Categories: anal sacs

My cat is licking her rear excessively


My 11 year old spayed female cat is constantly washing her bum. It started a few months ago and I can’t get her to stop.

We visited a vet for vaccinations a while back and she said it was her scent glands and not to worry but it has been going on for months now and I’m getting concerned. Any advice?


Hi…. I am surprised that your vet simply said, “It was her scent glands..” without qualifying that because cats don’t lick the openings to their scent glands excessively unless there is something wrong and/or an irritation.

She is licking her “bum”. The general area of her anus and scent glands

The area is irritating her, therefore. I’ll quote what the Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook

says on this subject.

“Signs of anal and rectal disease…are licking repeatedly at the rear”.

If there is pain the cat will often try and defecate standing upright. Is this happening?

Inflammed anus and rectum can cause the cat to lick the rear. Inflammation can be caused by hard stools or repeated diarrhea.

Anal sac infection can cause the cat to lick her rear more than usual. Other signs are swelling on one or both sides of the anus and blood/pus in the anal sac secretions. Cat might scoot (drag bottom along ground by lifting back legs and pulling on forelegs).

Anal sac abscess can cause excessively licking at her rear. Swelling at the site of the gland might be apparent.

It might be stress related overgrooming. See feline endocrine alopecia.

It might be a response to an irritation in the groin area due to an allergic reaction.

Comments from visitors welcome.

I hope this helps a bit.

My cat is licking her rear excessively to Cat Health Problems

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My cat is licking her rear excessively

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Mar 17, 2011 See another vet
by: Ruth

Michael is right in all he says.
I’d advise you to take your cat to a different vet because the one you saw who said it’s only her scent glands and doing nothing about it isn’t good enough treatment. If they are blocked it will be irritating your poor cat and they need squeezing out and an anti inflammatory injection given.
It usually only needs doing just once to get rid of the trouble.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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  • My cats butt inflamed. Dried Blood around outside diameter. Licking but and base tail. Scooting butt. Per your article we taking her to vet on Sukkot in Tel Aviv Israel. Thank You for info

  • My cat is doing the same licks herself what can I do to relief her from doing this helppppp please she's my special cat I don't know what I'd do without her I love her so much

    • Hello Norinne. I feel for you. I think you have to take her to the vet. There is no other genuine answer. Just ask for a diagnosis on that issue alone. Don't get sucked in to other diagnoses and treatments.

      I know you are concerned about the cost of it and I understand that but there is no other solution and it may not be expensive if the diagnosis is straightforward and the treatment also straightforward.

      I can't really add to what I have written on this page already.

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