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C2006-11

Dear Christopher Cat

We have an overweight cat with an embarrassing problem. She scoots her rear across the carpet, leaving an offensive odor and a brown smudge. Cleaning with baby wipes hasn’t helped. Do you have any ideas?

Christopher Responds

It sounds like your cat’s anal sacs are impacted, and that she’s trying to empty them when she scoots across the carpet.

The two anal sacs, located just under the skin below the anus, are lined by glands that produce a watery liquid that is discharged when we cats defecate.

The liquid’s pungent odor lets other cats know we’ve been around.

However, in overweight cats, excessive body fat can compress the ducts through which the liquid is supposed to empty, preventing its release.

The longer the liquid sits in the anal sacs, the thicker it becomes. Once it reaches the consistency of pudding, its release becomes much more difficult.

Impacted anal sacs feel uncomfortable, so we cats attempt to empty them by scooting – but usually we are only partially successful.

Your veterinarian can help by completely emptying your cat’s anal sacs. The sacs refill every month or two, so most cats with this problem need to visit the vet on a regular basis.

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