by a reader
For the past week my 4yr old cat has had what looks like a blob of faeces attached to the pink skin around her anus. I assumed it had just dried on and would fall off in time but a week later it's still there. I have tried 'knocking' it off with a slightly damp tissue but it seems pretty well attached. She is acting entirely as normal - no change in behaviour. Whilst it seems of no irritation to her I feel uneasy not knowing what it is.
There are two possibilities that come straight to my mind.
One is that you are correct in thinking that it is dried stool, but it may be attached to more stool still in the rectum. I have seen cats with separate pieces of stool attached to each other with string or even hair. That can be serious if your cat is not having regular bowel movements and there is reason to believe she may have ingested string or yarn or other linear foreign object.
The second possibility is that she has an impacted anal sac. Cats have two anal sacs, one on each side of the anus. They normally are expressed and kept healthy when the cat has a bowel movement and the stool presses on the sacs. However, many dogs and some cats have problems with these sacs. They may get "plugged up" if the secretion is thicker than usual or perhaps the stool is not as large as usual or is softer. This needs to be taken care of by a vet. Left undiagnosed and untreated, these anal sac impactions usually go on to abscess and rupture through the adjacent skin.
I don't know how hard you have rubbed the area with a wet tissue, but I would suggest a soft cloth dampened with warm water and a fairly firm wiping of the rear end to see if that removes it. Even if it does, if you are not sure whether it is feces or anal sac secretions, you should have the vet take a look at the anal sacs to make sure they are not clogged.
Thank you for writing,