Do Cats Fart? Absolutely, Experts Say. And Here's How Often.
Passing gas. Toot. Flatulence. Whatever you call it, we all do it—and your cat is no exception. "Sharing a small apartment with a cat doesn't mean you're signing up for a lifetime of coping with a stinky, flatulent roommate," Sarah Machell, DVM at Vetster, tells Daily Paws. But it's an astounding, "absolutely" cats fart, from Machell.
An understanding of your cat's digestive system goes hand-in-hand with living a happy and healthy life together. So, we asked the experts all the questions pet parents and the rest of the internet are dying to know: Why do cats fart? How often do cats fart? And why do my cat's farts smell so bad? Here's what we found out.
How Often Do Cats Fart?
How many times your cat farts a day can be pretty variable, but one or two toots a day is considered normal, Sara Ochoa, DVM, consulting vet for Dog Lab says. Compared to a human (21 times per day!), cat gas via a healthy feline isn't frequent.
The low frequency of cat gas, explains Machell, is due to their diet and mechanism of producing energy. Cats don't rely on hard-to-digest cellulose for their nutrients and energy as a cow does. That means they have a lot fewer bacteria in their gut and these bacteria don't need to work so hard. Sure, a cat's gut microbiome needs to break down their protein-based diet and fats, but they don't require a bacteria farm pumping out gases.
RELATED: Why Do Cats Bury Their Poop?
Why Do Cats Fart?
Cats fart for the same reason we do. That is, they either swallow air while they're eating, or they have excess gas created by the bacteria in their gut. Cats, like us, need to expel this air from one of two exit points (yes, cats can burp). A toot here and there is perfectly normal—and healthy.
Cats fart when they are scared, stressed, or anxious, too. "Stress and anxiety have a big impact on the body, the immune system, eating habits, and the gut biome," Machell explains.
While farting isn't directly correlated with the age of a cat, cats with immature immune systems (kittens) or weak immune systems (seniors) are more prone to gastrointestinal upset and therefore farting. Plus, Ochoa says, the transition from mom's milk to solid food is sure to cause a little extra gas.
If your cat is extra gassy, it likely points to a stressor, inappropriate diet, or medical concern. According to Machell, an extra-gassy cat could indicate:
- Bacterial, viral, or fungal infection
- Parasites like worms or protozoa
- Immune-mediated diseases like an allergy
- Inflammatory bowel syndrome
- Endocrine disorders like hyperthyroidism
- Metabolic diseases like chronic kidney disease
- Ingestion of a toxin or poison
- Some types of cancer
If your cat is a little extra gassy but is otherwise acting fine, Machell says there's no reason to rush to the vet. But the gas should be discussed during your cat's next wellness exam. After all, your cat (and you) will appreciate relief from the extra cat gas.
Why Do My Cat's Farts Smell So Bad?
Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning their bodies are made to break down protein-based diets. Fillers like carbohydrates and vegetables that take extra effort to break down and digest can produce extra-smelly and softer poop. When your cat is eating a biologically appropriate diet, says Margaret Gates, Director of the Feline Nutrition Foundation, her poop will be virtually odorless—and her farts may follow suit.
Commercial cat food ingredients vary greatly. Some diets have more carbohydrates and veggies than others, and there are even some carb-free wet foods. So, you may notice that certain diets make your cat's farts and poop smell more.
What to Do About Farting in Cats
If your cat is passing a low- to medium-stink fart a few times a day, that's normal and there's no need to interfere with her bodily functions. If she happens to do it while she's sticking her butt in your face, well, we're just sorry to hear that.
If your cat's farts are frequent but not smelly, she may be consuming air when eating. To slow down mealtime and decrease the amount of air getting in, try swapping the food bowl for a slow feeder.
When the cat farts are excessive or especially stinky and not accompanied by other symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, or appetite changes, then a change in diet might be a good place to start. "Try switching to a food that contains a different protein source," Machell offers. "If you want to make a big commitment on a dietary trial, try using a veterinary-designed, low-residue diet, limited ingredient diet, or hydrolyzed diet." Your vet can help you get started.
Transitioning to any new food should be gradual—mix some new food with the old food for the first few days, gradually increasing the amount of the new food and decreasing the amount of the old. Allow at least eight weeks of the new diet before ditching it and trying something new.
When it comes to adding a probiotic or fiber to your cat's diet to alleviate farting, Dr. Machell says you might want to chat with your vet first. Probiotics and fiber are considered safe additives but depending on the cause of gas, they could make it worse.
"The bottom line is, if simple diet changes don't help, then it's time to see the veterinarian," Machell says.