My Cat Is Dragging Their Butt on the Floor
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Cats are specialists when it comes to hiding what is happening to them. This is why it usually takes us so long to figure out that something is wrong with our feline. One problem you might have noticed is that your cat is dragging their butt on the carpet or other surfaces. For some, this seems quite a funny sight. In reality, dragging themselves on the floor might be a sign they have a more serious health condition.
At AnimalWised, we explain why your cat is dragging their butt on the floor. We look at the reasons behind this behavior and we show you what you might do to help prevent it in the future.
What is scooting in cats?
Scooting in cats refers to a physical activity in which your cat appears to scoot or to drag their butts on the ground, carpet, or any other roughened area. The reasons for this strange behavior are varied but mostly indicate that your cat is feeling pain or discomfort due to an underlying health condition.
The most common causes of why your cat drags their butt on the floor are the following:
- Anal glands obstruction
Below we look into each cause of cats dragging their anus in more detail. If you want to learn more about related issues, take a look at our article on my cat has a swollen and red anus.
Internal intestinal parasites, especially common in kittens, are one of the main reasons your cat might be scooting. These organisms can either belong to the group of roundworms (e.g. hookworms, roundworms), flatworms (e.g. tapeworms), or protozoa (e.g. toxoplasma, giardia, coccidia). However, due to their life cycle, flat parasites or tapeworms such as flea tapeworms (Dipylidium caninum) are the ones commonly associated with this behavior.
Cat fleas (Ctenocephalides felis felis) carry the parasite Dipylidium caninum, and could be responsible for your cat's scooting. If these fleas are ingested by your cat while grooming, they will release the larvae of the parasite as soon as they come in contact with their stomach acids. They will eventually reach your cat's intestine and breed.
Once there, the larvae will develop into an adult state and reproduce. Parasitic eggs will ultimately be eliminated in the feces, producing an intense itch on their anus before its expulsion. The itch may provoke the need for scratching, which translates into your cat scooting.
Allergies in cats can also cause dermatological problems that might lead to various symptoms such as excessive scratching, irritated mood, and scooting. The most common allergens are the following:
- Environmental allergens: herbs, fungal spores, dust, or pollen might generate an allergic reaction that produces irritation and itching.
- Food allergens: especially frequent in young cats arise as a result of a hypersensitivity to some types of protein, such as chicken or turkey. In addition to causing itchiness in the area, it can also cause other more common digestive symptoms such as diarrhea or vomiting.
- Parasitic allergens: cats are sensitive to flea bites because their saliva can cause a hypersensitivity reaction that could also lead to perianal itching.
Apart from scooting, you might also notice your female cat is trying to bite or lick her private area. Vulvar or vaginal infection should not be disregarded as possible originators for your cat's scooting. They can cause intense itching in the surrounding areas, leading to the cat dragging their butt to relieve the frustration.
It is important to observe if the area is reddened or has some type of discharge. Cats suffering from infections near areas like the uterus (e.g. pyometra), may also develop other symptoms. These include fever, polyuria-polydipsia, depression and loss of appetite as the most common.
If you wish to know more about infections in cats, don't miss our article on cryptococcosis in cats.
Anal gland impaction
The feline anal glands are found on both sides of the anus and their job is to release a yellowish-brown discharge to help in the defecation process. Generally, this discharge is emptied during defecation, but sometimes it can be retained in the gland due to impaction. This might cause a lot of pain and discomfort in affected cats. In turn, it can also lead to them dragging their butts on the ground as a way of relieving the symptoms.
You may also be interested in my cat has liquid coming from their anus.
Although tumors in the perianal are a much more common in dogs than in cats, it is still important to consider if you have noticed your cat is scooting.
These tumors can be perianal adenoma (benign) and adenocarcinoma of the anal sacs (malignant). In the latter, an increase in the calcium levels of the blood is detected in affected cats. Cats suffering from this type of tumor tend to develop a lump in the area which causes great discomfort and pain. Other clinical signs might arise, such as excessive licking of the area, ulceration, bleeding, anorexia, infections, fever, loss of appetite, constipation, and difficulty or pain in defecation.
How to stop your cat dragging their butt
The treatment for your cat's scooting depends on the underlying condition that causes it. We advise you to take your cat to a specialist that can perform a thorough physical exam and determine a specific treatment based on the results. It also advised paying attention to any other symptoms, strange behaviors or changes in their habits.
If the cause is related to parasites, it is important to administer internal dewormers (anthelmintics) which will help in their expulsion and prevent these parasites from continuing to damage the feline's intestine. External dewormers prevent the appearance of fleas which dramatically reduces the chances of your cat ingesting them. Both can be found at your nearest veterinary center.
If the cause is related to allergies, you should consider changing your cat's diet and replacing the protein that commonly causes the allergic reaction.
In the case of an anal gland impaction, these should be emptied as soon as it is detected. It is usually a standard procedure that will alleviate the symptoms almost immediately. You might be able to do it yourself if you know how to express a cat's anal glands.
Finally, if you suspect your cat might be suffering from tumors or from an infection, you should seek professional help immediately. Only a trusted veterinarian can carry out a proper diagnosis. Beginning treatment as soon as possible will help avoid serious health issues in the future.
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 Is Dragging Their Butt on the Floor, we recommend you visit our Other health problems category.
- Harvey, A., & Tasker, S. (Eds). (2014). Feline Medicine Manual. Ed. Sastre Molina, SL L ́Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain.