Jump to section

What is Scooting?

Scooting in cats refers to a physical action in which your cat will appear to scoot, or drag their rear end, across a surface, typically a carpet or roughened area. This behavior will appear as if your cat is sitting upright in a human posture or as if they are attempting to scratch their rear anatomy. Scooting refers to a symptom of a number of underlying anal, skin, and other rear-end conditions. Although this is not typically an urgent health concern, scooting can mean your cat is in discomfort and the behavior can also have serious hygiene impacts on your home.

Scooting Average Cost

From 262 quotes ranging from $100 - $400

Average Cost

$300

Symptoms of Scooting in Cats

Scooting in cats typically appears in the form of your cat sitting and dragging their rear end across your carpet, grass or any other surface. At times, this may be accompanied by a foul odor or residue left behind. Cats who scoot will sometimes also experience diarrhea or other litter box issues such as painful or difficult defecation. Cats may also scratch at their hind end or rub their rear against other objects instead of scooting.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Causes of Scooting in Cats

Your cat scoots as an attempt to alleviate some form of discomfort in their anal area. This can include pain, itchiness, or general swelling or discomfort. Scooting in cats is typically a symptom of an underlying condition impacting your cat’s digestive system. The most common of these conditions deal with the anal glands, small pouches of foul-smelling fluid and oil that are normally secreted when your cat defecates. Common causes of scooting related to anal glands and other issues include:

  • Impacted or infected anal glands
  • Parasite infections, such as internal worms
  • Allergies
  • Fleas causing itchy skin
arrow-up-icon

Top

Diagnosis of Scooting in Cats

Diagnosing your cat’s scooting will begin with a thorough physical exam at your veterinarian’s office. Your vet will ask for a medical history of your cat, including if they have had any issues with scooting before. If your cat has been experiencing diarrhea, blood in the stool, difficulty defecating, or other litter box issues, these are all helpful facts that your vet should be made aware of. Additionally, you should let your vet know if your cat is currently on any parasite prevention and the approximate date of their last de-wormer treatment. 

Your vet will examine your cat’s hind legs, spine and neck to confirm that the scooting does not have a neurological element and is not the result of an injury. Your vet will also examine your cat’s anus. Here they are particularly looking for redness, swelling or any discharge that may indicate impacted anal glands.

Your vet will also collect a stool sample from your cat. Since this may be difficult to time, bringing along a sample from your cats most recent litter box trip may be helpful. Using this sample, your vet will test for parasites such as hookworms and roundworms. This is done by placing a small amount of stool in a special liquid and then examining it under the microscope for eggs, larvae, or other signs of worms.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Treatment of Scooting in Cats

Treatment for your cat’s scooting condition will depend on the underlying cause. In the most common case of impacted anal glands, your vet will be able to alleviate your cat’s symptoms by expressing the glands manually. This is done by the vet gently pinching your cat’s anus on either side of the opening, causing the excess impacted fluid to empty. 

If worms or parasites are determined to be the cause of the scooting, your vet will administer an in office de-worming medication. This is typically a liquid that is squirted directly into your cat’s mouth. Some cats experience mild diarrhea for several days after treatment. This will be followed up with a take-home prescription for regular parasite control. Most traditional heartworm medications also control a variety of intestinal parasites that cause scooting. 

For itchiness, allergies, or other conditions that are causing scooting-like scratching symptoms, your vet will be able to prescribe topical medications or dietary changes to address your pet’s discomfort.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Recovery of Scooting in Cats

In the majority of cats, the prognosis for recovery from scooting is very good. In most cases of impacted anal glands, the original cause of the condition is unknown. There is some connection between a primarily wet or canned food diet and scooting, suggesting that cats that have recurring bouts of scooting may need a higher content of dry food or food that contains more fiber or bone meal elements to aid in proper bowel expression. Prognosis for recovery from an infection of intestinal parasites is also good, with most cats being completely cured within several weeks of treatment. 

arrow-up-icon

Top

*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

Scooting Average Cost

From 262 quotes ranging from $100 - $400

Average Cost

$300

arrow-up-icon

Top

Scooting Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

question-icon-cta

Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Tuxedo cat

dog-age-icon

Seven Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Butt Itching

My cat is bloated, shedding and very dandruffy and she is butt scooting on the carpet after she poops in her box

Aug. 3, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Sara O. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Hello, SO sorry to hear about your cat. She may be scooting because of parasites. It would be best for your cat to see a vet. They can check a fecal sample and see if your cat has worms. They can also start her on a dewormer to get rid of any worms.

Aug. 3, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Tuxedo Cat

dog-age-icon

Nine Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Scooting

Bandit has been scooting off and on. His stools are normal, there's no discharge, or odor, and he's acting like himself. I think every now and then he's just itchy back there. My vet indicated it is likely an allergy, but didn't really say how to help him out except to try giving him a bit of yogurt. I wanted to know does yogurt really help? Also if I can put something like hydrocortisone cream to help him out when it is really bad (about twice a week)? (My vet's receptionist won't let me leave a note for the doctor and keep trying to answer the questions themselves). Thank you

July 29, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Jessica N. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Hello- Thank you for your question. A few reasons that they can scoot are due to full anal glands or allergies typically. If his anal glands are full he may need them expressed by your veterinarian otherwise if it is allergy related in dogs approximately 90% of allergies are environmental in nature. You can place some topical hydrocortisone on there, but if it doesn’t improve there are some great medications for allergies out there including Apoquel or cytopoint that may be good to have a discussion with your veterinarian about.

