Cat Anal Glands Information

Everything Cat Parents Need to Know About Their Cat's Anal Glands

Cat Anal Gland Background

Being a cat parent comes with a substantial amount of joy and an equal amount of worry when your pet is feeling unwell. Similar to other mammals, cats have glands located around the opening of their rectum referred to as anal glands (also referred to as anal sacs).

Generally, healthy functioning cat anal glands go unnoticed and remain harmless. However, if they become impacted, irritated, or infected the glands can secrete fluid with a foul odor and possibly cause your feline friend to feel discomfort. Being informed of symptoms of anal gland problems in cats can help you take preventative measures and recognize the problem to ensure the health and well-being of your cat.

DO CatS HAVE Anal Glands

Male and female cats alike have two small anal glands located around the entrance of their rear end. Two small openings may be seen on either side of the exterior of the rectum, but otherwise the glands are internal and cannot be seen. These openings connect to the internal, balloon-like anal glands via small ducts (tube like structures).

Cat anal glands are consistently filling with fluid, which is healthy and normal! The fluid is naturally expressed when a cat defecates, unless there is an issue with the glands. Cats (along with other animals) can experience difficulty naturally expressing cat anal glands, which can be caused by many factors. If left full, the consistency of the fluid can become thick and can require manual expression by a qualified pet health professional, which can be stressful and uncomfortable for your cat.
Glandex Cat Anal Gland Anatomy

Cat Anal Gland Purpose & Function

Anal glands serve a purpose by being one of many ways a cat can mark its territory and make their presence known amongst other animals. Believe it or not, cats have the ability to manually express their anal glands when startled or threatened. Upon defecation the cat’s excrement internally applies pressure to the balloon-like anal glands, allowing the fluid within the glands to be squeezed and excreted naturally. A problem can occur when these glands become clogged as the glandular fluid cannot be pressed out naturally during defecation. The glands can become impacted, and this can lead to constipation in the cat and interfere with normal litter box usage.

Signs and Symptoms of Cat Anal Gland Problems

It can be difficult to determine when a cat is experiencing discomfort as the symptoms in cats can be subtle and cats are notorious for hiding signs of illness. Any cat who displays the following behaviors may need their anal glands examined by a veterinarian.
  • Excessive licking of the anal area and hind end: All cats normally clean themselves, the discomfort of anal gland inflammation or infection will cause cats to repeatedly interrupt their activities to lick themselves.

  • Scooting: This behavior is typical when a cat is trying to ease itching in the rectal area. The cat sits on the ground and pulls their body forward with their front paws, so that their hindquarters "scoot" along the floor.

  • Defecating outside of the litter box: While this is usually caused by the cat's objection to some aspect of their litter box, it can also indicate discomfort or constipation due to anal gland inflammation.

  • Foul odor: A healthy cat should not have any unpleasant body odors. Noticing a bad smell is a red flag that there is a potential problem with your cat’s anal glands.

  • Redness or swelling of the anal glands: While the other symptoms on this list can have many causes, a visible inflammation of the glands is a tell-tale sign. The anal glands are located on either side of the rectal opening. Thinking of the area like a clock face, the anal glands are at the 4:00 and 8:00 positions.

Cat Anal Gland Location

Treatment & Prevention of Cat Anal Gland Problems

Two Cats -  Glandex -Signs of Anal Gland Problems in Cats
If there are concerns regarding the health of your cat’s anal glands, a veterinarian may need to be consulted to receive proper treatment. Working with your veterinarian to identify and treat underlying problems is also important. If the anal glands are full, your veterinarian will likely express them to relieve the immediate pressure. In some cases, prescription medications may be needed especially if your cat has developed an anal gland abscess or infection. In some severe cases, surgical removal of your cat’s anal glands (called anal sacculectomy) may be needed. Some cats are prone to this problem and can benefit from nutritional supplements including adding the proper amount of fiber to their daily diets.

