DIY: How To Express Your Cat's Anal Glands

DIY: How To Express Your Cat's Anal Glands

Author WCF Staff


Most cat owners know that cats have anal glands, which are scent glands that produce an oily fluid. Anal gland expression is the medical term for when they grow swollen and need help getting the liquid out. Here's how you can express your cat's anal glands yourself.

How can I know if my cat needs anal gland expression?

Many circumstances can prevent the anal glands from expressing themselves during a cat's bowel movement, which can lead to a painful sensation when fluid pressure builds up in the anal sacs. Cats that excessively lick their rear end are the most typical sign of anal gland issues.

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There are fewer instances of "scooting" in cats than in dogs, in which a pet drags their behind around the floor in an attempt to scratch the glands and relieve the discomfort. Hair loss and red, irritated skin are two common symptoms of anal gland issues in cats. If the glands are overflowing, you may smell their foul fluids and see an inflamed area resembling a large boil, especially if the infection is abscessed.

cat yawning

Many pet owners prefer to have their cat's anal glands expressed by a groomer or veterinarian. However, with a bit of caution, you can perform this process at home without risking harm. If you'd like to learn how to do it yourself, you can simply follow the directions provided here.

What you'll need

Before you start squeezing your cat's rear end, you should know there are a few things to prepare. The more prepared you are, the easier the expression process will be for you and your cat. Here are a few things to prepare;

  • A bathroom countertop would be an ideal sturdy platform for the cat to stand on. You may want to begin by lining it with newspapers or a towel before starting the process.
  • Surgical gloves are a must if you wish to keep your hands free of the foul liquid you will expel.
  • After expressing the anal glands, use moist wipes to clean the anal area. Paper towels that have been dampened will also work well.
  • As a reward, after you are done, you can give your cat a kitty treat to thank them for their cooperation.

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A second person will come in handy. Their job is to restrain the cat while the procedure is being performed. Reassure your cat; have the person hold the cat from the front so the cat is faced away from you.

To minimize your cat's anxiety, keep a calm demeanor and speak softly to them. Distracting the cat with treats will also work.

kitten looking at camera

Locate the glands

Keep the cat's tail raised. The anal glands can be found on both sides of the anus, slightly under and to the side. When they're full, you can feel them with your fingers. They appear like soft but palpable jelly beans or peas.

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Gently press the glands

Place two fingers on either side of the sacs. You can do it with two index fingers or an index finger and your thumb. To empty the gland, gently press it. Move your fingers inward and start pushing them together and upwards until the gland pops. Make sure you get both anal glands!

sad cat


Wet wipes or a wet paper towel can be used to clean the cat's rear end. Release the cat after giving them one more treat. Removing the medical gloves, wrapping them, and throwing them away is the best way to dispose of them.

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Possible complications

When taking care of your cat's anal sacs, there are a few possible complications:

The gland may be obstructed, and attempting to express it could cause the gland to explode. Anal gland rupture necessitates surgical intervention and is quite painful for the cat.

Fluid containing pus or blood may indicate illness even if the odor is normal. As soon as you see any changes in your pet's anal gland fluid, you should call your veterinarian.

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You might get scratched or bitten. Some cats dislike being restrained and will bite or scratch if you do something like that. Please exercise extreme caution when handling your cat. As a result, most pets have their anal glands expelled at the veterinarian's office.

Problems prevented by anal gland expression

The anal glands of your cat might need to be expressed by your veterinarian if you cannot do it. Ask the vet to show you the procedure so that you can do it again if necessary. Make sure to ask for some advice on keeping your cat under control and distracted.

Some of the issues that can come up if the cat's anal glands are not expelled regularly are:

Impaction: Healthy anal sac secretion is yellowish in color and has an oily texture. If it is not released consistently, the liquid becomes thickened and cannot get expelled. It may eventually become hard, gritty, and thick.

cat layng on back

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Infection: Infected anal glands swell, become painful, and turn red as the infection progresses to an abscess. Antibiotics can be used to treat the infection if it is discovered in time, but veterinarians must drain abscesses. Pain and swelling can be reduced by applying warm compresses.

Tumors: Another potential complication is anal gland tumors.

Surgery to remove the anal sac is an option for cats who suffer from recurring anal sac issues. It is also possible to remove the entire anal sac to treat cancers. Luckily, these types of tumors are not very common.

World Cat Finder Team

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