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Ask A Vet: Does My Cat Fart?

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Ever notice a bad smell from the back end of your cat? Bet you have or you would not be reading this! Most animals fart. Yes, I went there. They fart and the act is known medically as flatulence. Flatulence is the production of gas (flatus) from the gastrointestinal tract. Cats are so stealthy and proper that you might not expect such things from them, but it can (and does) happen. Small amounts of flatus are normal in any cat’s digestive system, so don’t be alarmed.

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Gas in the intestinal tract can come from the mouth when the cat eats and swallows extra air, but cats tend to be careful eaters, not as likely to swallow extra gas. If they are eating in a hurry, it is more likely and any surplus may come out the other end. Sometimes in households with multiple cats, there will be some competition that makes cats feel they need to gulp. Separating cats at meal time can help if this is the cause.

More frequently the gas is being produced in the bowel by the digestive process or by the bacteria that live in the gut. Very frequent foul flatus can be a sign that something is amiss in the gut. Such problems can include dietary sensitivity, inflammatory bowel disease, or even intestinal cancer, but might be as simple as a diet with too many fillers.

Make sure that your cat is eating super-premium cat food (not just one that has the flashiest ads on the internet-ask your vet for advice or call the phone number on the bag and ask if they employ a veterinary nutritionist to help formulate and troubleshoot their diet). The best and highest quality diets tend to contain better ingredients that are easier to digest and fewer fillers that contribute to excess gas.

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Consider a probiotic supplement as well. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that we want to encourage in the bowel to promote a healthy digestive balance. Studies suggest that probiotic supplements (when they are formulated for cats–ask your vet) can enhance digestions and promote overall better health.

If your cat runs you out of your room with his frequent, foul flatus, double check that he or she is not gulping air from fast eating. Be sure that the diet is one that is high quality and easy to digest with minimal additives and fillers. Consider adding a probiotic each day and always mention even the smallest concern to your veterinarian. It is your veterinarian’s job to make life with your cat as pleasant as it can be, for him and for you.

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Written by Dr. Kathryn Primm

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