Why is My Cat Farting A Lot?

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  • Why is My Cat Farting A Lot?

    While flatulence (aka farting) is pretty common amongst humans, it can be surprising when we hear this sound from our feline friends. This passage of gas may raise concern. This is because we do not hear farting as often from cats, likely due to their small size and decreased fiber intake. So now that you’ve noticed that your cat is farting, when is it time to become concerned?

    Do all cats have gas?

    All mammals have gas! Farting is a natural occurrence after the gas has built up in the gastrointestinal tract. The gas is then released from the body leading to the characteristic tooting sound. Occasional farting is normal, but excessive gas may be an indication of digestive problems.

    Consider checking out this article to learn more about why cats fart.

    What can cause increased gas in cats?

    Occasional farting is normal in cats but excessive farting is not. Any amount of farting occurring more than one to two times a day seems to be too much. So what are some common causes of increased farting?

    • Dietary related – Farting can be extremely common with diets that contain a large amount of fiber or carbohydrates. Fiber is broken down by gut bacteria that can subsequently produce excess gas. Carbohydrates are broken down into sugars and these can also lead to excess gas production by bacteria.
    • Table foods – Human food can be very rich in fats or carbohydrates leading to excess gas. They can also cause an upset stomach which may lead to farting, diarrhea, or vomiting.
    • Gastrointestinal Upset – Tummy upset of any kind can lead to farting. Excessive farting may be the first sign that your cat is feeling unwell.
    • Gastrointestinal disease – IBD, gastrointestinal cancer, and malabsorption problems are all common causes of gas in cats.
    • Parasites – Gastrointestinal parasites lead to poor absorption and digestion of food. This leads to gas buildup in the stomach and frequent farting.
    • Bacterial overgrowth – Overgrowth of bad bacteria can cause excessive bloating, farting, and diarrhea.
    • Food Intolerance/Allergies – Some cats can have sensitive stomachs and will not tolerate certain food types or ingredients. The first sign of this is typically farting or diarrhea.
    • Swallowing Air – Cats that eat quickly or have conditions that make them breathe fast (i.e. asthma) can swallow large amounts of air. This air will pass through the gastrointestinal tract and lead to farting.

    What can I do if my cat has smelly gas?

    If your cat develops gas, there are some simple remedies you can try at home:

    • Do nothing: Some cats will have short-lived episodes of gassiness that do not require treatment, especially if your cat is otherwise fine. This works for gas that doesn’t last more than one day. It may just need time to resolve.
    • Consider a dietary change: If you just started a new diet, this could be a cause of farting. Always transition diets slowly. Give your cat a few days to see if their tummy works itself out, if not you may need to try a different diet.
    • Avoid diets that are high in carbohydrates or fats. High-quality proteins should always be high on the ingredient list.
    • Avoid excessive fiber: Try to purchase foods that have fewer carbohydrates or fibers that can cause excessive bloating or farting.
    • Carefully select proteins: Some protein sources like fish are high in fat and in general are smellier than poultry to beef. Try to avoid these diets if they don’t sit well with your cat.
    • Do not give table foods: Avoid cheese, milk, or rich items like bacon. Cats can no longer digest milk after they have become adults, so lactose can upset their stomachs.
    • Encourage your cat to eat more slowly: Eating quickly can cause the swallowing of large amounts of air. Consider a slow-down feeder or a treat ball.
    • Exercise: Appropriate amounts of daily exercise can help promote good gastrointestinal movement and function. Be sure your kitty is active and encourage extra play time, ideally after their meal has been digested.
    • Probiotics: Probiotics contain healthy bacteria that help to combat the overgrowth of bad bacteria.

    When should I take my cat to the vet?

    While farting can be normal, excessive farting is not. This may be an early sign of gastrointestinal disease. Any cat who is farting and also has diarrhea or vomiting should be seen by a veterinarian. Bloating or poor appetite are also signs that something is amiss and should be investigated. Even in cats that appear healthy, too much farting should be brought to the attention of your vet.

    What will a vet do?

    A veterinarian has many diagnostic options to investigate too much farting:

    • Abdominal palpation: Your vet will feel your cat’s belly thoroughly. This will help to characterize where the gas is coming from but also to see if there are abnormalities they can feel with their hands. Obstructions or masses can sometimes be felt grossly.
    • Check fecal sample: This is a great way to rule out gastrointestinal parasites as a potential cause of farting.
    • Bloodwork: Basic bloodwork may be performed to assess organ function and blood cell counts. Specific gastrointestinal panels can be performed to look for evidence of malabsorption, bacterial overgrowth, or digestive enzyme insufficiencies.
    • Imaging: If the above diagnostics do not give your veterinarian the answer they may recommend abdominal radiographs or an ultrasound to look for architectural changes in the abdomen.
    • Biopsies: A more invasive but sensitive test for gastrointestinal problems are biopsies of the intestinal tract. This is used to diagnose problems like IBD or cancers of the stomach/intestines. Biopsies can be performed endoscopically or surgically by a specialist.

    FAQs

    What foods cause cat allergies?

    • Foods are not the culprit of allergies in cats, but instead, an overactive immune system may be triggered by certain diets. Common protein sources like chicken or beef may be implicated in dietary intolerance or IBD.

    Is it normal for cats to fart a lot?

    • Occasional farting is very normal for any mammal. Excessive farting, meaning greater than one to two times a day, is not normal and should be investigated.

    Does wet food cause gas in cats?

    • Dry foods are more likely to cause gas in cats. This is because they contain higher amounts of carbohydrates and fiber than wet food.

    How can I tell if my cat has gas?

    • Cat gas is similar to humans. We often hear the characteristic tooting or woosh of air. Other signs of gas may be abdominal bloating or loud gut sounds called borborygmi.

    Why are my cat’s farts so smelly? 

    • Cats have smelly farts because of the high protein content in their diet. Other causes of foul-smelling gas are diarrhea, bacterial overgrowth, or maldigestion.

     

    Author

    • Dr Paula Simons graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College with a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine (DVM) in 2019. She is currently working at 'Cornell University Veterinary Specialists' (CUVS) in Connecticut as an Emergency and Critical Care veterinarian resident (see her work profile). CUVS is a 24/7 Emergency and Critical Care Facility certified by the Veterinary Emergency & Critical Care Society, indicating the highest level of patient care.