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Can Cats Fart? (When? Why?)

Updated June 30, 2022
Can Cats Fart? (When? Why?)

Cats can have all sorts of gastroenteric issues, including burping, gurgling, and constipation, but can cats fart?

Of course, they can. Flatulence is natural for animals, although healthy cats don’t pass gases nearly as loud as dogs or humans can.

Flatulence may not be the most appealing topic, but every pet parent should be aware of the potential reasons and consequences.

Sometimes, gases pose no risk to the cat’s health; in other cases, flatulence indicates chronic health conditions that require proactive treatment and can even be lethal.

Regardless of the reason, taking action is essential to ease the cat’s discomfort and avoid gastroenteric issues in the future.

Is It Normal For a Cat To Fart?

Cats can fart; that’s a fact. But is it normal for a cat to fart? Like most animals, cats can have gases in their digestive tracts, which need to leave the body one way or another.

Usually, cats pass the gases quietly, without any odor, so owners don’t even notice flatulence. However, sometimes, cats may have digestive issues or adverse reactions to specific foods, causing increased flatulence.

In most cases, a cat farting is nothing to worry about. As long as the cat is happy, active, has a good appetite, and doesn’t show any abnormal behavior, there’s no need for a visit to a vet.

However, the owner may use home remedies for flatulence in cats to ensure their pet’s digestive tract works properly. On the other hand, excessive flatulence may indicate severe issues that require urgent treatment.

Pay attention to how often a cat passes gas. If flatulence only occurs occasionally, it’s likely harmless. However, if the issue is frequent, occurring daily or every other day, identifying the cause and taking action is crucial.

Food Allergies

Food allergy is one of the primary causes of flatulence in cats. Cats can have an allergy to beef, fish, chicken, dairy, some plants, and any human food. Like human allergies, cat allergies are unique, although some allergens are more common than others.

If your cat has been eating the same food for a while, but flatulence only occurred recently, allergy is unlikely to be the cause. However, if you’ve recently exposed the cat to a new food for the first time, pay attention to other signs of allergy.

Symptoms of food allergy in cats include flatulence, skin irritation, diarrhea, constipation, and vomiting. Sometimes, cats with allergies sneeze, have difficulty breathing, and suffer from ear infections.

If you suspect your cat has a food allergy, you can conduct an exclusion diet trial, during which you should feed the cat bland, hypoallergenic food. The diet usually lasts for two to 12 weeks, depending on the case severity.

The Cat Swallowed Too Much Air

Sometimes, flatulence in cats is caused by them swallowing too much air while eating. Cats breathe primarily through the nose rather than through the mouth, so it happens rarely. However, the problem is typical for cats eating too fast.

If your cat seems to eat too fast, slow them down by changing the food bowl for a shallower and broader one. You can even spread the food across a large baking pan to make the cat move more and consume food slower.

Alternatively, buy a bowl with an obstacle – such bowls also incorporate an element of play into the process, which is perfect for kittens and young cats. However, placing a ping pong ball into the cat’s regular bowl will also do the job.

The issue of a cat eating too fast is also common in houses with multiple pets. The cat may feel anxious and try to swallow all food before someone else does. If you have multiple cats, get them individual bowls, and feed them separately.

Eating Too Much

Some cats are heavy eaters. Overeating can lead to numerous issues, one of which is flatulence. The problem is prevalent with neutered and older cats. So, how do you make a cat eat less?

The easiest solution is to feed the cat three to five times a day in smaller servings instead of pouring an entire bowl of food at once.

However, ensure that the cat is never hungry; otherwise, your pet may begin to eat even more and faster, fearing that they would have to wait for food even longer next time.

Another solution to overeating in cats is replacing dry food with wet food. Dry food absorbs water and expands in the digestive tract, causing flatulence. Yet again, the solution isn’t perfect because dry food has a better nutritional balance.

Try to identify the cause of overeating. Cats may overeat due to depression, boredom, or food’s low nutritional value. Diabetes and parasites may also cause a cat to overeat, so consider checking your pet at the vet to exclude medical conditions.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease in cats can cause a range of unpleasant symptoms, including flatulence, vomiting, loss of appetite, blood in stool, diarrhea, lethargy, and reluctance to play.

