Do Cats fart, (pass wind, let rip, have flatulence)?
Do cats fart? Any cat owner will know the answer to this one first hand. Although it doesn’t occur as often as it does with dogs, (or closer to the truth the expelled air is smaller so we don’t smell it) cats can indeed fart. And when you get down wind from a little feline flatulence – it’s not pretty.
In technical terms, farting, letting rip, tooting, breaking wind and all the other known slang for flatulence is simply the expulsion of intestinal gasses from the anus.
The smell is a result of bacteria in the stomach breaking down whatever your cat has recently consumed. In fact farting is a healthy by product of natural digestion. A little flatulence is another way of your cat getting rid of waste. However, if it becomes noticeably frequent, or your cat seems in discomfort as a result of the flatulence, there could be a deeper health issue at the root of it.
In this article we will look at the many causes of flatulence, the various signs of diagnosis, (it’s not always through the nostrils) and how to prevent or help your cat if they are suffering as a result of the excess wind.
So what are the Causes?
One of the main reasons your cat may be having an attack of flatulence is due to their diet. As we have said, intestinal gases created through the digestion process cause your cat to fart.
Modern cat food fillers have a lot to answer for here. Cheap cat food products will have high amounts of fillers that can be troublesome for your cat to digest. Foods high in carbohydrate can upset your cat’s tummy causing the excess gas.
Swapping the type of cat food you are using might be a good idea. An excellent wet cat food that I highly recommend comes from Royal Canin. It is specifically designed for cat’s with sensitive stomachs, and has lots of 5 star user reviews on Amazon right now.
I decided to move to this a few months back when little Bobby was having some tummy issues, and it helped him almost immediately. It is called Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Digest SensitivE (Link to Amazon.com) and is well worth a try.
Conversely, switching from one food type to another can also cause of cat flatulence. A cat should not have rapid changes to their diet, due to the fact they can often suffer from food intolerance, (i.e their stomachs are not used to a certain food, so will struggle to break it down, in the process causing them to fart).
It could also be that they are allergic to the newly introduced food, which of course can lead to even more problems.
It is advised that if you do decide to change your cat’s main source of food from one type to another, always do so gradually. On day one mix 80% old food with 20% new food. On the second day, 70/30, and so on until the new food is properly introduced. This gives you the opportunity to watch out for any adverse affects.
Swallowing Too Much Air
Believe it or not your cat may fart if they have swallowed too much air. You will have certainly heard your cat eat before. If he is a bit of a gulper, knocking back chunks of food as if he’s life depended on it, a little air will go down with it: the result? A smelly backside.
Feeding Your Cat Human Foods
This very website is full of advice on what human foods are safe for cats to eat. However, in nearly every article we state that you should do so in moderation. 9 times out of 10, if a cat suffers any adverse affects from eating human food, the symptom is flatulence and/or diarrhea.
Dairy Produce – It just doesn’t agree with them
Feeding your cat cow’s milk is generally a one way trip to Fartsville. Most cats are lactose intolerant. They find milk and cheese etc difficult to break down. The gut has to work overtime trying to digest diary produce – the result is again upset tummy and excess wind. If you want to feed your cat milk, ensure it is specifically for cats.
The best we can recommend is KMR® Powder for Kittens & Cats, (view on Amazon.com). Packed with goodness, this is healthy alternative to normal dairy milk.
A more serious reason for flatulence is mal-absorption.
This occurs when your cat is unable to digest food properly, normally because of health issues originating with the digestive tract.
The most common health problems associated with this are exocrine pancreatic deficiency (lack of pancreatic enzymes) or inflammatory bowel disease. If your cat has flatulence often, this may be the cause meaning you should visit your vet as soon as you can. There your vet will run simple blood tests or a fecal test to confirm diagnosis.
Do Cats Fart – The Methods of Diagnosis
If your poor cat is suffering from excess wind, you will want to take them to the vet sooner rather than later.
Although the causes are often the simple dietary issues listed above, if flatulence goes on too long there can be an underlying health problem that needs to be diagnosed are treated.
Your veterinarian will have a standard series of questions he will need to ask you.
He will want to know the cat’s diet, and whether there have been any changes leading up to the recent flatulence, or if your cat has any known allergies.
If the vet suspects that the problem does not stem from any dietary related issue a physical examination will need to be carried out. This could include:
- A simple blood test.
- Fecal tests to check for worms
- Fecal proteolytic activity: Here your vet will examine the feaces for fecal fat or fecal trypsin – the excess of which can indicate that the digestive system is not working quite as it should.
- A biopsy or histopathology of the intestinal tract may also need to be carried out if your vet suspects that your cat is suffering from inflammatory bowel disease.
Cats with Flatulence – How to Treat It
For general food related flatulence, the best way to cure your cat is to slowly move over to a better quality cat food.
I mentioned the Royal Canin wet food above, however if your cat is a fan of dry food or you wish to move away from wet food, Hills do a Science Diet Sensitive Stomach Chicken flavour dry cat food, (view on Amazon.com), that comes highly recommended.
If you have been giving your cat any diary products – cease doing so straight away. Likewise, if table scraps are finding their way into your cat’s food bowl, give that a break too. All it normally takes is a few days without these potential fart inducing foods, for your cat to be wind free.
Make sure your cat’s bowl is always full of fresh water. This helps flush out the bacteria in the gut that leads to flatulence and maintains overall digestive health.
If you suspect that your cat is intolerant to a certain type of food, or maybe allergic to something, again try to eradicate the flatulence from removing this food source from their diet.
In cases where you are uncertain which food is causing the problem, you may have to see assistance from your vet. They will be able to recommend a special diet that can last for up to 2 months. Here you will have to watch and record symptoms such as the farting to help determine what it is actually causing the stomach upset in your pet.
And finally, if your cat is a gulper – it might be time to try to turn him into a grazer.
By feeding them several smaller meals throughout the day instead of just the one big meal, they are less likely to wolf the food down like a tiger and might actually be a bit more civilized about the whole thing.
Once you have carried out these steps, hopefully you will have a fart free cat, (well within reason, he’s going to do it from time to time what ever you do) and a rosy smelling home.