Why do cats drag their bottoms on the floor?

Cat licking his perianal area.
Excessive licking of the perianal area or dragging the hindquarters against the carpet may indicate anal sac problems in cats, which call for a vet visit.

Is your cat dragging his bottom on the carpet? This behavior is a good reason to visit a veterinarian because it is commonly linked to anal gland problems in cats. In this article you will learn why cats drag their bottoms along the floor and what to do to make it stop.

Why do cats drag their bottoms on the floor?

The most common reason for this behavior is irritation of the anal glands. What are they?

Anal glands, which are often called “anal sacs” or “scent glands,” are situated near the anus and secrete a cat’s individual scent, which plays an important role in territory marking with feces and gives them the name “scent glands.”

If the anal glands are itchy, a cat will try to relieve the uncomfortable sensation by scooting on the floor. Itching may occur in the following situations:

  • The anal sacs do not empty – There is no need to empty the anal glands manually unless something is preventing their natural expression when the cat defecates and they become impacted. In such cases, the disimpaction can be accomplished at a veterinarian’s office. Do not try this at home! Although there are many instructions on the Internet that explain how to do it, it is best left to a professional.
  • The anal sacs are infected – The infection causes irritation. In such cases, again, a vet visit is necessary to diagnose the problem and choose the appropriate treatment, which may include antibiotics to treat the infection.
  • The anal sacs are ruptured – After rupture, they become painful and irritating. Don’t wait for the area to heal on its own; visit a vet as soon as possible.
  • Other problems are present –  Other conditions may also cause itching of a cat’s anal glands.

Do worms cause cats to drag their bottoms? One species of tapeworms can cause itchy anus, though it isn’t among common cat worm symptoms. If you haven’t dewormed your cat in a while, it might be a good idea to do so. It won’t stop your cat from scooting if the problem lies with the anal glands, but regular worming is necessary for both indoor and outdoor cats.

Can bottom dragging be caused by diarrhea? Yes, and diarrhea may also be present in cats with anal gland problems. Read more below.

What are other symptoms of anal sac diseases?

If your cat has problems with his or her anal glands, you are likely to spot these tell-tale signs:

  • More self-grooming around the anal area than usual
  • Hair loss around the anal area
  • Diarrhea and fecal incontinence
  • Constipation
  • Decreased appetite
  • Ulcers in the perianal area

What is the prognosis, and how can further problems be avoided?

When you visit your veterinarian, he or she will most likely manually extract the contents of your cat’s anal sacs and will also prescribe antibiotic therapy and pain control.

You can take the following actions to prevent recurrence of anal sac problems:

Remember, scooting on the floor is not a normal cat behavior. Training, such as punishment for bad behavior, will not be effective at stopping the cat from dragging its bottom on the floor. The action of scooting is prompted by the itchy anal sacs, and your cat may also feel discomfort or even pain. There is no way to train the cat not to feel it. If your cat is dragging his bottom on the floor, visit your veterinarian to find out why and what you can do to help.