Why does my cat have a smelly bum?

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Does your cat have a smelly bum? Ever wondered whether the smells your cat produces are normal? Our expert explains why your cat's bum might smell.

(Q) When we play with our eight-month old kitten, he sometimes gets a little too excited and emits a smell from his rear! Why does this happen?

(A) Feline specialist Elsie Robertson says: Anal glands are small vestigial organs located on both sides of your cat's anus at roughly the 5pm and 7pm positions. These are small ducts that lie beneath the skin which direct secretions to an opening located next to the anus.

In cats, the purpose of these secretions is to leave a powerful territorial scent which acts as a form of communication to other cats. Firm faeces exiting the colon help express the anal glands when passing through the rectum and anus, but cats can spontaneously express anal gland secretions when excited or frightened.

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Take your kitten to the vets to be examined, but if no problems are found with the anal glands (e.g. swelling and/or inflammation), then your vet may show you how to manually express the anal glands at home. You will most likely need some help restraining your kitten while you perform the procedure.