why is my cat scooting

Why is My Cat Scooting? Questions and answers

Watching your cat scoot or drag her but on your carpet can be funny. But what’s funnier is you trying to demonstrate it to someone else. This behavior is often strange to cat owners if they’re just witnessing it for the first time. And even though it looks really funny, it is seldom a fun habit for cats.

That means your cat is most likely scooting because of a medical issue that needs to be handled immediately. Some cats scoot just because they enjoy it. In such cases, it is often because the cat enjoys the texture of a particular surface, like a couch, carpet, rug, grass, wooden, tile, etc. So, when it’s on any of the surfaces it likes, you’ll catch it dragging its but on it just for the feel of it.

But that’s not always the case. When cat owners ask, “why is my cat scooting?” it is often because their cats have made scooting a habit. If your cat has been repeating this behavior, you’ll want to consider the possible medical problems mentioned in this article and how to get your cat to stop scooting. But what is scooting? Is it the same as what dogs do?

What Does Cat Scooting Mean?

Scooting in dogs and cats is the same behavior, even though it’s more common in dogs. It is a physical activity in which a cat appears to drag her bum across a surface, usually a carpet or any roughened area in the house. When your cat is scooting, she’ll be seated like a human in an attempt to contact the ground with her rear. What does it mean when your cat drags its bum?

Scooting is often a symptom of a couple of underlying skin, anal, and other butt conditions. While it is seldom a problem that demands urgent addressing, it signals that your feline companion is in discomfort. The behavior can also impact your home hygiene.

What does it mean when your cat drags its bum?
Image by Юрий Сидоренко from Pixabay

Symptoms of Scooting in Cats

If your cat suddenly starts sitting on her butt, it doesn’t mean she’s scooting. Until she begins to drag her butt around, she’s only sitting. This behavior is a sign of discomfort, and it often leaves residue behind or a foul odor in that area.

A scooting cat can also suffer from diarrhea or some other litter box issues like difficult or painful defecation. Also, cats don’t only scoot by dragging their bum on the floor or carpet. She can also do it by constantly rubbing her bum on the wall or side of the couch.

What Causes Scooting in Cats

Your cat drags her bum or scoot on surfaces to reduce some level of discomfort in her anal region. This often involves itchiness, pain, or general discomfort or swelling. When your cat scoots, it is a sign of an underlying problem affecting your cat’s digestive system. 

“Scooting is usually associated with pruritus of the posterior rear,” says a Tomlyn technical services vet, Jim Lowe. Pruritus is medical terminology for serious itching of the skin. And the pet healthcare products vet, Lowe, says it is the cause of scooting.

Even though most cats don’t experience it, scooting can happen to just about any cat. What’s more, there is no specific breed that suffers it more than another. And the cause of the itching, Lowe says, can also result from different factors, like impacted anal glands, parasites and allergies.

However, the most common causes of these problems are found in the anal glands – small pouches of smelly fluid that are usually secreted along with your cat’s poo. The most common causes of scooting tied with anal glands as well as other conditions involve:

  • Infected or impacted anal glands
  • Parasite infections like internal worms
  • Fleas causing itchy skin
  • Allergies

1. Parasites in Scooting Cats

If your cat won’t stop dragging its butt on the couch or carpet, there’s a huge chance that worms are the cause. Parasitic worms, like tapeworms, can irritate your cat’s posterior region. And even if you check your cat stool, you might not always find them there.

“That the cat owner doesn’t see the worms doesn’t mean they aren’t there,” Chagrin Falls Vet Center owner, Dr. Carol Osborne. You can only see worms in your cat’s stool after deworming, and sometimes you might still not see them.

But if you do see worms, your feline buddy is most likely in discomfort, Dr. Osborne says. That means your cat needs to see the vet quickly.

2. Impacted Anal Sacs in Scooting Cats

Every cat has anal sacs near the opening of its anus. In those sacs is a slightly oily liquid that’s dark and smelly. The anal sacs usually release their oily liquid when your cat defecates. But when the sacs are clogged, then they’ve been impacted.

That shows that the sacs don’t express when your furry buddy does its business, and the region grows irritated, possibly causing your cat to scoot. However, in more severe cases, the cat’s anal sacs can get infected, which is usually a more painful experience.

3. Allergies and Scooting Cats

Another possible reason why your cat is dragging its bum around the house is that there’s something in your house affecting the cat. “Environmental allergies are a result of several things, like grasses, dust mites, fleas, or molds,” says Laura Pletz, a vet based in St. Charles, Missouri.

Allergies may also be a result of what your cat is eating. Food allergies are usually an allergy to a specific protein source, like beef or chicken, the vet says.

The good news is that effective medical therapies can help your cat scooting caused by environmental allergies. But if the allergy is also from food, your vet will most likely put your cat on a new diet.

4. Cat Scooting When Excited

While scooting in excitement is typically something a dog would do, it is also possible for your cat to do so too. Cats are often not as “dramatic” as dogs, but they can also be very expressive when they are super excited.

