Please pardon the long post.
This is a touchy subject and is rather unpleasant to discuss, so I hope I am not exceeding the boundaries of decency.
I have noticed for some time (about a month) that one of our neutered 6-y.o. male cats had a been developing an odd posture when he walked but was never in apparent distress. Just a bit stiff-legged in the rear legs at time.
He also had the embarassing habit of wanting to sit with his rectal orifice touching some part of you.
We usually just pushed down lightly on his back hips to avoid his doing this unpleasant posture.
Today, he was even more adamant about it than usual, so I decided to get a hand-warmed baby wet wipe and lightly clean the area. As I was doing so, I noticed what I assume to be two small openings: one on each side of the rectum. If I understand cat anatomy, I believe these are his anal glands.
One appeared to have a small bit of hard dark material that looked at first to be the size and shape of a black claw, as it would extend from his paw.
I continued to gently wipe the area until this material came out, with only a slight bit of pressure on the side of the area. (the cat did protest somewhat loudly, but I think it was more of insult than pain) I continued to clean the area, but there still appears to be a very dark greenish-black stain or additonal material within the anal gland.
I followed the advice given to me by a vet friend a few years ago to take a wooden kitchen match with tip intact, lubricate it with petroleum jelly, and genlty insert only the very tip of the match, not past the sulfur, into the rectum to cause the anal glands to release. The side that I was not concerned about did release (more than I cared to know about...ewww) but by this time he was too upset for me to continue.
I have given him a dose "Organic Pet Calm" drops and am allowing him the time to hide in his kitty tree and settle down emotionally. After a while, I intend to bathe him and check him more carefully to see if there is any evidence of a blockage still remaining on that side.
I am not a vet, and have lost contact with my vet friend over the years, so I am a bit unsure as to what I am doing. If anyone has experience with an issue such as this, and feels it is okay for me to pursue treating him myself, I would appreciate feedback.
I will certainly take him to his vet if he appears too stressed to allow me to handle in an hour or so, or if he becomes in any apparent physical distress, but feel that this is probably something I can do at home, without having to put him on medication or the stress of a vet visit (which turns him into a wreck for weeks afterward).
I think he is handling this better than I am, actually
Thanks again to everyone for any help suggested!