Do Cats Fart? Causes and Remedies for Cat Flatulence · The Wildest

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Do Cats Fart?

Causes and remedies for cat flatulence

by Ro Elfberg
14 April 2024
A grey cat walking away with its tail pointing upwards.
Chendongshan / Shutterstock

If you’ve ever been downwind of a dog fart, you’ll know that dogs are particularly prone to producing loud and often pretty foul-smelling gas. But have you ever heard a cat fart? Probably not – although you may have smelt a faint whiff as if from nowhere. The dignified cat does in fact fart, but gas in cats isn’t very common. We spoke to a veterinary nurse to get the lowdown on the lesser discussed phenomenon of cats farts.  

Do cats fart?

Yes! But as cats are much smaller in size than (most) dogs and humans, their farts are less noticeable – you usually won’t hear it or smell it, as most cat gas is odourless. One to two farts per day is normal for a healthy cat, compared to 13–21 farts on average for humans – yikes. “Cats have a shorter digestive tract,” explains veterinary nurse Zoe Blake. “So this means that food passes through faster; the quicker the transit time the less fermentation and gas produced.” 

This low frequency is also due to their diet and mechanism of producing energy. Cats don’t rely on hard-to-digest cellulose for their nutrients and energy, which means they have a lot fewer bacteria in their gut (bacteria by-products are one of the things that can cause flatulence). 

So while cats won’t pass gas frequently, when they do, they’ll probably be just as surprised as you are. 

What causes gas in cats?

Cats fart for the same reason we do: they either swallow air while they’re eating, or they have excess gas created by the bacteria in their gut. Cats, like us, need to expel this air from one of two exit points (yes, cats can burp). 

Food and diet

“Gas is a natural byproduct of the digestion process, however if a cat eats something that doesn’t quite agree with them, then more gas may be produced,” says Zoe. “It is important that cats remain carnivores as it is essential they eat specific amino acids that can only be found in meat. It is believed that a higher carnivore diet will lead to less fermentation within the gut, therefore less gas production.”

But there is such a thing as too much red meat, which can trigger gas in cats, along with foods that are too high in fibre. Cats also can’t digest d a iry products, so they can be a culprit for farts, too. Cats can develop food allergies at any time in their life, even becoming allergic to foods that they’ve eaten for years. Most cats have skin symptoms with food allergies, but many also have stomach problems like diarrhoea and possibly gas. Your vet can help you diagnose food allergies.

Health conditions

While farting isn’t directly linked to a cat’s age (so not like your grandparent letting it rip at inappropriate times), kittens with immature immune systems or senior cats with weak immune systems can be more prone to gastrointestinal upset and therefore gas. Plus, for kittens, the transition from their mother’s milk to solid food can cause a little extra gas.

“As we know the gut and brain axis is linked and stress hormones can negatively affect your digestion, cats may also fart when they are stressed out or afraid,” says Zoe. “Excess wind can be a sign of digestive issues such as diarrhoea or runny poo, too.” Some health conditions that may lead cats to fart more include: 

  • bacterial, viral or fungal infection 

  • parasites, like worms 

  • immune responses, like an allergy 

  • inflammatory bowel disease

  • endocrine disorders, like hyperthyroidism 

  • metabolic diseases, like chronic kidney disease

  • ingestion of a toxin or poison

  • some types of cancer

In rare cases, cat flatulence may be caused by a serious illness such as Tritrichomonas foetus. The University of Liverpool says that in cats affected with this intestinal parasite, flatulence may be accompanied by “malodorous” diarrhoea. 

Should I be worried about my cat’s farts?

Most of the time a fart is just a fart, but you should call your vet if your cat has ongoing other symptoms such as vomiting, bloating, bloody poo, bad-smelling gas, or if they are refusing to eat or drink.

As lots of cats go to the toilet outside, sometimes excess gas may be the most obvious clue that something isn’t right. “Excessive or persistent farting could indicate an underlying health issue so it is important to get them seen if this is the case. It is also important to monitor their faeces to ensure they do not have diarrhoea, constipation or blood in their poo. Any of these problems could indicate that something isn’t quite right in their digestive system,” explains Zoe.

Are there any treatments for gassy cats?

While most gas is not cause for concern, there are a few ways you can address the issue.

  • Diet: “Moving your cat on to a higher quality diet might be all that is needed,” says Zoe, who also suggests asking your vet about prebiotic and probiotic supplements or clinical diets. 

  • Environment: as cats can fart due to fear or stress, “it is also important to look at their environment and see what improvements can be made to enhance their physical and emotional wellbeing,” says Zoe. Ensuring they drink enough water and “have an outlet to exercise as all these will help to keep the digestive tract in optimal working order,” says Zoe. 

  • Smaller or slower meals: gassy cats may benefit from consuming several smaller meals during the day. As eating too fast can cause flatulence (they can swallow air along with their food), Zoe recommends trying a puzzle feeder or interactive feeding toys to slow the feeding time.

  • Stick to cat food only: if you’re used to feeding your pleading cat small morsels of human food from your plate, it may be time to cut the sharing.

  • Treat an underlying illness: if your cat’s gas is caused by illness, you and your vet can decide on the best treatment to get your feline fighting fit again. 

Ro Elfberg

Ro is The Wildest’s Senior Editor. She has previously written and copy-edited for British Vogue, Glamour and DICE. When she’s not being manipulated into dishing out Dreamies to Kobe the cat, she spends her free time trying to convince her snake, Butters, to wear a tiny hat.

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