If your cat notices that you give her attention anytime, she behaves somehow – whether scooting or any other behavior – she’ll most likely make it a habit when she wants your attention. She could also make scooting a habit just for the fun of it. If she tried it once on the couch and she enjoys the fell, don’t be surprised if it becomes ‘her thing.’

Cat Scooting and Leaving Poop

A cat seriously dragging its butt across the house can be both worrying and funny, but it becomes more disturbing when it won’t stop leaving poop behind.

A cat will scoot on any surface that feels comfortable to it, whether it’s your bed, couch, carpet, wall, or even your body. So, if your cat is scooting to remove leftover feces on its bum, it can be disgusting to watch, and nobody wants to deal with their cat’s poop all around the house.

In such situations, you’ll want to wash the cat’s behind and monitor whether or not she’ll repeat the behavior. If she does, then there’s a bowel problem, and you’ll want to take her to the vet as soon as possible.

home remedies for cat scooting
Photo by svklimkin on Unsplash

How Do I Get My Cat to Stop Scooting?

How to handle a scooting cat is quite simple. If you don’t want to involve the vet just yet, begin by checking underneath your cat’s tail up close. Check for dried feces or any other irritant making your cat drag her butt across the carpet.

If you find anything there, all you have to do is wash gently underneath the kitty’s tail and check her behavior for scooting afterward.

If you can’t find anything in your cat’s behind, or she keeps scooting after you wash her, you have to contact the vet to get her checked out. Your veterinarian may express your kitty’s anal sacs, check for problematic parasites, and recommend a variety of diets or prescribe anti-itch medications or antibiotics.

Do Cats Scoot to Mark Territory?

Animals are known to mark their territories with their scent, especially when they feel like there’s a competition. You must have found your cat rubbing its body all over your house, on the wall, furniture and even on your body. This behavior is instinctive, but rubbing their bum on surfaces isn’t often part of it.

Their rear is a sensitive area, and they seldom leave it uncovered with their tail, except when it’s time to mate. So, if your cat keeps rubbing its butt, specifically across the house, then it’s not about territory – your kitty is in discomfort.  

Home Remedies for Cat Scooting

Cat scooting often requires a vet’s attention. But if there’s anything you can do to soothe your cat’s discomfort before rushing to the vet, you should learn it. Amongst other causes, scooting arises from inflamed anal sacs. So, you can use a couple of domestic approaches to relieve your cat’s inflammation.

But first, check if your kitty is only scooting because there’s residue poop on its rear. If that’s the case, wash it and dry the cat and monitor whether it’ll stop rubbing its butt everywhere. Nevertheless, don’t forget to check for any swells. You should take the pet to the vet immediately if there’s a swell.

1. Try Using Soothing Warm Compresses

You can make your cat more comfortable with inflamed anal sacs. A warm compress will soothe your cat’s irritated rear and soften the content of its anal sacs, making expressing more convenient.

You can use a warm washcloth for the compressing while avoiding it being too hot for your kitty. Hold it to your cat’s butt about two times a day for at least five minutes. Soak the cloth in a solution of Epsom salts, red or calendula clover for extra comfort as well as to stimulate the cat’s anal glands.

If your feline buddy doesn’t stay still for a warm compress, you can try diluting witch hazel or grapefruit seed extract in water, then apply it on her inflamed sacs using a cotton ball.

2. Try a Change in Diet and Exercise

Diet can easily be all the change that’s needed for a cat experiencing anal sac problems. If your cat isn’t getting enough fiber, her stool may not be too watery to allow the natural expression of the liquid contents in her anal sacs.

But with a tablespoon of canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling), you can take everything back to its right course. If your cat isn’t crazy about pumpkin, you can try a teaspoon of mined oat bran or minced carrot. You can as well try unflavored commercial fiber products like Metamucil.

Silica is an effective homeopathic remedy; a few pellets or drops twice a day for at three days frees up cats’ anal sacs. With that, try as much as possible to have your cat moving for up to 15 minutes, at least two times a day.

Constant exercise will keep your feline companion fit and in fine muscular form. It also helps prevent the liquid content in the cat’s anal sacs from increasing and causing problems.

3. Try More Than Home Care

If, after trying the approaches above, your kitty still displays signs of discomfort, especially after three days, it’s best to take her to the vet for a medical checkup. Also, if she shows signs of abscessed anal sacs, like discharge from her anal sac region or bleeding, she needs a professional’s help.

Left unattended, an abscessed anal sac might burst and infect its surrounding tissues, which can result in serious damage.

do cats scoot to mark territory
Image by JackieLou DL from Pixabay

Final Thoughts

Unlike dogs, cats can often conceal their discomfort. It usually takes an owner with a keen eye to notice a disturbed cat, especially if the cat is not super social. Your cat could be in slight discomfort and find a place to hide instead of coming to you for comfort or at least meowing its pains.         

That said, irrespective of how ‘introverted’ your cat is, you can’t exactly miss a kitty wiping the floor with her butt. This is something she’ll want to do in a part of the house she’s comfortable with. It could be a couch, carpet, or grass. But as soon as you see her, use the tips provided in this article.

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