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What Does it Mean When a Cat Rubs Its Butt on the Ground?

| Updated September 26, 2017

If your cat has recently developed a habit of either rubbing or dragging her rear end around the floors of your home, look into the situation further. Since your kitty probably isn't trying out a new style of dance, there's a good chance she's dealing with uncomfortable anal sac woes -- poor dear.

Anal Glands

A cat's anal glands aren't an appealing topic to anyone -- especially to a feline suffering from the unwelcome discomfort caused by them. Felines have two anal sacs, both of which are situated in their anal regions. These sacs contain dense, foul-smelling fluid that is brown to pale gray or yellow in color. In most circumstances, the fluid comes out on its own as a result of the tension that occurs during a cat's passing of stools. Occasionally, however, this emptying just doesn't take place -- and this is when issues can arise.


If your cat has been rubbing her derriere on the ground, she may be trying to cope with the uncomfortable, painful and awkward fluid accumulation within the sacs. Other key indications to look out for, apart from butt dragging, are anal sac leakage, a strong "fishy" odor emanating from your cat's rear area, difficulties in passing stools and excessive anal scratching.

Veterinarian Assistance

If your cat keeps rubbing her butt on the ground, the veterinarian's office is calling her name. If her sacs are indeed impacted, the vet may be able to extract the buildup. She may be able to teach you how to handle the process at home by yourself, should this rather icky situation occur again in the future. Some cats experience infections within their anal sacs due to the buildup, which can lead to an array of unpleasant effects, from the presence of blood in the fluid to potentially hazardous abscesses that can bring upon lasting rectal detriment down the line. If your kitty is indeed dealing with an infection, the vet can discuss your options in getting rid of the condition -- think surgery or prescription medication, for example.

More Common in Dogs Than in Cats

Smaller dogs such as pugs are often susceptible to problems with anal sacs, although cats, unfortunately, are in no way exempt from the possibility. Bigger dogs also sometimes experience anal sac discomfort.