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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 17931
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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my tom cat was neutered at 5 months but sometimes he smells

Customer Question

my tom cat was neutered at 5 months but sometimes he smells really bad and i can't have him near me. He is clean and i can't find the smell in the house just on him, what is this and what can i do about it. thanks.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 3 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry to hear that your fellow periodically seems to have a foul smell about him.
Because the smell seems to come from him, and not anywhere around the house I don't think that it is related to urine.
I suspect that the smell is from his anal glands.
Anal glands are scent glands located at the 5 & 7 o'clock position around the anus. Normally they are discharged when stool is passed which keeps the odor on a cat's body down. Anal gland discharge is often described as smelling like rotten fish, but each animal has their own particular scent. They all are horrible smelling though.
If for whatever reason the anal glands don't empty properly or the discharge becomes too thick the gland overfills, and may become uncomfortable causing the kitty to lick. The discharge is then spread over the body as he grooms other areas too.
If the glands get very full and impacted the glands may become infected, which is painful, and they can even abscess out near the rectum.
This is a common problem for some cats and seems to be more common in overweight cats that are fed lots of table scraps or eat a diet low in fiber. These glands are normally expressed when passing stool but if he eats a diet low in fiber his stools may be too small or infrequent to empty them.
As far as long term prevention I recommend weight loss if he is overweight.
I also recommend decreasing or stopping entirely table scraps.
A diet higher in fiber, such as a weight loss diet or mature diet, may help. Sometimes a prescription food very high in fiber like Hills r/d or Purina Veterinary Diets OM is needed.
You can also have the glands periodically emptied by your veterinarian, their technician or a very experienced groomer.
Best of luck with your fellow, please let me know if you have any further questions.