Question from Shellie Masters
My cat seems to have white spots on her bottom and is licking her bum alot more than usual, also she is pooing outside of her box, any ideas? She is about 11 years old. Thanks
Answer from Shanika our Online Vet
Thanks for your question regarding your cat licking her bottom more, white spots that you have noticed on her bottom and the change to her toileting habits.
All the points that you have mentioned can be individual issues or linked as will hopefully become clear as I go into answering your question.
What are the white spots on my cat’s bottom?
The exact location of the spots will help us to work out what the spots are, the bottom itself is made up of skin which has one large opening through which the poo is passed and then two smaller openings( at 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock positions) which are where the anal sacs open via their ducts ( tube). Anal sacs are lined by glands which produce a rather smelly substance that is normally passed in small amounts every time your pet does a poo, this anal sac liquid forms part of the scent that shows cats who has been around the territory. Anal sacs can get blocked or infected, this can sometimes appear as white spots on the bottom and also lead to increased licking due to the resulting irritation.
Your vet can empty the anal sacs by applying gentle pressure which may relieve the problem, if there is infection antibiotic treatment may be needed.
Tape worm segments are another possibility for the presence of white spots around a cats bottom, tape worms are a parasite that live inside the gut and release small segments as part of their means of spreading. These small segments of tape worm when dry can appear like a small grain of white rice, when fresh they look more like a small piece of flattened pasta ( can be seen to move when looked at closely).
Tape worms and other parasites can be treated using appropriate medication form your vet.
Parasitic infections can cause irritation around the bottom which can lead to increased cleaning/licking. A less obvious cause for such licking is flea allergic dermatitis (FAD). FAD can often be seen as increased grooming and areas of hair loss along the back and inside of the hind legs.
Polyps and or growths on or around the bottom can appear as white spots and may also lead to increased licking of the affected area.
What other reasons may be causing my cat to lick its bottom and poo outside of its litter box?
Changes to the poo itself either softer or harder than usual can cause irritation and increased licking along with toileting outside of the litter box. Loose or soft faeces may be related to diet changes, stress and or internal disease of organs and or the gut itself……….