Do cats fart? Although not necessarily the best topic for the dinner table, cat farts are an important topic for pet parents to learn about.
Like other gastrointestinal functions, flatulence (wind) is a natural occurrence in animals. Though not as often (or as loudly) as dogs and humans, the dignified cat does indeed pass gas. Excess wind can be a sign of digestive issues such as diarrhoea or runny poo. As lots of cats go to the toilet outside, sometimes excess gas may be the most obvious clue that something isn’t right.
Why Do Cats Fart?
Flatulence typically results from a buildup of gas in the digestive system, which is then released from the body. In most instances, cat flatulence is normal. However, excess wind may happen if your cat swallows too much air.
Food allergies or sensitivities can contribute to excessive gas, too. In fact, food is considered one of the main causes of cat farts. In its nutritional guidelines, the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) includes flatulence as an "altered gastrointestinal function" in its global "Nutritional Screening Risk Factor" checklist for veterinarian nutritional assessment. WSAVA's nutritional assessment accounts "for snacks, treats, table food, foods used for medication administration, and dietary supplements" — basically, anything your cat puts in their tummy.
Food and Cat Farts
Choosing the right cat food for your feline friend is a great first step for managing their flatulence. Select a meal plan that includes the necessary vitamins and minerals and fits their size, age and activity level. Fibre, for example, is great for a cat's digestive system, but certain fibres can cause excessive gas. In certain cases, your veterinarian may recommend a therapeutic cat food that is specially formulated for proper feline digestion.
Also, cat farts are just one reason that you generally shouldn't give your cat human food. Though your cat can tolerate some human food, it's best to stick to food that's formulated for your furry friend, as emphasised by the RSPCA. They caution that most human food won't meet your cat’s nutritional needs, and some foods may even be poisonous.
Always contact your vet before feeding human food to your cat to ensure that it's safe for you to do so. Remember to keep these treats to a minimum, too.
Flatulence and Health Issues
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. If your cat shows other signs of gastrointestinal distress, including diarrhoea and vomiting, and their gas has a strong smell, take them to the vet right away so they can check for an underlying health issue.
Rest assured, most cat farts are not a cause for concern. They won't pass gas frequently, and when they do, they'll probably be just as surprised as you are. Cats are elegant creatures; you won't always hear it or smell it, as most gas is odourless — dainty and delicate, just like your cat.
Most of the time, a toot is just a toot. However, if you have any concerns, be sure to talk to your vet. He or she can also make recommendations on quality food for your cat to ensure that you are properly feeding their digestive health.
Christine O'Brien is a writer, mum, and long-time cat parent whose two Russian Blues rule the house. Her work also appears in Care.com, What to Expect, and Fit Pregnancy, where she writes about pets, pregnancy, and family life. Find and follow her on Instagram and Twitter @brovelliobrien.
Reviewed by Dr. Hein Meyer, DVM, PhD, Dipl-ECVIM-CA and Dr. Emma Milne BVSc FRCVS