Flatulence in Cats: Cause for Concern?

Pet Health and Safety  •   Pam Karkow  •   Jul 27, 2017

Can your cat’s gas clear a room?  Does he gobble up his food, then experience abdominal pain or diarrhea?  Does the rumbling in his tummy sound like a thunderstorm a-brewin’?  Then it’s time to take a closer look into his flatulence.  It could be more than just an annoyance.  It could be a serious medical problem.

 

How do I know my cat is struggling with flatulence?  The most obvious indicator is smell, but there are certainly other red flags that may alert you there is a problem.

  • Rumbling in his intestinal tract
  • Abdominal pain and/or distended abdomen
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea

 

Before you rush to the vet, let’s talk about some causes of excessive flatulence, and some home remedies to try first.

 

Causes

Remedy

Diet or food allergy

Stick to vet-approved cat foods. During certain seasons it can be almost impossible to keep well-meaning family members from slipping your cat an extra treat.  Keep a food journal so you can determine which foods seem to be causing gas.  If you think it is his regular cat food, consider switching food, slowly to avoid further irritation.  When choosing a new food, Dr. Patty Khuly recommends a “new, lower residue diet” in her post, Gas in Dogs and Cats: Dealing with Fetid Flatulence.

Spoiled food

Cover trash cans, check expiration dates on canned and dry cat foods.

Overeating or eating too fast

In multi-cat homes, make sure to feed cats separately.  Or try a slow feed food bowl.  Check out our video on YouTube, Slowing Your Aggressive Eater to see how effective a slow feed bowl can be.  You may also want to try feeding smaller meals, more often.

Hairballs

See What Side of Your Cat Has the Most Fur for tips on safely eliminating hairballs.

Sedentary Lifestyle

Try to spend at least 10-15 minutes a day engaging your cat in activity.  See How to Exercise and Play with a Cat for tips.

 

 

 

If you have tried all of the above, to no avail, it is time to see your vet.  He will perform a physical exam, do bloodwork, urinalysis, and a fecal exam.  Flatulence could be a sign of a more serious problem, like intestinal parasites or cancer.  Intestinal parasites can be ingested through contaminated water, food or feces.  Treatment is generally outpatient, and healthy cats can bounce right back.  Older, or immunocompromised cats may need more medical attention.  Make sure your cat resides in a clean environment, and has access to uncontaminated water.

 

The good news is, most gas issues can be cleared up with a simple diet change or careful attention to feeding patterns.  But do not delay a vet visit if your cat’s gas has become a chronic problem. 

 

 

Share the Greatness