Glandex® works in multiple ways to support healthy anal glands in cats.

Glandex® is an anal gland supplement specifically formulated to support healthy anal glands in cats. The patented formula Glandex® is veterinarian formulated and recommended using all-natural ingredients. Glandex® is great to use as a daily fiber supplement to keep the anal glands healthy even if your pet is not experiencing any issues. Using Glandex® regularly can help maintain healthy anal gland function. Glandex® is also helpful in maintaining a healthy gastrointestinal tract and can have additional health benefits. Overall Glandex® is safe and can be used for any pets. Glandex® is available for cats as a powder that is given once daily and comes in a variety of flavor options!
  • Formulated with a unique fiber blend, Glandex® helps to bulk and firm your cat’s stools to help support natural emptying of your cat’s anal glands every time they defecate.
  • Contains other key  ingredients including omega fatty acids to help support a healthy inflammatory response and help maintain normal histamine levels in cats with underlying allergies.

  • Glandex® also contains probiotics and digestive enzymes to support a healthy GI tract and stools to further support healthy anal glands.
Glandex® is an anal gland supplement specifically formulated to support healthy anal glands in cats. The patented formula Glandex® is veterinarian formulated and recommended using all-natural ingredients. Glandex® is great to use as a daily fiber supplement to keep the anal glands healthy even if your pet is not experiencing any issues. Using Glandex® regularly can help maintain healthy anal gland function. Glandex® is also helpful in maintaining a healthy gastrointestinal tract and can have additional health benefits. Overall Glandex® is safe and can be used for any pets. Glandex® is available for cats as a powder that is given once daily and comes in a variety of flavor options!
  • Formulated with a unique fiber blend, Glandex® helps to bulk and firm your cat’s stools to help support natural emptying of your cat’s anal glands every time they defecate.
  • Contains other key  ingredients including omega fatty acids to help support a healthy inflammatory response and help maintain normal histamine levels in cats with underlying allergies.

  • Glandex® also contains probiotics and digestive enzymes to support a healthy GI tract and stools to further support healthy anal glands.

Cat Anal Sac Diseases

Anal sac diseases aren’t as common in felines as they are in canines, but they should still be a noteworthy concern for pet parents. 
Anal gland conditions stem from inflammation or infection of the anal sacs, often due to blockages that hinder the natural expulsion of glandular secretions during defecation. This can lead to the secretion thickening and darkening, creating an environment ripe for bacterial growth if the issue persists. Without proper expression, these secretions can become impacted, potentially leading to the formation of abscesses. 
Anal gland abscesses aren’t just painful for your pet––they can also rupture, necessitating emergency veterinary care to prevent severe complications. Regular monitoring to detect symptoms such as excessive licking or scooting can aid in early detection and treatment.

Cat Anal Gland Expression

Cat anal gland expression is a procedure for relieving blockages in the anal sacs, ensuring they can release their contents normally. Expression can be performed by a veterinarian or, in rare cases, by the pet parent under professional guidance. 

Manual expression involves gently squeezing the anal sacs to expel the built-up secretions. Expressing overfilled glands is a crucial step in preventing discomfort, impaction, or infection in cats experiencing difficulties with natural gland expression during defecation.

Regular expression prevents the build-up of secretions that can lead to discomfort, swelling, and infections. While some cats may never need manual expression, others, especially those with chronic issues, may need periodic assistance. It's a delicate process and, if done incorrectly, can cause harm and severe discomfort or even pain for your cat.It's always best to have a veterinarian assess and recommend the appropriate care plan before taking matters into your own hands at home!

Glandex® Anal Gland Supplements & Wipes

Glandex® Anal Gland supplement for Cats

4 oz Powder

$ 24.99

Glandex® medicated Anal Gland Spray

4 oz Spray

$ 24.99

Glandex® Anal Gland hygienic Pet Wipes

100 Wipes

$ 12.99