The main difference between inflammatory bowel disease and regular stomach irritation is that the former is chronic. In other words, it can’t be cured, but it can be effectively treated, ensuring the cat’s long and happy life.

The causes of inflammatory bowel disease in cats aren’t certain, but vets outline genetic factors, hypersensitivity to bacteria, and old age as the main risks.

The only way to diagnose the condition is by making an X-ray, urine analysis, and complete blood count. Typical inflammatory bowel disease treatment for cats includes medication and a change of diet.

Ulcers

A common misconception is that ulcers can develop only externally. However, ulcers in the digestive tract, scientifically known as gastroduodenal ulcers, are among the most common causes of flatulence in cats.

Sores typically occur due to bacterial infection, intestinal parasites, stress, or medication and manifest in vomiting, flatulence, weight loss, diarrhea, and gurgling noises in the abdomen. Sometimes, the stool and vomit contain blood.

The cat’s gums are usually pale, and the cat may experience intense pain when you touch the abdomen. Obviously, such a condition requires early diagnostics and treatment.

Unfortunately, distinguishing between gastroduodenal ulcers and other gastroenteric problems at home is practically impossible, so the owner must bring the cat to a vet.

Gastroenteric Obstruction

Gastroenteric obstruction or intestinal obstruction in cats is essentially a blockage in the stomach or lower digestive tract. However, it isn’t the same as regular constipation. The condition is relatively common, especially among younger cats, because they’re less selective in what they consume.

Apart from foreign objects in the digestive tract, the condition may occur due to tumors, hernias, gastroenteritis, and pyloric stenosis. Owners can spot the issue by symptoms including flatulence, diarrhea, abdominal pain and swelling, low body temperature, and refusal to eat.

The treatment of intestinal obstruction in cats largely depends on the case severity. Sometimes, natural laxatives are sufficient, but in severe cases, the cat may need endoscopy and even surgery.

Worms & Other Parasites

The list of symptoms of parasitic infections in cats is long. Unfortunately, even house cats are susceptible to parasites because preventive methods aren’t effective against each parasite type. The issue is prevalent with cats eating raw meat.

Depending on the parasite type, the cat may experience flatulence, weight loss despite normal appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and coughing. Other worrying signs include constantly dirty ears, skin irritation and itchiness, and a slow heartbeat.

Diagnosis is usually based on an examination of the cat’s feces, urine, and blood, but sometimes, physical inspection is sufficient. The treatment typically includes changing the cat’s diet and giving oral medications.

How To Deal with Cat’s Farting at Home

With so many potential causes, understanding how to deal with a cat farting can be tricky. First, consider whether you’ve noticed any abnormalities apart from flatulence.

If the cat is active, playful, behaves like usual, has a good appetite, and doesn’t lose weight, the reason for flatulence is likely overeating. The solution is simple – change the cat’s diet and feed it smaller portions.

Try dry food created specifically for cats with gastroenteric issues – you can buy it in veterinary pharmacies. Don’t feed your cat human food, raw meat, chicken, fish, or dairy.

You may also buy behind-the-counter flatulence medications but consider consulting with a vet beforehand, even if no prescription is necessary.

Lastly, hide the trash and any small objects your cat can swallow to prevent gastroenteric obstruction. Continue to pay close attention to your cat’s stool and behavior until the issue resolves or other symptoms occur.

When To See a Vet

Even if you think that gases are nothing to worry about, you should know when to see a vet for cat flatulence. Vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, loss of appetite or interest in playing, and coughing are extremely worrying signs requiring further examination.

Blood in stool or vomit only occurs when gastroenteric conditions get severe. If you notice these symptoms, the issue may be chronic and incurable, but timely treatment can significantly prolong the cat’s lifetime.

Note all abnormalities in your cat’s behavior, and don’t postpone a visit to a vet. Some gastroenteric conditions have a high lethality rate and require urgent treatment, so better be safe than sorry.

Image credit: Unsplash

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