Hemorrhoids are inflamed and swollen veins in or near the rectum and anus. Cats do not experience true hemorrhoids like humans do. Cats do, however, experience similar conditions around the rectal area that may be thought of as hemorrhoids. While your cat is unable to vocalize his pain or discomfort, his actions and behaviors may give you clues that something is wrong.
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Feline Conditions Similar to Hemorrhoids
A variety of conditions in cats can produce symptoms similar to the burning, itching discomfort associated with human hemorrhoids. These conditions include proctitis, rectal and anal prolapse, and anal sac infection, impaction or abscess. The symptoms and behaviors your cat may display are similar for each of these conditions, and all require medical attention from your veterinarian.
Initial Indicators Something May Be Wrong
Proctitis, rectal prolapse and infected anal sacs can all cause irritation and discomfort to the rectal area. You may notice your cat scooting his butt across the floor in an attempt to itch the area. Passing a bowel movement may become painful, and you may notice your cat straining or even making a crying noise. Your cat may groom more than usual, giving special attention to the anus and base of the tail.
Symptoms of Rectal and Anal Prolapse
With a rectal and anal prolapse, tissue -- including the lining of the rectum -- push through the anal opening. In extreme cases, parts of the intestine may also protrude. Before this occurs, you are likely to notice your cat straining with bowel movements. If you notice tissue protruding from the rectal area, seek veterinary care immediately.
Anal Sac Conditions and Symptoms
The anal sacs are two small scent glands located near the opening of the anus. When a cat passes a bowel movement, pressure on these sacs releases a fluid that helps a cat mark his territory. Unfortunately, these sacs can become blocked and cause fluid to build up, leading to infection. Besides basic symptoms of scooting and grooming, signs of anal sac infection or abscess include swelling or redness in the rectal area and blood or pus in the stool or in the hair around the rectum. If an abscess develops, your cat may experience a fever. If your cat experiences any of these symptoms, a visit to the veterinarian is necessary.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.