People seriously “aww” over cat butts, but how much do we really know about them? Here are 4 facts about cat butts that will keep you up at night.
That’s right. We went there.
Cat butts are mysterious and adorable things. What’s more, they’re not usually the subject of blog posts on cats, which I find frustrating. After all, shouldn’t they be included in Cat Anatomy 101? I set about fixing this problem by finding unusual facts about cats’ posteriors.
#1 – Cats Identify Each Other By Sniffing Butts
Oh, you thought that was only dogs? Nope. Cats have anal glands as well that have a unique scent. It’s how they tell each other apart. When my cat Misha got back from the hospital, her scent had changed, causing Tippy (cat #2) to hiss and throw a fit. Tippy constantly sniffed at Misha’s butt to try and identify her.
Sure, cats have scent all over their body, but their anal glands are a cat’s primary target when sniffing. If something isn’t right with their anal glands, they’re treated as a stranger. So, the next time you see your cats sniffing each other’s bottoms, just know that they’re greeting one another like old friends.
#2 – Cats Have Butt Cheeks
It’s a sad state of affairs when you have to use your PetCoach app to answer this question, but I did it. Cats, despite opinions to the contrary, DO have butt cheeks. Those shapely tufts of fur on a cat’s backside are hiding their gluteus maximus and medius muscles, the same muscles that define human butt cheeks.
Megan Malone, DVM, sent this reply to me when I posed the question to her:
“They do have ‘butt cheeks’! They have a gluteus maximus and medius muscle on each side just like humans.”
Lauren Jones, VMD, was a bit more skeptical, but she didn’t deny it:
“Cats do have gluteal muscles… which are similar to the gluteal muscles in humans that comprise the butt cheeks. Due to the cat’s anatomy, these muscles are further away from the anus than in humans, so I don’t know that I would necessarily refer to them as butt cheeks.”
Cats have butt cheeks. Just let that sink in.
#3 – Butt Wiggles Are Part Of Hunting
You’ve seen your cat rev his engine up, shimmying like Shakira in her “Hips Don’t Lie” music video. What is cute and endearing to you is actually a predatory muscle reflex taking over.
The reasons for the cat ‘butt wiggle’ before pouncing are pondered by veterinarians and animal experts worldwide. No one knows for sure, but many speculate that cats are finding their footing by testing the ground, moving their back legs one at a time. Others think it helps them balance before they strike.
Either way, it looks adorable!
#4 – Your Cat’s Butt Is A Good Indicator Of Their Health
Well, it is where the thermometer goes. Cats have it rough when it comes to telling their temperature, but many other species (like dogs) get it up the butt as well. That’s because your cat’s poop chute says a lot about their health.
In her article “Your Cat’s Butt Is His Health Barometer“, Caroline Golon explains just how tell-tale a cat’s butt can be. From “dingleberries” to butt scoots, cats will often display signs of illness with their backsides. Diarrhea and worms cause discomfort in the anus and rectum, and your cat may show you by scooting across the floor, leaving a skid mark or two.
#5 (BONUS) – There’s A Cat Version Of Kim Kardashian
This cat may just have the biggest butt in the feline kingdom. The aptly-named “Kit Kardashian” is an internet star. She’s a 9-year-old tabby from Surrey. An article in the Daily Mail lists her as having a 10-inch wide bottom – crazy! Her poses mimic Instagram favorite Kim Kardashian perfectly; she even does the ‘shoulder glance’ like Kim.
Unfortunately, having such a big behind means that Kit is overweight. The Blue Cross, who were caring for her as of 2015 after her owner died, said that “she tries to run around, but struggles”. Kit was put on a strict diet, and hopefully by now she has found a good home.