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Dr.Fiona
Dr.Fiona, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience:  Small animal medicine and surgery - 16 years experience in BC, California and Ontario
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My male neutered cat leaves wet spots where hes been sitting.

Customer Question

My male neutered cat leaves wet spots where he's been sitting. They are not urine. They actually smell more like human sweat! What is he doing and what is this?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 5 years ago.
Hi there,

Welcome to Just Answer! I would be happy to try to help you and your cat with this question, but need a bit more information in order to better assist you.

How old is he?

Does he lick his anal area frequently?

Does he ever "scoot" his anal area along the floor?

When did this start?

Fiona

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
He's FeLV+, age is unknown but I've had him 2 years. He's totally an indoor cat. He's probably 4-6 at best guess. He licks all of himself regularly. He doesn't scoot. I noticed the spots probably at least 6 weeks ago. But they may have started sooner than that, I don't know. I only noticed them because he likes to sleep on the guest bed that has the white coverlet :-(. The spots are pale yellow in color and smell like human sweat, sort of salty and not pleasant, but not like cat urine or cat feces.
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 5 years ago.
Ahhh...

Yes, I know *exactly* what you mean!

What you are describing sounds like the fluid made by the anal glands, and held in the anal sacs. What Mother Nature intended was that every time a cat (or dog) defecates, a few drops of this strong smelling fluid would get squeezed out and onto the feces. This allows cats to determine whose stool is whose... for whatever reason they want to know that!

So, there is the gland that makes the fluid, the sac that holds it and then a little duct that connects the sac to the edge of the anus.



The anal sacs are located at the 4 o'clock and 8 o'clock position if you are standing behind your cat. They are normally about the size of a green pea in a cat. They have a little tube leading from the anal sac to the anal opening (the duct), and what Mother Nature intended was that every time your cat defecates, a few drops of the fluid contained in these sacs gets deposited on the feces.


Sometimes, however, the little tube gets blocked and the anal sac cannot empty totally. This can happen if the stools are smaller and thus are not squeezing the anal sacs as they go by. Anal sac fluid is continuously produced by the body so the sac gets more and more full. Eventually it can rupture out through the skin. OR the sac can get overfilled and constantly drip fluid even though it doesn't empty properly when the cat defecates.


If the anal sac ruptures, given how close the area is to fecal matter, it seems to always get infected.

Treatment requires oral antibiotics since the sac is under the skin and the only way to get the antibiotics to it is by the blood stream, which means we have to give the antibiotics by mouth.


When I see patients with an anal sac abscess, I generally clean the area, start them on antibiotics and then see them back in a few days (once some of the swelling and pain have gone away) and try to express the anal gland to get rid of the blockage in the tube. Often I have to see the patient a few times. Also, I like to see them a week or so after the antibiotics are finished to make sure the blockage (impaction) hasn't returned.


Here are some links to further information:
http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=625
http://www.petshealth.com/dr_library/ansac.html
http://www.petplace.com/cats/anal-sac-disease-in-cats/page1.aspx




In terms of what you can do to help today, the most helpful thing would be for you to apply a warm compress to the area. If you have antibacterial soap in the house (Hibitane or chlorhexidene soap would be ideal, hand soap would be ok for now) you can add about a tablespoon to a cup of warm water. Put a washcloth in, then wring it out. Hold the warm, damp wash cloth to the swollen area for 10 minutes, re-warming it every 2 minutes or so. Wipe the area with a plain wet washcloth and pat dry.

This may help to remove any little plug at the end of the duct and thus allow the anal sacs to empty. If the problem persists, then a trip to your vet would be in order. Your vet can empty the anal sacs and make sure there is no infection there.

Hope that helps!

If this has been helpful, please hit the green "Accept" button and leave feedback.

If you need more information, just click on reply and I will still be here to provide it!

The above is given for information only. Although I am a licensed veterinarian, I cannot legally prescribe medicines or diagnose your pet's condition without performing a physical exam. If you have concerns about your pet I would strongly advise contacting your regular veterinarian.

Fiona

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Dr.Fiona
Dr.Fiona
Veterinarian
1376 Satisfied Customers
Small animal medicine and surgery - 16 years experience in BC, California and Ontario