Does my cat have an infection or is he just overweight?

Does my cat have an infection or is he just overweight?

Our question this week was:

My male cat is over weight; recently I’ve noticed clumping of hair around his penis. I wipe it with a warm paper towel to clean it. I smell it because I’m wondering if he actually has discharge. It is yellow and so is urine, it smells like a burnt match. Does he have an infection or is he getting too fat to properly lick himself. He uses the litter, flow of urine is normal, for what he always has, no blood, he isn’t avoiding the litter or making sounds.

His appetite is good and he plays. He does lick himself and cleans but right near the opening it’s stuck with matted little hairs, not a lot but enough for me to ask questions. I want to avoid the vets because I don’t want him to be upset for what may just be me obsessing. I had a cat that died at the vets after surgery from calcium stones plus it’s expensive especially to hear he over weight and needs diet food.

Tracy Whelpley


Hi – thanks for your email. From what you wrote – your cat is over-weight and has clumping of hair around his penis…and is otherwise eating, drinking, playful and urinating normally…. I would guess (without seeing him) that he is too fat to groom himself properly. That is a common problem in obese cats (I know from personal experience).

There is not much you can do other than work with your cat to loose weight and periodically clean him. Sometimes clipping the fur and doing a little “fanny bath” can help. You can use warm water with a little soap on a washcloth to clean and then dry the area well. I think clipping hair always helps. Don’t use scissors (as it is easy to accidentally cut the skin). If you plan to do this…use some pet grooming sheers that you can get at your local pet shop or animal supply catalog.

An article that might be helpful to you is on our is “Obesity in Cats“. This article has some tips on weight loss – you need to be careful putting obese cats on a diet as it can be dangerous if done improperly.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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