My Cat Has Liquid Coming From Their Anus

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: June 26, 2019
My Cat Has Liquid Coming From Their Anus

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Unfortunately not all the interactions we have with our cat are head rubs and cosy naps. There are responsibilities we have as cat guardians which require a little more intimacy. Checking up on our cat's health means looking out for every part of them. Since parasites and gastrointestinal issues are relatively common in felines, checking the status of their anal health is important. We can't communicate verbally with cats, so we need to look at physical symptoms and behavioral changes to gauge their health.

If you see that your cat has liquid coming from their anus, you will be wondering what might be at fault. AnimalWised looks at the different types of liquid which might be emanating from your cat and associating the various causes which might be present.

What type of liquid is coming from my cat's anus?

While we need to be vigilant when looking after our cat's health, it is important to recognize symptoms of a pathology and something which might be relatively common. This is why we need to look at the different kinds of liquid which might be coming out of your cat's rear end. Here are some of the possible colors as well as their likely source:

  • Brown liquid: if your cat has brown liquid from their rectum, it is likely due to diarrhea. The causes of diarrhea are various, but most often have to do with diet. As it is the symptom of many other conditions, it is important you take them to the vet if it lasts for longer than 24 to 48 hours.
  • Yellow liquid: yellow liquid could also be part of diarrhea, but it could also be a sign the cat has eaten something which has changed this color. If it is clear with a yellowish tint, however, it may be from the anal glands rather than the anus itself.
  • Clear liquid: if you see a clear liquid leaking from your cat's anus, then it is likely due to their anal glands. If your cat is a little under the weather then it is possible they will have a little bit of clear mucus coming from their anus. However, this might also be the symptom of something more problematic such as parasites, bacterial overgrowth, colitis or even tumors, so you will need to go to a vet.
  • Red liquid: if you see blood coming from your cat's anus, then you should know there are two main types. If it is bright red, then it is fresh blood and is likely coming from the anus itself. If it is dark red or brown, then it has been digested and means there is something wrong further up the gastrointestinal tract.

It is always better to be safe than sorry, so if you see a problem, you should take your cat to the vet for assessment. If they believe it is a symptom of something more serious, then they will be able to run the appropriate tests.

My Cat Has Liquid Coming From Their Anus - What type of liquid is coming from my cat's anus?

Cats anal glands

The anal glands or anal sacs of a cat are found on both sides of the anus. They would be at the five and seven hands on a clock face. As are a gland which secretes a fluid used for two main purposes:

  • Lubrication of the feces for easier defecation.
  • Creates a unique scent which cats use to both identify themselves and mark territory.

They can be found if you press around the anus area, but they are not usually very visible. If there are it is possibly due to inflammation or some other reason for their swelling. As they contain a unique smell, it is not uncommon to see other cats smell this area as a means of greeting.

When a cat defecates, the feces itself pushes the glands and causes them to secrete fluid. However, there are other circumstances which can cause the anal sphincter to contract, in turn tightening the anal glands and emptying them. One example is fear, such as a cat might experience when visiting a veterinary clinic. When this occurs you might see a clear liquid emanating from your cat's anus.

Impacted anal glands in cats

Impaction means that the duct of the anal gland is blocked and stops it from being released. This causes the gland to fill with fluid and become swollen. It is usually not painful unless it is accompanied by an infection. It will, however, be uncomfortable and enlarge. If your cat has concurrent dark and thick brown fluid coming from the anus, the cat may be suffering from impaction.

The fluid in the gland accumulates because it is unable to empty the glands properly or at all. It might happen because the cat's stools are too soft or small to put pressure on the glands. It could also be due to a foreign object or infection blocking the gland. The main way to treat this problem is to manually express the gland (see below). Expression of the gland may need to continue for a short time until the underlying problem is resolved.

However, this is not the only way to treat anal gland blockages. Lifestyle changes should be made, especially those involved with diet. You may need to add some more fiber to their food to give them the proper nutrition. All of this should be discussed with your vet.

Anal gland infection in cats

As we stated above, impaction is not the only reason a cat's anal glands might not function properly. Also known as saculitis, an anal gland infection in cats produces a painful inflammation in one or both of the cat's anal glands. You should suspect an anal gland infection if your cat has clear or yellowish liquid, purulent fluid (pus) or even blood coming from the area. The vet will be able to diagnose the problem and will likely prescribe antibiotics for treatment.

My Cat Has Liquid Coming From Their Anus - Anal gland infection in cats

Abscess in a cat's anal gland

An infection may only be the beginning of the problem if our cat has problems with their anal glands. If our cat has liquid coming from their anus as described in the previous section, we should take a look at the gland itself. When the gland becomes red, then purple as well as enlarged, we can suspect an abscess has formed. In these cases, emptying alone will not solve the problem. An anal gland abscess might grow so much that it breaks the skin and becomes a fistula, something which can be very uncomfortable and painful for the cat.

The veterinarian will clean the area and prescribe antibiotics, but it is also possible surgery might be required. While some people may fear that an anal abscess in cats may be cancerous, it is important to remember this is unlikely as “[a]nal sac carcinoma account[s] for 0.5% of all feline skin neoplasms”[1].

How to express a cat's anal gland

If you see that your cat is licking their anal area a lot and is unable to release their anal secretions properly, you may need to express the gland yourself. However, even though you may need to manually express the glands yourself, it is best to go to the vet for the first time so they can both show you how to do it properly and ensure your cat is exposed to the best practice first. This will help make it easier for you to manually express your cat's anal glands.

Ideally, you should have someone help restrain the cat while expressing their anal gland. This is because it can be quite an uncomfortable and even painful procedure. Once you have someone restraining the cat, you need to lift up the tail and locate the glands. It is best to use rubber or latex gloves for this procedure. With the thumb and forefinger, take hold of the individual gland and squeeze it in the direction of the anus, where the fluid normally comes out. You may want to put newspaper down as the odor of the secretion can be quite foul. The anal gland secretion should be brown in color, so if this is not the case, you will need to speak to your vet.

My Cat Has Liquid Coming From Their Anus - How to express a cat's anal gland

Is the liquid from the anus?

If you see your cat us leaking fluid from its anal area, it is likely for one of the above reasons. However, you need to be very careful you have correctly located the source. In the case of females, we need to be sure the secretion is coming from the anus and not the vulva. If there is a discharge which is pink, bloody or contains pus, then it could be a reproductive issue. If the cat has not been spayed, it is possible they are pregnant. However, such a discharge might also be a sign of a uterine infection or pyometra. In any case, you will need to seek immediate veterinary assistance to determine the problem and find a course of treatment.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to My Cat Has Liquid Coming From Their Anus, we recommend you visit our Infectious diseases category.


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Angie Horn
Thanks for the articles on our pets.
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