.

7. Licking or biting:

If you find your cat always licking or biting around its rear area, then it means his anal glands are troubling him. Licking or biting is a way of soothing the pain and as a way to make him feel good.

8. Chasing his tail:

It’s easy to detect whether your cat is playfully chasing its tail or reaching behind due to a swollen anal sac. Your cat might tend to chase his tail around a lot in such a case.

9. Swelling:

If you witness any of the above symptoms in your cat followed by swelling around the anus, it’s essential to rush him to a vet. The swelling and inflammation can be felt as hard masses near the rear end.  A good veterinarian will be able to perform a complete rectal examination of your cat and perform the tests.  The tests can indicate whether your cat is suffering from infection or tumor of the anal glands.

Do Cats Need to Have Their Anal Glands Squeezed?

Squeezing of the anal glands is one way of detecting whether your cat is suffering from a health complication down there.  When you take your cat to a vet clinic, the vet usually squeezes the sacs with his hands to detect any lumps or hard masses within. The vet will prescribe the proper course for treatment and the medication that might provide relief for your cat.  Upon squeezing, the vet will be able to identify whether the mass within is hard or dry. Squeeze the sacs to soften them up.  When squeezing the anal glands, if your cat seems to be in pain, proper medications are given.  It includes pain relief drugs to reduce the pain and offer relief to your cat. Before treatment, the vet usually sedates or tranquilizes the cat to keep calm while draining and rinsing the infected fluid.

How to Express Cat Anal Glands?

Generally, cats can express their anal glands naturally when they urinate or excrete. However, an infection can block the gland fluids and prevent them from draining out. The accumulation and pressure of the liquid in the glands can cause swelling and painful inflammation and other related infections in the cat. This is when they need assistance with anal glands. Schedule regular checkups with the vet for perform anal gland expressions.  It helps to prevent the build-up and accumulation.  

How to Tell if Your Cat Needs his Anal Glands Expressed?

Not many of us would know the signs, but when you watch your cat closely, you will find that he needs his glands expressed.  Watch out for any swelling or redness around the rear part of the cat. You will also see them scooting, rubbing or licking excessively around the anal area. This is when you can squeeze and express its anal glands.


By following simple steps, precaution and hygiene, keep your cat’s anal glands safe from infections. You can do it at home for your cat during an emergency. However, be warned, it can be messy to handle it yourself. Your best solution lies at a veterinarian clinic.