Cats are known for being reserved, opinionated, and meticulous bathers. Some cats seem to be all too proper and even act like royalty. So, if you're sitting on the couch with your cat, and she suddenly breaks the silence with one of her cat farts, it might seem surprising. The truth is that cats pass gas just like humans, but if your cat's gas is caused by digestive upset, you can make a number of changes to help relieve that discomfort and its smelly symptoms.
Why cat farts happen
It's a fact of life: Cats fart. Some of them are silent and almost odorless, while others are much louder and much smellier. Just like other animals, if a cat has gas in his intestines, when it's expelled, it's a fart.
The causes of that gas buildup can vary. Cats can eat too quickly and ingest air in the process, which causes gas to form. If a cat has intestinal parasites, they can make him more gassy than normal. Stomach disorders or disorders of the small intestine can also contribute to gas in cats.
High-fiber diets or diets with too much fat can cause digestive upset and gas in cats. Foods that have spices in them or that contain ingredients that are hard for cats to digest, such as beans or peas, can also contribute to this issue. If cats eat dairy and are intolerant to lactose, they'll probably have an upset stomach and gas. Luckily, these are all easy factors to change to help your cat feel better.
Symptoms of concern
Usually, if a cat has a little gas, it's no big concern. However, if your cat develops certain symptoms, they may indicate trouble. Watch for:
- Rumbling in your cat's belly that you can hear
- Pain when you touch your cat's belly
- Reduced or lost appetite
- Excessive drooling
- Blood in your cat's stool
- Your cat scooting her butt across the floor
These symptoms could indicate serious issues like intestinal obstructions, viruses, diseases, and parasites, so if you notice these symptoms, make your cat an appointment with your vet.
Diagnosing causes of gas
To diagnose the exact cause behind your cat's gas, you'll need to take your cat to the vet. During the appointment, your vet will take a history on your cat including information about the type of food and treats your cat eats. Your vet will also perform a physical exam to check for physical problems that may be contributing to the issue.
If your vet hasn't been able to make a diagnosis, he may suggest that you perform additional diagnostics. Bloodwork, a stool examination, a urinalysis, and even taking X-rays of your cat's abdomen can all be useful in pinpointing the cause behind your cat's gassiness.
How changing diet helps
Changing your cat's diet may help to resolve her gas issues. Talk with your vet about the best cat food for gassy cats. Your cat may do best eating a low-fiber, high-quality food that's easy to digest.
You may also be able to relieve your cat's gas by changing the proteins in her food, such as changing her from a chicken and rice food to a fish and sweet potato formula. Some cats can have food allergies and intolerances, so you may find that one type of protein doesn't upset your cat's stomach like another type of protein.
If you do decide to change your cat's food, don't do it all at once since a sudden dietary change can cause even more stomach upset. Start by feeding your cat 80 percent of her old food while introducing just 20 percent of the new food. Then, gradually increase the amount of new food while reducing the amount of old food. The process of changing her diet should take one to two weeks.
Additional strategies to try
You can also try breaking up your cat's meals into smaller meals throughout the day to improve his digestion. If your cat has to compete with other cats for food, he may be gulping down his meals. Try separating him from the other cats during mealtime so that he can relax and eat more slowly.
Finding the exact cause of your cat's gas may take some trial and error, but there are many ways you can help to relieve his stomach upset and his gas.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.