Why does my cat have "poopy butt?"
March 23, 2009 8:38 PM   Subscribe

Why does my cat have "poopy" butt? And can anyone recommend a good vet near Weymouth/Hingham, MA?

Our 8 year old, 20 pound cat has "poopy butt". That is to say she leaves little poop marks on the carpet and occasionally smells. She has been heavy for years, but this suddenly started about a year ago and I am at a loss. She is otherwise active, her box gets cleaned 2+ times a week, she has had a blood test for thyroid and everything. The vet says she can't clean herself, but seems weird suddenly after being fat for year she suddenly couldn't do it. Otherwise she seems to clean herself fine. I don't think getting her butt buzzed once every other month is the long term solution. Any thoughts? Maybe something to change her behavior? Or something to help her lose weight? She only gets 1/4 cup twice a day, which is what the vet recommended.

Beyond suggestions for the cat, can anyone recommend a good vet near Weymouth/Hingham area of Mass?
posted by UMDirector to Pets & Animals (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know about the medical problem, but if your cat is not losing weight, you might want to check and see if your neighbors are feeding her too, and ask them to stop if they are.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 10:11 PM on March 23, 2009

Cats lose flexibility as they age, it's likely your cat cannot reach around to clean herself as easily as when she was younger.

Are you exercising her? Most cats can't resist a laser pointer; work her up in small increments until she's chasing the red dot for at least a half-hour a day (this isn't as onerous as it sounds; I do it without any extra thought for an hour/evening with my cats while watching TV).

Until she loses weight, help her out by wet wiping her butt. Just the act of wiping her down with something damp will trigger her to lick some more. Earthbath is a non-harmful brand.
posted by jamaro at 10:15 PM on March 23, 2009

Oh, the poopy butt. Our fat kitty used to get this, which is why she's less fat now. After trying wet-wipes and eventually resorting to baths (both of these were unpleasant for everyone involved, but so was having poop everywhere), we took her to the vet and he put her on a 1/8 cup of food, twice-a-day diet. She's always been pretty active, and had been on a 1/4 cup twice-a-day diet for years; on the super-diet, she managed to drop from 20 pounds down to 16 (which made for a very impressed vet). At that point, I added an additional 1/8 cup snack, just so she'd stop waking us up at 3 a.m., and she's probably back up to 17 pounds or so now. But no poopy butt.

Basically, before the diet, she'd just gained that extra little bit of weight that kept her from being able to reach all the way around--she'd try, and just sort of roll over. What helped was exercise and less food. Of course, I am not a vet, and I am not your cat's vet. But that's what my cat's vet recommended, and it worked.
posted by paleography at 10:56 PM on March 23, 2009

I have a large-ish cat who has a variant of poopy-butt, which I call dried-poop fur. I noticed several years ago that she had dingleberries, for lack of a better term and seemed either unable or unwilling to deal with this problem. Then I started finding them in her bedding as they would dry out completely, and fall off. Obviously this was not good, so I started giving her baths. Well, that didn't work out for a variety of reasons, including I like having all of my skin intact and a cat who weighs 15 lbs can do a great deal of damage in a very small amount of time.
So the solution I came up with that works? Shaving. I got one of them buzz clipper things (for shaving beards and the like) just for her butt, never to be used on a human head, and once every couple of weeks I ambush her and drag her into the bathroom, plop her in the dry tub. Then I lift her tail, half a dozen quick passes and she's got no more dingle fur to collect berries on. This annoys her a bit, but nowhere near as much as a bath, and it works like a charm.
posted by barc0001 at 12:10 AM on March 24, 2009

Speaking of which... it's been a few weeks. BRB...
posted by barc0001 at 12:11 AM on March 24, 2009

Have you watched your cat while in the litter box? One reason our family cat had poopy-butt was because she had finally lost the strength to keep herself from falling back into her business. It could be that age and the weight has resulted in your cat loosing the ability to remain steady and clear of the poo.
posted by Atreides at 6:25 AM on March 24, 2009

What are you feeding her?

I have a 2 year old whose backside I realized had been poopy on-and-off as a result of my feeding her wet cat food on-and-off. Her digestive system couldn't handle the change from dry to wet, and so I just keep her on dry food now. Seems now everyone's happy.
posted by tybeet at 7:09 AM on March 24, 2009

I should add: she is an indoor only cat.

1/8 is hard as our auto feeder only goes to 1/4 cup and she will freak if we only feed her once a day! :)
posted by UMDirector at 7:17 AM on March 24, 2009

It could be that age and the weight has resulted in your cat loosing the ability to remain steady and clear of the poo.

At 8? That seems unlikely!

I would definitely try adding exercise to her daily routine. My cat flips over things like this. Also, even though my cat isn't overweight, he still gets poopy butt sometimes. Wet wipes are your friend.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:57 AM on March 24, 2009

If you are not feeding a grain-free, high protein/low carb diet (Evo is really the best dry food for this), then you should be, cats do not need grain. It is likely this is a weight issue, switch to Evo (some vets still haven't read up on the newer cat nutrition knowledge, if you are feeding a food with grains with your vet's blessing, your vet is likely one of them).
posted by biscotti at 8:57 AM on March 24, 2009

My fat cat Bailey gets this. I always get the vet to give her a Brazilian whenever she has a checkup (she had cancer last year and so has regular checkups but the last one on her insurance will be next month) and, once a week, I take her into the bathroom, put on surgical gloves, and wash her butt using one of those microfibre cloths and warm water. I make sure I dry her with toilet paper, as a wet cat butt can become infected. My vet says that 'daggy arse' is very common in cats, particularly ones like Bailey with stocky bodies and short legs.

When friends visit they get to hold her head and shoulders while I tidy her up with a little clipper.

I find that, once she's clean, she will then make more of an effort to keep herself clean. It's not that she can't do it, she just got lazy. Restricting her food is hard, as I have two cats. They share a scoop of Hill's Lite in the morning and one in the evening, about 50 or 60 grams per scoop.

A laser pointer is good for exercise, for about two minutes and then she just sits there and watches the pointer.
posted by essexjan at 4:31 PM on March 24, 2009

My cat has the same thing. She's a bit on the plump side (to put it nicely) and can't get around to clean herself. She's on a diet, although that hasn't helped much. I try to wipe her sometimes but she really hates that.

What works is I try to keep her butt shaved back there. She has really long hair, which makes bits of poo and splashed pee stick to her big hairy butt. But if it's shaved it all just goes straight to the box. If your cat has long hair, you might try that. If not, I would agree with the diet suggestions.
posted by soonertbone at 7:50 PM on March 26, 2009

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