Pet owners enjoy watching their pets' antics. These behaviors are often a primary source of some of the web's funniest videos. It is important for pet owners to realize, however, that some of the behaviors that they find to be so hilarious are actually the pet's way of communicating a problem. Such is the case with "scooting," when a cat propels itself forward on its bottom. Anal or rectal problems should immediately be suspected.
A Scooting Cat
Anal or rectal abnormalities are unusual in cats, but are common enough that when a vet hears about a cat moving around on its bottom, he will immediately test it for one of several possibilities, all of which are centered on the cat's anus or rectum.
Some of the possibilities that the vet could check for are:
Tapeworms, sensitivity to flea or mite bites, diarrhea or constipation (which can cause a sensitivity in the area), rectal prolapse or anal sac impaction or infection.
Possible Reasons for Anal Discomfort in Cats
A cat owner should be prepared to give the vet as much information as possible to assist in a diagnosis. The more information that the vet has to work with, the easier it will be for him to diagnose the problem and to treat it successfully. Some overall points that the cat owner should review when preparing for a visit to the vet:
Is the cat taking any medications? These can cause constipation or diarrhea, which can then irritate the rectal area.
Does the cat show any signs of discomfort when defecating? Does the cat seem to have an unpleasant odor originating in its anal area? This can indicate either an impacted anal sac or prolapsed rectum, which the vet may need to evacuate manually, or, perhaps, remove surgically.
Does the cat seem to be scratching excessively? Mites or fleas can cause scratching---some mites tend to congregate at the base of the tail, which causes itching and is best treated by topical ointments that the vet can prescribe.
Is there rectal bleeding? There are a variety of reasons that the cat may be experiencing bleeding from its rectum---rectal polyps, tumors, and hernias are just three possibilities. (These conditions are diagnosed with an endoscope; few veterinary practices keep an endoscope on hand, therefore a referral to a veterinary clinic with this equipment should be requested if necessary.)
Healthy Cats Require Alert Cat Owners
Almost all rectal problems in cats can be treated easily and successfully if treated early. This means that cat owners must be alert to any differences in the habits or behaviors of their pet and, if necessary, they should obtain the proper treatment as soon as possible. Some health problems in cats can be "waited out" but this is almost never true with rectal problems. A veterinarian will be able to successfully treat a cat for almost all rectal problems if given the proper information by the cat's owner. Some pet antics are humorous, but it is important to know which behaviors belong on a YouTube video and which ones belong in a vet's office.