A red anus in your cat

How do you treat this?

In this article we explain everything about a red anus in your cat. How does a red anus arise, what is the cause and what symptoms can you notice? By providing tips about treatment, we hope that you can quickly help your cat get rid of that red anus. We also explain what you can do to prevent a red anus in your cat. After all, prevention is better than cure. Hopefully he recovers quickly!


a red anus in a cat

What causes a red anus in your cat?

Your cat’s anus will turn red as the blood vessels in his anal skin dilate. So if they open up more. The reason this happens is that there is somehow irritation of that region and substances from the cells there are released into the tissue between the cells. These substances then act on the blood vessels, causing them to open wider. The result is that more blood comes to that area and therefore immune cells and cleansing substances in that blood become more prevalent in that region. The healing can begin!

What causes a red anus in your cat?

An inflammation of the anal skin

If a cat has had a small wound on its anus, for example due to a fight with another cat, that wound can become infected with bacteria. The skin then looks red, but also a bit wet and purulent. In this case we mean a superficial inflammation. Below we will explain more about an inflammation that is deeper under the skin.


An inflammation of the anal glands

Your cat’s anus contains two anal glands. These anal glands can become over filled and then become inflamed. The skin over the glands often takes on a red color in that case. The difference, however, is that this is usually not wet and the part next to the anus (at 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock if you imagine the anus as a clock) is quite swollen. You can read more about inflamed anal glands on this page.


An abscess next to the anus

Actually, this is usually not exactly the anus. But a cat may have had a fight with another cat, for example. That cat may have made a hole in your cat’s anal skin with its nail or teeth. With that nail or tooth he may have introduced a bacteria under the skin. That bacteria can then multiply there and cause an abscess to form, resulting in a red anus in your cat. An abscess is always very painful and there will be a very large bulge near the anus. In this case this is also an inflammation, but it is deeper than the inflammation we first talked about.

An abscess often occurs on a cat’s behind. In that case, your cat will have tried to run away, but the other cat was able to quickly catch him after all. It is also possible that an abscess develops as a result of an anal gland infection. Sometimes it is almost impossible to distinguish them from each other. A severe anal gland infection is always very painful for your cat. But in all cases your cat will develop a red anus.


A red anus in your cat due to parasites

There are a number of parasites that can cause itching in your cat’s anus. Roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms in particular can cause this. As a result of the itching, your cat will lick his anus excessively. Or he slides his buttocks on the ground. In this case, the skin of your cat’s anus will be slightly damaged. In that case, substances are released from the damaged tissue that cause the blood vessels to dilate completely. This way, the healing substances reach more of that area so that the skin inflammation itself is resolved somewhat. But as long as the parasites do not disappear, your cat will continue to itch its anus and will continue to lick or rub it. And so you continue to see a red anus in your cat.


Excessive straining

If your cat has to strain very hard because his stools are too hard, you will also see that damage can sometimes occur to his anus. His anus cannot handle the pressure, so to speak. In this case, it is better to provide your cat with a diet with more fiber and let him drink more water. Later in this article, in the treatment part, we will tell you which food is suitable and how you can get your cat to drink more.

In addition, a kind of wart can grow in the anus. We call this a polyp. This polyp can become somewhat damaged and then become infected. The result here too is that your cat will often strain more. You may also sometimes see a trace of blood in his stool if this polyp is inflamed.


Anal prolapse

In this case, there is actually no red anus in your cat. It’s much worse. In this case, the last part of your cat’s intestine protrudes through its anus. The intestine has, as it were, been turned inside out and now protrudes through the anus. You can recognize this part of the intestine by its dark pink to red color with a shiny surface. It can be 1cm in size, but also 5cm. This is a life-threatening condition. You should therefore go to your vet urgently.


Cat has a red and inflamed anus and starts to lick it.
Cat licks his anus because it is red and inflamed.

What symptoms do you notice in your cat with a red anus?

In addition to a red anus, you may also notice the following other symptoms in your cat:


  • excessive licking of his anus
  • rubbing his buttocks over or against surfaces
  • sitting in a different way than you are used to
  • an unpleasant odor
  • not being completely fit overall
  • having difficulty defecating
  • swelling of the anus

How do you treat a red anus in your cat?

Applying ointment

In any case, you can treat a red anus in your cat with a soothing, antibacterial ointment that does not sting (or at least hardly). A honey ointment is very suitable for this. You should apply this ointment to his anus 3 times a day. Then try to distract him for a while, for example with some tasty food. Otherwise he will lick it right off again.

honey ointment

Emptying anal glands

If the anal glands are overfull, they also need to be emptied. Otherwise, your cat’s red anus will not resolve. You can read how to do this on the page about anal gland overfilling.

Treating parasites

If you think your cat might have parasites, it is important that you give him a good deworming treatment. This is especially wise to do if you have not done this for more than three months. In that case, it is important that you also use a product that kills tapeworms. And not all of them do that. Below we show you a product that is suitable for deworming your cat if your cat has a red anus due to possible parasites.

Tapeworm dewormer

Fiber-rich food

If your cat is straining excessively and as a result has a red anus, it is important that you give him a diet that contains more fiber and is easier to digest. This way, the stool gets less dry, making it easier to remove it from its bowels. The disadvantage is that your cat will have slightly more stools. So you may have to clean the litter box a little more often. A good diet in this case is Royal Canin gastrointestinal fiber response.

Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Fiber response

Stimulate water uptake

In order to improve your cat’s stool you should stimulate your cat to drink more water. Most cats prefer running water instead of water from a bowl. That is why you should buy a water fountain for your cat. 

water fountain cat

When to visit your vet

Do you see a red anus in your cat and do you think there is an abscess, anus prolapse or intestinal polyp? Then it is best to visit your vet.

How do you prevent your cat’s anus from turning red?

You cannot 100% prevent a red anus in your cat. But by deworming your cat every 3 months you will at least prevent a serious worm infection and therefore an itchy anus as a result.

In addition, it is best to ensure that he receives a food that does not require him to strain too hard. You do not have to give the Royal Canin Fiber response preventively, but you do need to give a food of a somewhat high quality. The better the diet, the less waste products remain in the feces and the better moisture is retained in the feces. This way, his stool is usually soft enough to be removed from his body without too much straining.

Cats are also inclined not to drink too much if they have a bowl of water. Most cats drink more when the water is flowing. That is why the drinking fountains are so suitable for cats that drink too little or who should consume more water.


water fountain cat

We hope that with this article you can help your cat get rid of its red anus. Good luck!