Flatulence is common among mammals generally, and in pets, it is more common in dogs than in cats. However, cats can develop flatulence since they have a gastrointestinal tract that ends with an anus. This means they have all parts required to produce fat or become flatulent.
We shall be discussing some common causes of flatulence in cats, but before then, let’s know what flatulence really means.
What is flatulence?
Flatulence is simply defined as excess gas in the stomach and intestines. It is normal for your cat to have a small amount of gas in its intestine. But when they pass out excessive gas having a foul smell or accompanied by other symptoms like loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss, it is something of great concern.
Excessive gas could indicate an underlying veterinary issue that needs immediate attention. So it is important not to joke about it.
What are the causes of flatulence in cats?
An excessive amount of gas in the stomach and intestine of cats can be caused by different factors, including:
When your cat feels like they are competing with other cats for food, they tend to eat too quickly, and this causes them to swallow a lot of air, leading to flatulence.
That said, note that some cat breeds called “brachycephalic breeds” are more prone to swallowing air than others. Good examples of cat breeds under this group include the Himalayan and Persian cats.
Eating too much
Also, when they eat too much, it could cause excessive gas in the stomach. Overeating may cause your cat to consume too much protein, which results in more sulfur gas in the body.
Again, feeding your cat right before exercising them can cause a lot of gas as you don’t give the food enough time to digest. However, when these feline friends suffer a respiratory condition, they also become prone to passing a lot of gas.
Malabsorption can also cause flatulence in cats. This is an illness that originates from your cat’s digestive canal and it results in the inability to break down food properly.
The bad part is that malabsorption can trigger inflammatory bowel diseases in your cat.
Allergies to food ingredients
Some cats find it challenging to digest the ingredients in certain foods and this can be problematic to their intestine.
Common examples of foods cats can be allergic to include
- Dairy products
- Wheat and corn (less common)
You might say, “Oh, I have come across many cats that drink milk from a saucer.” Well, you might be right, but the fact is that some cats are lactose intolerant and any dairy product in their meal can lead to a lot of intestinal problems including flatulence.
Flatulence can also be caused by dietary changes in cats. When you change their food abruptly, it can lead to the accumulation of gas in their stomach.
Consuming foods with fillers, trash from the garbage can, or food that is spoiled can also cause flatulence in cats.
More so, cats respond differently to the fiber content in their pet food formulations. Some cats may not be able to process certain amounts or types of fiber.
So, if you notice that your cat starts having excessive gas or other digestive issues when you feed them a diet containing fiber, you can try changing their food to one that does not contain fiber or any of the ingredients listed above.
Apart from those ingredients, legumes like chickpeas or peas also contribute to intestinal gas. Some poisonous plants also affect your pet’s health. So, watch it!
You can switch to cat foods that have certified levels of probiotics that feed the digestive tract. More so, choose foods that are certified to be balanced and complete by AAFCO.
Ask your veterinarian to recommend high-quality cat foods for your four-legged companions. This professional has better knowledge of the nutritional content of foods and would recommend what is best for your cat to reduce any gassy problem.
Some parasites like roundworms, hookworms, and other intestinal parasites may cause inflammation in the digestive tract of cats. This often results in an abnormal buildup of gas.
Cats pick intestinal parasites just about anywhere, including parks, kennels, and even your own lane. When they are exposed to fecal matter from other animals, and the fecal matter contains loads of parasites, it can become a problem for them.
Sometimes, cats can develop stomach disorders, colon disorders, and disorders of the small intestine. This can result in excessive gas and farting.
Other health issues
Diseases in cats, either in their digestive tract or anywhere else in their body can cause flatulence.
Some digestive tract diseases, such as pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, GI lymphoma, constipation, imbalances in gut bacteria, and other gastrointestinal problems can contribute to excessive gas buildup. Other health issues, such as liver disease, hormonal issues, or stress, can affect the digestive system of cats, resulting in flatulence.
How to handle Flatulence in cats
Looking at the common causes discussed above, the next question that comes to mind is “what do I do if my cat is farting too much?” Continue reading to learn the right steps to take.
The first thing you should do if your cat is passing too much gas is to consult with your veterinarian. Go with your cat for a checkup and bring their fecal sample to check for intestinal parasites. Apart from worms, your veterinarian will also check for parasites like Tritrichomonasfoetus and Giardia.
In case any other issue is diagnosed during the visit, ensure you handle them under the supervision of your vet.
If you notice that your cat gobbles food too quickly, you can adjust the way you feed them just to help reduce that behavior. One good approach is to get a slow feeder cat bowl or feed them on a flat surface - like a baking tray.
If every other factor is ruled out, you can then consider changing your cat’s food. Avoid ingredients that can trigger allergies like those mentioned above, and ensure that you choose a diet that is certified to be balanced and complete per AAFCO standards.
However, remember to take it slow when switching your cat’s food. Going too fast can complicate the problem. It is advisable to mix in the new foods slowly and take about one week to completely switch over to the new food.
Learn to be patient when determining whether a new diet will help your cat or not. You will need to feed them with this new diet for a minimum of one month to see whether it will reduce farting. But you should stop if you notice symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, or refusing to eat.
During the period of introducing a new diet to your cat, do not feed them anything else or serve them human food. If you do, you might find it hard to know if your cat is farting due to their new diet, or the extra treats you’re adding.
If you do not notice any improvement after one month, it means the new diet is not helping, and in this case, you should talk to your vet about a therapeutic cat food that is specially designed to boost healthy digestion in sensitive cats.
Farting may not be life-threatening, but it is a clear indication that your cat’s body is not functioning optimally. This excessive gas in felines can be caused by several factors like swallowing air, eating too fast or too much, allergies to food ingredients, malabsorption, intestinal parasites, and other health issues.
It is important, however, to take your cat to your vet for a proper checkup whenever you that your cat is flatulent and constantly fart. Do not try any new diet plan on your feline friends without getting approval from your veterinarian.