It’s a gross fact of life, but it’s true: some cats just don’t clean their rears well enough or often enough. Don’t put up with your cat sitting around with a stinky, unsightly bottom. You can help prevent the problem and help him with his grooming.

With your vet’s guidance, try changing your cat’s food. If his stool is too wet, fecal matter clings more readily to the fur near his anus and makes the problem worse. 

Place a small, non-skid, washable rug near the litter pan. Your cat may drag his rear there to get the poo off.

Carrying extra weight may prevent sufficient cat grooming since your cat may not be able to reach his rear easily. Help your cat lose weight through more exercise and reducing his food serving size. Gradually switching to lower-calorie food may also help.

Help lighten your cat’s grooming task by starting with a professional grooming session and then maintaining his coat by brushing him all over. That assistance may encourage him to take better care of his private grooming. Ask the groomer to trim the fur around the base of his tail. Shorter hair down there makes cat grooming sessions easier for your pet.

Misting his rear with plain water may encourage him to lick it. Most cats hate feeling wet, especially where their fur is short. Make sure you allow ample time between his eliminating and when you spray his bottom or he could make a negative association with using the litter box. You could also offer a treat to distract him while you squirt his fanny. If your cat is already very shy and skittish, use another method as misting may exacerbate his bashful tendencies. 

Instead of giving a full body cat bath, give him a half bath in the sink. If he can keep his front paws on a towel on the edge of the sink, he’ll feel more secure and tolerate the bath better. Offer treats and stay calm so he can remain attuned to your demeanor. Use pet-safe shampoo or baby shampoo and rinse well. Blot him with a towel and brush. Of course, he’ll lick his fur to suit him, but trying to get him dry helps.

If your cat has just a few crusties, occasionally using a disposable wipe may do the trick. You can buy special cat wipes; however, many vets suggest using unscented baby wipes as an economic alternative. 

If your cat exhibits any of these signs, visit the vet: especially foul odor, redness near the anus, swollen tissue near the anus and avoiding the litter box. Your cat could have impacted anal glands or another painful health problem that causes him to avoid licking and proper eliminating. 

by Deborah Jeanne Sergeant