Health & Care
Cats sniffing each other.
Share this image

Cat Farts: What’s Normal and What’s Not

Feline flatulence may be funny (and stinky!) but when are cat farts something to worry about?

Angie Bailey  |  Jul 28th 2017


Everybody farts… even our adorable little feline friends. Even though dogs expel more gas than cats, you may have heard (or even smelled) a gaseous expulsion from your kitty’s bottom and wondered, “Are cat farts like this normal?” Well, you’re in luck — today we’ll be clearing the air on the subject of cat flatulence.

A cat looking sad, sick or confused.

What causes cat farts?

Before you become worried, know this: most cat farts are normal, and almost all of them are odorless. Some common causes of kitty toots are:

  • Diets that are high in fiber
  • Dairy ingestion
  • Eating too fast and swallowing excessive amounts of air
  • Consuming spoiled food or garbage
  • Hairballs
  • Dietary changes, especially ones that aren’t gradual

When should you worry about cat farts?

Although most gas is benign, some red flags should alert you to consult with your cat’s veterinarian. When cat farts are accompanied by these symptoms, they could indicate more serious health issues:

  • Noticeable tummy rumbling
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Excessive gas
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Bloody stools
  • Abdominal pain when the belly is touched
  • Decreased appetite
  • Scooting along the floor
  • Excess drooling

What health problems are associated with cat farts?

During a veterinary consultation, the health professionals will ask you about your cat’s diet and eating habits, conduct a thorough physical examination and possibly order blood work or abdominal x-rays. Although these exams and tests may sound scary, they’re critical in diagnosing these health problems that go beyond the simple “cutting the cheese:”

  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Malabsorption
  • Intestinal virus
  • Worms or other parasites
  • Pancreatic issues
  • Gastrointestinal cancer
  • Intestinal obstruction

Here’s how to prevent cat farts:

You can definitely take steps to avoid excessive feline flatulence and serious health concerns. You know the old saying: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of vet visits to correct smelly cat farts” — or something like that.

  • If your cat eats a high-fiber diet, gradually make the change to a low-fiber, more easily digestible food. It may be a good idea to talk with your vet so the transition is a smooth one.
  • Although we’re accustomed to seeing images of cute kittens lapping up bowls of milk, don’t offer your kitty dairy products. A feline digestive tract isn’t designed to process it properly. Water, water, water — did I mention water? Fresh water is the best form of hydration for cats.
  • Feed your cat smaller, more frequent meals. This could keep kitty from voraciously wolfing down his food (and your other cats’ meals, too).
  • Speaking of eating other cats’ food — if one chowhound of a cat circles the other kitties’ dishes like a shark, feed each cat in a separate area so the temptation is out of sight.
  • Make sure your kitchen trash bins have tight-fitting lids to restrict your cat’s access to garbage or old food that could be spoiled.
  • Give your cat plenty of opportunities for exercise to keep “things moving.” Having multiple cats increases the likelihood of active play, but it’s also important to engage your cat with fun toys like feathered wands.

So, although it’s perfectly healthy for cats to pass gas, it’s essential to pay attention to cat farts that are excessive or happen with accompanying symptoms. Now you can go back to blaming the dog for those stinky toots!

Thumbnail: Photography by Shutterstock. 

Read more about cat health issues on Catster.com: