Over the years, my attitude toward scooping poop has become increasingly nonchalant. Whether it’s a crusty clumper or a juicy clinger, my response is the same: Meh. In fact, cleaning the litter box has become a lot like washing the dishes — it is merely another chore that needs to be done every other day or my house starts to smell like ass.
One thing I haven’t gotten used to, though, is butt crusties. Also known as dingleberries, butt crusties occur when a part of a crusty clumper or a juicy clinger attaches itself to the floofy hair surrounding a cat’s butt.
Lately this problem has been particularly virulent on the rear end of my chubby Calico girl, Phoenix — who is totally on a diet, don’t worry! Hopefully once she slims down she’ll be able to tend to her own dingleberries the gross way nature intended, but in the meantime, I’m looking for ways to lend a helping hand. Here are four options.
1. Butt wipes
I had never planned to purchase kitty butt wipes, but here we are. I’ve discovered that a wet paper towel gets the job done in most cases, but because I can’t spray my cat with Windex (JOKING), I need something a bit tougher for the, uh, more severe crusties.
- Whisker City wipes are available at PetsMart. They can be used to wipe down your entire kitty, not just her butt, and they reduce dander and other allergens.
- Earth Bath All Natural Grooming Wipes are hypoallergenic and fragrance free for cats (or humans) with sensitive skin. Catster’s Caroline Golon uses these.
2. DIY butt-hair trim
Some cats have a little too much hair back there, so even if they’re young and svelte, it can make staying clean a challenge. If your cat will let you, you can probably trim her poop-chute floof yourself.
I waited until Phoenix was in the middle of a really serious nap — like, she was snoring, and I lifted one of her front paws and it fell right back into place like a lump of dough. She barely noticed as I lifted her tail and clipped the offending crusties from her fur.
Just be sure to use blunt-tipped scissors in case your cat moves or flinches; we are all familiar with the feline species’ uncanny knack for spontaneous freakouts. And while you’re back there, check for signs of infection or irritation, which can occur when cats aren’t able to clean themselves as well as they should.
Another option, of course, is shaving, but unless your cat is extremely laid back and comfortable with loud noises — and you have another human (or five) to assist you — it’s probably best not to try and shave your cat yourself, since this can result in blood loss for all parties involved.
3. Professional butt-hair trim
Maybe your cat is too high strung to allow you to get near her rear end with scissors. And hey — I can sympathize! If some crazy lady who I regularly witnessed eating marshmallows and singing Creedence Clearwater Revival before 7 a.m. tried to trim my (strictly hyptothetical) butt hair, I wouldn’t allow it either.
But hey, it must be done, so it’s probably time to sit down and have the awkward poop talk with your vet. Your vet can recommend places — perhaps as simple as the local pet store — that will get that butt floof safely shorn.
4. Better food
Your cat’s food could be upsetting her stomach and causing what would normally plop to splatter. Higher-quality foods that are formulated specifically for sensitive stomachs might help, but be sure to consult your vet before switching up your cat’s diet, particularly if she is a senior or has other health concerns.
If your cat is having diarrhea or loose stools regularly, that also means it’s time to sit down with your vet and have the awkward poop talk.
About Angela: This not-crazy-at-all cat lady loves to lint-roll her favorite dress and go out dancing. She also frequents the gym, the vegan coffee joint, and the warm patch of sunlight on the living room floor. She enjoys a good cat rescue story about kindness and decency overcoming the odds, and she’s an enthusiastic recipient of headbutts and purrs from her two cats, Bubba Lee Kinsey and Phoenix.
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