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what does anal gland ( sac ) secretion smell like?

Sorry, I know this one is going to illicit a lot of amusing/confusing/etc. responses. But that's my question: what does the anal gland secretion smell like. Here's the backstory:
Our cat George's butt SMELLS. From searching this and other sites, it SEEMS that the anal glands are the most likely culprit. But it doesn't completely match up. Here are the "symptoms":
1) His butt smells. LOL. To elaborate: It varies in intensity - sometimes it's only noticeable as a "waft" as he turns in your lap, sometimes he just has to be IN your lap, sometimes it's barely there, and sometimes it's a STRONG odor filling your face.
2) He DOES NOT drag his butt or seem to otherwise give it any "excessive" attention (biting, licking, etc.). In fact, my girlfriend and I assumed it was poor grooming that created the condition.
3) HOWEVER - there's not any noticeable fecal matter, etc. on there. It LOOKS clean. Just doesn't SMELL clean.
4) The smell doesn't seem especially odd. I mean, it's unpleasant - but smells more-or-less like a cat butt could be expected to smell.
5) It'll "hang" on your clothes, bedsheets, etc. - but there's NO visible trace of a fluid/secretion/whatever.
6) He's about 9 months old, and this condition has lasted well over a month - maybe 2 by now.
7) He pees a TON (volume, not frequency). Not sure whether it's connected or a whole other issue...but just figured I would throw it in. He pees 2x /day which I understand is normal, but MAN - compared to his sister...I don't know where it all comes from! (We're potty training - in case you're wondering why we're watching our cat pee...LOL)
So, in an attempt to further diagnose this, I was hoping some brave souls would attempt to DESCRIBE the resulting smell of impacted anal glands. Someone in one thread mentioned some sort of pollen - I forget which - but regardless, it's a smell I wouldn't know.
I've seen a couple helpful things - one poster in another thread mentioned a red anus - which our cat seems to have developed in the past few days. Another thread included mention of a possible infection in that case - which I wondered whether it would smell more "sweet" like superficial infections on humans?...
The only other anomaly worth mentioning is that Georgie has developed a large amount of loose-hanging belly-skin over the past 3-4 months. It's nothing alarming to us - more a curiosity. But who knows...maybe it'll help someone in a "diagnosis."
Thanks all! Glad to join the forum!
~Rob G.
Anal gland secretion smells, well... like anal gland secretion! It is extremely hard to describe the smell; it almost has a chemical smell to it, definitely not like feces. If your kitty has an odd smell to his rear end (that's not feces ) at all, it is most likely anal gland fluid.
The pouch that you see on his abdomen is extremely common in male cats after neutering. One of my cats has an extremely big paunch (he is a little overweight ) and the other two have a slight paunch. Since he is nearing his adult size, the paunch can be expected. As long as it doesn't feel tender, it's nothing to worry about.
The only other thing that the odor can be is kitty farts... I have one kitty that enjoys farting as soon as he jumps on you and it lingers forever.. However, you would probably KNOW if he had gas...
I guess the last question that I have is if he IS neutered. I have noticed that after an unaltered male cat is a few months of age, they can have a gross scent to them. I don't know if this is anal gland secretions as well, or if it is something else. After my cats were neutered, I never noticed it again. If anyone can clarify this point, feel free!!!
I hope that this helps you out a bit!!
Signature courtesy of ForJazz!
Anal gland secretion is one of the foulest smelling things you will ever come across in your life!! lol It is just shnasty!! But, there is an actual secretion.... what you are describing sounds more like flatulence to me. Especially when say it "wafts"... lol If there was secretion, it would be on something or someone and would not just go away and you would see it - brown liquid.
Perhaps it is diet related? Did you change the food?
As far as cat butt smell... none of my cat's butts smell bad..... not that I make it a habit to go around sniffing their butts.... but you know how inevitably you end up with cat butt in your face at some point.
Frequent urination is something to be concerned with, but volume I am not sure about. Most cats pee more than twice a day tho, so perhaps he is storing it up? Do you have 2 litterboxes? Sometimes there can be issues you may not realize with his comfort level sharing the box, so perhaos a second box might help that - if that is even an issue.
Sounds like you have several issues that might warrant a trip to your vet - at least for a general health checkup and to voice your concerns with the vet. Let us know how it goes and welcome to the cat forum!!

Hi Parker - well, the smell is still hard to pin down; I guess it WOULD be hard to describe something like that. On a related-but-off-topic note, I remember reading in a book on "the senses" once that smell vocabulary is distinctly underdeveloped; we essentially steal words from other senses (usually taste, because its tie to scent): "sweet" and "pungent" are words taken from other contexts (though "pungent" IS now used most commonly for smells). Otherwise, we have to use similies- it smells "like rotten fruit" or "like after it rains", etc. The book ("A Natural History of the Senses") did a much better job making the point - I just always remembered how interesting it was that we really don't have much vocabulary dedicated to smell.
Anyway, we'll of course be taking him to the vet to sort it out - whether it IS his anal glands or something (hope not!) more serious.
Most of all, I wanted to say thanks for taking time to answer my semi-related "paunch" question. It's nice to know it's just a cute, harmless trait. He IS "fixed" - so it sounds like that's it. We just laugh and laugh watching him jiggle when he canters around. Nice to know we're not laughing at some horrible condition he has!
