Owning a cat is usually a pleasure. For the most part, these pets are clean, sweet-smelling, and require little maintenance.
However, there may be times when your kitty does not smell so sweet. Cat farts can be just as foul and lethal as those of a grown man.
While some farting is normal, your cat shouldn’t be clearing the room on a regular basis.
When is cat farting an inconvenience? When is it a health problem? Can anything be done to prevent it?
Understanding the answers to these questions may make your life as a pet owner much more pleasant.
Normal Causes of Feline Flatulence
You may have noticed that you have times when you are gassier than others. This is normal for creatures of all species. There are reasons for flatulence that are generally regarded as normal.
According to Healthline, there are several common causes of flatulence, or farting, that are caused by simple lifestyle issues.
Some cats swallow a great deal of air when they eat and drink, which has to then leave their bodies as stinky farts.
In other cases, the gases are actually produced in the digestive tract. These gases, which include hydrogen and methane gas, are created by bacteria that live in our digestive tracts.
Changing diet, usually to reduce fiber and grain, is often the best way to get these bacteria under control.
Last, some cats are simply gassier than others due to the unique way their bodies operate. Although their farts can be annoying, they are not a sign of an underlying problem.
However, there are often ways that you can help naturally stinky cats be less offensive to live with.
Is Diet the Problem?
Top veterinarians agree that diet is the most likely culprit in cat farts. Diets that are high in fibrous foods such as wheat, corn, and soybeans can cause gas even in the healthiest kitty. The feline digestive tract is designed for a grain-free, low fiber diet.
Human food also can cause issues with the feline digestive system. Our foods often contain ingredients such as onion and garlic that are not good for cats.
Some cats are sneaky and can eat a considerable amount of human food from the sink, the counter, the garbage can, and other sources.
Although cats usually enjoy dairy products such as milk, these are not really good for them.
Cats do not make the enzyme needed to break down lactose and will often get extremely gassy when eating dairy foods.
Some cat treats even have dairy products in them, making it hard to avoid this food group.
Last, many cats eat things that are not intended for consumption. These can include strings and other linear items such as ribbon and tinsel.
You should call your vet immediately if your cat eats things that are not food, as these can cause impactions and other issues that are far more devastating than mere gas.
The first step in dealing with a farting cat is to change their diet. They should eat a high quality, grain free food intended for cats – and nothing else. They usually need a mixture of both wet and dry foods for optimal health.
Second, you will have to take steps to ensure that they do not have access to things they shouldn’t eat.
Cats can be sneaky and do not understand that some foods may be appealing but not good for their health.
Cats in the wild eat mainly meat, with small amounts of wild grasses and other ingredients as needed.
This balance is what they need to maintain good lifelong health. A high-quality cat food will ensure that they get the right balance of nutrients without spending their days on the hunt.
Is It Really a Fart?
An important consideration is that your cat may be producing foul smells in ways that are not flatulence. Unless you witness the gas, it is easy to mistake a foul smell for a fart.
Your cat may have an issue with their anal glands, for example. All cats have two small glands, one on either side of their anus, that are filled with a very noxious fluid. Your cat may simply have overactive glands that release this smell periodically.
These glands also can rarely become inflamed or impacted. This can cause the fluid inside them to leak, leaving a foul smell wherever they go that is remarkably similar to a fart. This is rarer in cats than in dogs but still possible.
A foul odor on a cat may also be a sign of an infection. Dental infections are common in cats and can cause a distinctive and highly unpleasant odor.
You can find instructions for checking your cat’s teeth in this video from a veterinarian.
Once you know that your cat is truly farting and not merely foul-smelling, you will need to rule out the most dangerous causes of feline flatulence.
When Flatulence Is a Sign of Serious Health Issues
Although cats, like humans, can be gassy for a variety of benign reasons, there are times when flatulence is a sign of serious underlying illness.
There are a variety of gas-promoting diseases that require veterinary care, including:
- Feline inflammatory bowel disease
- Poor absorption of nutrients
- Infectious gastroenteritis from either bacteria or a virus
- Pancreatic or gallbladder disease
- Parasites such as worms and giardia
- Obstruction of the digestion tract, either complete or partial
- Habitual eating of non-food items such as string or ribbon
- Imbalance of their natural gastrointestinal bacteria
- Cancer of the digestive tract
These diseases all are serious. However, most can be treated with prompt veterinary care.
