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As dignified and fastidious as they usually are, yes, cats fart too! This is medically known as flatulence, or excess gas, and is a perfectly natural bodily function, regardless of the cat’s diet, it is part of the cat’s digestive system. But what if it’s happening a lot? Here’s what you need to know if your cat has excess flatulence.
How do I know if my cat has flatulence?
Sometimes the issue of cats passing gas is obvious: you may notice a loud farting noise, or smell the offending gas! However, many cat flatulence is wind silently, and it may not necessarily smell bad.
Other signs can include:
- A bloated tummy, with trapped gas
- A sore tummy, which they may be reluctant for you to touch. Trapped gas causes pressure on the inside of the guts, which is uncomfortable.
- Sickness and/or diarrhea
Of course, when cats pass gas, it can have many other causes, some of which are emergencies. If your cat has any of these signs, you should call your veterinarian straight away.
Many cats pass wind silently, and it may not necessarily smell bad.
What causes flatulence in cats?
Passing a small amount of gas every now and then is perfectly natural. But if it’s excessive, then this could indicate a problem. After all, cat flatulence occurs naturally and cats do not do it on purpose!
Cats do not fart as a defense mechanism, although they may empty their anal sacs. Most cats do so if they swallowed air, have too much gas, or it is a sign that the digestive system is working properly.
Cats may experience slightly increased gas when they are pregnant, have a stomach upset or when they are scared, but not significantly. So, if your pregnant cat is farting excessively, it’s best to have them checked over by your vet immediately.
Possible causes for feline flatulence include:
- Dysbiosis: An imbalance in the gut bacteria (dysbiosis) can cause flatulence in cats. Dysbiosis can have many causes, including antibiotic use, a sudden diet change, scavenging inappropriate foods, or underlying gut issues.
- Unsuitable diet: A poor-quality diet can contribute to excessive gas.
- Food allergies: While excess gas is unlikely to be the only symptom of a food allergy, some cat food can cause food allergies leading to a cat fart. Other symptoms that you may notice if your cat has food allergies include sickness, diarrhea, reduced appetite, itchy skin, or skin complaints.
- Scavenging: Many human foods can cause dysbiosis in cats, and/or flatulence. Remember, even more importantly, many human foods are toxic to cats, so it’s safest to avoid human food altogether.
- Eating too quickly: In theory, if a cat eats too fast they will swallow more air with their food, which can contribute to flatulence.
- Medical conditions: Many medical conditions can cause flatulence, but usually in combination with other symptoms. Intestinal parasites, including worms, can cause excess gas. Other medical conditions affecting the gut (such as inflammatory bowel disease) can also cause flatulence, alongside other gastrointestinal signs such as sickness, diarrhea, weight loss, and changes in appetite.
Usually, farting in cats does not indicate a serious problem, unless it’s accompanied by other symptoms. If your cat is farting more than usual, then it’s a good idea to book them a check-up with your veterinarian. Definitely take them if they have other symptoms as well as flatulence.
Passing a small amount of gas every now and then is perfectly natural. But if it’s excessive, then this could indicate a problem.
Treatment for flatulence
The treatment for flatulence in cats will depend on the cause of the cats fart. Your veterinarian may prescribe de-wormers, or they may arrange a fecal sample to be examined for parasites at the laboratory first.
If your veterinarian suspects a food allergy or intolerance caused by cat foods, then they may recommend a prescription diet for 4-8 weeks, to see if your cat improves. This could be a hydrolyzed diet, where the protein is broken down so that the body does not react to it. It’s important that your cat only eats the recommended diet during the trial, with no treats or other food sources.
As cat parents, you must remember any diet change should be made gradually over a week or more, as any sudden diet change can upset the guts.
Your veterinarian may prescribe probiotics to reduce cats gas. There are even foods available that are specifically designed to support a healthy gut microbiome (bacterial community).
If your cat has other symptoms alongside flatulence, your veterinarian may recommend further tests to try and diagnose the problem. This could involve blood work, fecal testing, and imaging of the guts by ultrasound, x-ray, or endoscopy (a special camera).
Remember any diet change should be made gradually over a week or more, as any sudden diet change can upset the guts.
How can I stop my cat from farting?
If your cat’s flatulence started when you changed diet, especially if it’s a lower quality diet, then you could try switching their diet back, to see if things improve.
However, if you aren’t sure, or they have any other symptoms, then you should take them for a veterinary check-up first, to be on the safe side. Make sure you keep all human food out of reach of your feline friend too, especially if they are prone to scavenging!
There are many good-quality probiotics available over the counter, in various forms. Your veterinarian can advise you on the most suitable option for your cat. If your cat has any underlying medical conditions, you should always consult your veterinarian before trying any new supplements.
Make sure you keep all human food out of reach of your feline friend too, especially if they are prone to scavenging!
Take home message?
Luckily, a cat farting is usually nothing serious. Flatulence problems are rare in cats, and can often be resolved through diet and probiotics. However, if your cat is suddenly farting more than usual, or has any other symptoms as well as excess gas, then you should take them to your veterinarian for a check-over.
This will vary between individual cats, as it does with people! Often you won’t even notice, as cats tend to pass gas discretely. If your cat is farting frequently, especially if it’s new or particularly smelly, then you should contact your veterinarian for advice.
Can cats make fart noises when they fart?
Yes, they can! Although they are usually silent since a relatively small volume of gas is expelled.
Cat farts don’t generally smell that offensive. So, if your cat is suddenly passing foul-smelling gas, it’s time for a call to the veterinary clinic! It’s likely nothing to worry about, but some gut parasites can cause foul-smelling gas, for example. Of course, you may actually be smelling their anal glands, which they will empty periodically.
What do cats do when they fart?
A cat farting is the same as humans: gas that has built up in the digestive tract gets expelled through the anus.