July 30, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Cat

dog-age-icon

Ten Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

3 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Scooting

I had her anal glands cleaned. Still scooted. I went back to vet. A rectal was done with no problems. A cortisone shot was given for inflammation. Stools negative for parasites. She is still scooting

July 21, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. It does sound like your veterinarian has covered all the bases so far. The only other thing I could think of is that maybe she has an infection, and an antibiotic may help her. Without seeing her, of course, I can't say if that is happening, but it is something to consider. That may be worth talking to your veterinarian about. I hope that all goes well with your cat.

July 21, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Pita

dog-breed-icon

Maincoon

dog-age-icon

6 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Scooting Diarrhea

My maincoon just scooted across the backporch twice then ran to the box where she had a small amount of diarrhea. I tried to check if there were worms butt she howled at me when I lifted her tail so I left her go. She's never done this before.

Sept. 1, 2018

Pita's Owner

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Fenella

dog-breed-icon

tabby

dog-age-icon

7 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhoea
Diarrhoea, Vomitting
Diarrhoea, Vomiting, Scooting

Hello, my cat has acted strangely in the last 12hrs. She has been vomiting, diarrhoea, scooting and wheeling eyes. She is walking oddly and refuses to be touched around the abdomen.

Aug. 15, 2018

Fenella's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

It is difficult to say what is happening with Fenella but you should visit your Veterinarian for an examination since it sounds like she is in discomfort and she may be trying to pass a foreign object, been poisoned or have a severe infection (bacterial/parasitic). Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 16, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Ofelia

dog-breed-icon

Domestic longhair

dog-age-icon

10 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Anxiety
Scooting

I'm wondering... is scooting ever considered a stress behavior? My cat, who I've had for about 9 years, scoots regularly until her bottom turns an angry red. I've taken her to the vet several times and she goes for regular grooming visits at the vet's office every 12 weeks. She gets Revolution monthly and her anal glands pretty much always look normal. Sometimes she gets an anti-inflammatory and antibiotic injection. She's a long-haired cat and will often mess herself unless she has a hygiene clip. She's also very shy and anxious overall, staying low to the ground and hiding under furniture the majority of the time. The first time this problem was vet-worthy was after I left her with a housemate when I was gone on vacation in 2013. Is it possible that all of this scooting an anxiety behavior? I've had to take her in for a red bottom regularly over the past 7 years, and it appears to worsen with change or stress. Her stools are normal, perhaps small. She will vomit if she eats too fast, eats grass, or eats a new brand of wet food. I've tried to make her environment stimulating with toys, kitty condos, scratching posts, pheromone plugins, etc. But, she's been an anxious scooter for as far as I can remember. She is fed a grain-free diet, Taste of the Wild Venison + Salmon. Any ideas what her problem might be?

dog-name-icon

Cleocatra

dog-breed-icon

tabby

dog-age-icon

1 Year

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Scooting

I have had Cleo for approximately 6 months. Two months ago, she started scooting on my bed! She only scoots 1-2 times per day. Her stools are firm, she has no redness on her bottom and overall she seems in perfect health. After I noticed the scooting, I treated her for tapeworm to no avail. I have noticed some excessive scratching around the neck area and she bites at her paws occasionally. These scratches and bites don't result in hair loss or wounds.

dog-name-icon

Dochi

dog-breed-icon

Domestic long hair

dog-age-icon

5 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Limping
Scooting

two weeks ago we picked up a cat in a parking lot and to find her a home, we went and got her a physical. She tested negative for parasites, FeLV, got her vaccinations up to date, and was also given a dewormer. About 4-5 days ago, we noticed she was scooting. Then yesterday, we noticed a limp in her left hind leg. Since then, her scooting has gotten more frequent and her limp more noticeable. Other than that, she seems to be fine? She is using her litterbox and is very friendly with people. She is very sweet and likes to sleep in bed with me. **When we picked her up, we noticed a very strange grooming behavior, where she'd suddenly go into a frenzy of grooming, shaking her head in between. She was diagnosed with a yeast infection in her ear but has since been treated. I thought it might just be stress-grooming, and that she would stop once she understood she was in a safe place. She hasn't stopped since.

dog-name-icon

Frankie

dog-breed-icon

Calico Cat

dog-age-icon

2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Scooting On Carpet

Have a rescue cat roughly 2 years old. She took to us in a matter of a few hours and is so affectionate,lovable and eager to play. We took her to our vet to have her anal gland checked and there wasn't anything out of the ordinary according to the vet since we noticed that she scoots across the soft carpet one and a while and then scratches at it to try to cover up.We feed her wellness wet food mostly with sometimes mixing Blue dry food in. we don't know what to do. We are contemplating to contact where we got her and give her back, which would break my heart. We both love her but its not acceptable to let this just going on. Need help please!

dog-name-icon

Ella

dog-breed-icon

Calico

dog-age-icon

2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Licking
Scooting

My cat started scooting just today, but over my tile bathroom and not carpet. She started by pawing at the floor then scooted. During her scooting a piece of feces was coming out. I quickly scooped her up and sat her in her litter box. She kept jumping out and continued to scoot around the bathroom. There weren’t any streaks following her. She immediately started licking her bottom. Once she was finished she jumped back in the litter box to finish pooping. She has been dewormed, as she was a rescued stray, and my vet usually sends emails notifying when the next check up is, and that isn’t for a while.

Scooting Average Cost

From 262 quotes ranging from $100 - $400

Average Cost

$300

How can we help your pet?