Ask our Online Vet – My cat has white spots on her bottom, is licking her bum alot and pooing outside her box

Question from Shellie Masters

My cat seems to have white spots on her bottom and is licking her bum alot more than usual, also she is pooing outside of her box, any ideas? She is about 11 years old. Thanks

Answer from Shanika our Online Vet

Hi Shellie,

Thanks for your question regarding your cat licking her bottom more, white spots that you have noticed on her bottom and the change to her toileting habits.

All the points that you have mentioned can be individual issues or linked as will hopefully become clear as I go into answering your question.

What are the white spots on my cat’s bottom?

The exact location of the spots will help us to work out what the spots are, the bottom itself is made up of skin which has one large opening through which the poo is passed and then two smaller openings( at 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock positions) which are where the anal sacs open via their ducts ( tube). Anal sacs are lined by glands which produce a rather smelly substance that is normally passed in small amounts every time your pet does a poo, this anal sac liquid forms part of the scent that shows cats who has been around the territory. Anal sacs can get blocked or infected, this can sometimes appear as white spots on the bottom and also lead to increased licking due to the resulting irritation.

Your vet can empty the anal sacs by applying gentle pressure which may relieve the problem, if there is infection antibiotic treatment may be needed.

Tape worm segments are another possibility for the presence of white spots around a cats bottom, tape worms are a parasite that live inside the gut and release small segments as part of their means of spreading. These small segments of tape worm when dry can appear like a small grain of white rice, when fresh they look more like a small piece of flattened pasta ( can be seen to move when looked at closely).

Tape worms and other parasites can be treated using appropriate medication form your vet.

Parasitic infections can cause irritation around the bottom which can lead to increased cleaning/licking. A less obvious cause for such licking is flea allergic dermatitis (FAD). FAD can often be seen as increased grooming and areas of hair loss along the back and inside of the hind legs.

Polyps and or growths on or around the bottom can appear as white spots and may also lead to increased licking of the affected area.

What other reasons may be causing my cat to lick its bottom and poo outside of its litter box?

Changes to the poo itself either softer or harder than usual can cause irritation and increased licking along with toileting outside of the litter box. Loose or soft faeces may be related to diet changes, stress and or internal disease of organs and or the gut itself.

Another possible cause of toileting disturbances including passing poo outside of the litter box is stress.

So what could be causing your cat to feel stressed?

Changes to the home environment can cause an increase in stress levels to your cat, such changes include moving home, new member to the family ( human and or furry), diet changes, cat litter type change, moving the litter box or changing it altogether and pain such as arthritis.

Cats are creatures of habit and changes to their routine/home can be very difficult for them to deal with and sadly this may often show up as toileting problems. It is really important to watch closely what exactly your cat is doing and discuss this in detail with your vet who will try to come up with a plan to help your cat. Simply returning things to how they were is not always enough sometimes medications and or pheromone treatments may be of use.

Pain should be taken into consideration when a cat has toileting problems. Cats are masters at hiding their pain until it becomes quite severe. Arthritis can make it difficult for cats to get in and out of their litter box or get into a position in which they can go to the toilet which may result in poo being passed outside of the box.

So as you can see your question has raised many very interesting points as regards your cat’s behavioural and physical changes. I hope that my answer has gone some way to help you and your cat and that with the assistance of a visit to your vet your cat is soon feeling much better.

Shanika Winters MRCVS


19 thoughts on “Ask our Online Vet – My cat has white spots on her bottom, is licking her bum alot and pooing outside her box

    1. Hi Imogen. There could be a number of causes, depending on the location and how they look – possible causes include blocked anal glands (these are located either side of the bottom), or it could be due to skin irritation which could be due to something like parasites or allergy. If they seem to be causing her a problem or seem to have changed in size or appearance, or if she’s in any way unwell in herself, I’d recommend getting her checked over by your vet to find out what’s causing them. It’s also worthwhile making sure all her worming and flea treatments are up-to-date with a veterinary recommended product. I hope she feels much better soon.

  1. My youngest cat has little white bits around her bottom area, she doesn’t seem to be cleaning anymore than usual but her stomach is bloated and she sometimes yowls when going to litter tray
    Can you shed any light on what it could be please?
    Many thanks

    1. Hi Joanne. It’s possible that what you’re seeing around her bottom are tapeworm segments, if she has a bloated tummy too, but she’ll need a check up with your vet to find out exactly what’s going on. They can perform a full exam and give her any appropriate medication to make her feel better. I’d make an appointment soon to get her checked out, especially if she yowls when going to her litter tray, as there’s something that’s causing her discomfort.

  2. My cat is acting normal except she is not going to bathroom nor eating. She has white dashes around her butt. I have tried giving her lax for cats, but doesn’t appear to be working. Please help!

    1. Hi Samantha, please speak to your vet – if your cat is not going to the bathroom or eating, they need professional treatment. Please make a call to your vet today, if you haven’t done so.

  3. My cat he’s tiny white spot on her tush and tail, they look like dandruff. She also scratches her neck about maybe 1/2 hour after she gets here flea medication every month but I’m more worried about the white dandruff ( hopefully) on her rush. What do you think it actually is. I pray nothing but I’ll wait for the answer!

    1. Hi Su,

      The ‘dandruff’ could be exactly that, but it is impossible to tell with examination. We strongly suggest you get her checked at your vets – they may look at the dandruff under a microscope to see if anything else is going on and treat accordingly.

  4. Hi one of my cats got sick about 5 days ago then my other one got sick and now my other one is currently sick ? Any ideas. When they got sick they threw up like a brown creamy watery substance and their poo is like creamy brownish yellow?

    1. Hi, you really need to take them to your vets for checking over and treatment. The symptoms could be caused by several conditions. Please make an appointment today.

    1. Hi Emily, it could be a number of things, and the area it is may even be a cat bite abscess. It would be a good idea to get them to the vet, so it can be checked out.

    1. If your cat is wet around her back end, I think she needs urgent veterinary attention, as there must be a reason for her to be incontinent.

  5. My kitten has a little swollen but hole with clear discharge an has been pooping on him self maybe pence or twice an he still wars an goes to the bathroom an other then that he is healthy an he is still playing with other kittens

    1. It could be worms, but if there’s a discharge, then an anal gland problem seems more likely. It’s best to get it checked by a veterinary professional to make sure that’s all it is, and then to empty the glands if that’s the problem.

  6. My cat has a small pimple that’s yellowish on his anus and he’s been throwing up and not eating I tried taking him to a vet near by but the line was so long and we were waiting outside in the car with no ac and there were just too many people in front of us he was breathing heavy so we came home

    1. The yellow spot sounds like a small abscess, but the fact that he’s vomiting and not eating is something that really, really needs checking out. It would probably be worth getting in touch with the vet and making an appointment to visit at a particular time so you don’t have to wait in the queue – but definitely get him seen to.

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