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Dr. Andy
Dr. Andy, Medical Director
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 29959
Experience:  UC Davis graduate, Interests: Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Pain Management
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Hi there. My cat seems to have a sensitive bottom. A little

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Hi there.

My cat seems to have a sensitive bottom. A little bit red, nothing swollen. She has been licking it more often that normal, from what I've been observing. She grooms herself a lot, though.. so I'm not sure what is considered normal. I'm pretty sure it's irritated. I'll be taking her to the vet soon, but what do you think may be causing this?

She eats, drinks and plays like a normal cat. Something worth noting is that she has diarrhea at times. Otherwise, she's pretty normal.. or maybe she's good at hiding pain.
Welcome! My name isXXXXX am a UC Davis graduate, and currently, a Medical Director of a veterinary hospital.

I am sorry to hear about this concern for Cheddar.
First, that intermittent diarrhea.

My primary concerns for diarrhea with or without blood include:
- Dietary indiscretion (eating something you do not know about)
- Stomach or intestinal foreign body
- Something that was given to them (new food, new treat, human food)
- Intestinal parasitism (not just the worms, but the microscopic bugs like Giardia and Coccidia). They can cause vomiting also.
- Toxin exposure would be less likely, unless you have reason to suspect exposure to a chemical.
- Less commonly, endocrine diseases.
- Generally, in older pets, I am also concerned about organ disease (liver, kidneys) and cancer.

If the diarrhea is happening even weekly, that could be enough to cause some rectal irritation.

Another concern for rectal irritation would be if her anal glands are impacted or infected.
Cat Anal Glands
Anal Glands

It would be okay to apply some hydrocortisone cream to her rectal area. Any generic hydrocortisone would be fine. If licking a lot, a vet is going to suggest a cone head at least for a few days to give the area some time to recover as well.

Anal glands will be easy for the vet to check, and express the glands if enlarged.

Some additional basic testing may also be suggested for this intermitent diarrhea and because she is 12.

Possible tests may include:
1. Abdominal x-rays to look for foreign bodies, masses, organ enlargement and intestinal wall changes.
2. A basic blood test for an overall health assessment.
3. A fecal test to check for intestinal parasites (not just worms, but also microscopic bugs like Giardia and Coccidia)

Please let me know if there is anything I did not cover for you. I hope that information has been helpful.
Please remember to select Reply to Expert, if for any reason you need further clarification, have more questions, or were expecting a different type of answer. Please, hold off providing your feedback rating until you have asked all your questions. My goal is to try and provide you the best answer possible.
Dr. Andy

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

This is all very helpful. Thank you! Are there any signs of pain or irritation that might show in my cat? Like, she purrs a lot. She also hisses when I pet her near the side of her tail. Does this mean she's in pain?

Hi Jasmin,
If she did not hiss before when you pet back there, then yes, that is a sign of discomfort.

Breathing faster or open mouth breathing can also suggest pain.
Loss of appetite is another common symptom.

I would say no different than you or I, if there is inflammation on the skin, it is likely a bit irritating.

Dr. Andy
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Okay, thank you very much! I will try to keep her comfortable until we bring her to the vet. Thanks for the help, much appreciated.

You are very welcome Jasmin.
Good Luck and Good Night

Dr. Andy
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