Amanda Ardente, DVM, PhD
By Amanda Ardente, DVM, PhD. Reviewed by Jennifer Coates, DVM on Mar. 27, 2023
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FAQs

While cats do fart, gas in cats isn’t very common. So, if your cat starts passing gas or is farting more frequently, there may be an underlying gastrointestinal (GI) issue that needs to be discussed with your veterinarian.

Why Do Cats Fart?

If you’re wondering, “why does my cat fart so much?” know that gas in cats can be caused by a variety of conditions, ranging from something relatively straightforward and easily treated (like intestinal upset caused by a diet change) to something more complicated and even life-threatening.  

One of the more common causes of farting in cats comes from changing a cat’s food without a 7- to 10-day transition period. In more sensitive cats, even starting a new bag of the same food can trigger gas if the manufacturer has made subtle changes to their formulation. Dietary issues are also commonly caused by diets with too much fiber, a type of fiber that produces gas, and/or a protein source your cat is sensitive to.  

That said, sometimes your cat farting can indicate a more serious issue, including: 

How Veterinarians Diagnose Gas in Cats

Your veterinarian will likely begin by getting a thorough history from you. This will include questions about:  

  • Your cat’s current diet (including treats)  

  • Frequency and timing of flatulence  

  • Any other symptoms (e.g., soft stools or diarrhea, changes in stool color, nausea, drooling, or vomiting)  

  • Any changes in activity or appetite 

Your vet will then perform a physical exam to check for underlying causes. This will include palpating (feeling) your cat’s belly to check for discomfort, pain, bloating, or anything else abnormal. 

The next steps will depend on your cat’s condition. Some tests that might be needed, include abdominal X-rays or ultrasound, endoscopy, fecal (poop) floatation for parasites, fecal occult blood test or culture, assessment of vitamin B12/folate levels, and other lab work.  

Treatment for Gas in Cats

Treatment for cat farts will depend on the underlying cause. If there are no other symptoms and test results didn’t determine a cause, your veterinarian may recommend a diet trial or probiotics and prebiotics to help with digestion.  

Generally, a diet trial for gas includes a slow transition, over seven to 10 days, to a new food containing fewer carbohydrates and/or a new protein source. The diet recommended is likely to be canned, as these tend to be naturally lower in carbohydrates and more digestible. Diets containing legumes (such as peas, lentils, or beans) should also be avoided, as these ingredients produce more gas. Probiotic and prebiotic supplementation with products like Forti-Flora, Proviable, and Prostora can also help by restoring healthy microbes in the GI tract. 

Medications, such as simethicone, that reduce the surface tension of gas bubbles to help them break down may be recommended for short-term relief of flatulence. But these should not be relied on long-term, because these medications are not a fix for the underlying issue.

If a more serious GI condition is suspected or confirmed, additional medications may include deworming medications, vitamin B12 injections, antibiotics, or medications that suppress the immune system.  

How to Help a Farting Cat

Getting rid of cat farts depends on what is causing them. Flatulence may improve in as quickly as a week or two if your kitty responds to diet changes. If the condition developed because of a rapid diet change, the gas is unlikely to return if future diet transitions are made slowly.

If intestinal parasitism is determined to be the cause, complete recovery should be possible once the parasites are eliminated.  

If a dietary intolerance or more serious underlying gastrointestinal condition is diagnosed, long-term management may be needed, including giving a special diet or daily medications. Follow-up visits with your veterinarian may also be necessary to periodically re-evaluate the condition and adjust the treatment plan as necessary.

Gas in Cats FAQs

Is it normal for cats to fart a lot?

Passing gas every now and then is normal, but a lot of farting is not common in cats. New or increased flatulence is a reason to contact your veterinarian to determine a diagnosis.

Why do my cat’s farts stink?

Because cats eat a lot of animal-based protein, it’s normal for their farts to be stinky. However, especially foul-smelling flatulence in cats may be associated with a health problem (a dietary protein intolerance, for example). Make an appointment with your veterinarian if your cat farts a lot or has other symptoms of illness. 

Can worms cause gas in cats?

Yes, intestinal parasites (worms) are a cause of gas production and flatulence in cats. This condition can be diagnosed with a fecal (poop) examination and is treated with deworming medications. 

How can I relieve my cat’s gas?

The best way to relieve your cat’s gas depends entirely on the underlying cause. Simple cases may respond to switching a cat to a high-quality, canned cat food, but a visit to your veterinarian is needed to fully evaluate the problem and come up with the proper treatment plan.  

What is farting in cats a sign of?

Excessive passing of gas in cats can be a sign of dietary intolerance, either from a recent diet change or the type of food being fed. It can also be a symptom of underlying gastrointestinal disease, like intestinal parasites, infection, inflammation, bacterial imbalance, or nutrient malabsorption.

References

Guilford WG, Jones BR, Markwell PJ, Arthur DG, Collett MG, Harte JG. Food Sensitivity in Cats with Chronic Idiopathic Gastrointestinal Problems. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. 2001;15(1):7-13.  

Gaschen FP, Merchant SR. Adverse Food Reactions in Dogs and Cats. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice. 2011;41(2):361-379.  

Roudebush P. The gas they pass: How to manage flatulence. Proceedings of the Western Veterinary Conference, 2006.  

Grześkowiak Ł, Endo A, Beasley S, Salminen S. Microbiota and probiotics in canine and feline welfare. Anaerobe. 2015;34:14-23.  

Featured Image: iStock.com/fatesun

References


Amanda Ardente, DVM, PhD

WRITTEN BY

Amanda Ardente, DVM, PhD

Veterinarian

Dr. Amanda Ardente founded Ardente Veterinary Nutrition LLC in August 2017, based on a long-term goal of combining her passion for...


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