My cat has started wiping his butt on our bed.
September 11, 2005 7:30 AM   Subscribe

My cat has started wiping his butt on our bed.

It's really distressing to come home to these long brown streaks on our sheets. It happened once before (about a month and a half ago) but he's done it 3 times this week. It's hard to keep him locked out of our bedroom - it's doable but tricky. Besides, I'm worried he'd just do the wiping on something that's not as easy to wash, like our couch.

He's a strictly indoor cat, although he's managed to escape a few times recently. I'm worried he picked up something nasty that's caused him to make this change in his behavior. He hasn't had any diet changes and he's only 5 years old.

I'm going to be taking him to the vet to see if something's wrong, but in the meantime what the hell can I do to stop him?
posted by ssmith to Pets & Animals (16 answers total)
Throw a sheet over the bed (and other areas of worry) for now, and get him to the vet asap. He might have worms or something.
posted by dness2 at 7:35 AM on September 11, 2005

I've never tried it, but a friend of mine uses Feliway to keep his cats off furniture and it works great.

Dunno about the pooping, though.
posted by jtron at 7:38 AM on September 11, 2005

I'd imagine he's scratching his butt, rather than wiping it. So worms seem not implausible.

Googling "cat worms drag butt" confirms this hypothesis.
posted by sonofsamiam at 7:42 AM on September 11, 2005

It could be a urinary tract infection, too--is there any sign of blood? My cats drag their behinds around when they have UTIs 'cause they're itchy.
posted by bcwinters at 7:53 AM on September 11, 2005

When my cat started doing this, we found out a few days later that she had eaten some kind of piece of string. Hilarity ensued when she tried to evacuate said string and it was left half-hanging out of her butt. I honestly believed she was pooping out her intestines. Anyway, we helped her by pulling out the string, but in retrospect, we should have taken her to the vet. If the string had been tangled around anything important in there, we could have done real damage by pulling on it. I'm certain that as a responsible cat owner, you know not to leave tempting tasty strings around, but stuff happens. Can you think of anything she might have gotten into?
posted by ferociouskitty at 7:58 AM on September 11, 2005

I second the vet visit -- healthy cats should have no need for butt-wiping.
posted by onshi at 8:02 AM on September 11, 2005

Sounds like worms, which may be carried by fleas, which are in full bloom in the US about this season. If it turns out to be worms, seek advice from the vet about getting rid of the fleas, which are probably in everything as well as on the cat.
If you do have fleas, they tend to jump out of the carpet and bite people on the ankles, then drop off because people aren't furry and they don't like them much.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 8:08 AM on September 11, 2005

This is almost definitely a medical issue, and I would get the cat to the vet asap. Just keep the door to the bedroom closed for now. As a general rule, any sudden change in litterbox habits warrants a trip to the vet right away (I sure wouldn't have waited a week), because these things can sometimes be life-threatening (in addition to being annoying), especially in cats.

BTW, fleas don't live on animals, they jump on to eat and jump off, and human blood is as good as any.
posted by biscotti at 8:26 AM on September 11, 2005

Definitely vet time.

The few times my cat did that, she had injested hair. Long, human hair.
posted by spinifex23 at 8:54 AM on September 11, 2005

Vet visit! This can mean the anal sacs need a-squeezin'. Seriously. And I'm pretty sure you would prefer that the vet do this.
posted by unknowncommand at 9:51 AM on September 11, 2005

Now, when I'm happy, I laugh
When I'm sad, I cry
I get my melons in the melon patch
And when I'm itchy, I scratch
Get him to the vet.
posted by pracowity at 10:33 AM on September 11, 2005 [1 favorite]

Yeah, vet, asap. Repeated scooting is never good.

I immediately had unknowncommand's reaction- impacted glands. Does it smell particularly nasty? If so, it's that.
posted by mkultra at 11:08 AM on September 11, 2005

I just thought I'd chip in as the owner of a five-year-old kitty who does this all the time, but doesn't leave a streak or have any health problems.

Jerry has been doing what we call the 'penguin walk' as long as we've had him - he puts his back paws apart just like a little penguin and uses his front paws to waddle himself forward.

He only does this after he's eaten and has finished his post-meal bath. He doesn't have worms (he's been checked several times) and he doesn't leave any type of streak or residue on our carpet after he's done. We have no idea why he does it, but as long as he's healthy, happy, and streak-free, it's no problem for us. We just laugh at him, because it is pretty funny to see a waddling kitty.

It sounds like your kitty needs to see the vet, though, especially if he doesn't normally sleep on your bed - pooping/peeing on unusual places is how some cats 'act out' when they're upset.
posted by lambchop1 at 11:11 AM on September 11, 2005

I just thought I'd chip in as the owner of a five-year-old kitty who does this all the time, but doesn't leave a streak or have any health problems.

I would definitely have your vet check his anal glands very carefully (some vets don't check at all, or at best do a cursory check, and if you haven't specifically brought this issue to your vet's attention as something needing care, your vet could easily have given him a clean bill of health without knowing there was a problem), and look into any potential GI issues. This is not normal behaviour and is generally symptomatic of some kind of problem. I know it's funny to look at, but it is generally a sign that something isn't right, cats don't often do this "just because", they do it because they're in discomfort.
posted by biscotti at 11:50 AM on September 11, 2005

Anal squeezing needed. I helped a friend through a similar cat-ass-strophe.
posted by umberto at 4:55 PM on September 11, 2005 [1 favorite]

Damn you umberto! I'm going to be kicking myself for weeks that I didn't make that one of my tags for this post.

Thank you for all the really great responses everybody. I'll try to remember to post a followup once we get back from the vet.
posted by ssmith at 6:35 PM on September 11, 2005

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