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Don’t Ignore Your Cat’s Anal Glands: A Cat Owner’s Guide

CAT OWNERS: Heres What You Need to Know About Your Felines Anal Glands

As a cat owner, its important to keep an eye on your fur babys health. While there are a number of areas that can pose potential issues, one body part that is often overlooked is the anal glands.

These small glands may be tiny, but they play a significant role in your cats hygiene and well-being. In this article, well dive into everything you need to know about your cats anal glands, including the purpose, signs of issues, and proper care.

Purpose of Anal Glands in Cats

Cats may be tiny creatures, but everything they do has a purpose. Their anal glands are no exception.

These sacs, located just inside the anal opening, store a strong-smelling, oily fluid. This substance has a unique scent that is specific to your cat and acts as a scent message to other felines.

Your cats anal glands have several essential functions. The oily substance in the glands serves as a way for cats to mark their territory and leave their distinct scent.

If you have multiple cats in your home, youll likely notice that they mark their favorite spots with their unique scent. It is essential to note that the anal glands should never be expressed just because your cat doesnt like its smell, as expelling the secretion often is necessary and it is usually a way of telling the owner that there is a problem; the scent is not unpleasant to cats.

Signs That Your Cats Glands Need to be Expressed

While its normal for your cat’s glands to express a bit of secretion on their own, there are specific conditions when your pet’s glands need to be manually expressed to prevent impacted or infected glands. A few signs that your cat’s anal glands need to be expressed include:

Redness and swelling in the anal area

Scooting or dragging their butt on the floor

Excessive licking of the anal area

Discharge of a thick, foul-smelling liquid from the anus

Your cat seems uncomfortable, is scratching the area, or is restless

If you notice any of these symptoms, its best to contact your veterinarian and get your cat checked out to prevent anal gland disease.

Equipment Required to Express Your Cats Glands

Fortunately, expressing your fur baby’s anal glands doesn’t require any complicated equipment. To express your cat’s anal glands, you will need:

Surgical gloves

Moisten wipes or towel

Treats (high-value ones that your cat loves)

Before proceeding, make sure your cat is comfortable and won’t scratch or bite you.

Even if you’re confident, remember that your cat’s health is a priority. For the best experience, try placating your feline friend with treats before you begin.

Procedures for Expressing Your Cats Glands

Locate the gland

The first step is to locate your cat’s anal gland. The gland can be found on either side of the anal opening.

Press Gently

Use a gentle but firm pressure to express the gland. Place your thumb and forefinger on either side of the gland and then push towards each other.

You should be able to feel a small amount of oily fluid being pushed out of the gland. Clean Up

Once you finish expressing both glands, use a moist towel or wipe to clean the area.

Be sure to dispose of everything hygienically. Wash your hands thoroughly.

Preventing Problems During Expression

Expressing your pets anal glands can sometimes be unsuccessful, particularly if you are not used to it. Alternatively, if your cat is experiencing an illness or has a medical condition, expressing the glands can be difficult and uncomfortable.

The best course of action in such a situation would be to take your cat to the veterinarian.

Understanding Anal Gland Problems in Cats

While expressing your cats anal glands can help prevent issues, there are still several conditions that can cause gland problems for your kittycat.

Impaction of Anal Glands

When your cat’s anal glands aren’t being expressed correctly, the gland can become clogged, causing an impaction. This issue is the most common anal gland condition a cat can experience.

Symptoms of Anal Gland Impaction Include:

Pain and discomfort while sitting

Licking or biting around the anal area

Difficulty defecating

Lower appetite

If you suspect that your cat has an anal gland impaction, please do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian.

Infection and Abscess of Anal Glands

If there is a bacterial or viral infection inside the gland, it can lead to an infection or abscess. Cats experiencing abscesses feel all types of discomfort, and these wounds can take a serious toll on their energy levels.

Symptoms of an Anal Gland Abscess Include:

Swelling and redness around the anal area

Discharge or oozing from the abscess

Pain when touched

If you suspect that your cat has an anal gland abscess, go see your vet immediately.

Tumors of Anal Glands

Another issue that your cat might face is a tumor growing within the gland. While tumors are rare, cancerous growths in the anal gland are a severe issue that requires prompt medical attention.

Symptoms of an Anal Gland Tumor include:

A visible lump near the anus

Difficulty defecating

Frequent Licking

Removing the tumor usually involves excising the whole sac.

Recurrent Anal Sac Impactions

When your cat has continuously impacted and infected anal glands, it can be an indicator of underlying health problems. If your feline is experiencing recurrent anal sac impactions, surgery may be required to remove the glands altogether.


Taking good care of your cat’s anal glands is a vital part of maintaining your pet’s overall health. If you notice any signs of anal gland issues, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Breeding purebred cats, exotic cats, rescue or shelter cats, or any other cat type comes with different needs, and you must keep an eye on their specific requirements. We’d suggest that you speak to your vet about the requirements of your cat’s breed, as each breed has its own set of risks and symptoms.

Remember, a healthy, happy cat requires responsible pet ownership and regular check-ups with your veterinarian. In conclusion, understanding your cat’s anal glands plays an essential role in keeping them healthy and comfortable.

These small sacs help your kitty mark their territory while also communicating with other felines. Signs of anal gland issues include redness, scooting, and excessive licking.

Expressing the glands is often necessary, and it only requires gloves, moist wipes, and kitty treats. Other potential problems include impaction, infection, tumors, and recurrent issues, and in these cases, its best to take your cat to a veterinarian.

Regular check-ups and responsible pet ownership are vital, as each breed has its specific challenges and requirements. Ultimately, taking care of your cat’s anal glands ensures their overall well-being and happiness.

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