Getting your smelly cat to a veterinarian may be necessary both for stopping their gas and to maintaining their lifelong health.
How can you know whether to get veterinary care? There are a few general guidelines that can help you decide when a cat is very sick and when it is merely gassy.
When Should You Worry?
Most cases of killer cat farts are due to diet and other lifestyle factors. However, there are times when excessive flatulence is a sign that your cat needs emergency medical care. It can be difficult to determine what course of action is necessary.
As cat expert Angie Bailey notes, there are several warning signs that indicate your cat may need prompt medical care.
Call the vet immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Bloating in the abdomen
- Excessive stomach rumbling
- Blood or mucus in the stools
- Loss of appetite
- Cessation of either defecation or urination
- Pain, often noticeable as biting or scratching when the abdomen is touched
- Excessive sleepiness
- Scooting on furniture or the floor
- Crying or straining when trying to use the litter box
- Constant or long-term issues with gas that do not resolve with dietary changes and other lifestyle changes
These all are signs that something serious is happening in the cat’s digestive tract. Unfortunately, cats cannot tell their owners when they have something wrong. They rely on us to identify potential health issues and respond appropriately.
Unfortunately, cats are very good at hiding their symptoms when they are in pain. Owners have to be observant and look for subtle changes in health and behavior.
Even if your cat does not have other symptoms or reasons for concern, you should consider taking them to the veterinarian to identify the cause of their gas.
You cannot begin to fix a problem until you know what is causing it. Your veterinarian may be able to give you individual advice that stops the farting once and for all.
Lifestyle Changes to Stop Cat Farting
In general, there are several ways that you can reduce the amount of gas your cat produces. The exact answer will depend on the underlying cause of their flatulence. This is why it is important to find out why they are so gassy.
If your cat is gassy because of eating too quickly to ingesting too much air with their food, there are specific strategies that can help.
Consider trying the following things:
- Feeding them small meals throughout the day rather than giving them large amounts of food once or twice in a day
- Feeding them in an area that is restricted to children and other animals, as this will keep them from worrying about their food being stolen and thus rushing to finish it
- Offering a different texture or flavor of food to see if they eat it at a more reasonable pace
- Feeding them from a raised food dish to improve their ergonomics while eating, thus reducing the swallowing of air
If your cat’s diet is less than ideal, this also can cause gas. Luckily, this is usually resolved easily.
If this is the case for your cat, consider trying the following dietary changes to see if they reduce gas:
- Cutting out all dairy food, including milk, cheese, and cat treats that contain these
- Trying a new brand of food or a new flavor with different ingredients
- Choosing grain-free food over cheaper kinds that use grain fillers
- Changing the water in their water dish more often to ensure they take in enough fluid, as cats often will not drink stale water
- Keeping them from stealing human food, including using tight-fitting covers on your trash bins and keeping your counters clear
In addition, getting regular exercise can often reduce cat farting. When a cat runs, jumps, and otherwise is active, they stimulate their GI tract.
This can move food more quickly through their system so it doesn’t ferment and produce as much noxious gas.
Ultimately, a healthy cat should not have noticeable gas on a regular basis. Even if it is not a sign of serious disease, it is a sign that your cat is not living their best possible life.
Identifying the cause and fixing it will make them more comfortable and more pleasant to be around.
Are Your Other Cats Safe?
Whenever a cat in multiple feline households is sick, there will be concerns about the other cats. Even if your cat has only minor issues, these could get out of control if they spread to other cats.
There are several ways that you can keep cats from sharing germs. First, make sure that they do not share a litter box.
Most multi-cat households have at least one box for each cat, but the cats often will use different boxes.
If you have one cat who has excessive gas or otherwise is showing signs of illness, this cat should be given a special litter box that the other cats do not use.
In addition, a cat who has new symptoms should have their own water and food dish. This may require keeping them in a separate home from other pets.
Last, any litter boxes and dishes that the affected cat used should be washed thoroughly and disinfected.
You can disinfect with disinfectant, with diluted bleach, or by putting the items through the dishwasher.
This may seem like overkill for a routine symptom such as gas. However, it is an important step.
Until you know the cause of the excessive flatulence, you should assume it could be contagious and take steps to protect the other animals in your home.
Stinky animals can be annoying, but there are often ways to reduce the smell.
There are many lifestyle changes and medical therapies that can help you cat’s gastrointestinal tract to get back to its former, stink-free function.