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Felinexpress.com Home > Cat Health > Expressing Anal Glands

Expressing Anal Glands in Cats

Typically, cats are able to express their own anal glands. They do so by grooming, pressing their bum against objects. It just comes naturally. But sometimes, due to health issues or other circumstances, some cats need help in expressing their anal glands. Or, the glands become so impacted they become infected, swollen and painful. In this situation, your vet should be contacted immediately. Anal glands (also called anal sacs) can become cancerous but this a rare occurrence. The anal glands are located between the internal and external anal sphincter muscles on the sides of the anus. If you consider the anus of your kitty being the face of a clock, the glands lie at 4:00 and 8:00. Their purpose is to collect any extra fluids. The fluid grows quite thick with a texture similar to cake batter. It can be light to dark brown or in the case of an infection, the secretions can turn white. Normally the fluids resemble the thickness of library paste.

Before expressing the anal glands, be sure and have your cat seen by your vet. He/she can show you the exact way to express these glands without your hands and arms turning into a battleground of scratches and bite wounds. Most cats don’t want their anal glands messed with- can you blame them? In some cases, antibiotics need to be introduced into the area which only your vet can do.

The glands can become clogged if the cat becomes ill or dehydrated. Symptoms of anal gland impaction are:

  • Repeated trips to the litter pan with litter pan accidents on the floor.
  • The appearance of blood or pus in or around the anus or in the poop.
  • Swelling or inflammation of the anus.
  • Scooting the rump along the carpet.
  • Continual licking of the anus or tail head.

Before you express your cat’s anal glands you will need to know how (consult your veterinarian). You will also need:

  • Rubber gloves
  • Moistened pet wipes
  • Old towels or sheets
  • Gauze pads
  • Someone to hold the cat still for you.
  • Air freshener

Don’t expect your cat to make this process easy for you. A veterinarian or a professional groomer (if there is no sign of infection) is much more adept to handle this chore.

Place your fingers in the four o’clock and eight o’clock position of the anus and gently squeeze and press to expel the liquid. If you are too forceful it will squirt all over you and cause your kitty pain, so you must be gentle. As the contents erupt, wipe them away with the towels, or moist pads or gauze pads. This is a smelly job so be sure and spray air freshener around after you are finished.

Some experts believe that impacted anal glands are a cause of to much dry food in the diet. If your cat is prone to having anal gland issues, switch the food over to wet food and increase the cat’s water intake. After all, a cat’s primary food-sources are rodents and small insects. They are always nice and juicy. Dry food isn’t always the answer for your cat even though it might be convenient or cost-effective for you.

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