Why Do Some Cats' Bottoms Smell Bad?

There are many reasons why some cats' bottoms can give off an unpleasant smell. In this article, we'll talk about some of them.
Why Do Some Cats' Bottoms Smell Bad?
Alejandro Rodríguez

Written and verified by the biotechnologist Alejandro Rodríguez.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Despite being very clean animals, sometimes some cats’ bottoms smell bad. If you’re noticing this with your cat and you have concerns, then in this article we’ll share some possible causes.

Poor cleaning by some cats

We all know that cats are excellent at grooming themselves, regularly using their tongue and paws to keep themselves clean. However, this ritual doesn’t just clean their fur but also helps to get rid of unwanted smells and parasites.

But, despite their rigorous approach to hygiene, some cats’ bottoms can smell bad. This can happen with long-haired breeds in particular, such as the Maine Coon or Himalayan. This is because when they do their business, some leftover feces can get stuck to their fur and give off a nasty smell.

To address this, it’s a good idea to periodically check the area and clean it thoroughly. If you need to, you can even trim the fur around the area to try and remove any dirty hair.

A cat with a raised paw.

Another possible problem is the anal glands

You may not be familiar with these, but both cats and dogs have them. They’re located on each side of the anal opening and their main function is to lubricate the anus to help defecation. They also play a communicative function as a way that cats can identify themselves with their own smell.

When defecating, the anal glands are normally emptied. However, if the animal is stressed, they may empty their glands by accident. This is when some cats’ bottoms might start to smell bad because of the yellowish secretion from the glands.

Two cats on a windowsill because some cats' bottoms smell bad.

It’s also possible for these glands to suffer from infection, abscesses, or fistulas, which can also make some cats’ bottoms smell bad. In such cases, it’s a good idea to go to the vet to get it checked out properly.

Other possible reasons why cats’ bottoms smell bad

Aside from problems relating to the cat’s body, another possible cause could be their diet. If you feed your cat low-quality food, not only will they suffer from flatulence but it’s possible for their feces to smell bad too.

This is just one of the many reasons why it’s important to provide your cat with a balanced, high-quality diet. It’ll help their digestion, prevent bad smells, and keep your cat in perfect health.

If you notice a bad smell from your cat’s bottom and you’ve ruled out the above causes, consider going to the vet. There may be another underlying reason.

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All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Field, H. E., & Taylor, M. E. (2018). An atlas of cat anatomy. University of Chicago Press.
  • De Pedro, J. (2006) Higiene de perros y gatos. Farmacia Profesional, 20 (10), 68-71.
  • Esteban, D. (2010). Tritrichomonas foetus como agente etiológico de diarrea en el gato. Clínica veterinaria de pequeños animales, 30(2), 0101-106.

The contents of My Animals are written for informational purposes. They can't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.