Do Cats Fart? 5 Causes and When to Call a Vet
- It’s natural for cats to fart if gas builds up in their digestive tract — just like people and dogs.
- Frequent or foul-smelling gas could mean your cat ate spoiled food or has a parasite or feline IBD.
- If your cat suddenly farts a lot or has diarrhea or bloody stool, check in with a vet asap.
While cats might seem too dignified to fart, they can certainly pass gas — same as dogs and several other creatures in the animal kingdom.
“Just like humans, cats can get a buildup of gas in their digestive system that needs to be released,” says Dr. Chyrle Bonk, veterinary consultant at Excited Cats.
Your cat may burp or fart, depending on which “outlet” the buildup is closest to.
A little gas is a natural, albeit smelly, part of cat ownership. But if your cat is prone to excessive or particularly foul-smelling gas, that could mean there’s something amiss in their digestive tract — like a food intolerance or a potential parasite.
So, if your cat’s farts can clear out a room, read on to learn five possible causes of feline flatulence — and what you can do about it.
1. They ate something that doesn’t agree with them
Your cat’s diet can cause gassiness, especially if their food contains ingredients they’re not used to digesting.
“Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they ideally eat meat only. Because of this, their body is used to breaking down meat. Certain diets can have different types of proteins or more vegetables, causing more gas and, therefore, more farts,” says Dr. Monica Sterk, Area Medical Director at Veterinary Emergency Group.
In addition, food that’s spoiled or rotten might trigger GI distress for your cat — and so can table scraps or other food meant for humans.
What to do next: If you suspect your regular cat food might bother your kitty’s digestion, try asking your vet what food they recommend for cats with sensitive stomachs.
You can also check any expiration dates on your kibble or tins of wet food, and limit human food or avoid it altogether.
2. They have a food allergy or intolerance
Your cat’s gas might also stem from an allergy or food intolerance.
“Just as some people may have a more sensitive stomach, the same can be said for cats,” says Dr. Kelly Dunham, veterinarian and Indevets Area Medical Director for New York and New Jersey.
Food allergies are fairly common in cats, in fact — and around 10%-15% of cats with allergies will experience gastrointestinal symptoms.
So, if your cat has always had gas, one of the ingredients in their regular cat food may be to blame.
What to do next: If you suspect your cat has a food allergy, your vet might recommend an elimination diet to narrow down the culprit.
Just keep in mind that it’s always best to work with a vet when changing your cat’s diet. Suddenly switching your cat to a new diet can cause additional inflammation and irritation to their GI tract, according to Dunham.
So, with vet approval, you can try transitioning your cat to a new diet slowly and paying attention to any changes in their symptoms.
3. They’re swallowing air
Does your cat gobble down their food as fast as you set it out, barely pausing to take a breath?
If so, they could be giving themselves gas.
Cats that are voracious eaters can end up swallowing air while they eat. Dogs often do the same thing — and the trapped air has to come back out, one way or another.
What to do next: A slow feeder bowl might help your cat learn to pace themselves during meal times — and potentially save you from a fragrant after-dinner “treat.”
But even if you think your cat’s gas originates from gobbling down food, it never hurts to schedule a vet appointment to ensure they don’t have any other issues with their GI tract.
According to Sterk, your vet will likely want to rule out more serious causes before deciding your cat is simply swallowing air.
4. They have a parasite
Certain parasites — like the intestinal parasite Tritrichomonas foetus (T. foetus) — may also affect your cat’s gas levels.
Symptoms of T. foetus in cats include diarrhea, bloody or mucousy stool, and flatulence.
T. foetus affects up to 30% of all purebred cats, who often live in multi-cat households. It’s also quite common in cats who spent time living in a shelter, since close quarters and shared litter boxes allow it to easily spread from cat to cat.
What to do next: Your vet can test your cat’s stool for the parasite.
If your cat tests positive for T. foetus, they’ll likely prescribe the antibiotic Rondiazole — the only known effective treatment.
Around 60% of cats with T. foetus respond well to this medication, but some cats will have symptoms of the infection for life.
5. They have a digestive condition
Like humans, cats can get chronic digestive conditions — and many cats have undiagnosed inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Dunham says.
Feline IBD can cause symptoms like:
What to do next: Feline IBD can be tough to diagnose since the symptoms can overlap with other potential issues, like parasites. Your vet will probably try to eliminate other possibilities before making an IBD diagnosis, which requires an intestinal biopsy.
Your vet may guide you through a process of trial and error to determine what works for your kitty. For instance, they may recommend managing your cat’s IBD with a combination of medication and switching to hypoallergenic food.
When to call the vet
You may not always need to call the vet if your cat won’t stop breaking wind.
A little gas now and then is just a part of life for most cats. But according to Dunham, if your cat’s gas smells particularly foul or they’ve started farting more than usual, that might suggest a potential GI problem.
You may want to make a vet appointment if your cat has any of the following symptoms:
- Bloated stomach
- Decreased appetite
- Blood in stools
“When in doubt, consult with your veterinarian. We’re here to help,” Dunham says.
“Farting may be a funny topic, but it can be an important sign to catch when it comes to your cat’s health,” Sterk says.
Some cats are naturally gassier than others, and the occasional feline fart is usually nothing to worry about.
That said, if your cat can’t stop passing gas or has other GI symptoms like diarrhea or bloating, you may want to schedule a trip to the vet. Your vet can perform tests to rule out any potential issues — like undiagnosed feline IBD.
And before you blame the dog for that rotten egg smell, you might want to consider another culprit — your cat.