How to Teach a Cat to Clean Its Bum

Last Updated on: January 23, 2024

Compared to our canine pals, cats are naturally clean creatures that require little to no grooming. But do you know that most cats are taught to clean themselves while young? Therefore, if you have adopted a kitten, then you should show it how to clean itself after leaving the litter.

After all, you are its owner, and teaching it how to groom itself properly will ensure that your home will always be clean. Here are a few crucial steps on how to teach a cat to clean its bum after using the litter box.

How to Teach a Kitten to Clean Its Bum?

As aforementioned, they have to be taught how to clean their bum. So, you shouldn’t assume that your pet will do it naturally. But make sure you train it while young. To get your kitten ready to keep her body free of fecal matter, you should do the following:

Step 1: Give Your Pet Time

If you’re trying to teach your pet how to clean its bum, then you should start by making it comfortable. This means giving it time if you have just adopted it; after all, they’re not born knowing how to groom their bums.

Once comfortable, you should expect a cat lick once in a while.

Remember, some species naturally know how to groom themselves, but teaching them how to clean their bum isn’t that easy. So you shouldn’t expect them to defecate and then clean themselves; it does not function that way. 

Step 2: Keep Your Bathroom Door Open

Since it’s a new pet, you should start by making it feel comfortable, which means leaving your bathroom door open when showering. Your kitten will feel comfortable when it knows that it can get in and out of most rooms in the house.

Remember, cats are quite sensitive; therefore, they can only respond when they feel like it will be a positive experience.

Step 3: Get Its Favorite Treat

Once it’s comfortable, you can look for some of its favorite treats and use them to lure it and reward it while it’s learning. Remember, you’ll have to do it first before it finally learns and perfects the act. 

Step 4: Start the Training Process

Start by placing the treat on the floor and wait for it to lick it. After it does that, you should gently rub its bottom and show it how to clean its bum. If it doesn’t start licking the treat immediately, you should continue to gently rub its bum until it licks it.

Remember, the whole idea is making it associate rubbing its but with a treat. So you should repeat the process several times until it learns. Once it associates the rubbing with licking its bum, then it will be able to lick its bum every time you rub it since it associates it with treats.

Generally, pets can recognize patterns, so if you’re giving your kitten treats to clean its bum, then you should praise it every time it does it correctly. 

Step 5: Place the Treat in the Right Places

It will start cleaning its butt, so the next step is placing the treats in the right place. Some of the best places to place the treats are on the litter box and its bed. This will ensure that it cleans itself in these places and not on your couch.

Step 6: Leave the Rooms Open

Since it’ll need you to rub it for it to know what to do at first, as a cat owner, you should leave the rooms open. So when you’re in another room, you can monitor the cat’s behavior. 

You’ll know when your kitten has defecated in the litter and if it has cleaned its bum. It may be suffering because of the smelly poop and need your help. 

How Can I Keep My Cat’s Bum Clean?

Cats are generally good at grooming themselves, including cleaning their anal area. However, there may be situations where a cat needs assistance in this regard, such as if they are overweight, have mobility issues, or have long fur that can trap feces.

Here are some steps to help ensure your cat’s anal area stays clean:

  • Regular Grooming: Brush your cat regularly, especially if they have long fur. This helps prevent feces from getting stuck in their fur around the anal area. Use a cat-specific brush or comb.
  • Wet Wipes: Occasionally, you may need to clean a cat’s butt using unscented, hypoallergenic wet wipes. Gently wipe the area, being careful not to irritate your cat. You can also use a damp cloth or cotton ball if your cat is comfortable with it.
  • Trimming Fur: If you own long-haired cats, then you should consider trimming the fur around the anus carefully. Be cautious not to cut your cat’s skin. It may be helpful to have a professional groomer trim cat fur if you’re unsure.
  • Diet and Hydration: Ensure your cat is on a balanced diet that promotes regular, firm stools. Proper hydration is also essential to prevent constipation or diarrhea.
  • Litter Box Maintenance: Keep the litter box clean, and ensure it’s large enough for your cat to comfortably poop. Some cats may avoid the litter box if it’s dirty or too small, leading to fecal matter sticking to their fur.
  • Veterinary Consultation: If you notice persistent issues with your cat’s anal cleanliness or discomfort, consult your veterinarian. There may be underlying health problems causing these issues, such as anal gland problems or gastrointestinal issues.

Why Can’t My Cat Clean Its Bum?

Cats are generally very adept at grooming themselves, including cleaning their anal area. However, there can be situations where your pet may have difficulty or be unable to clean its bum. 

Some common reasons you should clean a cat’s bum include:

  • Obesity: Overweight or obese cats may have difficulty reaching and grooming their anal area due to limited mobility or flexibility after leaving the cat litter.
  • Arthritis or Joint Problems: An older cat or those with arthritis or other joint issues may find it painful to reach their anal area for grooming.
  • Long Fur: Cats with long fur are more prone to feces becoming trapped in their fur around the anal area, making it harder for them to clean themselves effectively.
  • Gastrointestinal Issues: Cats with diarrhea or soft stools may struggle to keep their anal area clean because the feces may stick to their fur.
  • Anal Gland Problems: Issues with the cat’s anal glands, such as impaction or infection, can cause discomfort or pain when trying to clean the area.
  • Injuries or Disabilities: Cats with injuries or disabilities may have difficulty grooming themselves, including their anal area, after leaving the kitten litter area.
  • If you notice that your cat is not cleaning its bum after leaving the kitten litter, it’s essential to address the underlying issue. Here’s what you can do if your kitten can’t clean its poop:
  • Consult a Veterinarian: Schedule a vet appointment to rule out any underlying cat health problems that may be affecting your cat’s grooming abilities.
  • Weight Management: If your kitten is overweight, work with your veterinarian to develop a weight management plan to help your cat reach a healthy weight.
  • Grooming Assistance: You may need to assist your kitten with grooming its anal area by using wet wipes after leaving the litter. Clean its bum as described in the previous response.
  • Regular Veterinary Check-Ups: Continue to monitor your cat’s health and grooming habits, and schedule regular veterinary check-ups to address any ongoing issues.

Final Thoughts 

Unlike our other pets, cats are self-grooming creatures that require little to no help. But you have to do the weekly/monthly grooming, which includes clipping its fur and nails. Unfortunately, they tend to have a very tough time cleaning their bum while young. 

So, you’ll have to train it while young, which can be a tad challenging. If it’s a new pet, then you should first make it comfortable. Next, get the right treat and use it to train it. During the training sessions, you can put the treat down, rub its bottom, and then let it lick the treat. Repeat this until it associates it with treats.

After it has been learned, you can place the treats near the litter box and watch your kitten perfect this skill. But remember, when it’s sick, it may not be able to clean itself. So you’ll have to clean its butt until it’s well.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can cats groom their bum naturally?

Most species can easily groom their bodies all day long; unfortunately, they can’t clean their bum without having to teach them.

Why has my cat stopped cleaning its anal region?

It could be suffering from anal glands or GTI issues that prevent it from grooming itself. Joint problems can also make it impossible for your cat to stretch its body and groom itself.

How can I remove poop stuck on my cat’s fur? 

To get rid of stuck feces, you need shampoo, a damp cloth, a brush, and lukewarm water. Simply clean it with a damp cloth and brush its fur gently until the feces untangles itself. 

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