Thanks again Parker.
P.S. - Anyone else can still feel free to try to describe the smell, still. My girlfriend added she thought it smells kind of like an old kitchen sponge (thus she thought bacteria) - but I don't really think that fits... ah well - to be expected with smell.
Swiss cheese! lol My cat, 10 months, has had anal gland problems for about 4 months. It can range to a little smell to holy@#$#@%&!!! My husband opened up some swiss cheese the other day and I thought, "here we go again!!" False alarm though, just the cheese. The fluid really shouldn't be brown, just a very light creamy color, so if it gets on you you really don't see it, just smell it. I have to take my cat every 2 weeks to get his anal glands expressed. One vet tech and the vet himself have gotten it squirted all over them and have stunk the rest of the day. Sometimes you can just lift the tail up and it will come squirting out. It got all over my kitchen floor when I did this, PEEEEUUUUUUUUUUU!!!! He sleeps inbetween my husband and I and I have woken up a few times with VERY stinky sheets! Sometimes the glands just secrete, but I have read where a cat can make them secrete. They are really supposed to empty each time the cat pooh's, but for some reason they don't. I have paid $74 for a year of anal expresses, unlimited. It is worth it. I feel your pain! It is very smelly. Like I said, sometimes it won't be too bad, but other times...... I don't neccesarily smell cat butts either, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do! lol I bet what your smelling is anal sac fluid. I would take him to the vet to get checked out and make sure they are not impacted or infected. Tell the vet what you think it is. I would not suggest removing the glands, which on some web sites say can be done, you will be in for more problems than just the smell. Periodic butt squeezing, lol, will have to be done to help empty them. I am also glad to hear about the pouch hanging down. My guy has it and I thought I was feeding him too much. He weighs 13 pounds at 10 months, but he gets lots of exercise playing in the house, he is an indoor only cat, and I take him out on a leash to walk around. He doesn't over eat, he gets Nutro Natural Choice. Good luck with the stink and let us know what happens.
Oh, and my guy never would drag his butt. It can get on you without noticing any wetness, it usually will be on his fur and rub off on you. But when it let go the first time in my bed, there was a big wet spot that I stupidly put my hand in (gag ). I was forever changing sheets. I know he felt bad because he would start licking it up. When the glands are impacted, they can swell and get red. I saw a dog at the vets recently and his anal glands were as big and red as apples! NO joking. They couldn't find a vet to see him for 3 months because they didn't have a credit card, so they say. I just about passed out when I saw that poor dogs butt!! They should of been charged with animal cruelty. No excuse!! If it was Animal Precinct on Animal Planet, they would of been arrested!! lol
Swiss cheese, huh? That's helpful - next time the smell comes about, I'll try to do a mental comparison.
Our other cat is scheduled for an MRI next week (level 2 heart murmur - just needs period checks) - so we'll take them in together. He doesn't seem uncomfortable, sluggish, or anything else that'd be a sign something is seriously wrong. Just smelly! So, unless things change and we have to take him in sooner, I'll let everyone know what happens next week. Thanks all!
P.S. - Cat Whisperer had mentioned food change -> gas - which I thought wasn't an issue UNTIL I remembered while replying that we DID actually change their food. Unfortunately, we didn't log the exact dates. Keeping a log of major behavioral changes (on your part or the cats'), dietary changes, etc etc - seems like a good idea for the future. I've realized too late how handy it might've been in pinpointing potential causes. Anyway, I've never "caught" him farting - the smell definetly seems to be "on" him, rather than a fart. But who knows - maybe he's just very discrete...
P.S. - the only reason I raised this question at all was because so many people described anal secretions as along the lines of "Knock you off your seat" bad. George certainly smells unpleasant when the "phantom smell" arrives - but I can't honestly say it had me vomiting. Just, "Whew - get outta here stinky!" Poor guy. Anyway, we'll know the culprit next week, I hope!
My guy is never uncomfortable either. Acts normal. If it wasn't for the smell! Good luck!
Pearl had some anal gland problems and she "shot" us and a few of our things a time or three! To me it smelled like stinky sweaty feet and cat poop.
I'm thinking the post about it possibly being flatulence could very well be right, you'd for sure see and notice the anal gland gunk on stuff if he was...well, "leaking".
If you do eventually figure out he's making some stinky air biscuits and changing his food doesn't help, consider asking your vet to test him for worms. Dude almost killed us with his odiferous eruptions and my vet said sometimes worms can make a cat have gas. She wormed him and he hasn't pooted since!
Okay, I am jinxed!! Guess who stinks now?? Yes, and it is on my bed covers! Yuck!! I jinxed myself by talking about it. Sometimes it can be a very, let's say light smell, but last night it was full blast. I guess I will be taking him to the vet today. It is amazing that I just roll over and go back to sleep. I just pray my hubby doesn't wake up and "smells the roses"! lol I will also be doing laundry tonight. We are going on vacation in 2 weeks and was waiting to take him before we left, TOO LATE!!! It seems like it is every two weeks we have to take him, poor thing! Well, off to work before hubby wakes up! lol
Sky eyes woman, your cat has the most unique markings I have ever seen on a cat. Is it part Siamese? Beautiful!!
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